March 13, 2011

Roundtable: Who should make the Hall?

At the College Football Roundtable each week, we ask each member of the college football coverage staff for his opinion about a topic in the sport.

THIS WEEK'S QUESTION: The College Football Hall of Fame released the 2011 ballot earlier this week. Which five players and which coach would get your votes?

Olin Buchanan's answer:
Before announcing the five players I'd select, let me say up front I understand my choices will be criticized because so much controversy surrounded many of them. But these guys all were great players, were involved in great moments in college football history and in many cases were national phenomenon. I'd vote for Oklahoma linebacker Brian Bosworth, SMU running back Eric Dickerson, Nebraska quarterback Tommie Frazier, Alabama defensive tackle Marty Lyons and Florida State cornerback Deion Sanders. Yeah, there's a lot of flash and dash (and cash) there, but they were great players who helped make great teams. The nation seemed obsessed with Bosworth and Sanders. Dickerson was the lead horse on SMU's Pony Express team that many felt deserved the national championship in 1982. Lyons warned Penn State not to run on the famous goal-line stand in the 1979 Sugar Bowl. Frazier was one of the greatest running quarterbacks ever, and his late 75-yard touchdown run against Florida in the Fiesta Bowl after the 1995 season was one of the most spectacular plays ever. For the coach, I'd choose R.C. Slocum, the winningest coach in Texas A&M history who never had a losing season.

David Fox's answer:
When we looked at the nominees last year, I cast votes for Ohio State's Eddie George, Miami's Russell Maryland, SMU's Eric Dickerson and Florida State's Deion Sanders. I'm going to keep them on my ballot this year. That leaves one spot for a first-ballot guy, and that has to go to Nebraska's Tommie Frazier, one of college football's all-time greatest winners. As for the coaches, that's a tricky group. Lloyd Carr and R.C. Slocum weren't as good as their predecessors or at least didn't produce the results their fans preferred. Jimmy Johnson built on what Howard Schellenberger started at Miami, never mind that he was a college football head coach for less than a decade. The most important on-field legacy for this group of coaches belongs to Air Force's Fisher DeBerry, who was competitive at a service academy while Army and Navy were struggling. But his legacy was marred by racially insensitive comments at the end of his tenure. If I have to vote for a coach, I'm voting for DeBerry, but I'd prefer to abstain this year.

Mike Huguenin's answer:
Of my five players, three are easy: SMU RB Eric Dickerson, Florida State CB Deion Sanders and Nebraska QB Tommie Frazier. To me, Frazier is the best option quarterback in college history. He also was an incredible winner. My last two players would be Oklahoma LB Rod Shoate, a two-time first-team All-American and a two-time Big 8 defensive player of the year, and Princeton K Charlie Gogolak, who -- as the ballot says -- "revolutionized the kicking game using soccer-style technique." Innovators such as Gogolak deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. As for the coach, I think it's an underwhelming list. I would pass if I could. If I had to select one, I would go with Wayne Hardin. He was Roger Staubach's coach at Navy and guided the Midshipmen to their best finish in the polls -- No. 2 in 1963. He also is the winningest coach in Temple history and led the Owls to a No. 17 national finish in 1979.

Steve Megargee's answer:
I had no trouble coming up with four of my five players. SMU running back Eric Dickerson, Nebraska quarterback Tommie Frazier, Ohio State running back Eddie George and Florida State cornerback Deion Sanders all seem like no-brainers to me. Frazier should be selected in his first year on the ballot. He led Nebraska to consecutive national titles (1994 and '95) and was one of the great winners in college football history. Dickerson, George and Sanders have been on the ballot before, and all should have been inducted already. George is a Heisman winner, while Sanders was one of the greatest cover corners in college or pro football history. I can only assume SMU's sordid history that led to the death penalty is what has kept Dickerson out so far. His performance on the field certainly demands induction. I had much more trouble coming up with a fifth guy because I felt so many candidates were equally deserving. I finally decided to go with Alabama linebacker Derrick Thomas, who recorded an extraordinary 27 sacks in 1988 to win the Butkus Award and finish 10th in the Heisman balloting. I was torn between Colorado's Bill McCartney and Miami's Jimmy Johnson in the coaching department. I opted for Johnson. Although Johnson did not coach in the college ranks for a particularly long time (1979-88), he made quite an impact. When I think about college football in the 1980s, Johnson inevitably is one of the first names that comes to mind. Miami finished first or second in the polls in three of Johnson's seasons there, including the 1987 national title.

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