After being voted into the College Football Hall of Fame by the National Football Foundation's Veterans Committee last May, Gene Stallings and the rest of the Class of 2010 were finally inducted Tuesday night.
"First of all, I want to say thank you to the Veterans Committee," the former University of Alabama coach said during a pre-ceremony press conference in New York. "In order to be in the Hall of Fame, you've got to win a certain percentage of your games. I didn't quite do that. The Veterans Committee put me in here. I will say this, back when I was coaching there weren't many easy games. One year, my three (tough road) games were LSU in Baton Rouge, Ohio State in Columbus and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Not many people would win a lot of those games. The NCAA took away some of my wins so I do appreciate the Veterans Committee for selecting me."
Stallings played for Bryant at Texas A&M as one of the legendary "Junction Boys," and returned to his alma mater as head coach from 1965-71. His signature win there was against Alabama in the 1968 Cotton Bowl, 20-16. From there he spent 14 years with the Dallas Cowboys before becoming the head coach of the St. Louis Cardinals from 1986-89.
From 1990-96 the Crimson Tide went 70-16-1 before an eligibility ruling stripped eights wins and a tie from the 1993 season, won four division titles and the 1992 national championship, while also enjoying a 28-game winning streak.
During the title season, capped by undefeated Alabama crushing Miami in the Sugar Bowl 34-13, the Crimson Tide outscored its opponents 366-122, prompting defensive coordinator Bill Oliver to say: "I wish Coach Bryant were here to see this defense play."
"I want to say this, every player who played for me and every coach who worked for me, if they feel a little part of this, they are the reason that I'm here, I'm most appreciative of that," Stallings said. "You can be a good football player on a bad team and still get into the Hall of Fame. If you're a football coach, you go into the Hall of Fame because you've had good players and coaches and I'm most appreciative of that. I'm very humbled and flattered proud to be a part of this particular class."
The Class of 2010 included: Dennis Byrd (North Carolina State); Ronnie Caveness (Arkansas); Ray Childress (Texas A&M); Randy Cross (UCLA); Sam Cunningham (Southern California); Mark Herrmann (Purdue); Clarkston Hines (Duke); Desmond Howard (Michigan); Chet Moeller (Navy); Jerry Stovall (LSU); Pat Tillman (Arizona State); Alfred Williams (Colorado); and coach Barry Alvarez (Wisconsin).
McElroy misses out on Academic Heisman
Texas defensive end Sam Acho won a pair of academic awards Tuesday that senior quarterback Greg McElroy was a finalist for, including the William V. Campbell trophy, the academic Heisman formerly known as the Draddy Trophy.
Acho, who has a 3.55 GPA in business, had 17 tackles for loss, nine sacks, 17 quarterback hits, five forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries. Like McElroy he was named to the Sporting News' "20 Smartest Athletes," and has participated in several medical mission trips to Nigeria.
"I want to start by thanking the rest of the finalists for representing our sport in a first-class fashion. Oftentimes, work in the classroom is overlooked and I want to thank the Football Foundation for appreciating the dedication and the sacrifice all these finalists make," McElroy said Tuesday in New York. "Everyone's very, very deserving and it's been a real pleasure getting to know you guys over the past 24 hours. I want to thank my family as well, our academic personnel at the University of Alabama and our SIDs.
"It really has been a blessing playing at the University of Alabama, and just playing college football in general is a dream come true. When I signed up to play college football, I never imagined I would be sitting here or receiving any recognition. All I wanted to do was play the sport I loved a little bit longer. Thank you very much for appreciating the work we all have put in and making this a very, very special couple of days."
The 2010 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class and Campbell Finalists included: Sam Acho (Texas); Anthony Castonzo (Boston College); Ben Chappell (Indiana); Alex Gross (Columbia); Owen Marecic (Stanford); Mike Mohamed (California); Travis Nissley (Bucknell); Isaac Odim (Minnesota Duluth); Christian Ponder (Florida State); Derek Sherrod (Mississippi State); Nate Solder (Colorado); Chris Stewart (Notre Dame); Scott Tolzien (Wisconsin); Ben Wartman (Saint Thomas, Minn.); and Stefen Wisniewski (Penn State).
McElroy was also up for the Wuerffel Trophy (community service with outstanding achievement), which also went to Acho.
Coaches' All-SEC team
Alabama had the most players named to the coaches' All-SEC teams, with four first-team selections and 11 players overall Tuesday.
