Posted on: June 8, 2011 12:02 pm
Edited on: June 8, 2011 12:04 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
The recent slew of NCAA investigations and scandal has brought the Southern Methodist narrative from the late 1970's - early 1980's back to the forefront. The dominance of Eric Dickerson and Craig James has now been re-told to a new generation of college football fans, as the many would consider the pair the greatest duo in college football.
So Dickerson and James have created a recognition to award the greatest pair in college football each year. The Pony Express Award "will look at two- and three-player tandems from across the nation, ultimately honoring the combination whose work ethic, desire, on- and off-field leadership and playmaking ability best fuel their team."
The award will be voted on by a blue ribbon panel of experts that will form the award's board of directors, and awarded at the completion of the 2011 regular season. The watch list for the inaugural award was released this week.
Alabama - RB Trent Richardson, WR Marquise Maze
Alabama - LB Courtney Upshaw, LB Dont'a Hightower, LB Nico Johnson
Alabama - S Mark Barron, S Robert Lester
Arizona - QB Nick Foles, WR Juron Criner
Arkansas - WR Greg Childs, WR Joe Adams, WR Jarius Wright
Auburn - RB Michael Dyer, RB Ontario McCalebb
Baylor - QB Robert Griffin, WR Kendall Wright, WR Josh Gordon
Boise State - QB Kellen Moore, RB Doug Martin
Boston College - DE Max Holloway, LB Luke Kuechly
Clemson - DE Andre Branch, DT Brandon Thompson
Florida - RB Jeff Demps, RB/WR Chris Rainey
Florida State - QB EJ Manuel, RB Jermaine Thomas, RB Lonnie Pryor
Florida State - CB Greg Reid, CB Xavier Rhodes, LB Nigel Bradham
Georgia - G Cordy Glenn, C Ben Jones
Georgia - K Blair Walsh, P Drew Butler
Iowa - DE Broderick Binns, DT Mike Daniels
Kentucky - LB Ronnie Sneed, LB Danny Trevathan
LSU - QB Jordan Jefferson, WR Russell Sheppard
Miami - LB Sean Spence, S Ray Ray Armstrong
Michigan State - QB Kirk Cousins, RB Edwin Baker, WR Keshawn Martin
Nebraska - LB Lavonte David, CB Alfonzo Dennard
North Carolina - WR Dwight Jones, WR Erik Highsmith
North Carolina - DE Donte Paige-Moss, DE Quinton Coples, DT Tydreke Powell
North Carolina - LB Zach Brown, LB Kevin Reddick
Notre Dame - LB Manti Te'o, LB Darius Flemming
Ohio State - RB Dan Herron, WR DeVier Posey
Ohio State - OT Mike Adams, OT JB Shugarts, C Mike Brewster
Oklahoma - QB Landry Jones, WR Ryan Broyles, WR Kenny Stills
Oklahoma - LB Travis Lewis, LB Tom Wort, DB Tony Jefferson
Oklahoma State - QB Brandon Weeden, WR Justin Blackmon
Oregon - QB Darron Thomas, RB LaMichael James, RB Kenjon Barner
South Carolina - QB Stephen Garcia, RB Marcus Lattimore, WR Alshon Jeffrey
South Carolina - DE Devin Taylor, DT Melving Ingram
SMU - DE Taylor Thompson, DE Margus Hunt
Stanford - QB Andrew Luck, WR Chris Owusu, TE Coby Fleener
Stanford - OT Jonathan Martin, G David DeCastro
Texas - LB Keenan Robinson, LB Emmanuel Acho, DL Kheeston Randall
Texas - S Christian Scott, S Blake Gideon
Texas A&M - QB Ryan Tannehill, RB Cyrus Gray, WR Jeff Fuller
TCU - LB Tanner Brock, LB Tank Carder
Troy - DE Jonathan Massaquoi, LB Kanorris Davis
Tulsa - QB GJ Kinne, WR Damaris Johnson
USC - QB Matt Barkley, WR Robert Woods
Virginia Tech - QB Logan Thomas, WR Jarett Boykin, WR Dyrell Roberts
Washington - RB Chris Polk, WR Jermaine Kearse
Washington - DT Alameda Ta'amu, LB Cort Dennison
West Virginia - QB Geno Smith, WR Tavon Austin
Wisconsin - RB Montee Ball, RB James White
What are your thoughts on the list? Any early favorites? Let us know in the comments section below.
Posted on: May 17, 2011 6:11 pm
Edited on: May 18, 2011 6:47 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
The College Football Hall of Fame announced its class of 2011 today, electing 16 former players and coaches to the ranks of gridiron immortality. Of the six players we had tabbed in March as the most deserving of induction, three (Deion Sanders, Russell Maryland, and Eddie George) were elected today, so we don't have quite the gripe we did earlier.
