- Brian Bennett, ESPN Staff Writer
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When looking at the four newest College Football Hall of Fame inductees from Big Ten schools, one simple question comes to mind: what took so long?
Sure, voters have scores of players and coaches from all different schools and levels to consider each year, and this year's ballot alone included 77 nominees. Still, each of the four Big Ten players who will be enshrined look like absolute no-brainers. They are:
Tommie Frazier, Nebraska QB
Ron Dayne, Wisconsin RB
Orlando Pace, Ohio State OT
Percy Snow, Michigan State LB
Frazier, who guided Nebraska to back-to-back national titles in 1994 and 1995, was a long-overdue selection. He was included on some all-century teams shortly after his career ended, and while some of that was due to immediacy, he still had the credentials to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Dayne was merely a Heisman Trophy winner who is the all-time leading rusher in FBS history. An inner-circle guy. Same goes for Pace, an absolutely dominant left tackle who was the first back-to-back Lombardi Award winner. And then there's Snow, who was a force of nature at linebacker for Michigan State, winning the Lombardi and Butkus awards in the same year while racking up a ridiculous 473 career tackles.
An argument some people make for whether certain players belong in the baseball hall of fame could be called the senses test. Did a guy look like and feel like a Hall of Famer while he was playing? I don't think that should ever be the sole basis, or even necessarily the No. 1 factor, for a vote such as this. Still, anyone who saw these four guys play couldn't have had any doubts that they were watching Hall of Fame-worthy performers.
The Big Ten had one-third of the 12 players elected to this year's class (two coaches were selected as well). There are still several players who deserve Hall recognition and who were on this year's ballot. For guys like Indiana's Antwaan Randle-El and Nebraska's Eric Crouch, perhaps their time will come next year.
But for the four newest Hall of Famers from Big Ten schools, at least we're no longer asking what took so long.
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3dSharon Katz, ESPN Stats & Information
4dMitch Sherman and Dan Murphy