Tomorrow, the College Football Hall of Fame welcomes another class to its ranks. The Hall of Fame, founded by the National Football Foundation in 1951, currently has 829 players in its ranks and is expected to induct at least two (and probably several past that) more on Tuesday.
There are 76 players on the 2012 ballot, and the entire list is here. Unsurprisingly, the Big Ten leads all conferences with 20 players from its member institutions on the list; the Pac-12 has 15, and the SEC has a mere 12, because the SEC is bad at football.
Yes, some of the B1G's nominees played in other conferences during their careers, but so do the other conferences; no matter what metric is used, the Big Ten is king in this class.
How many of the Big Ten's nominees will be named to the Hall of Fame in 2012?
At any rate, here are the 20 Big Ten players up for nomination this year, listed alphabetically by last name:
Trev Alberts, Nebraska LB (1990-1993): One of the most fearsome pass-rushers of his time, Alberts was Nebraska's first Butkus Award winner in 1993. He registered 96 tackles and 15 sacks in 1993 before being drafted fifth overall by the Indianapolis Colts.
Erick Anderson, Michigan LB (1988-1991): Michigan's first Butkus Award winner, Anderson was the personification of Michigan's hard-nosed defense, leading the Wolverines in tackles in all of his four years in Ann Arbor. Michigan went 38-9-1 and went to three Rose Bowls in that span.
Otis Armstrong, Purdue RB (1970-1972): Armstrong averaged 5.6 yards per carry and over 30 yards per kick return in his sensational senior season, one in which he finished eighth in Heisman voting. His 276-yard rushing mark in his final career game against Indiana remains a school record to this day.
Larry Burton, Purdue SE (1973-1974): Burton was one of the first people to parlay Olympic sprinting into a successful football career, going from fourth in the 1972 Summer Olympics 200m dash to an All-American at wideout for the Boilermakers.
Dave Butz, Purdue DT (1970-1972): Butz was a man before his time, standing 6'7" and 280 pounds at defensive tackle when most linemen weren't nearly that large. He would go on to be one of the best defensive linemen in Washington Redskins history.
Marv Cook, Iowa TE (1985-1988): Cook was one of the most prolific tight ends in Big Ten history, catching 126 passes for 1825 yards. His 28-yard touchdown at Ohio State (at right) remains one of the most dramatic plays in Iowa lore, and Ohio State fans still maintain Cook was down before scoring.
Eric Crouch, Nebraska QB (1998-2001): Crouch was a legend in Lincoln, setting 32 different Nebraska team records and winning the third Heisman trophy in Husker history. He will be a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, and soon.
D.J. Dozier, Penn State RB (1983-1986): Dozier was the first tailback to lead Penn State in rushing four straight years, and his combination of power and speed led him into baseball after his football career. He scored the winning touchdown of the 1987 Fiesta Bowl, propelling Penn State to another national championship.
John "Jumbo" Elliott, Michigan OT (1984-1987): Elliott was one of the anchors on which Michigan built a powerful offense in the mid-'80s, starting 45 games at tackle for a Wolverines team that peaked at No. 2 in 1985. He went on to have a 14-year career in the NFL.
Dave Foley, Ohio State OT (1966-1968): Foley was a three-year starter at tackle for the Buckeyes, culminating in a senior season where he was named an All-American for the national championship-winning 10-0 Buckeyes.
Tommie Frazier, Nebraska QB (1992-1995): One of the most decorated quarterbacks in college football history, Frazier was 33-3 as a starter and led Nebraska to two national championships. He was named the MVP of three straight national championship games, and his back-breaking 75-yard touchdown (at right) in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl is one of the most iconic plays in college football history.
Kirk Gibson, Michigan State WR (1975-1978): Gibson is more well-known for his legendary World Series home run in 1991, but he was an outstanding wideout for the Spartans, registering 21 yards per catch and 24 career touchdowns in East Lansing.
Tim Krumrie, Wisconsin DT (1979-1983): Tim Krumrie, who just sounds like a defensive lineman, was utterly unblockable as the nose tackle of the Wisconsin Badgers. He registered a Lee Roy Selmon-esque 276 solo tackles in his career, and 444 total tackles en route to three straight All-Big Ten selections and an All-American nod.
Robert Lytle, Michigan RB (1974-1976): Lytle was the workhorse of Michigan's mid-'70s rushing attack, setting a school record with 1,469 yards his senior year as he finished third in Heisman voting.
Tom Nowatzke, Indiana FB (1961-1964): Nowatzke is nominated as a fullback since that's where he was named an All-American (just like Randall Cunningham is on the ballot, but as a punter), but he was a three-way star for the Hoosiers, excelling as a linebacker and placekicker as well.
Jim Otis, Ohio State FB (1967-1969): Otis led the Buckeyes in rushing in each of his three seasons, and despite playing in an era of only three years of eligibility, he remains second in Ohio State career rushing yardage behind someone named Archie Griffin. You might remember him.
Orlando Pace, Ohio State OT (1994-1996): Pace was a rare physical talent at Ohio State, a lineman so dominant his highlight reel gave rise to the term "pancake block." He was a Heisman finalist (a rarity for offensive linemen, to say the least) and was named the first overall NFL pick of the St. Louis Rams. He remains the prototype left tackle in college and pro football.
Percy Snow, Michigan State LB (1986-1989): Snow's NFL career flamed out after a moped wreck, but while at Michigan State he was the best linebacker in college football. He was a two-time first-team All-American and was the first Spartan to win the Butkus Award in 1989.
Lorenzo White, Michigan State RB (1984-1987): White was named the best running back in the Big Ten of the 1980s, and it's easy to see why: He topped 2,000 yards in 1985 and led the Spartans to their first Rose Bowl in 22 years in 1987. White was a first-team All-American and finished fourth in the Heisman in both of those seasons.
Steve Wisniewski, Penn State OG (1985-1988): Wisniewski was a two-time All-American at Penn State, leading the upfront attack of the championship-winning 1986 Nittany Lion team. His nephew, Stefan, was a three-year starter at guard for Penn State as well.