Junior wide receiver Julio Jones and junior safety Mark Barron were the only Crimson Tide players named first-team by the coaches and the Associated Press, which announced its team Monday. Senior tackle James Carpenter and junior defensive end Marcell Dareus were named first-team by the coaches, while sophomore guard Barrett Jones was selected by the media.
Alabama had eight selections on the coaches' second team, with Barrett Jones, William Vlachos, Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson, Dont'a Hightower, Robert Lester and Dre Kirkpatrick, with Richardson recognized at two positions.
Nick Bell of Mississippi State was named honorary captain of the 2010 All-SEC squad.
2010 ALL-SEC Football Team
*-Ties; Coaches could not vote for their own players
Pos. Name School Ht. Wt. Class Hometown
TE D.J. Williams Arkansas 6-2 251 Sr. Little Rock, Ark.
OL Derek Sherrod Mississippi State (T) 6-6 305 Sr. Columbus, Miss.
OL Lee Ziemba Auburn 6-8 319 Sr. Rogers, Ark.
OL DeMarcus Love Arkansas (T) 6-5 315 Sr. Lancaster, Texas
*OL James Carpenter Alabama (T) 6-5 300 Sr. Augusta, Ga.
*OL Clint Boling Georgia (T) 6-5 315 Sr. Alpharetta, Ga.
C Ryan Pugh Auburn (C) 6-4 297 Sr. Hoover, Ala.
WR Alshon Jeffery South Carolina 6-4 233 So. St. Matthews, S.C.
WR Julio Jones Alabama 6-4 220 Jr. Foley, Ala.
QB Cam Newton Auburn 6-6 250 Jr. College Park, Ga.
RB Marcus Lattimore South Carolina 6-0 218 Fr. Duncan, S.C.
RB Stevan Ridley LSU 6-0 226 Jr. Natchez, Miss.
AP Randall Cobb Kentucky 5-11 186 Jr. Alcoa, Tenn.
TE Orson Charles Georgia 6-3 240 So. Tampa, Fla.
OL Larry Warford Kentucky (G) 6-3 329 So. Richmond, Ky.
OL Barrett Jones Alabama (G) 6-4 301 So. Memphis, Tenn.
OL Garrett Chisolm South Carolina (G) 6-6 303 Sr. Charleston, S.C.
OL Joseph Barksdale LSU (T) 6-6 318 Sr. Detroit, Mich.
C William Vlachos Alabama (C) 6-1 289 Jr. Birmingham, Ala.
WR A.J. Green Georgia 6-4 212 Jr. Summerville, S.C.
WR Randall Cobb Kentucky 5-11 186 Jr. Alcoa, Tenn.
QB Ryan Mallett Arkansas 6-6 238 Jr. Texarkana, Ark.
RB Knile Davis Arkansas 6-0 220 So. Missouri City, Texas
RB Mark Ingram Alabama 5-10 215 Jr. Flint, Mich.
AP Trent Richardson Alabama 5-11 220 So. Pensacola, Fla.
DL Drake Nevis LSU 6-2 285 Sr. Marrero, La.
DL Marcell Dareus Alabama 6-4 306 Jr. Birmingham, Ala.
DL Nick Fairley Auburn 6-5 298 Jr. Mobile, Ala.
DL Pernell McPhee Mississippi State 6-4 285 Sr. Pahokee, Fla.
LB Danny Trevathan Kentucky 6-1 223 Jr. Leesburg, Fla.
LB Kelvin Sheppard LSU 6-3 240 Sr. Stone Mountain, Ga.
LB Justin Houston Georgia 6-3 258 Jr. Statesboro, Ga.
DB Patrick Peterson LSU (CB) 6-1 222 Jr. Pompano Beach, Fla.
DB Mark Barron Alabama (S) 6-2 210 Jr. Mobile, Ala.
DB Ahmad Black Florida (S) 5-9 190 Sr. Lakeland, Fla.
DB Stephon Gilmore South Carolina (CB) 6-1 189 So. Rock Hill, S.C.
DL Jake Bequette Arkansas 6-5 271 Jr. Little Rock, Ark.
DL Cliff Matthews South Carolina 6-4 268 Sr. Cheraw, S.C.
DL Devin Taylor South Carolina 6-7 249 So. Beaufort, S.C.
