"You’ll never have a 16-team playoff in college football. The most that could happen would be four teams in the next century. But after that, I’m dead, so who cares?"
- Beano Cook, 1992
The college football world lost a true legend when it comes to the history and passion of the game. Few loved the sport of college football as much as Beano Cook, a longtime resident of the Pittsburgh area and contributor to ESPN's college football coverage. Cook passed away in his sleep at the age of 81, it was learned today, putting a calm ending to stretch of declining health.
I am very sorry to tell you that Beano Cook died in his sleep. He was 81. If you love college football, you will miss him.— Ivan Maisel (@Ivan_Maisel) October 11, 2012
Many will remember Cook for his wild predictions that rarely panned out, with the most notable coming in 1993 when ESPN's College GameDay program left the friendly confines of the studios in Bristol, Connecticut and took to the road for the first time for No. 2's Notre Dame's huge match-up with No. 1 Florida State. It was on this broadcast Cook went on record suggesting Notre Dame would win at least two national championships and quarterback Ron Powlus would win two Heisman Trophy awards over the next four seasons. Of course, neither happened but Cook was never one to back down from how he saw things. He was also rich on the history of the game, pulling references and anecdotes from the glory days of the game on a whim while breaking down a game taking place today.
Beano influenced the lives of many in the college football media circles of course, and today many took to social media to share their stories of Beano and final thoughts.
— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) October 11, 2012
I'll miss him. No one loved CFB more. Also was incredibly supportive person. RIP. MT @ivan_maisel: Beano Cook died in his sleep. He was 81.
1st time I ever dialed up Beano Cook. We talked CFB for over 2 hrs. I learned a ton abt the sport's rich past AND world history.— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) October 11, 2012
Very sad to hear of Beano's passing.I co-hosted a show with Mel Kiper and Beano for several yrs.Just talked to Mel about him yesterday. RIP— Dave Revsine (@BTNDaveRevsine) October 11, 2012
We lost CFB's crown jewel today, Caroll "Beano" Cook passed away in his sleep. No greater ambassador and historian for CFB than the Beanster— Tim Brando (@TimBrando) October 11, 2012
RIP to the great Beano Cook. Some of his best lines & thoughts from ESPN's Fowler, Corso & Maisel: es.pn/OWnqEq— Mike Humes (@MikeHumesESPN) October 11, 2012
Sad, sad news that Beano Cook has passed. Wish there were 1,000 like him. Thoughts and prayers to his family and to all of us who knew him.— Dennis Dodd (@dennisdoddcbs) October 11, 2012
RT @bobholtadg: Favorite Beano Cook story: On radio show, hosts talking music and ask what's his favorite band. Beano says, "Ohio State."— Kevin McGuire (@KevinOnCFB) October 11, 2012
Beano Cook had 1 of the all-time great quotes about @lsutigerstadium: "Dracula and LSU Football are at their best after the sun goes down."— Michael Bonnette (@LSUBonnette) October 11, 2012
If you believe in Heaven, then you can feel comforted in knowing that somewhere in the skies above Beano is sharing stories with guys like Paul "Bear" Bryant and Joe Paterno and predicting multiple Notre Dame Heismans and national titles for years to come for eternity. Without a doubt, the college football world will miss Beano and his passion for the stories behind the game.
Feel free to share your memories of Beano Cook in the comment section below.