At at halftime of the college football national championship game Monday night, ESPN announced the top 11 players of its countdown of the top 150 players from the sport’s first 150 years.
Six Pitt players and four from Penn State made the list.
Hugh Green, a defensive end at Pitt from 1977-1980, was the highest-ranked local player in 12th place.
Other Pitt players on the list include Tony Dorsett (17th), Larry Fitzgerald (46th), Dan Marino (67th), Mike Ditka (78th), and Bill Fralic (92nd).
Penn State’s quartet includes Jack Ham (69th), John Cappelletti (98th), Lavar Arrington (102nd), and Mike Reid (145th).
Syracuse legend Jim Brown is ranked first all-time.
West Virginia did not have any players on the list, which can be found at https://www.espn.com/college-football/college-football-150/.
Who came up with this list?
While it is great to see a total of 10 players between Pitt and Penn State, the list truly leaves a lot to be desired. Since the list began trickling out last week, there are dozens of honorees who have been questioned.
There are many who are ranked too high, but others like Fitzgerald (46th) who should be higher.
And what about Tim Tebow at 76?
At the collegiate level, perhaps no quarterback was more successful, and several national experts have said he should have been voted first.
One local omission is Penn State’s Saquon Barkley.
Many of the writers on this list referred to him as a generational talent during his storied career, but he isn’t one of the 150 best players of all-time? What criteria did the voters use?
If they went by stats, some of the players should not be on the list.
Also, there are several players who are ranked way too high based off average college careers, but stellar careers in the NFL. John Elway (33rd) and his 20-23 record at Stanford stands out.
So who voted on the list?
A panel of 150 “experts” were on the panel and their names can be found at https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/27582331/espn-cfb150-blue-ribbon-panel-150-voters with the link also included in the main story.
There were six categories represented with 17 voters coming from retired writers/retired sports information directors/retired broadcasters, 49 active writers, 20 current sports information directors/university websites/administrators, 31 ESPN personalities, 11 from other networks and 22 former coaches/players.
Possibly the most scrutinized part of the list was the lack of 21st century players.
For this information, I used the last year of a player’s collegiate career. So, if a player played from 1997-2000, I counted him as a member of the decade of the 2000s.
Only 19 players are from this century with 13 from the 2000s and six from the 2010s.
The most populated decade was the 1980s with 29 players, followed by the 1970s with 25, the 1960s with 22 and the 1990s with 20.
When breaking down these numbers, I see middle-aged people voting for players they watched as kids or those whose legacies were built up before they were old enough to know the players.
How can someone from the 1930s, for example, be compared to someone from the 1990s or today? Athletes are much bigger, faster and stronger today than they were in previous generations.
If nothing else, ESPN should have broken down the list by decade and given each decade a top-20.
Regardless of the shortcomings of the rankings, it is a fun topic to have. Feel free to email your thoughts.
Crazy Stats of the Week
With LSU winning the college football championship Monday night against Clemson, it capped off two impressive stats.
First, LSU became the first team in history to defeat the first-, second-, third- and fourth-ranked teams in the preseason Associated Press poll.
LSU also defeated seven teams this season when they were ranked in the top 10 at the time of the game.
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