Ok. Here we are again. Except this time, we’re not making stops in the warm-weather climates of Florida or the Carolinas. We’re not dealing with fresh out-of-the-box programs. No here, for better or worse, tradition is the norm. Tradition you can literally smell, and feel. But the question is this: Can the Big Ten stir the echoes again and matter as more than just a punchline? We’ll find out in this season coming up, with the inclusion of another tradition-soaked power program in the Nebraska Cornhuskers. But as it stands now let’s study the records, go back through the crates, and see if we can’t start a little bit of a debate.
The ground rules: This list requires both college and professional performance. My ultimate ideal for this is an All-American in college, a pro-bowler and a HOF in the pro’s.
Also, I’m going to try to use only inactive players. It’s far easier to judge with this when we’re talking about guys whose careers are over. It’s the Tyson Principle. (Quick explanation: During the apex of his career you could have had a realistic argument about whether or not Mike Tyson was the greatest heavyweight ever. But then, after a few devastating losses including to the men who could safely be called the peers of his era, it’s a lot harder to make that same argument now.)