After ESPN.com unveiled its "Simply Saturday" series last week, many West Virginia fans wondered why Pat White was not on the list.
The series ranked the Top 50 best college football players who never had the same success in the pros. White was unbelievably good for the Mountaineers, setting the all-time rushing record for quarterbacks, winning four bowl games and two Big East Offensive Player of the Year awards. He was a second-round pick of the Miami Dolphins in 2009 but only spent a year with the team before deciding to play baseball. He is now back in football, playing with the Virginia Destroyers of the UFL.
Harris, meanwhile, was a Heisman Trophy finalist who was one of the first dual-threat quarterbacks, setting the stage for players like White. He took West Virginia to the national title game in 1988. It was Harris who became the first player in NCAA history to rush for more than 2,000 yards and pass for more than 5,000 yards in a career as a three-year starter for the Mountaineers. He left school after his junior season and never played in the NFL.
My take is a simple one -- I think White played too recently to be considered. Harris was on the list, though, at No. 38. So yesterday I asked the fans to weigh in -- if you had a choice between White and Harris, who would be on your "Simply Saturday" list? The results were nearly evenly mixed.
Sound off, readers:
InsaneWVUfan: Major Harris and Pat White are about as identical as one can get, however, Pat White would have to get the nod for the Top 50 list because of one thing....winning. Sure Major brought WVU the first untied, undefeated season and appearance in the national championship game, but he also never won a bowl game (Sun, Fiesta, Gator) and left before his senior season. "Chief" on the other hand won 4 bowl games (2 BCS games), finished his career as the NCAA's all-time leading rusher for QBs and did all this with Mountaineer superstars Steve Slaton and Owen Schmitt taking their share of the yards and stats. Major Harris was a legend on Saturdays, Pat White was a God.
Gary: With both Major and Pat, WVU always had a chance to win and you never thought you were out of a game. Major has admitted his mistake in leaving early -- youth. You have to take Major. He single-handily dismantled teams because he could run and throw without predictability. Pat's predictability is what sometimes stopped him -- USF, Pitt. Major had less of a support system too, although the rest of the offense was no slouch. Pat was fast, but Major had moves and improv ability.
234gerald: I think Pat was a better all around athlete, however Major was way before his time. I think Major would have made a much better NFL player than Pat (because of his size) ... If Major were playing college ball today, the NFL would definitely want him because the game is different and leans more to his abilities. Pat is the better college player, Major better NFL player if times were different back then.
pbwiili: After Major Harris got hurt in the national championship game against Notre Dame, he was never the same. He could throw the ball 60 yards on a spiral and could run with authority. I thought he had more pro potential than Pat White and more potential than the WVU qbs that did make it to the pros.
lspat1980: I would pick Pat White over Harris. Harris was a great talent and did lead WVU to the National Title Game, but let's consider a few things: Pat White was 4-0 in Bowl Games (2 BCS Bowl games and was MVP of 3 of those games). Harris was 0-3 in Bowl games. White was much more accurate and a better runner, although Harris was a great runner. White also has the most rushing yards of anyone to play QB in College History. Harris was an all-time great and will be forever one of the greatest players in WVU history, but I give White the edge. Also, WVU finished ranked #5, #10, #6, and #19 in White's 4 seasons (Only reason they finished #19 was because of Bill Stewart and Jeff Mullen ruining the team). In the end I say: WHITE > HARRIS
Scott-Chapman: The "Major" as Brent Musburger called him, put WV on the map, and believe it or not, started the influx of great black quarterbacks who could throw and run, like Steve McNair. ... He changed the game, and if not for his injuries, should have won the national championship. Pat White, I am sorry to say was a twig in a great offensive system that produced big numbers for Rasheed Marshall, Shaun King, and Denard Robinson. Major Harris got hoodwinked into leaving school early and had his problems, Pat White is still trying to enhance his legacy, but the large professional players are going to just keep smashing him to bits (see Pittsburgh game which took him 2 years to recover).
withrowsp: I am old enough to have watched both play and I would have to go with the all-time leading rusher in NCAA FBS history and only QB to start and win 4 bowl games: Pat White. Major Harris was great, though, and I would really rather not have to choose.