2013 College Football Hall Of Fame Snubs

Posted May 7, 2013

The legends who should've been in the 2013 class, but aren't.

2013 Hall of Fame Class

The Ones Who Should've Been In

2013 Hall of Fame Ballot Rankings
- Slam Dunk Hall of Famers | The  Nine Coaches 
- Hall of Worthy, But Not Quite | Hall of Maybe | Hall of the Very Good

- 2013 College Football Hall of Fame Class

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By Pete Fiutak

The College Football Hall of Fame is sort of a strange bird.

It's not like the other halls of fame, which are usually cut and dry when it comes to the selection process. The debates around the voting for the baseball and pro football halls are usually about whether or not a very, very good player should be in or not, but some selections are no-brainers with no questions asked.

Peyton Manning and Greg Maddux are going to be in their respective halls of fame, but it's not so obvious for some of the greatest players in the history of college football. Instead, very good players and coaches from eras gone by tend to pop up and get on the ballot, and sometimes, all-timer, slam-dunk legends don't get in.

I get a vote, and to me it seems relatively easy. In my world, if you win a Heisman Trophy it should be enough for an automatic in. If you were one of the most accomplished players at your position during your era, you should be in. If you did things no one in the history of the sport was able to do, you're in. But it doesn't seem to work like that, and the 2013 class proves that. 

Former Baylor quarterback Don Trull seems like a fine gentleman, but is he reallty a Hall of Famer over Rocket Ismail, Brian Bosworth and Eric Dickerson?

Getting into the historical side of college football is always tricky since the sport dates back to the 1800s and has changed so drastically and in so many ways.

There's the race issue, with African-Americans not playing a role in some areas of the country until the 1970s. There's the style issue, with the forward pass not becoming a big deal at some places until the last 20 years or so and with the invention of the spread changing the statistical nature of the game. And over the last few decades the NFL is playing a role. Deion Sanders would've been long gone to the pros if he was eligible as an early entry, but back in the late 1980s he had to play his senior year at Florida State, won the Thorpe Award, and went from being an all-time great to an unquestioned legend.

Not only do voters have to take into account all the different eras and all the different aspects of the game's evolution, but there's also the criteria to deal with.

According to the National Football Foundation, to shorten and sum up the criteria:

1. A player has to have been a First Team All-American on a list recognized by the NCAA. No Joe Montana.
2. He's eligible ten years after his final year of playing.
3. Post-career citizenship is factored into the voting, and an extra boost is given to those who earned a degree. Lawrence Taylor: Not in. O.J. Simpson: Still in.
4. Players must have played within the last 50 years. So to be eligible for the 2013 class, the player had to have finished his career by 1963.
5. A coach is eligible three years after retiring or if he's older than 70, and active coaches are eligible after age 75. He had to be a head coach for at least ten years and had to have coaches at least 100 games with a .600 minimum winning percentage.

No big deal, right?

Okay, so explain why the ten players listed below weren't in the 2013 College Football Hall of Fame Class. I'll argue why they should've been in.

The Top Players Who Should've Been Included in the 2013 Class

10. Jim Otis, FB Ohio State (1967-1969)

A consensus First Team All-American in 1969, he was even better a year after leading the team in rushing on the way to the 1968 national title. On the Ohio State All-Century Team, he led the team in rushing all three years for a team that liked to throw the ball as much as it liked wearing Maize and Blue. After starting the 1967 season 2-3, the Buckeyes won 24 straight games with Otis being the main man earning team MVP honors in 1969. The juggernaut of a 1969 squad was better in the regular season than the 1968 team, but the great run ended with the classic 24-12 loss to Michigan.

9. Tony Boselli, OT USC (1991-1994)   

One of the prototype offensive tackles of the 1990s, Boselli was a two-time First Team All-America in 1992 and 1994, and he even fit in the academic mold earning 1994 NFF National Scholar-Athlete honors. While he might not have been the star lineman of his era with Jonathan Ogden and Orlando Pace setting the tone in college as well as the pros, he deserves to be considered among the elite of the elite as a dominant force for the Trojans.

8. Tony Franklin, PK Texas A&M (1976-1978)

It's this simple; Tony Franklin might be the greatest kicker in the history of college football. A three-time All-American, he belongs in the Hall simply for doing things no player has ever done. The barefoot star had a cannon for a leg, setting the NCAA record for the most field goals made from 50 yards or more, nailing 15, and set the record for the most career points scored by a kicker with 291. In a strange twist to his underappreciated career, he set the record for the longest field goal with a 65-yarder against Baylor, and later connected from 64 yards out to become the only player to ever hit two 60-yarders in one game, but Abilene Christian's Ove Johansson blasted a 69-yarder on the same day to quickly take over the record for the longest boot.

