Big Ten: Chris Spielman
Here you go:
Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year: Ohio State QB Braxton Miller
Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year: Ohio State DE John Simon
Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the Year: Penn State DE Deion Barnes
Hayes-Schembechler Coach of the Year (coaches vote): Bill O’Brien, Penn State
Dave McClain Coach of the Year (media vote): Bill O’Brien, Penn State
We made our thoughts pretty clear on who we liked for these awards in our endorsements earlier today. I endorsed three of the winners, while Adam had two.
The mildly surprising one, of course, is Simon. The Buckeyes senior led the Big Ten in sacks (14) and finished third in tackles for loss (14.5) and was the emotional leader for the Ohio State defense. We certainly had him among our top candidates for the award and would love to have seen what kind of numbers Simon would have put up if he weren't playing through pain much of the year.
We both endorsed Penn State's Michael Mauti and viewed Simon's teammate, linebacker Ryan Shazier, as the other top candidate. But Simon was named the league's defensive lineman of the year on Monday and is very respected by coaches throughout the league. We have no major quarrel with this selection.
Miller held off a charge by Nebraska's Taylor Martinez to win the offensive player of the year award. I find it very amusing that Miller won this honor and was named the quarterback of the year in the league, yet the coaches voted him as a second-team All-Big Ten performer. Whoops.
Barnes was the biggest lock of any of the award choices. O'Brien beat out Ohio State's Urban Meyer, who capped off a 12-0 season but couldn't win the coach of the year award. O'Brien was rewarded as much for what he had to deal with off the field as his tremendous work on it.
Ohio State product Chris Spielman won the Dungy-Thompson Humanitarian Award, while Michigan's Jon Runyan, a U.S. Congressman from New Jersey, won the Ford-Kinnick Leadership Award.
- New Minnesota AD Norwood Teague has to sell hope at the U. Minnesota hit a home run with Teague, Charley Walters writes. Teague's lack of football experience doesn't make him a poor choice, Chip Scoggins writes.
- No surprise here as Montee Ball won't play in Wisconsin's spring game Saturday. Some Badgers notes from coach Bret Bielema's news conference.
- Quarterback Matthew McGloin discusses Penn State's new offense in this Q&A. Paul Jones is very much a part of the team's quarterback competition. Penn State's mostly new coaching staff will be sporting a different look on the sideline.
- Michigan State and Michigan aren't shying away from tough nonconference foes. BTN.com's Tom Dienhart ranks the nonconference slates.
- Ohio State's big April on the recruiting trail continues. A spring game report card for the Buckeyes. Doug Lesmerises had better give Jim Tressel his sweater back after sharing his thoughts on Buckeyes football.
- Iowa's NFL draft prospects on defense have to prove themselves. The Hawkeyes' recruiting roll continues.
- Chris Spielman talks about his very personal new book.
- Alcohol will be served at Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium in special tents through halftime of games.
- Nebraska cornerback Alfonzo Dennard posts bond after being charged with felony assault. Dennard's troubles will test NFL teams' faith in Nebraska, which typically supplies solid defensive backs to the league.
- Some bad news for Michigan tight end and draft prospect Kevin Koger, who will be out 6-8 weeks with a partially torn Achilles. The Wolverines hope to add a coveted linebacker to their recruiting class today.
- Michigan State beat writer Joe Rexrode weighs in on Arkansas' hiring of John L. Smith.
- Some Illinois football notes in John Supinie's latest piece.
- The Orlando Sentinel looks at Indiana heading into the 2012 season.
- Northwestern players get dizzy with it after the spring game.
- An older title shows former Ohio State player Thaddeus Gibson did pay for his car, Jill Riepenhoff and Mike Wagner write in The Columbus Dispatch. Former Buckeyes star Chris Spielman doesn't think Jim Tressel will coach the team this fall, Jim Naveau writes. Ohio State and Miami will kick off under the lights Sept. 17.
- It looks like the Russell Wilson-to-Wisconsin talk is gaining a bit of steam, Jeff Potrykus writes in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- Iowa extends a scholarship offer to a high school freshman, ESPNChicago.com's Scott Powers writes.
- Colleague Jamie Newburg looks at strapping recruit Jarron Jones, who has given a soft verbal commitment to Penn State. Linebacker-U looks at Penn State's potential trouble spots this season.
