Ask most college football fans to name the top programs in the country and you’ll probably get the same three answers: Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State.
The Crimson Tide, the Tigers and the Buckeyes have been the class of the college football world for the last decade-plus. The three programs have constantly competed for College Football Playoff spots and national championships. They’re always ranked at the top of the team recruiting rankings, too.
FOX Sports 1 host Colin Cowherd has a different top tier, though. The popular sports radio host said this week that there are only four “tier one” college football programs. And Clemson, despite its dominance, is not one of them.
Cowherd has the following four programs at the top of his list right now: Alabama, Ohio State, Oklahoma and USC.
USC, of course, is the puzzling choice, but it’s important to note that Cowherd is a West Coast guy and often shows a West Coast bias when it comes to football. No one in the mainstream sports media talks more about USC (and former USC quarterback Sam Darnold) than Cowherd.
Cowherd has Clemson, and several other prominent programs, in his “tier two” section. You can view the full list below:
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) June 23, 2020
As you can imagine, Clemson fans aren’t very happy with Cowherd’s list. But Cowherd went into detail about his list.
“It doesn’t matter who coaches LSU or Georgia. If Alabama’s got (Nick) Saban, they dominate the conference. If USC has their best coaches ever, John McKay or Pete Carroll, it doesn’t matter how good Oregon or Washington or UCLA are. They dominate the conference. There’s only four of those. That’s it.”
It’s not a ridiculous opinion, but it’s a little odd to have someone like USC in Tier 1 while putting Texas in Tier 2. Both the Longhorns and the Trojans have prominent histories, fertile recruiting areas and a recent lack of success on the national stage.
But hey, it’s Cowherd’s list.