Examining college football’s VIP-statuses

·4 min read

The international sports world was shaken upside down as recently as the creation of the “Super League” in soccer means that 12 of the most popular teams in the world are starting their own league and essentially forgetting about everything else.

The good for them means that the rich essentially get richer because the TV deal would be massive, but for the good of the sport, it’s hard to see the positives.

What if college football were to do something similar?

Who would make the cut and who would be playing a lower level of college football?

Andy Staples of The Athletic put together his list of 15 programs that would be included in this make-believe land of college football’s elite programs, but he also offered that location would have to be taken into account for the good of the game and league.

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With the cutoff being set at 15 in this case there are plenty of obvious programs.

Alabama, Clemson, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Penn State, Texas, and USC are all obvious choices to me and all require no further discussion.

The final five spots aren’t nearly as easy for me to hand to who Staples awarded them to, not to say he’s wrong, but they’re clearly the ones up for debate.

Auburn

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Auburn: Can a team that is so clearly the second fiddle in their own state be included? I know 2010 happened thanks to Cam Newton's ridiculousness, but the divide between what Auburn thinks they are and what Auburn actually is, is significant. I have them in but it wasn't a two-foot putt by any means.

Who represents Florida?

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Florida: If it's the best 15 then they're in but historically which are you taking from the Sunshine State? Nothing against the Gators as it's not their fault they're in an absolutely loaded football state year in and year out, but in comparing resumes I have them the third-best in the state, even if they're in the best shape of the Power Five members currently.

Is Georgia a no-brainer?

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Georgia: Close but no cigar, time after time. It's a football-crazy state that turns out talent and the Bulldogs are almost always good, but does their one national championship all-time make them a shoo-in? They'd be in my 15 but it's not as much of a clear case as I feel many believe it is.

Nebraska needs a time machine

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Nebraska: Did I miss us all getting in time machines and taking them back to the mid-nineties? It's been nearly 20 years since Nebraska was relevant. They couldn't wait to chase Frank Solich away and have lived to regret it ever since. I'm sorry but Tom Osborne and Tommy Frazier don't gain the Huskers automatic qualification in 2021.

A change in the Pacific Northwest

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Oregon: The Ducks are the only program on this list that hasn't won a national title. They've been close a few times but without the crystal football can they actually be considered? If you're looking for representation from the pacific northwest I'd be giving my vote to Washington based on history.

Deserve discussion but not entry

Others with a case: Of programs I haven't already listed, Tennessee deserves at least a mention, but ultimately they'd suffer for the same reason I have Nebraska suffering because they haven't been in contention for anything major for over two decades.

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Texas A&M has a lot of attention year in and year out but based on facilities and funding they just might be the most disappointing program over the long history of college football. Their fans would think they have a case and they're right, but it's not a strong enough case to gain entry. Wisconsin had a long way to come to get into contention and that speaks to the miracle turnaround Barry Alvarez performed there, but you can't just erase the long, unimpressive history before him. An impressive last 30 years for the Badgers but things go back a lot further than that. Pitt claims five titles which are mighty impressive but looking back to see when they were competing for anything meaningful makes it seem like the droughts in Nebraska and Tennessee aren't that long.

My ultimate 15 VIPs

These 15 are the correct 15, no question about it. Clearly. Alabama Notre Dame Ohio State Oklahoma USC Texas Michigan LSU Clemson Penn State Georgia Miami (FL) Auburn Florida State Washington

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