- A really good piece on Nebraska recruit Bubba Starling and the big decision he faces, Sam McKewon writes in the Omaha World-Herald.
- Michigan AD Dave Brandon discusses former coach Rich Rodriguez, the Ohio State situation and other topics, Mark Snyder writes in the Detroit Free Press. After piling up 10 commits for 2012, Michigan gets a start on its 2013 recruiting class, Angelique Chengelis writes in The Detroit News.
- Michigan State tackle J'Michael Deane lands with the CFL's Calgary Stampeders. In case you missed it from Tuesday, chronic back problems have ended the career of Spartans offensive lineman David Barrent.
- More on coach Pat Fitzgerald's new contract with Northwestern here and here and here.
- A comprehensive breakdown of Indiana and its prospects from SB Nation's Bill Connelly.
- Illinois receiver Ryan Lankford gets a thumb's up for his spring performance from The (Champaign) News-Gazette's Bob Asmussen.
- Four Big Ten players appear on Rivals.com's All-Spring team.
- Indiana is taking its time finding a QB.
- Under new Michigan coach Brady Hoke, assistants feel free to announce some games mean more than others. And is a West Coast offense landing in Ann Arbor?
- More on a night in Aspen that went awry for a couple of Michigan State Spartans.
- Radio changes at Minnesota.
- Nebraska coach Bo Pelini is fueled by doubters. Someone should tell him a medium-rare rib eye is a tastier way to re-load. Pelini is pleased with the first spring practice.
- Good stuff from Chris Spielman on the lawyer who sent e-mails to Ohio State coach Jim Tressel, which cited violations by players. Meanwhile, an editorial in the That State up North News isn't very upbeat on Tressel. But even the local scribes -- and most Buckeyes fans -- see the issues here: There are still lots of questions about how Tressel conducted himself. Mike Lupica provides his take.
- A Paterno believes the state should cut funding to Penn State.
- Does your former favorite Big Ten player make Mike Mayock's top 32 for this spring's NFL draft?
A 5-foot-11, 218-pound middle linebacker? Maybe in the Sun Belt, but never at Ohio State, a program rich in linebacker tradition that can hand pick the players to put in the center of its defense.
This is the team that produced Chris Spielman, Andy Katzenmoyer, James Laurinaitis and other prototype middle linebackers. Why would the Buckeyes settle for less?
"I suppose if you plug him into the computer, Brian Rolle doesn't fit," Buckeyes head coach Jim Tressel said. "But he sure can play football."
Rolle's résumé speaks for itself. After two seasons as a special-teams standout, Rolle stepped into a starting role in 2009 and recorded 94 tackles, seven for loss, with an interception, a fumble recovery and a rare defensive PAT after picking off a pass on a two-point conversion attempt and racing 98 yards to the end zone.
He opened his senior season with a bang Thursday night, recording his first career pick-six, a 30-yard interception return to the end zone in a 45-7 rout of Marshall.
Rolle might lack ideal middle-linebacker size, but he has all the other tools to excel at the position.
Let's start with his voice, which can be heard just about any time on the practice field or during a game.
"Most people think I'm talkative, but it's just if I have something to say to somebody, I'll say it," said Rolle, one of six co-captains for the Buckeyes this fall. "I’m the quarterback of the defense, so I feel like I'm obligated to make all the calls and tell guys where they need to be and where they line up.
'There's more weight on my shoulders to do things right, and as a senior, I know I'm going to have guys looking up to me even more."
Rolle's loquacious personality stands in stark contrast to the man flanking him on most plays. Ohio State standout outside linebacker Ross Homan is more of a silent assassin, and Rolle jokes that those who don't know Homan well "would think he was a mute or something."
Added Rolle: "The only thing I really hear him say during the game is, 'B-Rolle, what's the call?'"
Despite their differences, Rolle and Homan mesh well together. Both were preseason All-Big Ten selections by most media outlets.
And after playing behind Laurinaitis and Marcus Freeman for several years, Rolle and Homan have a vision for their own legacy.
"We saw how great James and Marcus worked together," Rolle said. "I was thinking, me and Ross, if we continue to do what we're doing and we go in with our heads on right and lead like seniors are supposed to, in the years to come, the coaches will be able to talk to the young guys about how great we were our senior year in leading this team hopefully to a national championship."
