Ball, Still up for national awards tonight

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Greetings from sunny central Florida, where it's just a smidge warmer than it is in Big Ten country right now.

I'm down here conducting some interviews with some of college football's top players from both the Big Ten and beyond. Several of the sport's top honors will be handed out today during the Home Depot ESPN College Football Awards.

Two Big Ten players are on hand for the big night: Wisconsin running back Montee Ball and Penn State defensive tackle Devon Still. Ball is one of three nominees for the Doak Walker Award, given to the nation's top running back. Still is up for two honors: the Chuck Bednarik Award (nation's top defensive player) and Outland Trophy (nation's top interior linemen).

Both players face some top competition.

Oregon's LaMichael James, the 2010 Doak Walker winner, is a finalist for this year's award, as is Alabama's Trent Richardson, who, like Ball, is a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. It would surprise me to see James win again, so Ball has a good shot to take home the hardware. Even though Richardson is considered a stronger Heisman candidate than Ball, the numbers show Ball has had a better season. He's certainly deserving of the Doak.

Still goes up against Alabama linebacker Dont'a Hightower and LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, a Heisman finalist, for the Bednarik Award. Stanford offensive lineman David DeCastro and Alabama offensive linemen Barrett Jones are the other two nominees for the Outland Trophy. I think Still has a definite shot at winning one of these awards.

Tune into ESPN at 9 p.m. ET tonight to see who takes home the hardware.