During the past 100 years, some of the greatest names to ever play football cultivated their talents at one of the Conference's 12 esteemed universities, and Tuesday evening, Pac-12 Networks revealed the Pac-12 All-Century Football Team in a 60-minute Pac-12 All-Century: Football special, hosted by Ted Robinson.
When all the ballots were tallied, 50 players and one coach representing eight Pac-12 schools were named to the team. Additionally, Stanford QB John Elway was named Offensive Player of the Century, USC S Ronnie Lott was named Defensive Player of the Century and legendary Trojan head coach John McKay was chosen as Coach of the Century.
A contingent of the All-Century Team members will be honored in a special on-field presentation prior to the Pac-12 Football Championship Game between Stanford and USC on Saturday, December 5 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. Among those in attendance include: Elway, Lott and J.K. McKay, son of John McKay, plus Heisman Trophy winners Marcus Allen and Jim Plunkett.
Marcus Allen – USC
"When you look at the entire landscape some of the most incredible players to ever play the game have come out of this Conference. To be recognized as one of the best over the 100-year history is truly an honor."
Former Raiders who made the team: Quarterbacks Jim Plunkett and Matt Leinart, running back Marcus Allen, tackle Lincoln Kennedy, defensive end Andre Carter, linebackers Ricky Hunley and Jerry Robinson, and defensive back Ronnie Lott.
An esteemed voting panel made up of 119 former players, coaches and media had the arduous task of selecting 24 offensive players (five QBs, five RBs, five WRs, two TEs, seven OLs), 23 defensive players (five DEs, five DTs, five LBs, four CBs, 4 Safeties), three special teamers (one K, one P, one R) and one coach to build out their team. The accomplishments and accolades of each person during their collegiate career was the primary factor taken into account by the voting panel. In addition, the panel could only take into consideration individuals whose collegiate careers at a school occurred while the institution was a member of the Conference. Arizona and Arizona State joined in 1978, while Colorado and Utah joined in 2011.
USC leads the way with representation on the list with a total 25 Men of Troy being selected, including Coach of the Year honoree John McKay. The Trojans swept the running back position as Allen, OJ Simpson, Charles White, Reggie Bush and Mike Garrett all hailing from 'Tailback U.' Additionally, Bush was the only player to make the cut at two positions – in addition to being the 4th highest vote getter as a running back, he was the top returner selected.
Representation from other teams breaks down as follows: Arizona (5), Stanford (4), UCLA (4), Arizona State (3), California (3), Oregon (3), Washington (2), Washington State (1).
The All-Century team members have complied numerous accolades across their collegiate careers including:
- 54 Consensus All-Americans
- 7 Heisman Trophy winners
- 6 Walter Camp winners
- 6 Maxwell Awards
- 4 Outland Trophies
- 3 Lombardi Award winners
- 3 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm winners
- 2 AP Player of the Year honorees
- 2 Nagurski Trophies
- 1 Biletnikoff Award
- 1 Bednarik Trophy
- 1 Ray Guy Award
The iconic roster of 50 covers a significant piece of the Pac-12's storied 100 years, from Oregon cornerback Mel Renfro (1961-63) standing as the oldest player, to current Utah senior punter Tom Hackett (2012-15) being the youngest honoree.
As the Offensive Player the Century selection, Elway was a two-time first team All-American and two-time Pac-10 Player of the Year selection who rewrote the Stanford and Pac-10 career record books. He threw a record 77 career touchdown passes and compiled the second-most career passing yards (9,349), pass completions (774) and pass attempts (1246) at Stanford. As a consensus All-American and Player of the Year in 1982, Elway finished the season as runner-up in the Heisman Trophy race to Herschel Walker. As the 1980 Pac-10 Player of the Year, he set a Stanford record with 27 touchdowns passes, a mark broken by fellow All-Century teammate Andrew Luck in 2011. Elway was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000.
Known for his sheer toughness on the field, Defensive Player of the Century Ronnie Lott was a 1980 consensus All-American and two-time all-conference selection, leading the nation with eight interceptions in his final season at USC. Upon first becoming a starter in his sophomore season, he won a national title with USC in 1978. The following year, the Trojans were undefeated and ranked second nationally, winning 28 consecutive games. Lott helped the Trojans win three postseason bowls, including two Rose Bowls. As a senior, Lott was elected as team captain and won his second All-Pac-8 honors while becoming a unanimous All-American selection. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2002.
As the 1962 and 1972 AFCA National Coach of the Year, Coach of the Century John McKay's USC teams played in eight Rose Bowls (5-3 record) and won four national titles (1962, 1967 and 1972, 1974). His Rose Bowl runs included four in a row from 1967 to 1970 and three in a row from 1973 to 1975. With an overall record of 127-40-8 with a .749 winning percentage, McKay broke the conference mark for conference victories (70) held by fellow USC coach Howard Jones (65) and held onto the top spot until Don James surpassed him in the 1980s. At the helm at USC, McKay coached 16 consensus All-Americans and led Troy to undefeated seasons in 1962 (11-0), 1969 (10-0-1) and 1972 (12-0-0).
The Pac-12 All-Century Football Team caps off All-Century team reveals for the Conference fall sports. All-Century teams for sports including: men's and women's basketball, men's and women's swimming & diving, women's gymnastics, men's volleyball and wrestling are still to come as the Centennial Celebration continues through the 2015-16 season.