There have been a bunch of impressive brother acts this season in college football. The Rodgers brothers have turned Oregon State into a legit Rose Bowl contender, the Jerry brothers have got Ole Miss back in a bowl, the Pounceys at Florida are headed to the SEC title game, and the Ihenachos at San Jose State are both among national leaders in some key defensive categories. So this year seems like an ideal time to rank the best brother acts of all time. The criteria: These guys had to play together, and timing was important. (Doug Flutie did play with younger brother Darren at BC in 1984, but Darren wasn't yet the impact guy he would prove to be later in his career with the Eagles.)
- The Selmons (Oklahoma) in 1973: Lee Roy is the Selmon brother people remember best. He would go on to have an amazing career at OU and in the NFL, although it was this season that he played with his two older brothers that merits the top spot. This trio was the OU defense. Lucious was a consensus All-American and the Big Eight's Defensive Player of the Year and finished second for the Outland Trophy and seventh for the Heisman. Dewey, a fierce nose guard, wasn't far behind making plays. In 1975, he became a consensus All-American for OU. Lee Roy made nine sacks that season, and combined, the three brothers had 234 tackles.
- The Campbells (Texas) in 1977: Earl Campbell is a Texas legend and arguably the greatest college running back of all time. In '77, he bulled his way for 1,744 rushing yards and 19 TDs. Lots of folks didn't know just how great of a player his brother Tim was. A speed rushing defensive end who made All-SWC, he had 14 sacks in 1977 and is second on UT's career sacks list with 39.5. Tim's twin brother, Steve, also was on that UT team.
- The Bladeses (Miami) in 1987: Bennie Blades was the first huge, fast, big-hitting, play-making safety that Miami ever produced. Blades was a legit 220-pound guy who could run a 4.4 in the 40 and hit harder than most linebackers. He was named first-team All-America in both 1986 and 1987 and won the Jim Thorpe Award as college football's best defensive back in 1987 as he led a loaded Miami team to the national championship and a 12-0 record. Blades put together one of the greatest seasons any DB has ever had in college, making 124 tackles, intercepting five passes and beating five top-10 teams. His older brother, Brian, was a reliable wideout who caught 29 passes for 394 yards and five TDs for a balanced UM offense.
- The Hunleys (Arizona) in 1983: Ricky and Lamonte proved to be quite a one-two linebacking punch for the Wildcat defense. Ricky was the headliner for Zona and has been voted by readers of the Tucson Citizen as the best player in school history. In '83, he made a whopping 166 tackles. His kid brother was second on the team with 155. That's 321 tackles for one family. That'll be a hard number for any siblings to get close to.
- The Barbers (Virginia) in 1995: Tiki carried the UVA offense, and Ronde made a ton of plays for the D. In '95, Tiki had the first of two 1,300-yard seasons, going for 1,397 yards, while Ronde, the team's starting left cornerback, made All-ACC, notching three INTs. Together they led UVA to its second ACC title and a 9-2 record, highlighted by a huge upset over No. 2 FSU on a Thursday night primetime game.
- The Rodgerses (Oregon State) in 2008: This is more than just The Quizz Show, although Jacquizz Rodgers is putting together one of the greatest debut seasons of any freshman player. The 5-6 freshman tailback has been one of the best stories of this season from the moment he slashed his way through the vaunted USC defense in September and shook up the entire college-football world. James, the older of the Texas brothers, is OSU's second-leading rusher (250 yards), second-leading receiver (48 catches) and a terrific return man. They are the Beavers' offense. James has 1,486 all-purpose yards, while Quizz has 1,477. That's 2,963 of the team's 5,488.
- The Woodses (Oklahoma State) in 2003: These guys were a little like OSU's version of the Selmon brothers. Rashaun, D'Juan and Donovan Woods played at Oklahoma State over a nine-year span (1999-2007), but the season they seemed to affect most was 2003, when Rashaun and D'Juan led OSU to a 9-4 record. Rashaun caught 77 passes for 1,367 yards and 15 TDs, D'Juan had 31 catches for 479 yards, and Donovan was redshirted.
