Virtually every discussion of college football tiers will include Alabama and Ohio State. Clemson is also more or less a cinch given their recent success, but that isn’t a universal opinion apparently.
FS1’s Colin Cowherd always veers a bit contrary to the mainstream. He also loves the USC Trojans, even if the team has been largely disappointing for more than a decade now. You can see where this is going.
Cowherd has USC in the top tier of college football programs, along with Alabama and Ohio State. Oklahoma rounds out the small group. That leaves off Clemson and a number of other power programs that have been much better than the Trojans for years now.
Clemson is the obvious one, but LSU is in Tier 2 as well. The Tigers have now won three modern titles with three coaches. Clearly it’s an elite job. There are a few others that would certainly warrant an argument considering USC is in Tier 1.
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) June 23, 2020
The biggest argument against Clemson, if we’re looking at this wholistically, is that the Tigers haven’t done it without Dabo Swinney, while we’ve seen Alabama, Oklahoma, and Ohio State have eras of dominance with various coaches. It is hard to argue that they don’t have the commitment to the program to allow the Tigers to remain an elite program whenever Swinney leaves.
As mentioned above, LSU has done just that, with titles under Nick Saban, Les Miles, and now Ed Orgeron. The Tigers clearly have the infrastructure in place, with every coach that has rolled through Baton Rouge since 2000 winning the big one.
Another knock against USC is the choice of Texas, and a few similar programs in the second tier. If you’re dubbing USC as a Tier 1 based on potential, even with a lack of top-level recent success, Texas is in the same boat.