The All-Time All-American Team of the BCS Era
The BCS has been around since 1998, and since its inception, college football has produced many talented players. It is time to put together the all-time All-American team of the BCS era.
This is not necessarily a compilation of the best players at the NFL level, but is strictly referring to the college game.
To make the list, a player must have played at least one season during the BCS era. Names like Peyton Manning, Charles Woodson and Randy Moss missed out on it by just one year.
This All-American team is composed of a 53-player roster, similar to what NFL does with eight players on the practice squad.
Here are the players who made the list.
Let the debate begin.
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Here are the eight players who just missed making the team but would be available in the event somebody goes down with an injury.
Cam Newton, Quarterback: Newton won the Heisman trophy in 2010 and had one of the best seasons in the history of the SEC. One year is just not quite enough to get onto the 53-man roster.
James Laurinaitis, Linebacker: This three-time All-American is one of the best tacklers of the BCS era. He won every major defensive award at least once.
Michael Huff, Safety: The 2005 Jim Thorpe award winner is one of the best safeties the Big 12 has seen in quite some time.
Jake Long, Offensive Tackle: He was the Big Ten offensive lineman of the year in both 2006 and 2007 and was an All-American both those seasons.
Tyrann Mathieu, Cornerback: One of the most explosive players in recent years, Mathieu was a Heisman finalist and could help out on special teams as well.
Ray Maualuga, Linebacker: He might have been the best defensive player in the country in 2008 and was also a first-team All-Pac-10 player three consecutive seasons.
Darren Sproles, Running back: Sproles was an absolute all-purpose back who was one of the best special teams players in the last 20 years.
Cedric Benson, Running back: The two-time first-team All-Big 12 selection was one of the best pure running backs in college football history.
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Starter: Vince Young
Backups: Tim Tebow, Robert Griffin III
Vince Young holds the slight edge here as the starter over Tebow as he put together a magical senior season that culminated in a national championship along with a Heisman runner-up.
Young could do a little bit of everything with the ball in his hands and passed for over 3,000 yards while rushing for over 1,000 during his junior campaign. He also totaled 38 touchdowns.
The backups are both Heisman trophy winners in Tim Tebow and Robert Griffin III.
Tebow had one of the most illustrious careers in college football history, and his sophomore season featured an amazing 55 touchdowns with over 4,000 total yards.
Robert Griffin III had a season to remember in 2011 on his way to the Heisman trophy. He passed for nearly 4,300 yards while rushing for almost 700 more. Throw in 47 total touchdowns with only six picks and this guy easily makes the team.
With Newton on the practice squad, the names just missing the list include Matt Leinart and Andrew Luck.
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Starter: Ron Dayne
Backups: Ricky Williams, Reggie Bush, Adrian Peterson, LaDainian Tomlinson
No question who the starter on this team would be. Ron Dayne is the all-time leading rusher in college football history with 7,125 yards.
He also brought home the Heisman trophy in 1999 and is one of the best pure running backs in college football history. He went over 2,000 yards twice and 1,400 yards in every season.
Among the backups on the roster is Ricky Williams. Dayne broke Williams rushing record a year after he set it. Williams also won a Heisman trophy and finished his career with 6,592 rushing yards.
For a little change of pace, Reggie Bush makes the squad. The 2005 Heisman trophy winner might have been the most explosive player of the BCS era.
Even though Adrian Peterson only played three seasons at Oklahoma which featured a few injuries, he made his presence felt, rushing for over 4,000 yards in three seasons despite missing action. He also finished runner-up for the Heisman trophy in 2004 despite being a true freshman.
The final running back on the roster is LaDainian Tomlinson. He once rushed for an NFL record 406 yards in a single game as a junior in 1999. Over his final two seasons he rushed for over 4,000 yards with 40 touchdowns.
In addition to Cedric Benson and Darren Sproles on the practice squad, Darren McFadden was the first running back left off the roster.
