Why is it whenever Notre Dame qualifies for a bowl game, including the BCS, they are immediately guaranteed a spot? Why does Notre Dame have an exclusive and one of a kind television package with NBC worth millions? Why was the Notre Dame Football Program valued at $101,000,000.00 by Forbes.com in 2007 (followed by Texas at $92,000,000.00)?
Because Notre Dame is the most significant College Football Program ever. Love them or hate them, they are at the top of College Football Culture.
My objective here is to debunk this website's argument in its position favoring Alabama while making a case for Notre Dame.
Now, let's get started.
First, let's get this NFL Quarterback Issue out of the way assuming you have read the original article. While we understand Alabama has produced 3 QBs who won the Super Bowl 4 times (Bart Starr -2, Joe Namath -1, Ken Stabler -1), Notre Dame produced 2 QBs who won 5 Super Bowls including the games greatest clutch performer - QB Joe Montana (4 Super Bowl rings, 3 Super Bowl MVPs). Joe Theisman was the other Irish QB to win a Super Bowl.
No other program has contributed more to the NFL at this position save Alabama (and it is close). Both Joe's started at QB in 6 Super Bowls (most all time). Both Notre Dame & Miami (FL) have produced the most players to participate in NFL Super Bowls.
Now, let's move on to the National Title controversies. As previously stated, Alabama has several controversial National Title claims. For example, in 1930, the Davis Poll, conducted by one man, awarded the National Title to Alabama while 6 other polls awarded the National Title to Notre Dame.
In 1941, Alabama claimed the National Title. However, not only was Minnesota awarded the Title by the AP Poll, Alabama finished this season ranked #20 in the country and #3 in the SEC. How can Alabama finish third to Mississippi State in the SEC and claim a title?
In 1964, Alabama and Arkansas claimed the National Title. However, Alabama lost to Texas in their bowl game that season and Arkansas finished the season undefeated.
Most people know about the 1973 error. But in case you don't, Alabama lost that season to Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl 23-24 giving Notre Dame its second consensus National Title under Ara Parseghian. The UPI gave the title to Alabama but that was before the bowl game.
In 1978, both Alabama & USC claim the National Title. Seems pretty clear to me, USC beat Alabama that year (really?). By my count, that leaves Alabama with 7 legitimate National Titles to Notre Dame's 11 (as claimed by the University of Notre Dame).
Michigan and USC have claim to 9 National Titles per www.ncaa.com history and statistics. Oklahoma & Ohio State claim 7 National Titles. Texas has claim to 3. The reason Texas is in this discussion is because they are #2 all time in wins.
Notre Dame claims 11 national titles. However, Notre Dame also finished 8 other seasons ranked #1 by at least one poll not named the Associated Press. This included 2 years (1919 & 1920) where they were ranked #1 by the Davis Poll that Alabama referenced to claim the 1930 National Title. Notre Dame does not claim these to be legitimate National Titles.
And if that is not enough for you...
Notre Dame has produced 7 Heisman Trophy winners (tied with USC for most all time). Alabama has never produced a Heisman Trophy winner even with the talent that Bear Bryant had on his rosters before NCAA scholarship limitations.
Notre Dame has produced more College Football Hall of Famers than any other program in history. As of 2009, Notre Dame is ranked #3 all time in D-1 wins behind only Michigan and Texas (Alabama ranked #8 having played 1,158 games, Notre Dame has played 1,157 games). Notre Dame is ranked #2 all time in win percentage behind only Michigan. And Notre Dame is ranked #2 all time in College Football All Americans behind only USC.
Out of 39 Games where the participants were ranked #1 & #2 in the AP / BCS Polls, Notre Dame went 5-2-2 and played in more than any other program in history (9). Second most going to Ohio State, USC, and Miami (FL) tied with 6.
Notre Dame also played in 3 of the 7 most famous games dubbed as the "Game of the Century" going 2-0-1. And Ara Parseghian (Notre Dame) was 2-0 against Paul "Bear" Bryant (Alabama). Notre Dame is 5-1 in games played against Alabama including 2-0 in bowl games. I hope that answers the question regarding Strength of Schedule that somehow "favors" Alabama.
Notre Dame has 5 coaches to have won at least one National Title compared to Alabama's 4.
The greatest College Football Program of all time must be one that is immediately recognizable within the Culture of College Football. While this is the most subjective part to any argument, Notre Dame's traditions are important because they demonstrate the popularity and success of the Notre Dame Brand and how it has contributed to the popularity and success of College Football.
These are historical occurances and traditions that have contributed to the success of the Notre Dame brand:
1) Knute Rockne & the Forward Pass;
2) George Gipp "Win One for the Gipper";
3) Four Horsemen;
4) "Play Like a Champion Today";
5) 1926 Rose Bowl (Notre Dame Beat Stanford);
6) Notre Dame vs. Ohio State (1935 Game of Century);
7) Notre Dame vs. Army in Yankee Stadium (1946 Game of
8) Notre Dame vs. Michigan State (1966 Game of Century);
9) Notre Dame vs. Florida State (1993 Game of Century);
10) Gold Helmets and the Golden Dome;
11) Touchdown Jesus;
12) The Grotto;
13) The "Green Jerseys";
14) Hollywood: "Rudy" & "Knute Rockne All American" (starring
15) The House that Rockne Built - Notre Dame Stadium;
16) Notre Dame vs. Navy in Ireland in the 1990s?
The Notre Dame football program is so powerful, whether up or down, it will always be significant. So much so that a Lou Holtz coached Notre Dame Alumni team will head to Japan this summer (2009) to take on the Japanese Amateur All Stars in an International Exhibition football game.
From the East Coast to the West Coast, when college football begins, and the Irish are playing, the televisions and radios will be broadcasting the Notre Dame brand live to millions of people.
That makes Notre Dame more than just another college football program. It has transformed the relationship between Notre Dame and college football into something much more. College Football and Notre Dame are a package deal similar to that of religion and a bible.
Notre Dame IS College Football.
Read more at: Top All Time College Football Team