And yet, there are still dozens upon dozens of clearly deserving players who haven't been granted induction into the Hall, had to wait an unreasonably long time to be inducted, or for whatever reason, aren't even on the ballot yet. Eric Dickerson has been out of college football for nearly 30 years, and he's not in yet. He was out of the NFL for all of five years before being named a first-ballot Pro Football Hall of Famer. Deion Sanders was elected a full 22 seasons after he last played a down for Florida State. Of the 16 inductees in this class, the youngest player is Arizona DT Rob Waldrop, who last played in 1993. Others, like Oklahoma running back Clendon Thomas, played upwards of 50 years ago. There's no real telling why they were just now elected.
Let's go back over the facts. Frazier went 33-3 as a starting quarterback for Nebraska -- an absurd .917 career winning percentage. His Huskers went to three title games in that span, winning two national championships and coming within one (badly) missed field goal of a third. Frazier rushed for 2,286 yards and 36 touchdowns in his career, and threw for over 4,000 yards and 47 more TDs to just 18 interceptions. He is unquestionably one of the best option quarterbacks in college football history. And he capped that incredible career with this famous run in the National Championship against Florida, which just so happens to be one of the best plays in college football history.
So if Tommie Frazier is not an immediate, unquestionable first-ballot Hall of Famer in this sport, then what is the point of having a College Football Hall of Fame? Why is the Hall of Fame not even bothering to induct anybody who played fewer than 17 years ago? Are they backed up? Understaffed? Unable to properly address his candidacy for whatever reason? Perhaps the Hall should go all-out next year and elect about 90 players and coaches next year, because between the players who weren't voted in and the ones who aren't 40 years old or older yet, there is no shortage of great college football players who aren't being given their due praise on a timely basis. Look at the ballot voters had to deal with this year. It's filled with guys who deserve recognition, and it's comically outdated. It's a list that -- barring the rare late-'90s player like Matt Stinchcomb or Joe Hamilton -- should have been in front of the voters 20 years ago, not today.
Tags: ACC, Arizona, Big 12, Big Ten, Clendon Thomas, College Football Hall of Fame 2011 Class, Deion Sanders, Eddie George, Eric Dickerson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Joe Hamilton, Matt Stinchcomb, Miami, Non-BCS, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Pac-12, Rob Waldrop, Russell Maryland, SEC, SMU, Tommie Frazier, Tommie Frazier Hall of Fame, Tommie Frazier Snubbed
Posted on: March 7, 2011 7:03 pm
Edited on: March 7, 2011 7:05 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
This year's Hall of Fame ballot is out, and like always, it's huge; there are 79 players and nine coaches up for voting, and only a small fraction of those 88 men will be voted in this year. The first-balloters include Tommie Frazier and Derrick Thomas, and both have strong credentials for immediate induction.
And yet, upon even a cursory glance at the list of candidates (PDF), it's readily apparent that there are a lot of guys on this list who not only deserve to be voted in, but probably deserved (and did not receive) first-ballot induction themselves. We found six very worthy players, and we'd like you all to vote on which one is most deserving of joining the greats. And yes, it's worth noting that this is a college football-only Hall of Fame, and there are some guys with long, fantastic NFL careers ... but they were all amazing in college football too! Choose wisely at our Facebook page, and if you need a refresher on any of the six men involved, a quick recap is below.
Brian Bosworth (LB, Oklahoma, '84-'86): Bosworth was the face of college football in the mid-'80s -- a brash, loud, cocky self-promoter who played like a laser-guided tornado. Oklahoma gave up fewer than 10 points per game during the three years Bosworth played in Norman, including an absurd 6.75 ppg in 1986 and a comparatively pedestrian 8.6 ppg in the Sooners' national championship 1985 season. His NFL career quickly flamed out with the Seahawks, as did a fledgling acting career, but for three magical years at OU, Bosworth was on top of the world.
Eric Dickerson (RB, Southern Methodist, '79-'82): 30 years ago, the "Pony Express" was the hottest show in a conference full of them: the SWC. Backfield mates Dickerson and Craig James lit up opposing defenses in their junior and senior seasons, but Dickerson was clearly the better rusher of the two. He would finish with over 1,400 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns his junior year, and he topped 1,600 yards and finished third in Heisman voting as a senior in 1982. Again, all this while splitting carries. Of course, SMU was fraught with illegal behavior that would eventually bring a death sentence down on the program, but the accomplishments of Dickerson and his teammates stay undisturbed in the record books, as they ought to be.
Eddie George (RB, Ohio State, '92-'95): It would be a shame if Eddie George were being punished for relatively light workloads during his first two seasons (including a nightmarish two-fumble 18-16 loss to Illinois as a freshman), because by his senior year, George was one of the most unstoppable tailbacks in the post-Barry Sanders era of college football. George beat out the aforementioned Tommie Frazier for the 1995 Heisman Trophy after a 1,927-yard, 24-touchdown senior season in which George topped 100 rushing yards in every contest.
