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Alabama has had greater accomplishments than Notre Dame in the last 20 years (3 national championships to none, 1 Heisman to none) and, with a win tonight, would have three BCS championships and two in a row (both feats never before accomplished), giving it a significant leg up on all other programs.
However, Notre Dame has owned Alabama head-to-head through the years. It's still one of the top two winningest programs ever, has a decisive lead in Heisman winners, more tradition, better fight song. With a win tonight, Notre Dame would tie Alabama with nine AP or Coaches trophies (Alabama's 1973 title being a joke since it was given to them before they lost to AP champ Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl) and would have a wider span of years between first and most recent championships.
Can Alabama claim all-time supremacy regardless of a win or loss?
Does Notre Dame have any claim with a loss?
No, because there's one team missing from this game.
No - "all-time supremacy" would need more teams in the equation.
They each can claim supremacy over the other based on this game, but I'm sure each side already has their opinion regardless of the result.
That was already decided by destiny on October 6th, 1880.
Cry Havoc; and let slip the dogs of war!
Thank you Judge Widney
I think Bama already claims the top spot in terms of most NCs. The East Coast media burned Bama in 1966 by giving the title to an ND squad that refused to play a bowl game. A lot of that had to do with the horrible stuff going on inside Alabama at that time. But Bama has 14-15 titles, and more importantly, has been dominant since the 1920's. ND's success has largely been pre 1960 (only three title since 1966, and the 1966 title never should have been given to them).
A great case can be made that USC has had the best program since 1960 in terms of HT winners and NCs. I would have no problem with USC/Bama splitting the top spot, Oklahoma #2, ND tied for third with tOSU/UTex. 4th would be the Florida schools all tied.
F I G H T O N
didn't Bama get lucky in 64 when they were given the title and lost their bowl game?
What is happiness? The feeling that power is growing, that resistance is overcome.--Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
princeton is the greatest program of all time with 28 NC's. yale a close second with 27
There is simply no way to call a team the greatest. Sure, bama has more NCs than anyone else, but multiple of theirs are laughable (lost their bowl game after getting it, lost to us and we won the other wire NC that year, etc...). Then of course, nd has a lot of history, but their absence over the last 20 years hurts them a lot. We've got NCs, Heismans, utter domination of the Rose Bowl, and a stellar post season record.
Realistically, all you can say is the top teams in college football are USC, notre dame, alabama, oklahoma, and maybe michigan, and ohio state. And you can make cases for other schools, but beyond those, it's becoming a stretch.
USC 2013-2014 All Sports Head-to-Head Record: 257-112-2 (0.695)
My USC Football Attendance Streak (Home and Away): 48
There was no precedent back then for AP/Coaches crowning champions after bowl games, so it only appears lucky in retrospect.
USC did not need Rose Bowl victories to win national championships in 1962 and 1967, but it won those games anyway.
Bryce Harper said it best, "this is a clown question bro!" USC by far is the no. 1 program off all time! Most hall of famers, most 1st round draft picks. Nuff said!!! On to the next topic!
so is the NFL team with the most hall of famers the #1 NFL team ever or would super bowl wins be a more important metric to look at?
Who knows who has the best program ever? It's impossible to determine, just look at the criteria that's used.
National championships aren't real, so what's the difference between having 8, 11, or 14? Your program probably got screwed a few times and probably got lucky a few times in terms of how the media or coaches perceived you or who was or wasn't eligible in one of the polls.
Looking at number of wins just tells you who's been around the longest and/or who played really, really bad teams for a long time ago.
Looking at the number of Heisman trophies just tells you how many times the press thought that team had the best running back or quarterback, which is really impossible to determine.
The best programs are USC, Notre Dame, Texas, Alabama, Oklahoma, Michigan, Oklahoma, and Ohio State. They are all basically the same thing. A few more schools could probably argue their way on that list (Nebraska, Penn State, Tennessee, or maybe one of the more recent success stories with a nice recruiting base, like Florida State), but looking for one of those programs to stand out above the other is pointless.
I'm sure ESPN disagrees with me.
That usually goes hand and hand... The top NFL teams usually have the top talent
All good points. Another criteria that could be used--in the cases of USC-Notre Dame, Ohio-St.-Michigan, and Oklahoma-Texas--is head-to-head W/L, but I'm guessing USC fans don't want to use that.
Well said. I'm just being a Trojan homer but one can argue for USC, Alabama,Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio State, or even ND, it all depends on ones criteria
Given their overall national championships, conference championships, and general success over most every decade (FWIW, I start taking things seriously around 1920, when the schools that are now irrelevant stopped winning and the ones who are relevant now started), I think it's hard to argue with Alabama being the overall best, regardless of if they win or lose tonight.
I also think, by those same criteria, that Notre Dame isn't in second place given how relatively little they've accomplished over the last 40+ years. Personally, I do consider USC second behind Alabama but Oklahoma folks have a strong case to make as well.
Overall, though, it is probably impossible to really nail down who truly is the best, and that's what makes the sport so fun.
It's like others have said, you can't really pin point who the greatest of all time is, when NC's were mostly based on opinions (Polls). Basketball is easier since they actually played a tournament, and there are no split NC's and debates were settled on the court.
Well, if Notre Dame wins tonight, it will have as many titles as Oklahoma in the last 40 years.
It's a fluid discussion. Four years ago, would we even be including Bama in this conversation?
Why not...the only program you mention there that we have a losing record is Notre Dame. Now, you didn't mention Bammy...which we have lost to more than we have won.
Really though, unless those matchups are in bowl games, random series don't count much. The two games Michigan won vs USC, were two of the worst seasons in USC history. One of the games in which we beat Bammy (1970) we ended up losing half our conference games. Bowl matchups pit two winning programs that season.
"Here are provided seats of meditative joy, where shall rise again the destined reign of Troy." Virgil
so we all agree that USC is #1?
I understand what you are saying, but I was using only those three specific matchups as criteria since they span decades.
So, for instance, can USC claim supremacy over Notre Dame when the Irish have a firm hold on the all-time series, including two wins in the last three years?
Interestingly, though Ohio St. and Oklahoma have more hardware than their longstanding rivals, Michigan and Texas hold significant leads in those series. Can Ohio St. and Oklahoma ignore their losing records against their rivals and claim all-time superiority just because they've finished #1 a few more times?
Back in the day the #1 was chosen at the end of November. Bowl game were not mandatory and mattered little in the final analysis for whatever reason. If that happened in '64, then it is just as bad as ND not playing in '66. Oh well, it's all up for debate now.
This isn't a discussion of head to head greatness though. The question was about overall greatness and if that's the question then finishing #1 more times absolutely matters.
But that's what everyone is saying, it all depends on criteria.
There's too many variables between different teams. Different conferences, different schedules, different media perception (because polls are all about perception), different bowl tie ins, and on and on and on.
Like Chris said, there is a top tier of schools that all can make their case.
Also, there are quite a few programs that no one would play because they were segregated...so that pretty much influences wins and losses when you can only play programs in your region....
There's a game tonight?:-)
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