I couldn't argue with longtime Champaign News-Gazette sports columnist Loren Tate's choices for the Top Twenty University of Illinois basketball players whose jerseys should be retired and hoisted in the Assembly Hall.
Oh, I'm sure some die-hard members of Illini Nation will stump for their favorites. But Tate's list, in my view, is a no-brainer.
However, I can't say the same for News-Gazette sportswriter Bob Asmussen's picks for five Illini football jerseys--after Red Grange and Dick Butkus, of course--that should be hung from the Memorial Stadium press box.
Asmussen's five picks are worthy nominees for the honor--and they should be recognized some day. They are David Williams, Dana Howard, Simeon Rice, Jim Grabowski and Jack Trudeau.
But holy Bob Zuppke, all but Grabowski played in the 1990s. Didn't the Illinois football program begin before then? Surely there are other worthy choices from previous decades, right? Of course, any media guide that leaves Buddy Young out of its list of the top running backs in school history must have forgotten about the 1940s and the 1947 Rose Bowl.
Here's a vote for Young, Alex Agase, Al Brosky, J.C. Caroline, Bobby Mitchell, Ray Nitschke and Bill Burrell.
The last time I checked Young, Agase, Brosky and Caroline are in the College Football Hall of Fame and Nitschke and Mitchell are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Burrell is largely overlooked, unfairly so in my opinion, because he played in the pre-Butkus era. But he was a two-time All-America who finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting and was named the MVP in the Big Ten in 1959. And he played on teams that finished 4-5 and 5-3-1.
There's room for all of their jerseys in Memorial Stadium.