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BTN's Mount Rushmore: A final note and something else to think about

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It seems we all have a different idea of what Mt. Rushmore should be.

Maybe it's appropriate that we're connecting Mt. Rushmore with today's college football games and the Big Ten.  The original idea of sculpting anything out in the Black Hills was to attract tourists.  And, to be frank, colleges and our new cousins in the Big Ten, as well as BTN, are looking to attract paying customers, too.

Over the last couple of days, we've had a good deal of commentary about Ray Rice missing from the list.  And our colleague Andy Egan offered why BTN did that in criteria 4:

The BTN generated the lists using this criteria to get to ten nominees per school:

1. Football only.
2. Former student-athletes only – coaches and current student-athletes were not considered.
3. On-the-field accomplishments while in college only – professional career will not be a factor. Accomplishments that were reviewed include, but are not limited to, career statistics; awards won; and team success.
4. Particular student-athletes were intentionally removed from consideration due to off-the-field transgressions and/or criminal activity.
- See more at: http://btn.com/2014/12/02/rank-em-who-makes-your-big-ten-football-teams-mt-rushmore/#sthash.J5nCsxq7.dpuf

by Andy Egan on Dec 3, 2014

And on Tuesday, commenter SanFranRutgers made an interesting observation:

There were no living Presidents on Mt. Rushmore

No Schiano. No Rice. No Leonard. No LeGrand. Hell, Alex Kroll is still alive, but he’s so deep into retirement, you could make the argument that he’s even further along than T.R. was even though he’d been in the ground for 4 years before the idea for the sculpture was conceived and 8 years before work commenced.

Remember, guys: this is Mt. Rushmore, not just a top-4 list.

Holding my own feet to the fire on the fact that Kroll is still kicking, and using the real Mt. Rushmore as a template, I have to go with:

1. William Leggett — 1869 Captain, and The Father of Rutgers Football.
2. Frank Burns — like Jefferson, Burns wrote the Declaration of Independence for Rutgers Football: the 1976 Playbook.
3. Paul Robeson — Lincoln freed the slaves; Robeson was the son of slave.
4. Homer Hazel — you can’t pass up the chance to have a name (and a face) like that from the Wilson AND Coolidge eras on your Mt. Rushmore.

by SanFranRutgers on Dec 3, 2014 | 1:52 AM

And that comment got me to thinking. Are we listing the four best players or are we listing the "founding fathers", those that had [the most] significant long-lasting impact?  And I think we could pretty much agree that there is a significant difference between the two.

The Founding Fathers

Let's look at SanFranRutgers' list of Mt. Rushmore candidates.

If there's no William Leggett, maybe #thebirthplace is McGill or Harvard.

If there's no Frank Burns, there's no golden age of Rutgers football.  Yes, the "first" golden age, if you will, when the team went 22-5 from 1946-48.  And countering SanFranRutgers, as was noted BTN excluded coaches so it could only be for Burns' playing days.

If there's no Paul Robeson, well.....

If there's no Homer Hazel, Rutgers waits until 1995 for its first player to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, when Robeson was inducted.  Hazel was inducted in 1951....the first class inducted.

And what about Ray?  If there's no Ray Rice, we may not win the Texas Bowl.  He is the statistical leader in almost every rushing category in Rutgers history.  Which makes him the best rusher.  But he's not among the top ten leaders in any receiving category; Brian Leonard is on three. And with him we go 26-12 in three years....while still losing to Louisville twice, losing to WVU thrice, losing to Cincinnati twice.  That's not meant so much as a criticism of him as it is a statement that there are any number of people who were very good players and who impacted Rutgers football in their era. Ray did that, without question, but does he fit into the category of "founding father"?

So, I probably didn't resolve anything and more likely riled up some more of Ray's fans.  But isn't that what sports fans do? Rile up each other with their own interpretation of history and statistics?

The series begins airing on BTNLive on Dec. 11.  Rutgers' list will air on Friday, Dec. 19 at 6 p.m. ET.

Remember, guys: this is Mt. Rushmore, not just a top-4 list.