The next step toward that goal arrives Saturday, as No. 2 Ohio State hosts No. 12 Miami (ESPN, 3:40 p.m. ET).
For Rolle, this one's "personal."
He grew up in Immokalee, Fla., a football hotbed in South Florida. His cousin Antrel Rolle was an All-American cornerback for Miami who played in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State.
Needless to say, Brian Rolle was all about the U.
"Growing up, that was the only thing that mattered in college football," he said. "Being from South Florida, you either were a Gator fan or a Cane fan, and I was a Cane fan. Miami was my first love."
As Rolle moved up through the high school ranks, he pictured himself wearing a Miami jersey.
"There was no doubt in my mind," he said. "My sophomore to senior year, I just knew I was going to play at Miami. But I didn't get that offer I wanted."
Miami went through a coaching transition during Rolle's senior year. Despite numerous overtures to the program, Rolle never got a chance to be a Cane.
"I took a lot of unofficial visits there, went up to a bunch of games, talked to a bunch of coaches," he said. "In the end, I was sad about it, but now I'm at Ohio State, it's my senior season, and I feel blessed to be here now."
The Buckeyes feel blessed to have Rolle directing their defense -- all 5-11, 218 pounds of him.
"Brian is unique," Tressel said. "He's probably not as big as some of the guys we've had, but he's got tremendous instincts and fabulous leadership skills. He's an excellent tackler, he plays the pass very well, loves the game, loves to prepare for the game.
"Glad he's on our side."
- Penn State football player Curtis Drake has been cited for fighting with Nittany Lions basketball recruit Taran Buie outside McDonald's, the Centre Daily Times reports.
- Dr. Lou thinks Notre Dame should finally join a conference, but the Fighting Irish likely won't follow his advice, Angelique Chengelis writes in The Detroit News.
- Penn State defensive end Jack Crawford has followed a similar path to that of former Lions star Tamba Hali, Jared Shanker writes in The (Harrisburg) Patriot-News. The Philadelphia Daily News' Phil Jasner reports that Temple has discussed facing Penn State at a neutral site, although the momentum seems to have slowed a bit.
- Former Ohio State star Chris Spielman reflects on football and the challenges in his life as he prepares to be enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame, Tim May writes in The Columbus Dispatch.
- Former Illinois defensive tackle Josh Brent gets another chance in football as the Cowboys select him in the NFL supplemental draft, Marcus Jackson writes in The (Champaign) News-Gazette.
- Bill Lynch and Indiana have benefited greatly from offering scholarships early in recruiting, but he doesn't strongly oppose an NCAA proposal that would ban super-early offers, Dustin Dopirak writes in The (Bloomington) Herald-Times (subscription required).
- Former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr and new Michigan AD Dave Brandon are heading into the Gridiron Greats Hall of Fame, Mark Snyder writes in the Detroit Free Press.
- A quick preview of Michigan State in 2010 from The Sporting News' Michael Bradley.
- Minnesota linebacker Gary Tinsley appeared in court Thursday to face two counts stemming from his moped incident in April, Vince Tuss writes in the Star Tribune.
- What's the top game of the Kirk Ferentz era at Iowa? The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette's Mike Hlas picks Iowa-Penn State in 2008, while the paper's readers go with the dramatic 2005 Capital One Bowl win against LSU.
- The Chicago Tribune's Teddy Greenstein profiles the Big Ten's Silver Football finalists here and here and here. Three great reads.
- Michigan State police have wrapped up its investigation of a Nov. 22 fight at a residence hall and turned things over to local prosecutors, Ben Schmitt and Shawn Windsor write in the Detroit Free Press.
- Penn State's next Hall of Fame player might be the program's most gifted running back, Bob Flounders writes in The (Harrisburg) Patriot-News. Despite playing just once before, Penn State and LSU share a lot in common, Ron Musselman writes in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- Chris Spielman's Hall of Fame induction will be bittersweet, Ken Gordon writes in The Columbus Dispatch.
- Minnesota is losing recruits, and Tim Brewster's contract status could play a role, Kent Youngblood writes in the Star Tribune.
- The FedEx Orange Bowl has an orange crush on Iowa, Ryan Suchomel writes in the Iowa City Press-Citizen.
- People are jumping ship at Illinois after another lousy season, Loren Tate writes in The (Champaign) News-Gazette.
