What HQ football beat writer Bob Asmussen learned this week:
BARRY, BARRY GOOD
Congratulations to former Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez, who was one of the 14 selected for the College Football Hall of Fame's 2010 class. Alvarez provides proof that you can win anywhere. He took over a Wisconsin program that was about as low as you can go and won 118 in 16 years. He took three Big Ten titles and three Rose Bowls. He coached a Heisman Trophy winner (Ron Dayne) and a pack of All-Americans and future NFL players. Alvarez is the first from his school to get selected for the Hall of Fame since former player/athletic director Pat Richter went in 14 years ago. The good news for Wisconsin is that Alvarez has stayed on as athletic director. The good news for reporters is that Alvarez has become the unofficial spokesperson for Big Ten expansion.
Former Illini defensive tackle Moe Gardner was one of the College Football Hall of Fame nominees who didn't make the cut. This year. Certainly, Gardner will be picked at some point in the next couple of years. He was a dominant defensive player for winning Illinois teams. Who besides Gardner deserves to go into the College Football Hall of Fame from Illinois? Start with linebackers Dana Howard and Kevin Hardy. They meet the requirement of being consensus All-Americans. And they are the only two national award winners in the program's history. That should put their names on the ballot in the next few years. Simeon Rice wasn't a consensus All-American, but earned All-American honors in two seasons. He meets the eligibility requirements and would be an easy choice for the voters because of his huge sack totals.
It's easy to see why the voters picked former Alabama and Texas A&M coach Gene Stallings for the Hall of Fame. He won a national title with the Crimson Tide and put up big numbers in Tuscaloosa. Off the field, he is considered a good guy with a touching story. But his inclusion in the 2010 class brings some obvious questions. Like, why weren't his problems with the NCAA taken into consideration? Alabama was forced to forfeit eight wins and a tie for using an ineligible player. Stallings was part of the case that found major violations against the school. Did voters ignore the NCAA issues? While his record at Alabama was stellar, it was also tainted. And his tenure at Texas A&M is another problem, the Aggies going 27-45-1 during his time there. Those are not Hall of Fame numbers.
Give me the 12 players in this year's class and I'll win a bunch of games. You've got a quarterback who can sling it (Mark Herrmann), a Heisman Trophy winning receiver who can catch it (Desmond Howard), a running back who will get it in the end zone (Sam Cunningham), a star blocker (Randy Cross) and two guys who will tackle everybody (Ray Childress and Alfred Williams). When you look at the list of guys who didn't make it, you realize there are years and years and years of worthy candidates left to go in the Hall. And more being developed every year. In future years, you can expect to see Colt McCoy, Sam Bradford and Ndamukong Suh on the ballot. And Terrelle Pryor. On the coaching side, Ohio State's Jim Tressel seems like an obvious candidate after he retires. And Iowa's Kirk Ferentz is getting closer, though he needs to bump his winning percentage a few points.