The Fifth Down

Executive Director's column: See you in South Florida

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Steve Richardson
The end of the calendar year brings awards season to the Football Writers Association of America. Each year, the FWAA hands out a number of awards to players, coaches and sometimes support personnel in college football as well to its own members.

The December issue of the Fifth Down is annually devoted to those awards and the association's All-America Team, the second-longest continuously-published team in college football. We take great pride in selecting the All-America team, which this year includes 26 players for the first time, up from 25 in previous years. The 12-member committee decided to add a second returner on special teams.

The FWAA's All-America team serves as the bedrock for the selection of two major FWAA awards, the Outland Trophy (Best Interior Lineman on offense or defense) and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy (Best Defensive Player in college football).

Notre Dame's stellar linebacker Manti Te'o claimed the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Texas A&M's standout offensive tackle Luke Joeckel took the Outland.

The process of honoring some of college football's finest players begins way back in July when the FWAA puts out Watch Lists for both of the major player awards. During the season, the FWAA selects a weekly Defensive Player of the Week in conjunction with the Bronko Nagurski Trophy. Then, in November, we ask the entire FWAA membership to submit ballots for offensive, defensive and special teams and nominations for the Outland and Nagurski trophies. The final results of these votes are then sent to each committee member.

The committee, in two separate conference calls, selects the FWAA All-America team and three finalists for the Outland and five for the Nagurski. By secret ballot, the committee members select the Outland and Nagurski Trophy winners.

It's a system, with a few alterations, that has stood the test of time for 69 years.

In this issue of The Fifth Down:
Richardson: See you in South Florida
SEC's 11 picks dominate FWAA All-America team
Notre Dame's Kelly named Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year
Texas A&M's Joeckel wins Outland Trophy
Bronko Nagurski Trophy awarded to Notre Dame's Manti Te'o

We hope you join us at the FWAA annual meeting at the BCS 1-2 game at the Discover Orange Bowl during the period of Jan. 5-8. There are two major events open to all members ” the FWAA Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Reception on Sunday, Jan. 6, and the FWAA Annual Awards Breakfast the next morning on Jan. 7. Both events will be held at the Marriott Harbor Beach Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

FWAA members going to the game will receive invitations to these events and will be asked to RSVP. Those emails should get to you shortly. This will allow for us to plan better for these events and anticipate the crowds we may get.

The Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Reception will welcome Notre Dame Coach Brian Kelly, who won the award by virtue of the FWAA membership's popular vote on the nine coaches sent out on a ballot on Dec. 3, after the last of the conference title games and regular-season games.

At the FWAA Annual Award Breakfast on the Monday morning (Jan. 7) of the 1-2 BCS title game, the FWAA will honor winners of the 20th annual Best Writing Contest, including the Beat Writers of the Year Award: Steve Wieberg, former USA Today college writer and current freelancer, and Mark Blaudschun, former Boston Globe college writer who now runs AJerseyGuy.com. In addition, the FWAA will recognize the 2012 Courage Award Winner and announce the winner of the 2013 Bert McGrane Award (FWAA Hall of Fame) and the 2012 FWAA Freshman All-America team.

Here's to Happy Holidays and an enjoyable Bowl Season!

KEY FWAA CONTACTS

Bert McGrane Award nominees: Mark Blaudshun (blauds@aol.com)
Volney Meece Scholarship nominees: Dave Sittler (davesitt@aol.com)
Website, Tostitos Fiesta Bowl National Team of the Week: Ted Gangi (webmaster@sportswriters.net)
Membership Directory: Charlie Fiss, AT&T Cotton Bowl (charlie@attcottonbowl.com)
Ethics/Press Relations Committee: Kirk Bohls (kbohls@statesman.com)
College Football Playoff Liaison: Gina Lehe, College Football Playoff (glehe@collegefootballplayoff.com)
Eddie Robinson Award: Steve Richardson (tiger@fwaa.com)
Fifth Down Blog/FWAA Best Writing Contest: Ken Stephens (ken.stephens@sbcglobal.net)
Bronko Nagurski Award: John Rocco, Charlotte Touchdown Club (jrocco@touchdownclub.com)
Outland Trophy, All-America Team: Steve Richardson (tiger@fwaa.com)
Grantland Rice Super 16 Poll: Phil Marwill, National Football Foundation (pmarwill@footballfoundation.org)
Discover Orange Bowl/FWAA Courage Award: George Schroeder, USA TODAY (gschroeder@aol.com), Ron Higgins, Nola.com (rhigg@aol.com)
Freshman All-America Team: Mike Griffith, MLive Media Group (mgrif32@aol.com)

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