Russell Maryland (DT, Miami, '86-'90): If something about Nick Fairley's 2010 season with Auburn seemed a bit familiar, it's probably thanks to Russell Maryland's career with the 'Canes; like Fairley, Maryland was a 6'1" DT with freakish disruption and pursuit skills. They've also both got rings as anchors of their respective defensive lines: Fairley last year, and Maryland in '89 (he also won a championship as a reserve in '87). As for Maryland's senior year, he racked up 96 tackles and 10.5 sacks en route to the Outland Trophy and the top spot in the NFL draft.
Jonathan Ogden (OT, UCLA, '92-'95): Ogden was one of the best NFL tackles of his generation, but he was also utterly outstanding at UCLA too, picking up the Outland Award and unanimous first-team All-American decorations his senior year. He gave up just two sacks in his last two years with the Bruins, and more importantly set a new standard for franchise left tackles. Ogden played at a legitimate 6'8", and anywhere from 310 to 365 pounds (though really in the reverse order; he showed up to campus over 350 pounds, but was down to a svelte 318 by the time the NFL combine rolled around). With that unbelievable size came even more freakish athleticism, as Ogden had faster feet than players 50 pounds lighter than him. Think of the high-profile left tackles that have come out of college football since Ogden was drafted: aside from maybe Orlando Pace, the common quality of such players as Robert Gallery, Jake Long, or Joe Thomas is that they may have been good, but they're no Jonathan Ogden.
Deion Sanders (CB, FSU, 1985-1988): If Bosworth owned the mid-'80s in college football, Neon Deion was the immediate successor to the Boz's throne, electrifying college football with his other-worldly speed, coverage, and kick return ability. Everything Sanders did was larger than life: his play on the field, his cocky personality, his short-lived rap career, everything (except the tackling, of course). At the end of the day, though, it's hard to argue with his results: two-time consensus first-team All-American and third-team All-American as a senior at cornerback, the FSU career punt return yardage record, and a retired jersey number (at a powerhouse program, no less) seven years later.
So who's it going to be? VOTE NOW at our Facebook page!
Posted on: December 28, 2010 12:09 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli as part of the blog's Bowl Bonanza series.
The Basics: Army (6-6) vs. SMU (7-6), Dec. 30 Noon EST
Why You Should Watch: You should tun into the Armed Forced Bowl because you generally don't get a lot of chances to see Army and SMU in bowl games these days. This will be the first time Army has played in a bowl since 1996, and this is only the second time that SMU has been in a bowl game over the last 25 years, or since Eric Dickerson and Craig James were getting paid. If that's not enough there's also the contrast in styles of both teams, as Army runs the triple option and SMU is a run and shoot team.
Keys to Victory for Army: The strategy for Army to win this game is simple, yet won't be nearly as easy to execute. It simply needs to keep the SMU offense off the field as much as possible. While Army should be proud to be back in a bowl game, the fact of the matter is that they just don't have the talent and depth that SMU has, and can't afford to get into any kind of shootout.
Still, there's reason to believe Army can be successful. SMU's defense had a lot of trouble stopping Navy's offense earlier this season, particularly the pitch on the option as Navy rushed for 253 yards in a 28-21 victory over the Mustangs.
Trent Steelman and the Army offense will have to have a similar game and hold on to the ball to have any chance of winning in this game. They just simply don't have the depth on defense, particularly in the secondary, to keep the Mustangs passing attack in check.
Keys to Victory for SMU: Stop the option. SMU has spent a lot of time in practice trying to fix the mistakes of the Navy game and work on their defensive assignments against the option. If they can keep Army from running all over them, the Mustangs should come away with the victory.
After all, this game will be played in SMU's home stadium.
When SMU has the ball they should look to exploit any Army linebacker forced into coverage as they just don't have the agility to stay with SMU's slot receivers Darius Johnson and Cole Beasley. Another key will be to pick up the blitz, as odds are that Army will blitz a lot to make up for its secondary. Kyle Padron has had some trouble when pressured this season, so giving him time to find his open receiver will be key.
The Mustangs should also look to use the run game to slow down the blitz, as they've been more successful on the ground than you'd expect from a June Jones offense. Zach Line isn't going to break any long runs, but he is a big, bruising back that can be used to soften the Army defense and cause linebackers to hesitate on play action, therefore opening up more lanes in the secondary for receivers.
The Armed Forces Bowl is like: that old t-shirt you found in the back of the closet. You haven't worn the thing in a long time, and it's no longer in fashion, but it still fits and it's awfully comfortable.