DALLAS (FWAA) The Football Writers Association of America has announced the preseason watch list for the 2018 Outland Trophy presented by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. The list is highlighted by returning winner defensive tackle Ed Oliver of the University of Houston among 82 standout interior linemen representing all 10 Division I FBS conferences and independents.
This is the first year of a partnership with the NFID to present the Outland Trophy as part of a public awareness campaign focused on the importance of influenza (flu) prevention during the 2018-19 flu season. The award honoring the top interior lineman in college football will continue to be selected by the FWAA membership and has been rebranded as the Outland Trophy presented by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases with a social media hashtag of #FightFlu.
Oliver, a junior from Houston, last year became the first sophomore to win the award since its inception in 1946. He is the lone member of the 2017 FWAA All-America Team on either interior line to return this season as he attempts to join former University of Nebraska center Dave Rimington (1981, 1982) as a two-time winner of the award.
University of Wisconsin All-American Joe Thomas, the 2006 Outland Trophy winner who retired earlier this year after a stellar 11-year career with NFLs Cleveland Browns, will serve as the Outland Trophy #FightFlu ambassador. Thomas has been an avid supporter of annual flu vaccines. He will make media appearances on behalf of the #FightFlu public awareness campaign to remind people to get their annual flu shots.
Additionally, Thomas will announce the recipient of the 73rd Outland Trophy during ESPNs The Home Depot College Football Awards on Dec. 6, live from the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. The official presentation to the winner will be made at the Werner Enterprises Outland Trophy Awards Dinner produced by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee on Jan. 9, 2019. Up to seven semifinalists will be named on Nov. 14 in Omaha and three finalists for the award will be announced on Nov. 19.
The distribution of watch list candidates is spread well among the conferences, with the Big Ten (13) leading the way. The ACC (12) is just behind, followed by the Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC (11 each) as well as the American Athletic (9), Mid-American (5), Mountain West and Independents (3), and Conference USA and Sun Belt (2). The list includes 22 offensive tackles, 20 defensive tackles, 20 centers and 20 guards.
The Outland Trophy winner is chosen from three finalists who are a part of the annual FWAA All-America Team. The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the entire membership, selects a 26-man first team and eventually the three Outland finalists. Committee members, then by individual ballot, select the winner. Only interior linemen on offense or defense are eligible for the award; ends are not eligible.
The Outland Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 24 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about the NCFAA.
The members of the NCFAA are unveiling their preseason watch lists over a 10-day period this month. Seventeen of the associations 24 awards select a preseason watch list and the NCFAA has spearheaded a coordinated effort to promote each award·s preseason candidates. Following is the entire 2018 preseason watch list calendar:
The Outland Trophy, now in its 73rd year, is the third-oldest major college football award. Created in 1946 when Dr. John Outland presented the FWAA with a financial contribution to initiate the award, the Outland Trophy has been given to the best interior lineman in college football ever since. Dr. Outland, an All-American at the University of Pennsylvania in the late 1890s, eventually took up practice in Kansas City, Mo. An avid outdoorsman, Dr. Outland believed linemen did not get the credit they deserved and wanted an award to recognize them.
About the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases
Founded in 1973, the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) is a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to educating the public and healthcare professionals about the causes, prevention and treatment of infectious diseases across the lifespan. Visit nfid.org for more information.
About the Football Writers Association of America
Founded in 1941, the non-profit Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) consists of more than 1,300 members, including journalists, broadcasters, publicists and key executives in all areas of college football. Led by current President Stefanie Loh of the Seattle Times, longtime Executive Director Steve Richardson, and a board of veteran journalists, the association continues to grow and work to help college football prosper at all levels. Visit footballwriters.com for more information about the FWAA and its award programs.
The new Outland Trophy branding marks were developed by Torch Creative, a Dallas-based design studio with a heavy focus on branding, logo design and development, illustration and typography design. For more information, visit torchcreative.com.