- Chris Maragos and his Wisconsin teammates hope to make a statement in the Champs Sports Bowl, Jeff Potrykus writes in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
JW from Novi, Mich., writes: Can any of the sports writers tell us, with a straight face, how Jim Tressel, does not get selected as Big Ten Coach of the Year? EPSN blog predicts Wiscy or Iowa (again). In 9 years at The Ohio State University, has now won 6 Big Ten titles, 2 (or 3, depending on when you answer this) outright. We always here that he has "the talent" that other "more deserving" coaches do not have, but 1) you need to recruit that talent and 2) the cupboard was pretty bare in 2001, so he had to build it. I guess he'll have to wait for the Big Ten Lifetime Achievement Award.
Adam Rittenberg: It's still amazing that Tressel has never won one of these, and he definitely deserves to be considered this year. Ohio State really turned things around after the Purdue loss. But in terms of adversity, Iowa faced more than the Buckeyes. The Hawkeyes were hit really hard with injuries, particularly at running back, and overcame temporary losses of starting left tackle Bryan Bulaga and tight end Tony Moeaki. Kirk Ferentz should be the Big Ten Coach of the Year, but Tressel is right up there as well.
Drew from New York writes: Adam - love the new vlog segment. Cuts down on time spent viewing your blog instead of doing my job. One thing though. Maybe time for a haircut there, buddy?? I think you should go with the John Clay/O.B. style mohawk. Certainly workin' out well for those guys this season, huh?
Adam Rittenberg: You people spend way too much time thinking about my hair or my out-of-date TV! But hey, if you can sell my wife on the Mohawk idea, maybe I'll do it. But I can tell you this: I won't look nearly as cool as Clay, O.B. or my personal favorite, Illinois State basketball star Osiris Eldridge, who sports the O-hawk.
- Ohio State has won the Big Ten title, but the Buckeyes boast few legit all-conference candidates, Doug Lesmerises writes in The Cleveland Plain Dealer. Justin Boren's transfer from Michigan to Ohio State still surprises his new teammates, Lesmerises writes.
- Rich Rodriguez doesn't think his job is in jeopardy, and Michigan fans wanting him out should be careful what they wish for, Mitch Albom writes in the Detroit Free Press. Things are messy in Ann Arbor right now, Joe Lapointe writes in The New York Times.
- Iowa linebacker Pat Angerer is one of a kind.
- Penn State players have some funny descriptions of the Land Grant Trophy, Bob Flounders writes in The (Harrisburg) Patriot-News. A lot of folks disagree, but the Centre Daily Times' Jeff Rice thinks Penn State met expectations this fall.
- Wisconsin tackle Josh Oglesby will undergo knee surgery soon and be out until the bowl game, Jeff Potrykus writes in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- ESPN's Lee Corso will be on hand in Bloomington as Indiana honors its 1979 team, Jeff Rabjohns writes in The Indianapolis Star.
- Very sad news from Columbus as the wife of former Ohio State star Chris Spielman has died of breast cancer.
- Tim Brewster has upgraded Minnesota's recruiting, but not enough of those players have become stars on the college level, Kent Youngblood writes in the Star Tribune.
- The Big Ten Network's Dave Revsine goes inside the numbers for Week 12.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
- In case you missed it, Penn State head coach Joe Paterno wants the Big Ten to add a 12th team, ESPN.com's Ivan Maisel writes.
- Justin Boren brings a different look and a different attitude to Ohio State's offensive line, Doug Lesmerises writes in The Cleveland Plain Dealer.
- Thursday marked an emotional day for new College Football Hall of Famers Chris Spielman of Ohio State, Curt Warner of Penn State and Larry Station of Iowa.
- Some recruiting news as both Penn State and Michigan pick up wide receivers for the 2010 class.
- Former Northwestern quarterback C.J. Bacher hopes to catch on with the Chicago Bears, Vaughn McClure writes in the Chicago Tribune.
- Michigan has options at quarterback this fall, and more than one player likely will be in the plans, Angelique Chengelis writes in The Detroit News.
"I got a real good chance [to play this fall]," Denard Robinson said. "It's my gut feeling and the coaches have been telling me I have a chance to start."