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Starters: Larry Fitzgerald, Ryan Broyles, Michael Crabtree
Backups: Justin Blackmon, Calvin Johnson, Marqise Lee
There are a number of players with better numbers than this group, but considering the competition, these are the six wide receivers to make the roster.
Leading the way is Larry Fitzgerald. He only played in 26 collegiate games, but totaled 2,677 yards with 34 touchdowns. He also caught a touchdown pass in 18 straight games.
Joining him in the starting lineup is former Oklahoma standout Ryan Broyles. Broyles is the all-time leader in FBS history with 349 receptions. Despite missing part of his senior season with a torn ACL, he is one of the best statistical receivers in college football history.
Rounding out the starting lineup is another Big 12 receiver. Michael Crabtree caught 134 passes for 1,962 yards and 22 touchdowns as a freshman. He followed that up with 97 receptions for 1,165 yards and 19 touchdowns as a sophomore.
One of the backups is former Oklahoam State wide receiver Justin Blackmon. Blackmon had over 3,500 yards in just three seasons and also totaled 38 touchdowns over his final two years.
Calvin Johnson did not have the statistical numbers of some other players, but was as hard to cover in college as any player on the list. As a senior he caught 76 passes for 1,202 yards and 15 touchdowns.
The final player on the roster is current USC wide receiver Marqise Lee. Lee already has 2,864 yards with 25 touchdowns on 191 receptions in his first two seasons as a Trojan.
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Starter: Kellen Winslow
Backups: Dallas Clark, Chase Coffman
Kellen Winslow holds the slight edge as the starter over Dallas Clark. He was the best tight end in the nation from 2002-2003.
Winslow caught 117 passes over his final two seasons in Miami with nine touchdowns and 1,331 yards.
Dallas Clark was originally a linebacker after walking onto the team and only saw action as a tight end for two seasons. As a junior, he caught 43 passes for 742 yards and four touchdowns.
Chase Coffman may be one of the least known players on the roster. The former Missouri tight end amassed over 2,600 yards during his four-year career and also totaled 30 touchdowns. As a senior in 2008, he caught 90 balls for 987 yards and 10 scores.
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Starters: Andre Smith, Bryant McKinnie
Backups: Robert Gallery, Joe Thomas
Andre Smith was a monster for Alabama from 2006-2008 and started all 13 games as a true freshman. He went on to capture the 2008 Outland Trophy, while earning first-team All-America honors in 2008 during his junior campaign.
Bryant McKinnie is certainly the largest player on the roster and after two years at junior college he starred for the Miami Hurricanes. McKinnie was a first-team All-American as a junior and as a senior was the Outland Trophy winner, first-team All-American and he finished eighth in the Heisman trophy voting.
The two backups are both former Big Ten players.
Robert Gallery began his career as a tight end at Iowa before moving to right tackle midway through his freshman season. He won the Outland Trophy in 2003 and was a first-team All-American that season.
Joe Thomas also saw action as a tight end during his freshman campaign before moving to left tackle during his sophomore season at Wisconsin. As a junior he was a first-team All-American and repeated that feat as a senior in 2006 while winning the Outland Trophy.
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Starters: Barrett Jones, Chris Samuels
Backup: Luke Joeckel
Two Alabama players earn the starting nod at the guard position.
Barrett Jones is one of the most complete players in college football history as he excelled at every position along the offensive line.
While he played center in 2012 and will be playing there at the NFL level, he did play guard in 2009 and 2010 and is best suited for that position on this team. He was a two-time All-American. Jones won the Outland Trophy in 2011 and the Rimington Trophy in 2012.
Chris Samuels is the other starter. Like Jones, he could play a few different positions along the offensive line. He won the Outland Trophy in 1999 and was a first-team All-American. He started 42 straight games, and during that time, which spanned his entire career, he did not allow a sack and in 1999 did not even allow a quarterback pressure.
