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After Week Seven

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  2. Penn State
  3. Texas
  4. Oklahoma
  5. Florida
  6. USC
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Saturday
Oct082005

The elite of the elite programs

One way to tell the difference between an all-time college football program and a lesser brethren (let's call this an all-time vs. elite argument) is to observe the effect of an all-timers' duel compared to one among elites.

This weekend, we have a much-hyped USC/Notre Dame game.  It's not always as hyped, but on certain occasions the game becomes bigger than itself, stirring up memories of old, and forcing many to take a look back on the game's origins, history, and traditions.  Its a game that gets into the consciousness of the college football public (and probably annoys the vast majority of it).

Thing is, you just don't get that between a Tennessee and Georgia, or a Texas and Ohio State (although this year's game certainly added to the game's rich tradition), Oklahoma and Texas or even a Michigan and Ohio State.  They just can't match the mystique and power of USC/Notre Dame, or Notre Dame/Alabama, or USC/Alabama, and perhaps a Notre Dame/Michigan.

We can sit and compare titles, Heismans, All Americans, and all the other things, but when games like this come along, they settle a lot of arguments, in my mind.

I know I warned about the hype earlier, but I'm playing into it myself---apologies.  The game is the better for such matchups (as well as other elite battles, even if they're not between all-time foes).

Anyway, how would you do an all-time top 10 ranking, and where do you draw the line between the all-time, best ever teams, and the rest of the field?

I don't know about the rest, but I think for the top 3-4 it goes 1)Notre Dame 2)USC 3)Alabama, and there might be room for four (Michigan, perhaps?).

Feel free to reply below with your lists (top it off at around 10 or so teams). 

For a guide, here's how one website did their rankings: CFDW 

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Reader Comments (5)

Maybe I don't understand what you're saying, but how can you say that the mystique of Ohio State-Michigan can't match the Mystique of ND-Bama or USC-Bama?

Again, maybe I'm misunderstanding you, but you seem to showing a certain personal bias while making a very matter-of-fact kind of statement.


Anyway, my "elite" programs, in no particular order are:

Notre Dame
Michigan
Ohio State
Bama
USC
Oklahoma

To try and separate these programs from among each other is almost impossible for me. Each has had their glory eras, each consistently fields teams that are among the best in the country. Each has their great heroes and memorable moments that stand the test of time. When it comes to these schools, to try and break it down further by arguing awards and championships and players just seems moot.
October 9, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterjj
whoops, i meant to add nebraska too
October 9, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterjj
Well its just a reflection when thinking about this weekend's USC/ND game. It's more a nod of respect to those 3-4 programs that hey, they're kind of a treasure on the national landscape, and the other great teams fall just a hair behind them because they can't galvanize the public the way these 3-4 can.
October 10, 2005 | Registered CommenterCFR
With UT's historic year they certainly belong with the OU's, Nebraskas, Michigans and Ohio States of the game. Bama, SC and Notre Dame are the top three.
May 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDitz
UT is still a few steps behind OU, Nebraska, Michigan and Ohio State.

UT doesn't own a particular decade or era, nor can they match the number of championships of those teams.

UT has similar wins and Heismans but is really lagging a bit in terms of impact on the CFB landscape.

It's kind of telling that UT went 35 years without a national championship, and took forever to get by Oklahoma even with all the 10-win seasons under Mack Brown.

This year was certainly a spectacular season but few honest fans would argue UT's on the same level historically with Ohio State/Michigan/Oklahoma/Nebraska.

They're probably that next tier, with Tennessee, etc.

I agree about Bama, ND and USC, however. The Holy Trinity of college football.
May 8, 2006 | Registered CommenterCFR

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