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CFN Tuesday Question - All-Time Offense
Posted Aug 29, 2006

CFN's Tuesday Question - All-Time Greatest Offensive Team

- 10 Greatest Quarterbacks of All-Time | 10 Greatest Defensive Players of All-Time
- 10 Greatest Regular Season Games of All-Time | 10 Greatest Playmakers of All-Time
- 10 Worst Heisman Winners | All-Time Defensive Team

Pete Fiutak     
Q: The All-Time Offensive Team ...

A: I chose this team the same way I'd pick an All-America team: merit. A list of the most talented offensive players ever would have John Elway, Bo Jackson and Jerry Rice. No, my team is made up of the players who did the most at the highest levels. I'm not trying to fill a position; I'm going off what actually happened.

Quarterback - Tommie Frazier, Nebraska
Two national titles and almost a third earns him the spot.
He might not have been the prettiest passer and other Nebraska quarterbacks ran for more touchdowns and more yards, but Frazier won and won and won.
Runner-ups (in alphabetical order): Sammy Baugh, TCU; Matt Leinart, USC; Vince Young, Texas

Running Backs - Red Grange, Illinois and Herschel Walker, Georgia
Ron Dayne just barely misses the cut (he is the all-time leader in the game's glamour position), but there's no arguing with Grange and Walker. Walker would currently be the all-time leading rusher if he had stayed his senior year (and if his bowl stats counted in the mix) and Grange was a transcendent player who carried the Illini from 1923 to 1925.
Grange's achievements were remarkable averaging 5.3 yards per carry running for 2,071 yards, catching 14 passes for 253 yards, and scoring a total of 31 touchdowns. He also threw for 575 yards and three scores.
Runner-ups: Jim Brown, Syracuse; Ron Dayne, Wisconsin; Tony Dorsett, Pitt; Archie Griffin, Ohio State; Barry Sanders, Oklahoma State
; O.J. Simpson, USC;  Doak Walker, SMU; Ricky Williams, Texas

Wide Receivers - Larry Fitzgerald, Pitt and Desmond Howard, Michigan
It's a hard category because the position has changed so much. There simply weren't as many complete receivers twenty-plus years ago than there are now. I have a hard time leaving Anthony Carter off the list, but Howard and Fitzgerald were asked to do a bit more. Howard was a touchdown machine in his Heisman winning season and Fitzgerald was unstoppable (with the possible exception of the 2004 Miami game) no matter how many were on him.
Runner-ups: Anthony Carter, Michigan; Don Hutson, Alabama; Charles Rogers, Michigan State; Howard Twilley, Tulsa

Tight End - Keith Jackson, Oklahoma
Can you imagine what he would've done if OU ever threw the ball on a regular basis?  In his four year career, Jackson caught 62 passes for 1,470 yards and 14 touchdowns averaging an unbelievable 23.7 yards per catch. He also ran for a 88-yard touchdown as the Sooner coaching staff started inventing ways to get the ball in his hands. There's no real argument against Mike Ditka as one of the most complete tight ends ever (and he played on the defensive line.).
Runner-ups: Mike Ditka, Pitt; Ted Kwalik, Penn State

Offensive Tackles - Orlando Pace, Ohio State and Bill Fralic, Pitt

It's a little debatable where the term pancake block officially originated, but legend has it that the Pittsburgh sports information department created it as a stat for Fralic in his senior year for every time he put a defensive lineman on his back. He was Pitt's only three-time All-American. Pace was so dominant that the pancake block became an official stat. He didn't allow a sack in his last two years in Columbus.
Runner-ups: George Connor, Notre Dame; Dan Dierdorf, Michigan; Bob Gain, Kentucky; Leon Hart, Notre Dame; John Hicks, Ohio State; Ron Yary, USC

Offensive Guards - John Hannah, Alabama; Dean Steinkuhler, Nebraska
You can reasonably debate all the other positions. Hannah and Steinkuhler were slam-dunks. Along with being one of the greatest offensive linemen ever, Hannah was one of the great college track athletes and wrestlers as an SEC Champion in the discus and the shot put holding the conference record in the indoor shot put. As a wrestler, he was undefeated in the heavyweight division. Steinkuhler wasn't just big, he was fast clocking in a 4.75 in the 40-yard dash. The Outland and Lombardi winner led the way for Heisman winner Mike Rozier in 1983.
Runner-up: Brad Budde, USC

Center - Dave Rimington, Nebraska

Few players in college football history, much less offensive linemen, were as honored or decorated as Rimington winning two Outland Trophies, the Lombardi Award, the 1982 Big 8 Offensive Player of the Year, and three-time all-conference selections. Equally as impressive was his skill in the classroom with a 3.25 GPA in economics as two-time, First-Team Academic All-America. He finished fifth in the Heisman voting in 1982.
Runner-ups: Jim Richter, NC State; Alex Wojciechowicz, Fordham

Richard Cirminiello  
Q: The All-Time Offensive Team ...

