The Fifth Down

President's column: Here we go ...

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Chris Dufresne

From your President's desk: As summer ends it's easy to get, as we internet surfers say in California, "bummed out."

As a kid I remember dreading the start of school by staring at the wall clock while watching the Jerry Lewis Telethon over the not-longenough Labor Day Weekend.

Thank God and Bear Bryant for college football, which almost makes it worth watching 31 August sunsets disappear helplessly over Chino Hills. There is nothing like the sights, smells and sounds of a new season, and this year certainly marks a season of dramatic change.

I could show off and recite all the details of conference realignment but instead recommend that you "Google" a summation story written by Yahoo! word wizard Pat Forde, an FWAA member in good (or at least decent) standing.

"You're forgiven if you've lost track of all the announced changes," Forde writes. "…The new geography will take some getting used to."

Funny, they said the same thing about Krakatoa.

We know this is the last year of the BCS, the last year of double hosting and the only time the Rose Bowl will celebrate its 100th anniversary game before hosting the last BCS title game on Jan. 6.

In this issue of The Fifth Down:
• Dufrense: Here we go ...
• FWAA, Orbitz partner on new member benefit
• Doyle will be long remembered
• Weiss will receive McGrane Award in Atlanta
2013-14 awards calndar
• Watch Lists: Outland Trophy | Bronko Nagurski Trophy

It will also be an exciting season for the FWAA.

The new media directories will be issued in mid-to-late August. I think most of you would agree the directories are one of the great perks of FWAA membership.

Our goal was to spread the FWAA gospel all summer. I personally set up FWAA lemonade stands at media days for the Mountain West and Pac-12 conferences.

I understand the concern some writers have about having to pay for membership out of their own pocket. Many media companies that used to cover membership fees, including mine, do not any longer.

I would argue the directory alone is worth the money. I would tell you the membership fee has been a deductible item on my income tax return for years.

There are also many other perks and benefits associated with membership that will easily cover the fees cost. Please refer to the FWAA website for more information.

It will be my honor to travel to Atlanta in late August to present the Bert McGrane Award to Dick Weiss during Hall of Fame Week. I will then stick around for the Alabama-Virginia Tech game.

The watch lists for the Outland and Nagurski awards went out on July 11. Once the season nears, and then starts, there are several important dates to note.

Our regular season kicks off Aug. 26 with the release of the Grantland Rice Preseason Poll. On Nov. 11 the recipient for the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Merit Award will be announced in Fort Worth.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy finalists will be announced Nov. 21 in Dallas followed by the Outland Trophy finalists announcement Nov. 25 on ESPN.

Circle Dec. 8 as the day the Rose Bowl All-Century Team, in conjunction with the FWAA, will be announced in Pasadena.

The month also includes the naming of this year's Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year (Dec. 16) and the FWAA All-America Team (Dec. 18). Ceremony season concludes Jan. 9 with the Outland Trophy Banquet in Omaha.

You can find a full listing of the 2013- 14 FWAA awards calendar on Page 6.

As the season nears, we at FWAA will continue to be vigilant in monitoring player access and press box issues that seem to be cropping up more and more each fall.

We as FWAA members deserve the right to do our jobs in a safe, professional workplace.

We don't deserve to be seated behind a post while the booster in front of us marvels at his fantastic sight lines. We should not fear, after games, making the trek from the press box to the parking lot.

Do not hesitate to make me, or Steve, aware of any situation and we will do our best to get them resolved.

FWAA, Orbitz partner on new member benefit

Orbitz

The FWAA has added a partnership with Orbitz for Business (OrbitzForBusiness.net) as its newest member benefit.

With an Orbitz for Business account, each FWAA member will be able to book and track travel and manage travel award accounts and items like flight credits and unused tickets. On top of that, many of the negotiated discounts are built in to the system, so no more entering special codes to save a few bucks.

In the coming days, you will receive information on how to activate your account. And, the more members who use the service the more Orbitz can help the FWAA negotiate every day and special-event rates at hotels and with airlines and rental cars.

So, be on the lookout for more information coming to your inbox soon. Just note that if you have a current personal Orbitz account, you still will have to create an Orbitz for Business profile.

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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