In college football, the "skill players" receive the accolades, and the big boys get the bruises. But at least someone recognizes the rise-and-grind of the sport's armored tank division. The Football Writers Association of America has handed out the Outland Trophy to the toughest interior linemen since 1946, and in 70 years the Underdogs have collected the award five measly times (the last being Mohammed Elewanibi of BYU Cougars in 1989).
Can the Underdogs break a 27-year dry spell? A total of 19 Underdogs (counting 2 BYU Cougars) are sprinkled in a total of 70 nominees. Here's how it breaks down by conference according to the NCAA:
The SEC (12) led all conferences, followed by the Big Ten (11), ACC (10), Pac-12 (10), Big 12 (6), American Athletic (4), Conference USA (4), Independents (4), Mountain West (4), Mid-American (3) and Sun Belt (2).
Who's the best prime beef in college football? As always, I've generously plucked the Underdogs from the meat barrel so you may contemplate unfettered.
Underdogs appearing on the 2016 Outland Trophy Watch List
J.T. Boyd, C, East Carolina Pirates
Parker Collins, G, Appalachian St. Mountaineers
Austin Corbett, OT, Nevada Wolf Pack
Dion Dawkins, OT, Temple Owls
Antonio Garcia, OT, Troy Trojans
Treyvon Hester, DT, Toledo Rockets
Forrest Lamp, OT, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Ului Lapuaho, G, BYU Cougars
Taylor Moton, OT, Western Michigan Broncos
Storm Norton, OT, Toledo Rockets
Larry Ogunjobi, OT, Charlotte 49ers
Chase Roullier, G, Wyoming Cowboys
Nico Siragusa, G, San Diego State Aztecs
Tanzel Smart, DT, Tulane Green Wave
Chris Taylor, G, Tulane Green Wave
Cameron Tom, C, Southern Miss Golden Eagles
Travis Tuiloma, DT, BYU Cougars
Clint Van Horn, OT, Marshall Thundering Herd
Fred Zerblis, G, Colorado State Rams