Originally posted on Crystal Ball Run  |  Last updated 7/9/12

We're officially entering the final countdown (cue Europe now) to the start of the college football season as over the next two weeks the National College Football Awards Association will unveil the watch lists for the various awards up for grabs. Today, they kicked things off with the two biggest awards, the Maxwell (outstanding collegiate player of the year) and the Bednarik (outstanding defensive player of the year). 

The Maxwell Award went to Andrew Luck of Stanford last season and has gone to names like Tim Tebow, Vince Young, Ron Dayne, and Eli Manning. 

Returning Maxwell Award semifinalists from 2011 include USC QB Matt Barkley, Clemson QB Tajh Boyd, Oklahoma QB Landry Jones and USC WR Robert Woods.

Thirteen schools managed to get multiple names to the watch list with USC boasting the most names at four - QB Matt Barkley, WR Robert Woods, WR Marqise Lee, and RB Curtis McNeal. Three schools (Arkansas, Clemson, and Oklahoma) had three players named to the list. While Alabama, Cal, Fresno State, Michigan, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Oregon, Tennessee, and West Virginia rounded out the list with two each. 

Some of the biggest names on the list include the likes of Tyler Wilson, Knile Davis, Denard Robinson, Montee Ball, Cierre Wood, Landry Jones, and Marcus Lattimore. But if you want the full list it's viewable here.

The Bednarik Award has been presented since 1995 and last season's winner was LSU CB Tyrann Mathieu, whol will be looking to join only Penn State LB Paul Posluszny and Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald as winners to repeat. 

Just like the Maxwell Award four 2011 semi-finalists made the watch list this year in LSU CB Tyrann Mathieu, Notre Dame LB Manti Te'o, Stanford LB Chase Thompson, and Kansas State LB Arthur Brown. 

Other big names on the list include LB Max Bullough of Michigan State, LB's A.J. Klein and Jake Knott of Iowa State, DE Alex Okafor of Texas, DE Jadeveon Clowney of South Carolina, and CB Ricardo Allen of Purdue.

Again, just like on the Maxwell side of things the most players on a single team were four, but unlike the Maxwell there are multiple teams with four players on the Bednarik Award watch list. Those schools are Alabama, LSU, and Michigan State. Four schools have three players (Florida State, Texas, USC, and Virginia Tech) and twelve schools have two players on the list. To view the full list of players visit here. 

These awards will go down to the semi-finalists lists on Oct. 29th and the three finalists announced on Nov. 19th. All awards will be given out at the College Football Awards show on Dec. 6th.

You can find the musing of Andy on Twitter at @andycoppens and his coverage of the Wisconsin Badgers @MTBadgers. Don't forget to follow us as well @CrystalBallRun

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