Any rational view of the evidence through history has Notre Dame head and shoulders above the rest as the most storied college football program in history. But don't take my word for it - look at the numbers:
|School||Winning %||Recognized Championships||Heisman Winners||All-time Wins|
Responses to common arguments from Notre Dame haters:
Notre Dame was only good for a little while way back when; they haven't been good in ages.
Notre Dame has won at least one championship in each decade from 1920s - 1980s (with a near miss in 1993 to miss out on winning a championship in the 90s)
1920s: 1924, 1929
1940s: 1943, 1946, 1947, 1949
1970s: 1973, 1977
No other team can even come close to making a similar claim.
USC and Alabama did not win any championships in the 40s, 50s, or 80s.
Michigan didn't win in the 50s, 60s, 70s, or 80s.
Oklahoma didn't win in the 20s, 30s, 40s, 60s or 90s.
But [Miami, Florida State, Washington, Florida, Boise State, Yale, Princeton, Maryland, etc.] aren't even on your list, despite their [championships, winning percentage, Heisman winners, etc.]
I limited the above list to teams that have played at least 1,000 games, have an all-time winning % of at least 60%, have won at least 2 Recognized National Championships (at least one of which occured after 1950), and are still playing college football on the Div. I-A level.
This is an all-time best list, not a "best since they started playing" or "best of the decade" or "best while they were still playing" or "best of their era" list. You're not that cool. Deal with it.
Notre Dame doesn't deserve credit for being good because they didn't play in bowl games for many years.
Bowl games used to be exhibitions and didn't "count" for anything. This is why Alabama claims a 1973 championship despite losing to the Irish in the Sugar Bowl. Notre Dame refused to play in bowl games because they conflicted with final exams. Notre Dame has participated in bowl games for as long as they have had any impact on the national championship. Claiming that Notre Dame doesn't deserve credit for seasons that they didn't participate in bowl games is like claiming that Benjamin Harrison lost the 1892 election because he lost the popular vote. It's just wrong.
"But [Michigan, Southern Cal, Alabama, Ohio State, Tennessee] has won more championships than that! Their website says so!" or "Notre Dame's website says you've only won 11 championships, and you're claiming 12!"
The numbers used in the chart above are the recognized championships according to the College Football Data Warehouse. Michigan "claims" 4 more championships than the recognized number. Ohio State and Tennessee claim 2 more, and USC and Alabama claim one more.
Notre Dame claims one less, as they only claim AP national championships after 1936. Therefore, they do not claim the 1953 championship - Maryland won the AP and UP poll that year. Notre Dame was 9-0-1, while Maryland was 10-1-0. Notre Dame was selected by the National Championship Foundation and the Helms Athletic Foundation. The College Football Data Warehouse has decided to recognize Notre Dame as co-champions for that year (due in part to their unbeaten record).
I chose the recognized championships from the College Football Data Warehouse because I felt that it would be less biased (and less confusing) than any other method.
For the record, Notre Dame has won more AP national championships than any other team. If you count all of the major selectors, Notre Dame has been selected as the champion in 21 different seasons.
But my team is really better than your team because of [number of draft picks, all-americans, hall of famers, etc.]
Notre Dame has had 30 unanimous first team All-Americans, more than any other school. They have have 78 different consensus All-Americans as designated by the NCAA, more than any other school. Overall, Notre Dame has had 177 selections on All-America first teams, more than any other school.
Notre Dame has had 41 players elected to the College Football Hall of Fame, more than any other school. We've also had 5 coaches (surprise - more than anyone) elected to the Hall of Fame as well.
Notre Dame has had 9 players elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame (although if the person you are talking to is basing their argument on what players did AFTER they left school, they've already devolved into a completely different topic).
Notre Dame has had 132 players drafted into the NFL. I'm not sure if this is more than anyone else, but it is more than Southern Cal (120), Michigan (107), and Alabama (94).I got tired of counting. If you want to go count your school's draft picks, go here.
But my school [graduates players, has better academics, higher GPAs/SATs, more Nobel Prize Winners/Astronauts/Actors, etc.]
Again, this argument is about college football history, not which school is best academically. However, I'd be happy to compare our graduation rates with anyone in the country.
We have a bigger stadium/fanbase!
We have a broadcast deal with NBC to broadcast our home games nationally every week. And we have had 148 consecutive games televised. Now tell me again about your fan base? Notre Dame could sell out a stadium much larger than our current 80,795 capacity, but we don't want a stadium any bigger than we've got. We sell out our stadium every week (179 consecutive home sellouts) and don't need to build a monstrosity to prove our fan base is bigger. Notre Dame developed a national fan base during the Rockne area, and has the largest, broadest fan base of any university. (We also have the largest, broadest group of Notre Dame haters in the country for the same reasons)
In short, when it comes to any argument about the most storied program in college football history, Notre Dame is now, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future, the greatest college football program in history.
End of discussion.