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SI's NCAA Football All-Century Team

Posted: Wednesday October 06, 1999 03:30 PM

By Ivan Maisel

Sports IllustratedClose your eyes and envision a college football dream team on which John Elway could hand off to Earl Campbell or Barry Sanders or rifle a pass to Ozzie Newsome or Randy Moss. A team on which Doug Atkins and Billy Ray Smith would knock offensive tackles into the quarterback while coach Tom Osborne watched intently from the sideline. A team for the ages, yes -- but a two-touchdown underdog to the squad you are about to meet.

SI molded its Team of the Century by employing the methods current coaches use. Not only did we adhere to the 85-scholarship limit, but we also selected more offensive players than defensive ones. We took transfers ( Doc Blanchard, from North Carolina to Army; George Connor, Holy Cross to Notre Dame; and O.J. Simpson, City College of San Francisco to USC). We even suspended a player, having caught George Gipp in the poolroom more often than the classroom.

Because passing styles have changed over the course of the century, we threw tight ends, flankers and wide receivers into a single pool and made our selections without regard to exactly what receiver's position they played. We took quarterbacks who had winning records and a flair for the unexpected: Tommie Frazier overcame career-threatening blood clots in his right leg to win two national championships; Doug Flutie threw the Pass and took an ordinary team to the Cotton Bowl. Sammy Baugh? He merely invented the passing game.

We also took athletes who were versatile. Our defensive backfield reserves include two Heisman Trophy winners better known for their offensive skills. In the one-platoon days John Lattner and Ernie Davis intercepted 17 passes between them.

As our coach we tapped the fellow with the houndstooth hat. We gave him nine assistants, the current limit, with Gen. Bob Neyland handling the defense and Knute Rockne taking care of the pregame talks. Woody Hayes gets to oversee the yard markers.

For anyone who squawks that their favorite player or coach should have been included, we simply ask: In place of whom?

(*Denotes starter)

*Jerry Rice, Miss. Valley St., 1981-84
Mike Ditka, Pittsburgh, 1958-60
Pat Richter, Wisconsin, 1960-62
Johnny Rodgers, Nebraska, 1970-72
Tim Brown, Notre Dame, 1984-87
Raghib Ismail, Notre Dame, 1988-90

*Bill Fralic, Pittsburgh, 1981-84
Ron Yary, USC, 1965-67
Dan Dierdorf, Michigan, 1968-70

*Jim Parker, Ohio St., 1954-56
Bob Suffridge, Tennessee, 1938-40
Aaron Taylor, Nebraska, 1994-97

*Dave Rimington, Nebraska, 1979-82
Alex Wojciechowicz, Fordham, 1934-37
Dwight Stephenson, Alabama, 1977-79

*John Hannah, Alabama, 1970-72
Bill Fischer, Notre Dame, 1945-48
Dean Steinkuhler, Nebraska, 1981-83

*Orlando Pace, Ohio St., 1994-96
George Connor, Notre Dame, 1946-47
Bob Gain, Kentucky, 1947-50

*Don Hutson, Alabama, 1932-34
Bennie Oosterbaan, Michigan, 1925-27
Howard Twilley, Tulsa, 1963-65
Ted Kwalick, Penn St., 1966-68
Anthony Carter, Michigan, 1979-82
Keith Jackson, Oklahoma, 1984-87
Desmond Howard, Michigan, 1989-91

*Sammy Baugh, TCU, 1934-36
John Lujack, Notre Dame, 1943, 1946-47
Roger Staubach, Navy, 1960-62
Doug Flutie, Boston College, 1981-84
Tommie Frazier, Nebraska, 1992-95

*Red Grange, Illinois, 1923-25
Ernie Nevers, Stanford, 1923-25
Jay Berwanger, Chicago, 1933-35
Doc Blanchard, Army, 1944-46

*O.J. Simpson, USC, 1967-68
Doak Walker, SMU, 1945, 1947-49
Jim Brown, Syracuse, 1954-56
Archie Griffin, Ohio St., 1972-75

*Tony Dorsett, Pittsburgh, 1973-76
Glenn Davis, Army, 1943-46
Herschel Walker, Georgia, 1980-82
Ricky Williams, Texas, 1995-98

*Bubba Smith, Michigan St., 1964-66
Leon Hart, Notre Dame, 1946-49
Peter Boulware, Florida St., 1994-96

*Bronko Nagurski, Minnesota, 1927-29
Buck Buchanan, Grambling, 1959-62
Mike Reid, Penn St., 1966, 1968-69

*Rich Glover, Nebraska, 1970-72
Lee Roy Selmon, Oklahoma, 1972-75
Randy White, Maryland, 1972-74

*Hugh Green, Pittsburgh, 1977-80
Jack Youngblood, Florida, 1968-70
Ross Browner, Notre Dame, 1973, 1975-77

*Tommy Nobis, Texas, 1963-65
Lawrence Taylor, North Carolina, 1977-80
Brian Bosworth, Oklahoma, 1984-86

*Dick Butkus, Illinois, 1962-64
Jerry Robinson, UCLA, 1975-78
Mike Singletary, Baylor, 1977-80

*Lee Roy Jordan, Alabama, 1960-62
Chuck Bednarik, Penn, 1945-48
Chris Spielman, Ohio St., 1984-87

*Deion Sanders, Florida St. 1985-88
Rod Woodson, Purdue, 1983-86
Charles Woodson, Michigan, 1995-97

*George Webster, Michigan St., 1964-66
Tommy Casanova, LSU, 1969-71
Ronnie Lott, USC, 1977-80
Bennie Blades, Miami, 1985-87

*Jack Tatum, Ohio St., 1968-70
Ernie Davis, Syracuse, 1959-61
Kenny Easley, UCLA, 1977-80
Terry Kinard, Clemson, 1979-82

*Nile Kinnick, Iowa, 1937-39
Jim Thorpe, Carlisle, 1908, 1911-12
John Lattner, Notre Dame, 1951-53

*Ray Guy, Southern Miss., 1970-72
Reggie Roby, Iowa, 1979-82

*Kevin Butler, Georgia, 1981-84
Jason Elam, Hawaii, 1989-92

George Gipp, Notre Dame, 1917-20

Paul Bryant, Alabama

Red Blaik, Army; Woody Hayes, Ohio St.; Frank Leahy, Notre Dame; Robert Neyland, Tennessee; Joe Paterno, Penn St.; Eddie Robinson, Grambling; Knute Rockne, Notre Dame; Pop Warner, Stanford; Bud Wilkinson, Oklahoma

Issue date: August 16, 1999

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