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Beano Cook, longtime college football commentator, dies at 81

The longtime ESPN commentator passed away in his sleep on Thursday.

Kevin Jairaj-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

The college football world lost a great ambassador on Thursday, as Beano Cook passed away at age 81. The Pittsburgh native was a commentator at ESPN since 1986, a fixture on the network for a quarter century.

"Cook was an American original. His passion, depth and breadth of knowledge, and humor were unique. He was an invaluable early mentor to me and friend," said ESPN host Chris Fowler. "His imprint can still be seen on GameDay each week."

"I think when God created college football, he intended it to be played on grass at 1:30 in the afternoon, a fall Saturday afternoon in late October," Cook once said. "If God comes back and plans to attend one game, it won't be the Super Bowl but the BCS title game."

Nearly two decades ago Cook famously, and incorrectly, predicted that Notre Dame quarterback Ron Powlus would win multiple Heisman Trophies, but he also had a soft spot for the Trojans as well.

"It's unfair that the USC Song Girls only appear at USC games," Cook said. "They should visit other teams across the country."

College football won't be the same without Beano Cook. He will be sorely missed.