If College Football Teams Were National Soccer Clubs, Which Ones Would They Be?
If there's one thing that fans who love all the popular American sports and soccer want it's obvious: We want our non-futbol-loving peers and favorite sports media personalities to come around, too.
So, you could imagine any soccer fan's amusement when an ESPN radio host said he could finally get down with soccer once he figured out that it was just like college football, but for the world.
And, yes, college football is definitely the perfect analogy in American sports to compare to soccer. No other sport emphasizes tradition and culture in the same way college football does.
No other sport stresses the importance of home-field advantage like college football does. And no other sport inspires till-death-do-us-part loyalty like college football does.
Is that all you guys needed to hear to be able to jump on board the bandwagon? Why didn't you just say so?
Here's what the top football programs would be if they were national teams.
Miami — Brazil
Both of these programs dominated the '90s and the early 2000s. Both of them have the most memorable dynasties in their respective sports because they did it with flair.
Now, both are in a slump that has no definite end in sight.
Michigan — Argentina
Both make up one-half of the greatest rivalry in their respected sports. Both also have done just enough winning and have produced just enough top players that they can still look down upon other programs.
Still, it's been multiple decades since either has won a title, which means they're "A-" programs, for now.
Oregon — Belgium
Despite neither having set a precedent as a football powerhouse, Belgium and Oregon have become two of the trendier names in their arenas.
Both fell upon a goldmine of physically talented prospects within the past five years, but you get the sense that, like Oregon, if Belgium doesn't win soon, their window won't stay open forever.
Arizona — USA
On their day, either of these teams can beat anyone in the game. Realistically though, both programs are from places in the world where talent is scarce, and that fact will always keep them from rising above a certain ceiling.
In the same way that AU can brag that its campus is better than anyone else's when they lose, America can basically do the same to whatever country it loses to.
Texas — The Netherlands
Like the Netherlands, Texas has produced some of the best players ever and is just a level below Miami, all things considered, when it comes to the coolest program to support, the same way Holland is just behind Brazil.
Both programs, though, have failed to keep up with the ways their peers have matured, and it shows in how they've dramatically fallen off. Holland's didn't even qualify for the Euros. And Texas? Well, who know when we'll ever see them in the college football playoff.
USC — France
France and USC are the perfect hybrids for programs that offer cool teams to support from cool places to live. Still, their name and their history far outweigh their capabilities at this point.
And, not to mention, dumb controversies keep coming up for both. USC having a coach get into drinking trouble and a player making up a fake story about saving a drowning toddler is almost as wacky as French players being arrested for blackmailing teammates over a sex tape.
Ohio State — Germany
The influence of both Germany and Ohio State is pervasive around the world. The rise of both of their programs has provided a break from the dictatorship of Spain and Alabama over their respective sports.
The question is, can either keep the momentum going from the championship each won during the 2014 season and squeeze out another trophy from their current classes?
Alabama — Spain
Spain had a period success that was similar to Bama's in that it won three titles in six years, which led to everyone wanting to do things the Spanish way.
People wanted to use Spanish playing styles. People wanted to develop prospects the way Spanish people do. And the worst part? Just when you thought they were done dominating, a new class of amazing talents came behind to replace veterans. Throw in the cocky fans that expect to win everything and you have Bama.
Notre Dame — England
Like Notre Dame, English football is known for having lucrative TV contracts and unending prestige to its game.
Like ND, England's name is much more valuable than its actual team.
Once in a while, they'll do well enough to earn their way to the big games (think ND vs. Bama, circa 2012) and when they do, it becomes clear that they're not even in the same league as the top dogs.
Oklahoma — Mexico
You can never count either program out — ever. They're part of a select group of teams that will just always be good.
Still, compared to the rest of the teams in that group, they're really only the best of a bad bunch (Mexico in CONCACAF and OU in the BIG 12).
Stanford — Switzerland
Stanford is like Switzerland in that you don't really expect them to win. You're just surprised that their programs have made it to a point that they can consistently win.
And it's also fun pointing out when these two programs produce great players. (Did you know that Andrew Luck is really smart and went to Stanford?) Who knew such great products could come from such prissy places.
LSU — Italy
If we're going to be honest, neither of these teams have been producing great classes of talent lately.
Still, getting a job coaching either of these teams feels like it will always be a top-five gig in the game. And, despite the talent dearth, you wouldn't be surprised if either found its way to a trophy any given year because you can always count on them to have good defenses.
Clemson — Colombia
Clemson is one of those schools that has enough history to make it a respected brand name in football, hadn't been much of a serious contender lately. That is, until the past two years.
Now, these two programs are the ones you look to as teams that any neutral fan can root for, especially those looking for a change at the top.
Baylor — Chile
Like Baylor, Chile comes from an area where it's very easy to fall behind the shadows of the traditional powers (think Texas and now think Brazil).
But while those traditional powers have slipped, these two programs have taken full advantage. Baylor has proven itself on multiple occasions to be the best program in Texas the way Chile has in South America.
Houston — Wales
You don't know how either is succeeding, you just know that they are.
Boise State — Iceland
Both hail from places you're not sure you can locate on the map and have been very stealthily gaining momentum before having their big moment.
No matter where Iceland goes from here, they'll always have a win over England on their resume, the same way Boise State will always have that 2007 Fiesta Bowl win against Oklahoma.
Florida — Portugal
Both have a deceptive reputation in that when you look at their histories, you'll notice they're not nearly as good historically as the other programs we compare them to.
Both had been plagued by an inability to get their hands on the right coaches nor the right young players. Because of that, it hasn't been much fun following either for the better part of the past five years.
Turkey — Penn State
Neither has done anything for us lately. At this point, the most valuable asset that either has to its name is possibly the craziest crowd in their respective sports.
Tennessee — Croatia
They have the talent to do damage every couple of years and before competitions begin, looking at their roster makes it tempting to choose them as a dark horse.
And they might be able to pull off a shock once in awhile — if their administration wasn't in shambles.
TCU — Uruguay
Like Uruguay, the post-2010 surge that TCU has experienced feels like it came "out of nowhere." But there was a period in time when TCU dominated; it's just that no one remembers it.
TCU's two national titles between 1935 and 1938 are just as sneaky of accomplishments as Uruguay's 1930 and 1950 World Cups.