College Football Hall of Fame Selections Remain Frustrating for Alabama: All Things CW
By Christopher Walsh,2023-06-06
The ballots for the College Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2024 were released on Monday, and like usual they included a slew of names that made a lot of people react with "How has he not been inducted yet?"
There are 78 players and nine former coaches on the ballot at the Football Bowl Subdivision level, and 101 players and 32 coaches on the divisional ballot. Among those who stood out include quarterback Michael Vick, wide receivers Randy Moss and Larry Fitzgerald, running back Marshawn Lynch, and defensive standouts Julius Peppers and Terrell Suggs.
Two of Nick Saban's former players at other schools, Michigan State tackle Flozell Adams, and LSU linebacker Bradie James, were listed. Current Tennessee coach Josh Heupel is up for the honor from his quarterback days at Oklahoma, when he finished second for the 2000 Heisman Trophy to Chris Weinke.
The coaching category includes Larry Blakeney (the all-time winningest coach in Sun Belt Conference history at Troy), former Michigan State coach and Saban assistant Mark Dantonio, and, yes, Tommy Tuberville.
What you won't find on the ballot are any players from Alabama during the Saban era. We're still a long way from that happening, even through the coach has been here since 2007.
The lone Crimson Tide name on the ballot is cornerback Antonio Langham, although that may be by design. If voters can consider just one Alabama player he may have a better chance of being elected. Last year, he and tackle Chris Samuels were on the ballot, and the year before had Shaun Alexander.
Langham won the Jim Thorpe Award, is still the Crimson Tide's all-time leader in interceptions (19) and was a key part of the 1992 national championship team.
In general, the selection process for Crimson Tide fans remains an extremely frustrating experience for a variety of reasons, but mostly due to simple numbers.
Overall, Alabama has the most national championships that have been recognized by either the final Associated Press or coaches poll, which is loosely considered the modern era of college football. It has 13, with Notre Dame stuck on eight. Even in claimed titles the Crimson Tide has a significant edge in 18-11.
Yet Alabama only has the 10th-most players in the College Football Hall of Fame. Overall, it has 22 inductees among players, less than half of Notre Dame's 48. Of course it didn't hurt that South Bend was the previous home to the Hall of Fame before moving to Atlanta in 2014, but Southern California has 35 and Michigan 32.
The Crimson Tide's last inductee was Sylvester Croom, who played under Paul W. "Bear" Bryant from 1972-74. The same class included Michael Crabtree, who was at Texas Tech in 2007-08.
Alabama is going to eventually start catching up and see the ridiculous gap with Notre Dame narrow, with so many players being enshrined that College Football Hall of Fame officials many want to consider a Saban wing to the building.
The only question is will any of us still be alive to see it?