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Mack Brown, Frank Beamer on College Football HOF ballot

College Football, Texas Longhorns, Virginia Tech Hokies, Murray State Racers, Appalachian State Mountaineers, North Carolina Tar Heels, Tulane Green Wave, Michigan Wolverines, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Stanford Cardinal, Miami Hurricanes, SMU Mustangs

Mack Brown and Frank Beamer walked the sidelines for a combined 794 college football games over 65 combined seasons, but matched wits against each other just once. The coaching greats could very well wind up walking together into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Heisman Trophy winner Charles Woodson (Michigan), Calvin Johnson (Georgia Tech), Ed Reed (Miami) and Ed McCaffrey (Stanford) are also among the 17 first-time candidates for the College Football Hall of Fame as the National Football Foundation on Thursday released the ballot for the class that will be announced in Atlanta on Jan. 8.

Former Nebraska quarterback Eric Crouch is the only other Heisman Trophy winner among the 75 players and six coaches from the Football Bowl Subdivision on the ballot. Other notable players who have been up for consideration previously are Eric Dickerson (SMU) and Miami stars Warren Sapp and Ray Lewis.

The meeting between the two coaches came when Brown was beginning his final season at Tulane in 1987, while Beamer was beginning his first season in what turned out to be a 29-year stay at Virginia Tech. Brown still has bragging rights by virtue of a 57-38 victory.

Beamer, whose only other coaching stop was at Murray State, was the winningest active coach in FBS history when he retired after the 2015 season. He guided Virginia Tech to 23 consecutive bowl appearances, including the 1999 national championship game. He had a career record of 280-143-4 and had 13 seasons with 10 or more wins.

Brown's coaching career spanned 30 seasons at Appalachian State, Tulane, North Carolina and Texas, where he spent his final 16 seasons and won 158 games, including the 2005 national title. He had a career record of 244-122-1 and his teams posted 20 consecutive winning seasons (1990-2009). Brown currently is an analyst for ESPN.

The ballot also has 98 players and 31 coaches who competed outside of the highest division of college football

To be eligible for the ballot, a player must have been a first-team All-American by one of the five organizations used by the NCAA to determine the consensus All-America team: The Associated Press; the American Football Coaches Association, the Football Writers of America Association; the Sporting News; and the Walter Camp Football Foundation.

Coaches must have coached a minimum of 10 years and 100 games and won at least 60 percent of their games.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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