Difficult choices for College Football HOF
It’s a list of 77 players that includes four Heisman Trophy winners,
legends, record-breakers, and in one particular case, a flamboyant and
controversial figure with a catchy nickname who would go on to star in a horrendous action flick.
truly tough part with this year’s College Football Hall of Fame ballot
is that it’s as star-studded as any in my seven years as a voter, so
narrowing the list down to just 11 players (and two coaches) wasn’t
So who should join a HOF that, as National Football
Foundation chairman Archie Manning points out, houses just .0002 percent
of the 4.92 million that have played college football since its first
game on Nov. 6, 1896.
Below is my ballot, and for a full list of this year’s nominees, click here.
Brian Bosworth, LB Oklahoma
his lasting legacy was his wild hair styles and personality, he left
Oklahoma early after failing a drug test and his pro career was largely
defined by being run over by Bo Jackson
-- but let’s not forget how dominant the Boz was in a Sooners uniform. A
two-time consensus All-American and the only player to win the Butkus
Award twice, Bosworth totaled 395 tackles in three years, including a
school-record 22 in the 1986 Orange Bowl.
Tedy Bruschi, LB Arizona
is Bruschi not in already? On the ballot for the fourth consecutive
year, the centerpiece of the Wildcats’ Desert Swarm defenses deserves
the call. He racked up 185 tackles, including 137 solo, and tied the
Division I-A record with 52 career sacks, 19 of which came in 1993. He
was also a first-team All-American two times and the 1995 Pac-10
Defensive Player of the Year.
Tom Cousineau, LB Ohio State
two-time consensus All-American and three-time All-Big Ten pick left
school with nine records and still holds the Buckeyes mark for tackles
in a season with 211 in 1978. He was also the first Ohio State player to
be taken with the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft when he was
selected by the Bills in 1979.
Eric Crouch, QB Nebraska
never played QB in the NFL but Crouch left his mark as one of the great
option triggermen. The winner of the Heisman Trophy, Davey O’Brien and
Walter Camp awards in 2001, Crouch still holds the NCAA record for
rushing TDs by a QB with 59. He ended his Nebraska career with 32 school
records in hand and was the first passer from a BCS conference to run
for 20 TDs and throw for 10 TDs in season.
Ron Dayne, RB Wisconsin
more so than anyone on this list, Dayne is a shoo-in. He was
workmanlike with 1,220 rushing attempts and still holds the FBS career
rushing record with 6,397 yards and was the first player to go over
7,000 yards, including bowl games.
In 1999, he won the Heisman,
Walter Camp, Maxwell and Doak Walker, was a three-time first-team
All-American and was the first Big Ten player to win back-to-back Rose
Bowl MVP awards in ‘99 and 2000.
Eric Dickerson, RB SMU
still refuses to say whether or not he accepted any money during the
infamous pay-for-play scandal, but regardless it has tarnished the
legacy he left behind as one half of The Pony Express backfield along
with Craig James. It’s hard to argue with his credentials though, as
Dickerson was a two-time All-American, twice won Southwest Conference
Player of the Year and holds 14 SMU records, including career rushing
yards with 4,450.
Tommy Frazier, QB Nebraska
player that should have been inducted years ago, Frazier was a
four-year starter and finished with 4,003 yards and 47 touchdowns
passing and ran for another 2,263 yards and 36 scores. His Cornhusker
teams went 33-3 with him at the controls of the triple-option, including
back-to-back unbeaten national title seasons in 1994 and ’95. In ’95 he
was also a consensus first-team All-American, the Johnny Unitas Award
winner, Big Eight Offensive Player of the Year and the Heisman runner-up
to Eddie George.
Raghib Ismail, WR Notre Dame
Rocket was simply electric. A two-time first-team All-American who
finished second to Ty Detmer in the 1990 Heisman voting, Ismail is one
of only two Fighting Irish players to have more than 1,000 yards rushing
and 1,000 yards receiving in their career. He left South Bend with
4,187 all-purpose yards, averaging 15.3 yards per touch, and had 15 TDs,
on which he averaged 62 yards. He’s also the only player in NCAA
history to return two kickoffs for TDs twice, doing it against Rice in
1988 and Michigan in ‘89.
Orlando Pace, OL Ohio State
this for domination? In Pace’s last two years in Columbus, the left
tackle didn’t allow a single sack. He was twice a unanimous firs-team
All-American and the first player to win the Lombardi Trophy two times.
Pace also won the Outland Trophy in ’96 and that year finished fourth in
the Heisman voting – a push by Ohio State that included the pancake
magnets for his pancake blocks – marking the highest finish for an
offensive lineman since John Hicks was second in 1973.
Vinny Testaverde, QB Miami
The camouflage getup was
questionable, but it’s the only knock against Testaverde’s storied
career. In 1986 he became the first Hurricane to take home the Heisman,
while also receiving the, Walter Camp, Maxwell and Davey O’Brien. He was
Miami’s starting QB for just two seasons but still totaled 6,058 yards
and 48 touchdowns and matched George Mira’s school record with 116
consecutive passes without an interception. Testaverde would go on to be
the No. 1 pick in the 1987 NFL draft.
Danny Wuerffel, QB Florida
Testaverde, he’s a Heisman-winning QB who is back on the ballot after
surprisingly not making it in on his first chance. All Wuerffel did was
throw for 114 TD as a Gator, which still stands as an SEC record, he won
the Heisman in 1996 while leading Florida to a national championship
and also has a Walter Camp, Maxwell and two Davey O’Brien awards on his
mantle. He’s also won of just two Heisman winners – along with Tim Tebow
– to win the Draddy Trophy, which is presented to the nation’s top
Bill McCartney, Colorado
led the Buffaloes to the 1990 national title – the season in which he
was named coach of the year -- and eight Big Eight championships, going
93-55-5 in 13 seasons. During his tenure, Colorado appeared in nine bowl
games and produced a Heisman winner in Rashaan Salaam (1994).
Billy Jack Murphy, Memphis
all-time winningest coach in Tigers history, Murphy went 91-44-1 from
1958-71 he had 11 winning seasons, including an undefeated ’63 that
earned him national coach of the year honors. He has appeared on the
ballot since 2007.