- Indiana quarterback Ben Chappell has gone from the best option to the only option, David Robb writes in the Gary Post-Tribune.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Ohio State linebacker Chris Spielman, Iowa linebacker Larry Station, and Penn State running back Curt Warner are members of the 2009 College Football Hall of Fame class, which was announced today in New York. The Big Ten had 16 players on the ballot this year, as well as two coaches who spent part of their careers in the league.
Here are the bios for the three inductees from the Big Ten:
- Chris Spielman, Ohio State, linebacker (1984-87) -- Two-time first team All-America selection (1986-87) who was unanimous in 1987 and consensus in 1986. The recipient of the 1987 Lombardi Award, he was a three-time first team all-conference selection and a member of two Big Ten title teams.
- Larry Station, Iowa, linebacker (1982-85) -- Two-time first team All-America selection (1984-85) who was unanimous in 1985, consensus in 1984. A three-time first team all-conference selection, he was named team captain and MVP in 1985. Iowa's all-time leader in tackles with 492, Station topped the team's tackles chart in all four seasons and recorded 10 or more tackles 23 times.
- Curt Warner, Penn State, running back (1979-82) -- Named first team All-America in 1981 and led Penn State to 1982 national championship. Most outstanding offensive player in 1980 and 1982 Fiesta Bowls. Finished career with 11 season, 10 career, 14 bowl and 42 school records.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
The National Football Foundation announced its 2009 ballot for the College Football Hall of Fame Tuesday, and the list includes 16 players from the Big Ten and two coaches who spent time in the league.
Former Michigan wide receiver Desmond Howard, the 1991 Heisman Trophy winner, leads the Big Ten contingent on the ballot, which includes 76 players and six coaches.
Ohio State, Michigan and Purdue each have three players on the list, while both Penn State and Michigan State have two players. Wisconsin, Iowa and Indiana each have one candidate.
Here's the list of Big Ten players eligible for induction, along with some information on each candidate provided by the NFF:
Otis Armstrong, Purdue, running back (1970-72) -- Named consensus All-America in 1972 after accumulating 3,315 career rushing yards, a school and Big Ten record. Named Big Ten MVP in 1972.
Dave Butz, Purdue, defensive tackle (1970-72) -- Consensus first team All-America. Finalist for the Lombardi Award in 1972 and named first team All-Conference. Named Defensive MVP of the Senior Bowl.
D.J. Dozier, Penn State, running back (1983-86) -- Named 1986 consensus first team All-America and led Penn State to perfect 12-0 season and national championship (1986). Finished eighth in 1986 Heisman voting. First Penn State running back to lead the team in rushing for four consecutive seasons.
Dave Foley, Ohio State, offensive tackle (1966-68) -- Named consensus first team All-America in 1968. Led Buckeyes to the 1968 national championship and an undefeated season. National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete in 1968.
Kirk Gibson, Michigan State, wide receiver (1975-78) -- Named first team All-America, led Big Ten in receiving in league play and helped the Spartans to a Big Ten co-championship and a No. 12 national ranking in 1978. Played Major League Baseball for 17 seasons and won National League MVP honors in 1988.
Curtis Greer, Michigan, defensive tackle (1976-79) -- First team All-America selection. Set school record for tackles for loss in a season (23) and career (48). Two-time first team All-Big Ten selection (1978-79). Led Wolverines to three conference championships and four bowls.
Mark Herrman, Purdue, quarterback (1977-80) -- Named unanimous first team All-America, Big Ten MVP and finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1980. A first team All-Conference selection, he broke NCAA career records for passing yards (9,188) and completions (707).
Desmond Howard, Michigan, wide receiver (1989-91) -- Consensus first team All-America and Heisman Trophy winner in 1991. Led Wolverines to three Big Ten titles and two Rose Bowls. Led the nation in scoring (11.5 points per game) and kickoff returns (27.5 avg.) in 1991.
Tim Krumrie, Wisconsin, defensive line (1979-83) -- Named a consensus first team All-America in 1981. Led Badgers to 1981 Garden State Bowl and earned Defensive MVP honors in 1982 Independence Bowl. Three-time first team All-Conference selection, recording 444 career tackles.
Robert Lytle, Michigan, running back (1974-76) -- Named consensus first team All-America in 1976. Finished third in the 1976 Heisman Trophy voting. Named Big Ten MVP in 1976 and led Michigan to two conference championships.