: : QB Roger Staubach, Navy (1960-62) – Blessed with impeccable intangibles and physical ability, Staubach was the consummate college quarterback.  He didn’t have the strongest arm, but did have a knack for making something out of nothing and elevating the play of his teammates.  Staubach was a leader and a winner, which is precisely what every coach craves behind center.  Had he played closer to his Cincinnati roots at, oh, Ohio State or Notre Dame, the casual fan might be more familiar with his pre-Dallas Cowboy career.   

RB Red Grange, Illinois (1923-25) – Arguably the greatest player of all-time, the Babe Ruth of college football was a pioneering offensive giant in an era when a 21-17 final was a “shootout”.  Much more than just a compiler of stats and three-time All-American, Grange put football on the American sports map, and achieved folk-hero status.   

RB Jim Brown, Syracuse (1954-56) – With great reverence to Herschel Walker, Doak Walker and a handful of other all-timers, Brown was the kind of back that comes along once in a lifetime.  A reservoir of speed and raw force, he was a linebacker carrying the football.  Brown’s numbers don’t stack up in today’s era, but his ability to demoralize a defense remains unmatched a half century after leaving Upstate New York for the NFL.        

WR Don Hutson, Alabama (1932-34) – Hutson’s a lot like Grange, in that he revolutionized the position he played and for decades set the standard by which others are judged.  Ahead of his time by more than half a century, the Alabama Antelope helped usher in the passing game, which had previously been a last resort, with his quickness and meticulous route running.  
WR Anthony Carter, Michigan (1979-82) – The definition of a home run hitter, Carter was the perfect complement to the Michigan running game and one of the most combustible receivers to ever play on Saturdays.  A three-time All-American, he averaged almost 20 yards a catch and was always one block from going the distance as a return man.  Honorable mention goes to Jerry Rice, who hauled in 50 touchdown catches at Mississippi Valley State.

TE Keith Jackson, Oklahoma (1984-87) – Jackson was the greatest pass-catching tight end of all-time…and he reached that pinnacle in an offense that ran the option, a testament to his greatest.  He was a nightmare for defensive coordinators, too big for safeties and too fast for linebackers, and was a far better run blocker than his 23.7 career yards per catch might indicate.

OT Bill Fralic, Pittsburgh (1981-84) – Sporting a voracious appetite for pancake blocks, Fralic let it be known early in his career that he was going to be a historically great offensive linemen.  He started all four years with the Panthers, earning All-American honors three times, twice on a consensus basis.

OG Jim Parker, Ohio State (1954-56) – As linemen go, few in history could match Parker’s athleticism and agility.  He had tremendous feet and quickness, which allowed him make the transition from defensive lineman early in his career to one of the most technically sound and effective offensive lineman to ever put on pads.   

C Dave Rimington, Nebraska (1979-82) – In the football bible, under center, there ought to be a photo of Rimington.  He is the embodiment of a center—tough, strong, quick and smart.  Rimington won just about every award a lineman could while in Lincoln, and now has one named after him, which annually honors the nation’s top center.

OG John Hannah, Alabama (1970-72) – Much more than just a mauler, Hannah was a gifted athlete with unparalleled fundamentals.  When he was pulling for the Tide it was lights out for any poor sap that stepped into his path.  Hannah was a two-time All-American in Tuscaloosa, and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame two decades later.

John Harris     
Q: The All-Time Offensive Team ...

First Team
QB – Doug Flutie, Boston College (1981 – 1984)
RB – Herschel Walker, Georgia (1980 – 1982)
RB – Ricky Williams, Texas (1995 – 1998)
AP – Reggie Bush, USC (2003 – 2005)
WR – Anthony Carter, Michigan (1979 – 1982)
WR – Larry Fitzgerald, Pitt (2002 – 2003)
TE – Keith Jackson, Oklahoma (1984 – 1987)
T – Orlando Pace, Ohio State (1994 – 1996)
T – Jonathon Ogden, UCLA (1992 – 1995)
G – Will Shields, Nebraska (1989 – 1992)
G – John Hannah, Alabama (1970 – 1972)
C – Dean Rimington, Nebraska (1979 – 1982)

