There was no way the National Football Foundation was going to get it all right. The organization had just 12 slots for the College Football Hall of Fame's class of 2013 and an absolutely loaded class of finalists.
Our top five snubs don't even include Jerome Brown, Tom Cousineau, Eric Crouch, D.J. Dozier, Rob Lytle, Shannon Sharpe, LaDainian Tomlinson or Lorenzo White. The NFF doesn't include two members from the same school in one class, which explains why players like Brown (Vinny Testaverde got voted in for Miami) and Crouch (Tommie Frazier for Nebraska) didn't get the nod, and the NFF has other guidelines to include a wide array of players from different eras and positions, which squeezed others out. Still, there are more than a few players who cause a serious double take when you realize they are eligible for the College Football Hall of Fame and are not yet in.
From this year's list of finalists, here are the five (four players and one group) that caused us the most angst:
Brian Bosworth, LB, Oklahoma (1984-86): We're not going to stop you from saying whatever you will about Bosworth, or cracking a Bo Jackson joke, but Bosworth was a hall of fame college football player. He was a two-time Butkus Award winner, the only player to win it multiple times. And he played just three seasons for Oklahoma.
He was one of the best college football linebackers of all time. He has been on the ballot for years and hasn't made it. Is it because of his positive steroid test before the Orange Bowl? All of the controversies, including being outspoken against the NCAA? Bad action movies? Probably all of that, or at least the first two. But without a doubt he was a hall-of-fame player on the field with the Sooners.
Raghib Ismail, WR, Notre Dame (1988-90): Before Tavon Austin and De'Anthony Thomas, there was Ismail. He was well before his time as a faster-than-light do-everything flanker for Lou Holtz's strong Irish teams. He was a first-team All-American two times and the Walter Camp player of the year winner in 1990 as a junior. He finished second in the Heisman voting that year behind Ty Detmer, and you can make a pretty strong argument that Ismail was snubbed with that too. Ismail left school a year early for the pros, which might affect his College Football Hall of Fame resume because a fourth season at Notre Dame probably makes him a slam dunk. Even with just those three spectacular years, it's hard to imagine not casing a vote for Ismail for the hall.
Offensive linemen: The names of the offensive linemen left out of this class are stunning. Tony Boselli. Jumbo Elliott. Willie Roaf. Aaron Taylor. Steve Wisniewski. Just, wow. We'll take those guys on our hall-of-fame offensive line any time. Offensive linemen don't get the credit they deserve, as these five guys might attest.
Derrick Thomas, LB, Alabama (1985-88): I don't want to hear about criteria or voting guidelines. There is no excuse why Thomas is not in the College Football Hall of Fame. He had 27 sacks in 1988. Read that last sentence again. He won the Butkus Award that year. He finished with 52 career sacks, lost just five college games, and was every bit the terror to quarterbacks in the SEC that he was with the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL. Thomas' inclusion in the College Football Hall of Fame is just way too overdue.
Eric Dickerson, RB, SMU (1979-82): Much like Tomlinson, it's surprising that a running back like Dickerson can't make the cut. Dickerson has been waiting longer than Tomlinson, so we had him higher on the snub list. Both were great NFL running backs, but don't let that obscure the fact that they were both dominant and exciting college runners too.
In Dickerson's final two college seasons he 3,045 yards and 36 touchdowns. He finished third in the 1982 Heisman Trophy voting behind Herschel Walker and John Elway. No shame there. SMU's scandalous past might be keeping him out, but he should have been in long ago. Players like Dickerson – and Tomlinson, Thomas, and Ismail, and many others listed in this post – pass the common sense test. Were those players College Football Hall of Fame worthy? There's no question at all.