Sport: Picking Season

In 1889, when Walter Camp picked his first All-America, he scanned the Big Three—Harvard, Yale and Princeton—and gave the rest of the football world the back of his hand. It was two years before an outsider from the University of Pennsylvania crashed the select circle, nine years before a Midwesterner arrived. Camp made it a one-man job, personally observed worthy candidates in action, weighed their merits and took his pick.

Since Camp's death the selection of All-Americas has boomed into a free-for-all among press associations, newspapers and national magazines. No one expert is likely to have seen all the stars he...

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