The backup is actually an offensive tackle. Due to the talent at the tackle position, former Texas A&M star Luke Joeckel has been moved inside. He won the Outland Trophy in 2012 and was a first-team All-American.
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Starter: Greg Eslinger
Backup: Maurkice Pouncey
The Big Ten and SEC continue their domination on this team along the offensive line.
Making the start is former Minnesota center Greg Eslinger. Eslinger was a two-time first-team All-American and winner of every major award in 2005. He was a four-year starter and is considered one of the best centers in the history of the game.
A few players could have earned the honor as Eslinger's backup, but the slight edge goes to former Florida Gator Maurkice Pouncey. Pouncey played right guard in 2007 as a freshman, giving him the versatility to move over if necessary. He won the Rimington Trophy in 2009 and was a first-team All-American.
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Starters: Terrell Suggs, David Pollack
Backups: Julius Peppers, Corey Moore
No question that the two best pass-rushers of the BCS era are Terrell Suggs and David Pollack.
Suggs starred at Arizona State and during his three-year career he totaled 163 tackles with 65.5 tackles for loss, 44 sacks, 14 forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, two interceptions and nine passes deflected. In 2002 he set an NCAA record with 24 sacks while earning first-team All-American honors.
David Pollack was a first-team All-American each of his final three seasons at Georgia. He won every major award during his senior season in 2004. He finished his college career with 36 sacks.
Backing up these two players are Julius Peppers and Corey Moore.
Peppers led the country with 15 sacks as a sophomore. During his junior campaign in 2001, he was a first-team All-American selection and won the Lombardi Award as the top defensive player in the nation. He finished his career with 30.5 sacks, 53 tackles for loss, 167 tackles, five interceptions, 13 passes deflected, five forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
Rounding out the defensive ends is former Virginia Tech star Corey Moore. Moore was a linebacker, but could line up at defensive end as well. He was the Big East Defensive Player of the Year in both 1998 and 1999. He recorded 17 sacks in 1999 and totaled 31 total sacks during his final two seasons, while winning every major award in college football during his final year.
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Starters: Glenn Dorsey, Ndamukong Suh
Backups: John Henderson, Rien Long
There are two defensive tackles over the past 15 years that have stood out from the rest.
Glenn Dorsey emerged as a starter during his junior season and was a first-team All-American. He really emerged as a senior in 2007. Dorsey finished with 69 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, seven sacks, three passes defensed and a forced fumble while earning every major trophy.
Joining him inside is former Nebraska big man Ndamukong Suh. Suh is possibly the most dominant defensive player of the past 15 years. He broke out as a junior, recording 76 tackles, 7.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss. As a senior in 2009 Suh was a monster, totaling 85 tackles, 12 sacks, 24 tackles for loss and 10 pass breakups.
The backups are not nearly as heralded as the starters.
Known as "Big John," John Henderson played next to Albert Haynesworth at defensive tackle for Tennessee. He finished his time in college with 165 tackles, 39 tackles for loss and 20.5 sacks.
Rien Long is the other backup. The former Washington State star was a first-team All-American in 2002 and also won the Outland Trophy that same season.
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Starters: LaVar Arrington, Luke Kuechly, Patrick Willis
Backups: A.J. Hawk, Dan Morgan, Paul Posluszny
LaVar Arrington was an absolute monster during his three seasons at Penn State. As a sophomore and a junior, he was a first-team All-American and finished ninth in the 1999 Heisman balloting, while taking home every major defensive award.
Luke Kuechly is not as well known as the other linebackers, but was a tackling machine during his time at Boston College. Kuechly was a first-team All-American three times and during his three seasons he totaled 532 tackles, only 13 short of the FBS record. No question he is the best tackler college football has ever seen.
Patrick Willis might be more of an inside linebacker, but could play outside on this team with Arrington on the inside. Willis was an All-American during both of his final two seasons and as a junior finished with 128 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. As a senior he had 137 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and three sacks.
