Big Ten: Vic Janowicz
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.