IT'S NOT AS EASYAS IT LOOKS, this business of selecting the cream of the college football crop,position by position, offense and defense and specialists, from the sport'searliest days right up to the 2008 BCS title game. For starters, the athleteswho labored in the eras before free substitutions and platoons were playing adifferent game. And as if it weren't tough enough to compare players fromvastly different eras, we made the job even tougher by limiting our selectionsto one player per school. Who, for instance, would you take from Illinois: RedGrange or Dick Butkus? Who from Alabama: Don Hutson or John Hannah or Lee RoyJordan? Which USC tailback—if, indeed, you chose a Trojans tailback over RonnieLott or Ron Yary? Which Syracuse running back? Which Penn State linebacker? Doyou tap Nebraska's fabled center Dave Rimington or the magical Johnny Rodgers?Fully aware of the minefield we were about to cross but nonetheless undaunted,we polled more than two dozen current and former SI football writers andeditors, then tabulated their votes, argued among ourselves and made the final,painful cuts. The arguments will no doubt continue. But before considering anysubstitutions, feast your eyes on the group portrait painted by one ofAmerica's foremost illustrators and, only then, think about which guys you'dcut out of the picture to open up spots on a pretty fair football team.
This is an article from the Nov. 10, 2008 issue
EXCERPTED FROMTHE COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOOK
SI's 296-page celebration, in words and pictures, on sale in bookstoresnationwide and at si.com/collegefootballbook.
Mississippi Valley State 1981--84
Notre Dame 1946--49
Ohio State 1994--96
Notre Dame 1918--30
Penn State 1968--70
Michigan State 1964--66
Carlisle 1907--08, '11--12
Florida State 1985--88
SMU 1945, '47--49
North Carolina 1977--80