Tom Nowatzke, Indiana, fullback (1961-64) -- Named first team All-America in 1964. A two-time All-Conference selection (1963-64), he led the Big Ten in rushing in 1963. Played in the East/West Shrine Game, Senior Bowl and Coaches All-American Game.
Jim Otis, Ohio State, fullback (1967-69) -- Named consensus first team All-America in 1969. Member of the 1968 national championship team. Named First Team All-Big Ten in 1969 and led the Buckeyes to two conference titles. Led the team in rushing three times.
Percy Snow, Michigan State, linebacker (1986-89) -- Unanimous First Team All-America in 1989 and Butkus Award winner. Led MSU to 1987 Big Ten title and Rose Bowl win. Ranks second all-time in career tackles (473).
Chris Spielman, Ohio State, linebacker (1984-87) -- Two-time first team All-America selection (1986-87) -- unanimous in 1987, consensus in 1986. The recipient of the 1987 Lombardi Award, he is a three-time first team all-conference selection and a member of two Big Ten title teams.
Larry Station, Iowa, linebacker (1982-85) -- Two-time first team All-America selection (1984-85) -- unanimous in 1985, consensus in 1984. A three-time first team all-conference selection, he was named team captain and MVP in 1985. Iowa's all-time leader in tackles with 492.
Curt Warner, Penn State, running back (1979-82) -- Named first team All-America in 1981 and led Penn State to 1982 national championship. Most outstanding offensive player in 1980 and 1982 Fiesta Bowls. Finished career with 11 season, 10 career, 14 bowl and 42 school records.
Howard and Dave Foley are on the ballot for the first time.
Two coaches with Big Ten ties also are on the ballot. Darryl Rogers coached Michigan State from 1976-79, going 24-18. William "Lone Star" Dietz coached Purdue in 1921, going 1-6.
The 2009 class will be announced on April 30 and inducted at the National Football Foundation's annual awards dinner on Dec. 8 in New York.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Excellent response so far on the Big Ten Rushmores. It's a fun project, and one that really reveals the figures who mean most to fans. Keep 'em coming.
I haven't been ripped for an entire list yet, but as expected, you guys have taken issue with a few of my picks. The biggest miss appears to be linebacker LaVar Arrington for Penn State, with linebacker Chris Spielman of Ohio State a close second.
Keep in mind that Rushmore includes only four faces, so if a guard or a kicker is to be included, they better be pretty freaking good.
Though some of the suggestions for Arrington's replacement are laughable, several users bring up good points. Despite his insane talent and highlight-reel plays, Arrington doesn't appear to be beloved by Penn State fans, in part because of the way the 1999 team struggled down the stretch.
I still think Arrington's sheer talent makes him a good candidate, but I probably should have gone with a guy like Shane Conlan. It would mean that Penn State's Rushmore wouldn't feature any players from the last two decades, illustrating how the program has fallen off its perch from the early and mid 1980s.
Here's a sampling of e-mails I've received on Penn State's Rushmore.
Neel from Hoboken, N.J., writes: Adam, Totally agree with you regarding your first three choices for Penn State's Mt. Rushmore. But I'm having trouble with Arrignton being on there. Don't get me wrong, he was an absolute beast. I'd go with Pete Giftopoulos instead though. He had arguably the most memorable moment in PSU football history with that Vinny Testerverde interception that sealed a Fiesta Bowl victory and a Penn State national championship.
Adam Rittenberg: That was a great play, Neel, but Giftopoulos is a few slots down from being considered for Rushmore. He doesn't even have his own Wikipedia entry!
Paul from Johnstown, Pa., writes: I understand the tough choices for PSU's Mt. Rushmore, but for you to say that you didn't even have Shane Conlan on your short-list is hard to forgive. We are talking about a guy that made the BIGGEST plays on the BIGGEST stages. The nastiest of the nasty LB's ever at LBU. Not only that, how cool would that mountain side look with a guy missing a front tooth? Also, how can you not have Franco (I don't even need to put a last name there) on the short list?? And Mike Munchak and/or Steve Wisniewski are just as deserving as Lavar/Cappy/Ham. I love Lavar...he was truly special, but sorry, there are about 8 or 10 others that are more worthy. Guys that helped to build the PSU lore, not just their own highlight reel.
Adam Rittenberg: I'll give you Conlan for sure, but Franco Harris made his legacy in the NFL, not Penn State. He's got no business being on Penn State's Rushmore.
