If you haven't heard by now, SB Nation is partnering with Big Ten Network to choose four faces to represent each Big Ten football program. No coaches are allowed and players can't currently have eligibility remaining. I'm pretty sure those are the only rules. Oh, and some really good players were omitted by BTN because of some shady character concerns. We can't have a bunch of hooligans like Teddy Roosevelt on our Mount Rushmore, can we?
Anyway, that last caveat probably made it tough for the deciding committee to choose 10 nominees from Penn State, a school known for shady characters and hooliganism. Alas, they did it anyway and there are ten wonderful nominees to choose from. Unsurprisingly, four of them are linebackers. Also unsurprisingly, none of the players are from the 2012 team.
But should that really be so? Outside of Penn State circles, the 2012 team is largely forgettable. I mean, that Virginia game was pretty hilarious and it was also very funny to listen to Bill O'Brien try to call his team a bunch of "fighters," but besides that it was pretty boring.
For Penn State fans, though, 2012 was not just a year of missed kicks and incredible postgame interviews. It was the year that dozens of Penn State football players chose to continue to represent the school despite a horrifying scandal and subsequent coaching upheaval.
Even though the upperclassmen would not have a chance to play in a bowl game, a great majority of them stuck with Penn State anyway. This showing of loyalty to the fans and the program is honored by the "2012" sign below the luxury boxes at Beaver Stadium. The team is deemed to be just as special as those that brought national championships and undefeated seasons back to Penn State.
So shouldn't at least one of the 2012 heroes be a nominee for Penn State's Rushmore? It's not like that team didn't have any good players. Quarterback Matt McGloin has more career touchdown passes (46) than any other player in Penn State history. No, he didn't throw with the kind of efficiency that Kerry Collins threw for in 1994 (completed 67 percent of his passes, gained over 10 yards per attempt), but McGloin had to run an offense that depended on a strong passing attack and couldn't just hand off to Ki-Jana Carter for seven yards per carry.
There's also Michael Mauti to consider for this list. He doesn't have an insane highlight reel like LaVar Arrington or a BCS appearance like Paul Posluszny, but Mauti was and continues to be one of the most beloved leaders in Penn State football history. Despite multiple knee injuries, Mauti soldiered on and made key plays in both pass and run defense. He was so loved by teammates and coaches that after Mauti suffered a season-ending injury against Indiana, the team wore his number on their helmets during the last game of the 2012 season.
Despite their enduring loyalty and leadership that has made them Penn State legends, neither McGloin nor Mauti is a candidate to join Penn State's own Mount Rushmore. There are still plenty of great players to vote for, though. You can read about their accomplishments here, or get some advice from the excellent editors of Black Shoe Diaries here.
Voting is below. Make sure you get your tally in before the Mount Rushmores of the Big Ten are revealed at 10:00 p.m. ET this Thursday on BTN.