We are finally just ten days away from the first Saturday of the college football season, and we couldn’t think of a better way to preface the season than by counting down our favorite college football players of our lifetimes. This is not a “best” list, although some were the best. This is a list based on favorites. Guys who were characters, who we respected, who we cheered for (or against), and guys who just all around made our Saturdays in the fall memorable while growing up. Granted this is not an all time list, because we haven’t been around that long.  This is a list of players that represent why we at SWS love the college game today.


Our contributors can’t pick players that they were not alive to watch play

Our contributors can’t select more than three players from their college (Bear – LSU; Slappey, Will, and John – UGA)

So here we go, number 10 on our lists:

Cam Newton (QB, Auburn, 2010)

Cam Newton in 2010 was the most enjoyable player to watch in all of college football, probably in all of sports. The only reason he isn’t higher than 10 on my list is because I am a Georgia guy and quite frankly I can’t stand his antics these days in Carolina. I was lucky enough to be on a recruiting visit with a teammate to Auburn to witness Cam’s debut for the Tigers against Arkansas State. He proceeded to throw three touchdown passes and score two more on the ground, captivating me and the rest of the nation throughout the 2010 season.

-Will Mahaffey

David Pollack (LB, Georgia, 2001-2004)

If I were a few years older, Pollack would certainly be higher on this list. Before climbing the ladder of ESPN’s college football coverage, he was a three-time All-American and UGA great. He played during important formative years for my fandom, so while I couldn’t necessarily appreciate his greatness, his greatness was one of the first things I learned. I had the pleasure of cheering him on in his final college game, Georgia’s victory over Wisconsin in the 2005 Outback Bowl. His iconic pick-six against South Carolina in 2002 is still a blast to watch. Plus, stick around to the end of the video for Young Mark Richt.

-John Mahaffey

Jared Zabransky (QB, Boise State, 2002-2006)

What, you don’t remember Jared Zabransky? Do you need me to jog your memory?  How about now?

Jared Zabransky was the man. He took a mostly unknown Boise State to a 13-0 (could have used one of those playoff things) 2006 season and then starred in what is probably the most iconic college football play of my lifetime. People might not know who you’re talking about if you say his name, but they replay that pump-fake handoff in their mind every time they hear the words “Statue of Liberty play”. Maybe he didn’t have a great professional career, but that shouldn’t hurt Jared’s college legacy. In a way, the memories of his college career are preserved more fully because they are the only way to remember him. Jared Zabransky will always be at Boise State, the score will always be 42-41, and that play will always be awesome.

-Sam Slappey

Todd Gurley (RB, Georgia, 2012-2014)

Even though I grew up despising UGA, I couldn’t help but love the talent of Todd Gurley. His first game caught the attention of SEC football fans across the south, as he ran for 100 yards on eight carries with two touchdowns and a kick return for a score as well. From there, he became a household college football name throughout his time in the Classic City. Watching him run was always incredible as he seemed to glide across the field. His receiving abilities brought his game to another level as he was lethal in the passing game. Though never won a Heisman or brought the Dawgs a championship, he will forever be one of the great backs in SEC history.

-Bear Deneau