Alan from Parts Unknown writes: Adam, Not an angry email. Just don't understand how Lavar could be on the Mt Rushmore at PSU. Puz stood for so much more than Lavar. Remember, Lavar's team (99) quit. It didn't come back till Puz brought it back along with MRob. I still wouldn't vote for Puz. Wally Triplett is the reason for "We Are Penn State. http://www.gopsf.com/video/watch/118/Wally%20Triplett. The first African American to play in the Cotton Bowl. The first African American to be drafted and play in the NFL and the first NFL player to be drafted to serve in the Korean War. If you are creating a Mt. Rushmore for Penn State, you need to understand, for us, it's more than football.
Adam Rittenberg: Good call on Triplett. Paul Posluszny won a ton of awards, but much like Ohio State's James Laurinaitis, I wouldn't call him one of the top two or three defensive players in team history. There are other guys more deserving.
Onto Ohio State's Rushmore and Spielman:
There were few complaints about my other three choices -- Woody Hayes, Archie Griffin and Chic Harley -- but the general sentiment seemed to be that current head coach Jim Tressel deserved the fourth spot. I can certainly see the argument there. Tressel has flat out dominated the Big Ten and archrival Michigan. He has won a national title and led teams to two more championship games.
It still doesn't seem right not to have a home-grown defensive player on Ohio State's Rushmore. Maybe I should have combined them all into a dude named Katzenhawk Spielmanaitis. Actually, that sounds more like a disease.
Other Buckeyes fans have pointed out that more Heisman winners -- Eddie George, Howard Cassady, Vic Janowicz -- should be on the school's Rushmore.
Bax from Atlanta writes: Adam, While Chris Spielman is universally beloved among Buckeye fans, the Rushmore is very clear for 99% of the fans: Woody, Archie, Chic, and Tressel. This has been discussed before on various OSU sites and those four are always the choices.
Adam Rittenberg: And here I thought the Rushmore idea was an ESPN original. Perhaps I should have swapped Spielman for Tressel. Can a sweater vest be carved into a mountain?
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Much like Penn State, Ohio State's storied history makes it tough to identify only four faces of the program. The Buckeyes have produced eight three-time All-Americans, most recently linebacker James Laurinaitis. They boast six Heisman Trophy winners (seven trophies) and four Maxwell Award winners.
There are a few slam-dunk selections, but some tough calls as well. Here's my list for Ohio State's Rushmore.
- Woody Hayes -- The coaching icon will always be the face of Ohio State football. He won five national championships and 13 Big Ten titles in 28 years on the sidelines at Ohio State. The fiery Hayes went 205-61-10 as Buckeyes coach and led the team to four Rose Bowls.
- Archie Griffin -- He remains college football's only two-time Heisman Trophy winner and one of the game's all-time greats. The College Football Hall of Famer had 5,589 career rushing yards and 26 touchdowns at Ohio State. In his four years the Buckeyes went 40-5-1.
- Chris Spielman -- There's certainly some debate about Ohio State's greatest defensive player, but Spielman certainly is at or near the top of the list. Plus, there are few figures more revered in the state of Ohio than Spielman, a two-time All-America selection who won the Lombardi Award in 1987. Spielman embodies Ohio State football and holds the school record for solo tackles (283).
- Chic Harley -- Yes, Ohio State football did exist before Hayes arrived, and Harley symbolized the program's dominance during the 1910s. A halfback and a safety, Harley led Ohio State to its first Big Ten championship in 1916 and another title in 1917. Harley earned All-America honors in all three seasons he played and helped Ohio State to a 21-1-1 record, with his lone loss coming in his final game.
BIG TEN SCOREBOARD
Final Iowa 24 Pittsburgh 20 Final Eastern Michigan 14 11 Michigan State 73 Final Western Illinois 7 Northwestern 24 Final Southern Illinois 13 Purdue 35 Final Bowling Green 17 19 Wisconsin 68 Final Maryland 34 Syracuse 20 Final Utah 26 Michigan 10 Final Rutgers 31 Navy 24 Final Massachusetts 7 Penn State 48 Final San Jose State 7 Minnesota 24 Final Texas State 35 Illinois 42 Final Indiana 31 18 Missouri 27 Final Miami (FL) 31 24 Nebraska 41