(Editor's Note: Colin Cowherd is not, nor has he ever been, a lawyer, according to my 15-minute Google search. My initial opening paragraphs suggested as much, but it is not the case. I was attaching his style to that of a lawyer, and did so poorly. I am not a lawyer. I have not changed the story to correct this, as it really has no bearing on the opinion. My bad, 20 minutes later.)
For one reason or another, the unranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish football program is taking a lot of heat from all the hot-take artists out there. I get it. There really is no real news, so throwing a Notre Dame hot take against the wall is an easy, lazy, and fun (for them) thing to keep readers/listeners/viewers interested in what they have to say.
The craftiest of them are former lawyers. Lawyers are natural debaters, and can take any argument and spin it in any direction they want. It's a skill, and one that keeps creeping over to the sports side of life. Instead of actual discussion about a topic that evolved from a situation, we now get HOT TAKES that come from a mile up the instigators' asses, and are talked about with parameters in place to only confirm the take itself.
Colin Cowherd is one these people. This is no secret: his very popular radio show is built around that formula. He is excellent at what he does, and what he does 90% of the time is shovel out a pile of crap.
He is on a Notre Dame kick (again) and had this to offer recently:
Just the question alone is ridiculous. Is Notre Dame overrated as a power program? I don't know about you, but I have never seen a list of the ranking of power programs. How does one even compile that list, and what are the data points used to compile one? Just saying the phrase "power program" could mean that it includes every program in a Power Five conference, so he's throwing the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, Indiana Hoosiers, and Kansas Jayhawks in that mix.
The only real rankings are the actual rankings, and Notre Dame is unranked. How is that overrated? And yet ... people can't get enough Notre Dame in their college football diet. The pantakes are served up high with syrup and sausage on a weekly basis. Why would that be if Notre Dame wasn't a power program?
Cowherd wasn't exactly wrong about the Wisconsin Badgers being a better football program than Notre Dame over the past 20 years. If you look at the records alone, it's an easy statement to make. Cowherd, however, makes some really stupid remarks in defense of his statement.
First, he talks about Wisconsin's schedule as if it has been incredibly harder than Notre Dame's over the past 20 years, because Wisconsin is in a conference. Never mind that the running joke for years is that Wisconsin never played a team with a pulse until the end of September. He suggested that the Irish can, and do, schedule a cake walk each season.
He also brings up academics, and calls Wisconsin a "public ivy." It's the weakest argument that can possibly be made here, and is proof that his theory is really a big pile of steaming dog crap.
Dave Bartoo, mastermind of the college football matrix, probably said it best:
yet Notre Dame is closer to winning a national title— Dave Bartoo (@CFBMatrix) August 9, 2017
Seriously. What has Wisconsin won in the last 20 years? What has the Stanford Cardinal won in the last 20 years? If the ultimate factor in deciding how good a program is is the national title, both of those schools don't even compare to Notre Dame over the past 20 years. As crazy as that sounds, it's absolutely true. In the last five years, the Irish played in the National Championship game in 2012, and was one or two plays away from the college football playoff in 2015.
Can Wisconsin claim anything similar? No, of course not.
In fact, when talking about power programs over the past 20 years, there really are only three that come to mind: the USC Trojans, Alabama Crimson Tide, and Ohio State Buckeyes. Notre Dame isn't in that league right now — and no one is even remotely suggesting such.
Cowherd took a hot take, put some lawyer spin on it, and served it up as the law of nature. It's what he does. Wisconsin has been the better program over the past 20 years in terms of wins and losses, but its national impact has been fairly minimal.
Power programs make national impacts. Notre Dame is still a power program that impacts the national championship. I'm not seeing how that means they are overrated, your honor. I object, and ask that this statement be stricken from the record.