Just got a really interesting e-mail from the folks at the Orange Bowl, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this season.
Turns out the organization behind the game got a bunch of media folks together to nominate candidates for an all-three-quarters-century team before letting fans vote for their favorites in what, as usual, turned into an enjoyable, discussion-provoking exercise.
Handing the franchise to a fan vote would explain why five members of the Southern Cal team that demolished Oklahoma in 2005 (to cap the 2004 season) would be on this team.
There’s obviously some amazing players on the list, which is included at this link and here in full in another couple paragraphs.
The decade-by-decade rundown of the 24 players is as follows, with final season being the tiebreaker in case players fall over multiple decades.
I never saw the original list of nominees, which may be loaded with more recent players. Nevertheless, the voting suggests whoever was casting ballots pretty clearly had short collective memories:
QB - Matt Leinart, Southern California - 2005
RB - Mike Rozier, Nebraska - 1982, ‘83, ‘84
RB - Billy Sims, Oklahoma - 1978, ‘79, ‘80
WR - Steve Smith, Southern California - 2005
WR - Johnny Rodgers, Nebraska - 1971, ‘72, ‘73
TE - Dominique Byrd, Southern California - 2005
G - John Hannah , Alabama - 1972
G - Steve Hutchinson , Michigan - 2000
T - Frank Kinard , Mississippi - 1936
T - Walter Jones , Florida State - 1996
C - Dave Rimington , Nebraska - 1983
DE - Jamal Reynolds, Florida State - 2001
DE - Jevon Kearse , Florida - 1999
DT - Warren Sapp, Miami , FL - 1992, ‘95
DT - Amobi Okoye, Louisville - 2007
LB - Lofa Tatupu , Southern California - 2005
LB - Ray Lewis, Miami , FL - 1995
LB - Lee Roy Jordan, Alabama - 1963
CB - Charles Fryar, Nebraska - 1989
CB - Aqib Talib , Kansas - 2008
S - Al Hudson, Miami , FL - 1946
S - Troy Polamalu, Southern California - 2003
K - Ryan Killen , Southern California - 2005
P - Jeremy Kapinos, Penn State - 2006
Pete Carroll, Southern California - 2003, ‘05
Barry Switzer, Oklahoma - 1976, ‘78, ‘79, ‘80, ‘81, ‘85, ‘86, ‘87, ‘88