One of the backups on the roster is A.J. Hawk. Hawk totaled 394 tackles in his career with 41 tackles for loss, 15.5 sacks, seven interceptions and 13 fumble recoveries. He won the Lombardi in 2005 and was an All-American on two occasions.
Dan Morgan was a tackling machine for Miami and was a second-team All-American as a true freshman with 105 tackles. He finished with 150 tackles as a sophomore and 139 as a junior. As a senior he was a first-team All-American and finished his career with 532 tackles.
The final linebacker on the roster is Paul Posluszny. Posluszny led the Penn State Nittany Lions in tackles three straight seasons and was a first-team All-American each of his final two seasons. He won the Dick Butkus award in 2005 and finished his career with 372 tackles.
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Starters: Champ Bailey, Terence Newman
Backups: Antoine Winfield, Patrick Peterson
Champ Bailey was one of the best cornerbacks in college football history and could do a little bit of everything on the football field. He was an All-American in 1998 and doubled as a receiver during his time at Georgia.
Terence Newman was a solid contributor during his first three seasons at Kansas State but emerged in 2002 during his senior campaign. He totaled 54 tackles, five interceptions and 14 passes defensed while earning first-team All-American honors. He won the Jim Thorpe award during that season.
Leading the way at backup is Antoine Winfield. Winfield won the Jim Thorpe award in 1998 during his senior season and was a first-team All-American selection that year.
Also serving as a backup is Patrick Peterson. Peterson was a star on special teams at LSU as well as in the secondary. He was the best cover corner in the country during his time at LSU and won the Thorpe award in 2010, while being named an All-American in the process.
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Starters: Roy Williams, Eric Berry
Backups: Ed Reed, Sean Taylor
Perhaps one of the most complete safeties in recent memory, Roy Williams won the Jim Thorpe award in 2001 and was an All-American that same season. Not many players hit harder than this guy.
Eric Berry emerged as a starter during his true freshman season, and as a sophomore, he recorded seven interceptions and was an All-American. He was also an All-American selection as a junior as well as winning the Jim Thorpe award.
Ed Reed leads the backups. He played on some very talented teams at Miami and was an All-American each of his final two seasons in the program. He was named the National Defensive Player of the Year by The Sporting News in 2001.
Sean Taylor is another former Hurricane. He contributed during his first two years in the program, but as a junior he was a first-team All-American, led the nation with 10 interceptions and returned three of them for touchdowns.
Starter: Ryan Allen
No question who gets the nod as the punter. Former Louisiana Tech star Ryan Allen won the Ray Guy award as the nations best punter in both 2011 and 2012 and was a first-team All-American each of those seasons.
He averaged 48.0 yards a punt on 45 attempts as a senior and had 21 punts longer than 50 yards.
Allen booted a career-long 85-yard punt against New Mexico State, and is the only player to win the Ray Guy award back-to-back seasons.
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Starter: Sebastian Janikowski
Little doubt who the choice here would be. Janikowski starred for Florida State and has as much leg strength as any kicker to ever play the game.
In 1999 he won the Lou Groza award for the second time, becoming the first kicker ever to do that.
He left early for the NFL draft and was still the third all-time leading scorer in Florida State history.
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Punt Returner: Ted Ginn Jr.
Kick Returner: DeAngelo Williams
There are plenty of talented return specialists who have made their name in college football over the past 15 years, but two have stood out.
As a punt returner Ted Ginn Jr. was as dangerous as they came. He was an All-American special teams player during both his sophomore and junior seasons. He set the Big Ten record for most career punt return touchdowns with six and proved he could also return kickoffs as he took the opening kick back in the national championship against Florida.
DeAngelo Williams nearly made the team as a running back. He finished seventh in the Heisman voting in 2005 and rushed for over 6,000 yards in his college career with 55 touchdowns.
He was also a dynamic kickoff returner and would be a nice complement to Ginn Jr. in the return game.