More than likely, Frank Broyles looked down and smiled Monday when it was announced by David Bazzel at the Little Rock Touchdown Club luncheon that the Football Writers Association of America will have a vote in the selection for the Broyles Award.
In 1964, Broyles and the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville won the FWAA Grantland Rice national championship.
That was when The Associated Press awarded its national championship after the regular season, and it gave the title to Alabama; Arkansas, which also finished the regular season 10-0, was voted No. 2.
Alabama lost to Texas in the Orange Bowl, and Arkansas — which beat the Longhorns in Austin that season — beat Nebraska 10-7 to finish undefeated.
The FWAA, which was formed in 1941 and started naming its national champion in 1954, voted the Hogs No. 1. Ironically, many of the voting members for the FWAA also voted in the AP poll.
Until 1998 and the start of the BCS — which has evolved into a true playoff involving four teams — winning the AP national championship was more attractive, but that season played a role in the AP moving its vote to after the bowl games in 1968.
However, the FWAA is a national organization with more than 1,200 members, and it has a long history of making a difference in college football.
It also selects prestigious awards such as the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year, the Outland Trophy for best interior lineman, the Bronko Nagurski Trophy for best defensive player and a freshman All-American team.
In a joint effort with the National Football Foundation, it recently has added a weekly Super 16 football poll.
So the FWAA Grantland Rice national championship stands on its own merits, and it seems a natural fit to add a panel of writers who will have a voice in the Broyles Award.
If you Google “1964 college football championship,” a picture of the Razorbacks is the first thing that pops up.
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