DL Jerrell Powe Ole Miss 6-2 320 Sr. Waynesboro, Miss.
LB Dont'a Hightower Alabama 6-4 260 So. Lewisburg, Tenn.
LB Chris White Mississippi State 6-4 245 Sr. Vancleave, Miss.
*LB Chris Marve Vanderbilt 6-0 235 Jr. Memphis, Tenn.
*LB Jerry Franklin Arkansas 6-1 241 Jr. Marion, Ark.
DB Robert Lester Alabama (S) 6-2 206 So. Foley, Ala.
DB Janoris Jenkins Florida (CB) 5-11 184 Jr. Pahokee, Fla.
DB Casey Hayward Vanderbilt 5-11 188 Jr. Perry, Ga.
*DB Janzen Jackson Tennessee 6-0 187 So. Lake Charles, La.
*DB Dre Kirkpatrick Alabama (CB) 6-3 190 So. Gadsden, Ala.
*DB Morris Claiborne LSU (CB) 6-0 177 So. Shreveport, La.
PK Blair Walsh Georgia 5-10 183 Jr. Boca Raton, Fla.
P Chas Henry Florida 6-3 215 Sr. Dallas, Ga.
RS Patrick Peterson LSU 6-1 222 Jr. Pompano Beach, Fla.
PK Josh Jasper LSU 5-11 171 Sr. Memphis, Tenn.
P Drew Butler Georgia 6-2 210 Jr. Duluth, Ga.
RS Trent Richardson Alabama 5-11 220 So. Pensacola, Fla.
DE Nick Bell Mississippi State 6-3 265 So. Bessemer, Ala.
The SEC individual award winners will be released Wednesday and the SEC All-Freshman Team announced Thursday.
McElroy passes on playoff
McElroy may want to think about becoming a spokesperson for the bowl system. During Tuesday's press conference in New York he was asked if he thought a playoff would work in the Football Bowl Subdivision:
"I'm actually a big advocate of the bowl system," he said. "After playing five seasons of college football, I believe it gives you the best opportunity to showcase the two best teams in our respective sport. I think this year, the two best teams are very clearly Auburn and Oregon. You can say TCU had a great year and they did, they had a fantastic year. Also, you have to look at the positives of the bowl system. There are 70 teams across the country that will have the opportunity to play just a little bit more football.
"I think in a sport when so much is made of the BCS and so much is made of implementing a playoff system and not having a true champion, I would beg to differ, and I'm going to have to use my own personal experience. If you look at this year, we essentially played a playoff game the first week of November against LSU. At that point, we were 7-1 and we needed that win in order to keep our dreams alive of not only a national championship possibility but a BCS possibility. And we came up a little bit short. And in a playoff game to get into the BCS, we came up short against Auburn as well. There are playoff games throughout the season; that's the beauty of the college football bowl system."
According to Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal, player gifts for the Capital One Bowl (which cannot exceed $500) are a $420 shopping spree at an Orlando-based Best Buy and a watch.
Nick Saban and Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio will appear for a brief media event Thursday morning in Orlando to promote the Capital One Bowl.
While making presentation about the new College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta during the press Conference for the NFF Annual Awards Ceremonies and College Football Hall of Fame Inductions in New York, Chick-fil-A Bowl president Gary Stokan re-affirmed that the 2013 enshrinement ceremony will held be in conjunction the season-opening Chick-fil-A Game featuring Alabama against an opponent to be determined. The new hall is scheduled to open in March 2013. The groundbreaking is scheduled for next August.
As part of the Hall of Fame induction ceremony the National Football Foundation also handed out its major awards: Gold Medal - Bill Cosby; Distinguished American Award - Tom Brokaw; Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award - Joe Kearney*; John L. Toner Award - Robert Mulcahy, Rutgers; Outstanding Football Official Award - Rogers Redding, Southeastern Conference; and Chris Schenkel Award - Joe Starkey, University of California. "I haven't done anything, we played Division 12," Cosby said. "I would have liked to have a helmet in those days." He also joked about blocking a punt in the dark because they didn't have lights.
ESPN announced its broadcast team for the Capital One Bowl: Brad Nessler, Todd Blackledge and Holly Rowe.
Ingram is planning on attending this weekend's Heisman Trophy announcement in New York.
Von Miller of Texas A&M won the Butkus Award for best linebacker. Alabama's Rolando McClain won the award last year.