Second Team
QB – Matt Leinart, USC (2002 – 2005)
RB – OJ Simpson, USC (1967 – 1968)
RB – Jim Brown, Syracuse (1954 – 1956)
AP – Johnny Rodgers, Nebraska (1970 – 1972)
WR – Braylon Edwards, Michigan (2001 – 2004)
WR – Peter Warrick, FSU (1996 – 1999)
TE - Kellen Winslow II, Miami (2001 – 2003)
T – Tony Boselli, USC (1991 – 1994)
T – Bill Fralic, Pitt (1981 – 1984)
G – Dean Steinkuhler, Nebraska (1980 – 1983)
G – Brad Budde, USC (1976 – 1979)
C – Jim Ritcher, NC State (1976 – 1979)

Of course, everyone is going to have a strong argument for his or her all-time team, but my thought process sort of went like this
1.  General ‘gut’ feel
2.  Production
3.  Honors/All-America listings
4.  Great career vs. one-year wonders
5.  Who put the most pressure on defensive schemes.
6.  How they would fit an offense that I was trying to run.

That last criteria was the deciding factor for only a few guys on this list.  Most of them were no-brainers, in a sense, but when it came down to a few guys for a spot, I did take that into account.  Texas RB Ricky Williams is probably the perfect example.  He satisfied every item on the list and so too did OJ Simpson and/or Jim Brown, but from a standpoint of fitting any and every role a running back needed to play, Ricky did that and then some.  His first two years at UT, he was a fullback, while playing one of the greatest games he ever played – against Nebraska in the Big XII championship upset win.  He carried it only a handful of times in the game, but his blocking was superb all game long.  Then, the next two years, his legs took over.  I think “complete” would be what I wanted and Ricky epitomized that to a T, a UT if you will.  Okay, sorry, that was a stretch.

Keith Jackson might be another one.  His production throughout his college years was less than what it should’ve been due to having spent his career in OU’s wishbone offense.  But, he could do everything that’d you want a TE to do – he could dominate the point of attack, he could stretch a team vertically, he had great hands and could run after the catch.  In essence, he was a complete player who would be the ‘perfect fit’ for our ‘spread-option-no huddle-shotgun offense’, also known as the Pea Shooter.

Flutie was my pick for all-time QB and that fits well in our scheme.  I wonder what Flutie would be like in the modern spread/option attacks, made popular in 2000s.  But, on the flip side, he could’ve been a star had you put him in a single wing attack in the 1940’s.  So, I think he fits that bill in the #1 QB spot without question.

Matthew Zemek     
Q: The All-Time Offensive Team ...

Center: David Rimington, Nebraska. The prolific nature of the Husker ground game in the early 80s is worthy of all-time linemen (see Steinkuhler as well, the memorable touchdown scorer on a fumblerooski in the 1984 Orange Bowl...)

Guards: Dean Steinkuhler, Nebraska; John Hannah, Alabama. No one could assail Hannah's all-time credentials.

Tackles: Orlando Pace, Ohio State; Jonathan Ogden, UCLA. These guys were flat-out dominant when they played college ball. Pancakes served daily.

Tight End: Keith Jackson, Oklahoma. A dynamic playmaker at the position on a run-first team, a key factor in the Sooners' mid-80s ascendancy.

Quarterback: Tommie Frazier, Nebraska. The best combination of leadership and production at the position, and therefore the man who married the two forms of college quarterbacking greatness.

Fullback: William Floyd, Florida State. On a fast-break team, the blue-collar guy whose fourth-down conversion in the 1994 Orange Bowl won Bobby Bowden his first national title. (Note: This is if you demand that a classic "fullback" be on the roster. If you don't demand a classic fullback, but instead think a "power running back" should be here, plug in the legendary Jim Brown of Syracuse.)

Running back (tailback/breakaway back): Red Grange, Illinois. Not only brilliant on the merits of his play, but the man who saved, supported and supersized college football in the 1920s.

Wide receiver #1: Desmond Howard, Michigan. He made plays in all sorts of situations... and with all sorts of bodily contortions. As impressive a receiver as anyone at the college level.

Wide receiver #2: Michael Irvin, Miami. ESPN shouldn't be employing his sorry behind, but that doesn't mean he wasn't a noticeably imposing receiver for multiple Miami juggernauts in the 1980s. A formidable force at the flanker position.

Placekicker: Black kicking tee era: Kevin Butler, Georgia. A 60-yard boot to beat Clemson was an all-time college football moment in a decorated career.

Post-tee era: Nate Kaeding, Iowa. No one has had the same combination of unerring accuracy and considerable distance that Kaeding possessed in his career.