So it's been a strange day on the Internet, what with our SB Nation editor-in-chief getting accused of outing Todd Gurley and all. We have all earned a fun weekend, and to kick it off right ... let's do some reminiscing.
While looking for a tidbit for Tuesday's Numerical (which I didn't end up using), I cracked open my copy of the 1996 Phil Steele preview*. It was glorious. I took some pictures.
* You can order back issues of the PS annuals at his website. I highly recommend it, though it appears the prices have gone up since I did it a few years ago.
Ron Powlus and the best defensive coordinator in the country, Bob Davie? The Irish might never lose again! And ... this HAS to be the year that Peyton Manning finally beats Florida, right?
I have no recollection of Wyoming's Marcus Harris or SDSU's George Jones, and I'm pretty sure Jammi German was a swing-and-a-miss. That said ... that's a hell of a backfield.
Hello, Steve Sarkisian.
It's always funny to glance back at old passing stats (non-BYU division) and realize how much the offensive world has changed. Danny Wuerffel was DOMINANT in 1995 and won the Heisman in 1996 -- he threw for 3,500 and 3,900 yards, and with a combined 27 interceptions. Last year, Teddy Bridgewater threw for 3,970 yards with four picks. Oregon State's Sean Mannion and Connor Halliday threw for 4,662 yards and 4,597 yards, respectively. Yes, there's a 12th regular season game now, but damn.
A) Hello, Danny Kanell.
B) Not sure Thad Busby quite lived up to the Charlie Ward hype.
A) FIRE BOBO.
B) Robert Edwards and Hines Ward.
C) THIS TEAM WENT 5-6. How in the hell did this team go 5-6?
Man, Joe Hamilton and Quincy Carter? Time to unveil a two-QB formation at Georgia Tech!
This is the team that was left over after Nebraska's back-to-back national champions. Only Scott Frost, Ahman Green, Aaron Taylor, Chris Dishman, Eric Anderson, Grant Wistrom, Jason Peter, Jared Tomich, Terrell Farley, Mike Minter, and Kris Brown? How did this team even win a game that year??
This LB Fitzgerald might make a decent coach one day. (Oh, and the customer testimonials are on like every page. It's great.)
Man, I'd forgotten about Jarious Jackson. The "slash" thing didn't really work out for him. Meanwhile, Ron Powlus basically became a punchline because he didn't live up to the "FOUR HEISMANS" hype, but the dude completed 57 percent of his passes at 14.6 yards per completion with 12 TDs and four INTs in 1996. That's pretty damn good for 1996. And while I wanted to make fun of Steele for picking this ND team of relative no-names as his No. 1 -- they did go 8-3 and lose to Air Force -- a lot of what I thought were no-names produced pretty well: Autry Denson and Robert Farmer rushed for 1,839 yards at 6.6 yards per carry, Emmett Mosley and Malcolm Johnson had 818 receiving yards at 17 yards per catch, etc.
But they still went 8-3 and lost to Air Force.
I know the answer's going to be "Because John Cooper." I realize that. But ... HOW. IN THE HELL. DID THIS OHIO STATE TEAM LOSE A GAME? Orlando Pace up front. Stanley Jackson and Joe Germaine at quarterback. Pepe Pearson and freshman Michael Wiley at running back. Orlando Pace. And ... my goodness, look at that defense. And look at that defense while keeping in mind that PS #1 LB Andy Katzenmoyer was coming into the fray, too. How did that defense allow points??
(The answer to "How did they lose?": Because Michigan had Charles Woodson, and backup quarterback Brian Griese did just enough.)
Syracuse, just raking in the talent. (I think they might miss that Harrison guy at receiver, though.)
Joey Kent and Marcus Nash had 121 catches for 1,768 yards that year. And some kid named Peerless Price joined in, too. And Tennessee still lost to Florida.
Where have you gone, Cade McNown...
Hell, where have you gone, Karim Abdul-Jabbar...
Recruiting: an inexact science. That WRs list is horrendous. That LBs list is amazing.
Oh, and I'm pretty sure the No. 3 RB should have been the No. 1 RB.
Have a good weekend!