- The Brinkleys (South Carolina) in 2006: Injuries derailed this tandem last season, but in 2006 they made quite a splash in the SEC. Jasper, a nimble 6-2, 275-pound linebacker, not only led Carolina in tackles with 107, but his total was also more than double that of any other player on the team. A staggering 79 percent of those tackles were also solo tackles. Meanwhile, Casper, a 6-2, 260-pounder, started 13 games at defensive end and made 44 tackles. He also led the Gamecocks with seven sacks and had 13.5 TFLs.
- The Ironses (Auburn) in 2005: This combination was the SEC's answer to the Barbers. Tailback Kenny Irons emerged as a nice replacement to Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown as he gritted his way to almost 1,300 rushing yards and 13 TDs. His brother, David, a corner, battled back from a knee injury the previous year to make second-team All-SEC with 48 tackles and 11 passes broken up.
- The Ihenachos (San Jose State) in 2008: Duke, a DB, and Carl, a DE, have been the Spartans' big-play men this season, and both are among the NCAA's leaders. Carl has 15.5 TFLs, seven sacks and three forced fumbles, while Duke has picked off five passes and taken two back for touchdowns. They've also combined for 120 tackles thus far.
• UConn's Randy Edsall isn't talking about the now-vacant Syracuse job, Desmond Conner writes.
My three cents: From what I'd heard, Edsall was really ticked off by the way he got snubbed for the Cuse job the last time it was open and wanted no part of working there for AD Daryl Gross. I also couldn't see Lane Kiffin taking that job as long as Tennessee is open and he thinks he has a pretty good shot at it.
• Michael Floyd, the best thing about ND football these days, is going to miss Notre Dame's final two regular-season games because of a knee injury.
• Nice story about Mike Leach by Jake Trotter that includes an interesting nugget about who Leach beat out for the OC gig at Iowa Wesleyan.
• DeAndre Brown is a guy I've talked about a lot over the past year or two here. I'd seen a lot of film on him while working on Meat Market because he was Ole Miss' top priority among high schoolers in the Class of 2008, and Ed Orgeron's staff had been targeting him for a couple of years. Brown, a 6-6, 230-pound receiver with excellent speed, had actually told the old Rebels staff he was coming to Ole Miss a year ago at this time, but then after the coaching shakeup, he opted to follow Tony Hughes and Frank Wilson, two former Rebels assistants, to Southern Miss. This year, of all the great first-year wideouts, none is putting up numbers like Brown. Over the weekend against ECU, Brown continued his phenomenal debut season by making the longest play from scrimmage in the 92 years of USM football, a 97-yard catch and run. Rick Cleveland sizes up the budding star here.
• Let's give some credit to Houston and the job first-year coach Kevin Sumlin and his staff have done. They have won five of their last six and have put together a very explosive team. I watched a lot of their 70-30 blowout of Tulsa and was really impressed with their team. Tight end/H-back Mark Hafner has gone from being a pretty good player to outstanding this season (73 catches, 11 TDs).
• Some entertaining stuff from Tennessee's Gerald Jones in this Q&A with Bryan Mullen:
My favorite part: "I think whoever is going to be the head coach is going to be very pleased with how this team works. This team works like crazy. Even though we're 3-7, we're out here practicing like we're 9-0. That's what I love about this team. We won't quit. We might look like crap on Saturdays, but we're trying. We're not going to quit. Whoever is [sic] the head coach is going to be, he can trust us players never to quit no matter the circumstances."
• Rolando McClain had another great game. The Alabama MLB had a team-high 11 total tackles (6 solos) with two sacks (-12 yards) and a pass deflection against Mississippi State. I'd say he and UF's Brandon Spikes are playing as well as any linebackers in the country right now.
• Last week I had a book signing out at the L.A. Coliseum before the Cal-USC game. About 20 feet away was a booth run by the aunt of high school running back Jamiel Shaw, who was gunned down near his home. It is a heartbreaking story that got a lot of attention all over the country, especially around L.A.
I spoke to Shaw's aunt, who explained the booth and how the family is trying to get the word out and get signatures for a petition to put "Jamiel's Law" on the May 2009 ballot. If you are interested, their Web site is jamielslaw.com.