Colin Cowherd said that the Wisconsin Badgers are a better football program than the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. He isn’t wrong. Let that sink in for a moment.
I am not going to pretend to regularly listen to his show. I have on occasion and while I disagree with a lot of what he says, he is not is a moron. As a matter of fact, I wasn’t listening to his show when he said that about Notre Dame, but I did read the tweet.
"@BadgerFootball right now is a better football program than Notre Dame." — @ColinCowherd pic.twitter.com/RTup5x2Dva— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) August 8, 2017
The problem is that he is correct. Notre Dame hasn’t been nearly as good as Wisconsin the last few decades and that’s unfortunate for college football. Unlike virtually any other program, you can’t tell the story of college football without talking about the Fighting Irish.
It goes way beyond the Four Horsemen, the Gipper and Rudy. While most of you probably don’t remember it, you have most certainly heard that Oklahoma had a 47 game winning streak way back when. What you may not know is that Notre Dame is the team that stopped it and in dramatic fashion, no less. Ever wonder why they changed the vote for the coaches poll national champion to after the bowl game? Look no further than the 1973 Sugar Bowl, when undefeated Notre Dame edged out Bear Bryant’s coaches poll national champion Alabama Crimson Tide.
They are there in the Big Ten’s history, too. Starting with the formation of the league and the blacklisting of the Catholic university. Michigan State is most known throughout the nation for being the team that tied Notre Dame in 1966. More recently, Ohio State announced their return to national prominence by a pair of wins against the Irish, where the fan base celebrated like they had won the national championship.
Interwoven throughout the entire history of college football, the Fightin’ Irish have made their mark. They were even shellacked in a relatively recent national championship game by the juggernaut that is the Nick Saban led Crimson Tide. A game that helped lead us to the current playoff format.
The simple fact is that Notre Dame moves the meter more than any other institution in the country, and it isn’t close. Our own fearless leader at SB Nation, Matt Brown, spent the entire off season relishing in the fact that Notre Dame went 4-8 last year. While ND didn’t get ranked in the preseason coaches poll this year, they did receive 49 of the votes.
The emotions that this headline brought out in people is a testament to the power of Notre Dame. People love to watch them lose. They have basically had one flash of relevance in the last 30 years and they got hammered by Bama. Yet people still love to pile it on. I was blessed to see Notre Dame’s last national championship and saw them get semi-hosed on another. The amount of buzz that a truly good Notre Dame team can generate is unrivaled in college football.
Heck, this is a Big Ten blog, yet I am talking more about Notre Dame than I am about the Big Ten team. So while he is correct that Wisconsin is currently a better program than Notre Dame, that is sad for college football. I personally want to see Notre Dame good again, even if it’s only to root against them.