7. Lorenzo White, RB Michigan State (1984-1987)

The greatest running back in Michigan State history, leading the team in rushing for four straight years, he was also one of the greatest backs of the 1980s. An All-American in 1985 and 1987, he finished his career with 4,887 yards, 43 touchdowns, and 23 100-yard games as the ultimate workhorse. Considering bowl stats didn't count in the record books back then, he was a 5,000-yard back helped by his 113-yard, two score game to lead the Spartans to its only Rose Bowl win since 1955. Most impressively, when MSU needed a win to take the 1987 Big Ten title and get to Pasadena, he carried the mail 56 times for 292 yards to beat Indiana. 

6. Tom Cousineau, Ohio State (1975-1978)

One of the greatest linebackers in the history of a program that's loaded with great linebackers, Cousineau held the school record with a whopping 211 tackles in 1978 and came up with 569 career stops. A two-time First Team All-American and a three-time All-Big Ten performer, he was a peerless hitter and a huge name and star for some fantastic Buckeye teams that went to the Rose Bowl in 1975, the Orange to end the 1976 season and the Sugar in 1977.

5. Raghib (Rocket) Ismail, WR/KR Notre Dame (1988-1990)

Arguably the most electrifying players in college football history, or at least in the team photo, he holds the distinction for coming up with the greatest play of all-time that didn't happen.

Looking to seal up the national title in the 1991 Orange Bowl, Colorado was looking to ice the game late, but the Irish D held tough sacking QB Charles Johnson twice to knock the Buffs back to their own 47-yard line with 43 seconds to play. Waiting to return the kick was Ismail. Colorado had to kick the ball out of bounds didn't they? Nope. Tom Rouen kicked it high in the air to the Rocket at the nine. He somehow navigated his way through traffic and busted loose up the right side going 91-yards for a touchdown and ruining Colorado's dream season - except for the flag bringing it back on a phantom clipping call.

He was a good receiver, catching 72 passes for 1,565 yards and four scores, averaging 21.7 yards per grab, while running for 1,015 yards and averaging 27.6 yards per kickoff return with five scores and 13.4 yards per punt return with a score. 

4. Mike Ruth, NG Boston College (1982-1985)

One of the key components to getting into the College Football Hall of Fame is character. Ruth almost became a priest and was known for his impeccable commitment to his values. He hit hard times since then, but there's no denying his greatness on the field or his uniqueness at the time. Despite dealing with a slew of injuries throughout his career, he was the most dominant defensive tackle of the 1980s with a 1985 Outland, 29 career sacks, and 344 tackles while working on the nose. Quick as a flash and unbelievably strong – as legend has it, benching 560 pounds – he was always active, always producing, and always unstoppable.

3. Derrick Thomas, LB Alabama (1985-1988)

Normally it works the other way. Too often a mediocre college player gets retroactive credit for a great career after becoming a dominant pro – Johnny Unitas is front and center on that list. In the case of Derrick Thomas, not only was he a Hall of Fame pro player, but he was among the greatest pass rushers college football has ever seen. The 1988 Butkus Award winner was the defense star on four straight bowl teams destroying everything in his path, setting the NCAA single-season record with 27 sacks while finishing his career with a whopping 74 tackles for loss.

2. Eric Dickerson, RB SMU (1979-1982)

Okay, so there was that whole SMU Death Penalty thing, and there was the slimy, slick recruiting issue that got him to the school in the first place - which he won't talk about in any way - but on the field he was as electrifying and as special as any back to ever carry the ball. Despite splitting carries with Craig James in the Pony Express, he still broke Earl Campbell's record for career rushing yards by a Southwest Conference runner with 4,450, to go along with 48 touchdowns while averaging a whopping 5.6 yards per carry. A unanimous First Team All-American in 1982, he finished third in the Heisman voting while closing out his career with a second SWC Player of the Year honor. 

1. Brian Bosworth, LB Oklahoma (1984-1986)

Bosworth is an interesting case because of his admitted steroid use, but if he's left out because of that, then the history of the era has to be rewritten – and that might not be a bad thing. On the field, The Boz was brash, arrogant, annoying and a total and complete bust as a professional football player. He taunted opponents, fans, and the NCAA with his headbands, hairstyles and colorful comments.

And along the way he might have been the greatest inside linebacker of all-time.

Behind all the gimmicks and all the self-promotion was a peerless tackler making 395 tackles in three years including a school record 22 in the 1986 classic loss to Miami. The model of consistency he made 128 tackles in 1984, 131 in 1985, and 136 in 1986 earning consensus All-America honors in 1985 and 1986 and becoming the first ever two-time Butkus Award Winner. 
2013 Hall of Fame Ballot Rankings
- Slam Dunk Hall of Famers | The  Nine Coaches 
- Hall of Worthy, But Not Quite | Hall of Maybe | Hall of the Very Good

- 2012 College Football Hall of Fame Class