The outcry came about a nanosecond after the 2012 College Football Hall of Fame inductees were announced: How come Nebraska quarterback Tommie Frazier didn’t get elected? I wish I had an answer. But, alas, I don’t. It remains a mystery of the universe—and a Titanic miscarriage of justice. I am a member of the National Football Foundation, and thus a voter for the Hall. And Frazier gets the nod from me. The guy, without a doubt, is the greatest quarterback in the history of one of America’s greatest college football programs.
That’s good enough for me. What is everyone else thinking?
Frazier’s resume speaks for itself.
- Two-time Orange Bowl MVP (1994-95).
- Big Eight Offensive Player of the Year in 1995
- Consensus All-American in 1995.
His chief achievement, of course, was leading the Cornhuskers to the 1995 national championship with a resounding 62-24 victory over Florida. Who can forget that 75-yard touchdown run vs. the Gators on that night in the desert?
It was an epic moment in the history of college football during a monstrous five-year run (1993-97) by Nebraska that included national titles in 1994, 95 and 97 and playing for the title in 1993.
Frazier eventually will get in. But, why the wait? I never understood the logic of making someone wait to be elected to a hall of fame. If a player is good enough to be elected on his fourth, fifth, sixth or seventh try … why isn’t he good enough to be elected on his first try?
What changes over time?
But let’s not dwell on the negative. Let’s celebrate the election of Purdue running back Otis Armstrong, the lone Big Ten player who is part of the Class of 2012.
Frankly, I am surprised Armstrong got in. I thought time had forgotten how great he was from 1970-72, when he left West Lafayette as the Big Ten’s all-time leading rusher with 3,315 yards in three years. Armstrong, who finished eighth in Heisman voting in 1972, played on some uber-talented Boilermakers teams that were among the biggest underachievers in the history of the Big Ten.
Check out some of the players who suited up on the 1972 Purdue squad that finished 6-5 under Bob DeMoss: Armstrong, Dave Butz and Darryl Stingley were all first-round picks in 1973; Steve Baumgartner and Gary Hrivnak were second-rounders; others picked in the same draft were Gregg Bingham, Donn Smith and Brent Meyers, giving Purdue eight picks in ‘73. And the quarterback of the ’72 Boilers? Gary Danielson.
How did this team finish 6-5, with Armstrong—a Chicago native–running for 1,361 yards?
Armstrong is the third Boilermaker elected to the Hall in the last seven years, joining Mike Phipps in 2006 and Mark Herrmann in 2010. I have to think Drew Brees and Rod Woodson will join them at some point.
I grew up in West Lafayette and have some fuzzy and vague memories of Armstrong (I was just 7 when he was a senior in 1972). But my father filled in the gaps for me over the years. And I got to see Armstrong blossom as a pro with the Denver Broncos in the late-1970s.
So, for now, Armstrong celebrates–Frazier waits.
In addition to Frazier not making it, I’m also vexed and flummoxed that fellow Big Ten players like Nebraska’s Trev Alberts and Eric Crouch, Ohio State’s Orlando Pace and Eddie George, Michigan State’s Percy Snow and Lorenzo White and Penn State’s D.J. Dozier and Steve Wisniewski didn’t make it.
They all should—along with Frazier–at some point.
I am sorry you have to wait, fellas. But, in the meantime … let’s all heap praise on Otis Armstrong.
BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is on Twitter and Facebook, all of his work is at btn.com/tomdienhart, and you can subscribe to it all via his RSS feed. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below.