I ... I just can't with this guy. I respect the hell out of Colin Cowherd for being able to do a solo show every day and for the audience he's cultivated. But my God, what a preposterous thing to say.
Now this graphic lacks some necessary context, because it's not entirely clear what exactly Cowherd means by "top college football programs." The inclusion of USC, Florida State and Texas leads me to believe this is supposed to be some sort of all-time list and the brands which should be the top teams in the country consistently. Even so, the USC Trojans do not belong in the top tier of any such list.
USC is not what it once was. It has a history that leads me to believe it has the ability to bounce back, if given the right circumstances — much like my beloved Tennessee Volunteers — but there is nothing about the current state of USC football which should give anyone confidence in listing it alongside Alabama, Oklahoma and Ohio State right now.
Clemson, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Penn State and Oregon — just from that list — are all in better positions for the next decade and beyond than USC. There's a reason J.T. Daniels recently left and went to a situation at Georgia where he's not even guaranteed to be the starter.
The Trojans have won one undisputed national championship since 1972. They've won one major bowl game since 2008. USC has had a couple upticks in the past decade, but for the most part, it's become an eight- or nine-win football program in the fourth- or fifth-best conference in the Power Five in any given year.
If USC had Tennessee's 2020 schedule — at Oklahoma, Florida, Alabama, at Georgia, etc. — it would struggle to make a bowl game. USC is a program which relies on name recognition and feasts on lower-level competition in order to achieve a record even remotely commensurate with the name brand it supposedly still is.
USC hasn't been nationally relevant since Pete Carroll's departure, with the exception of a couple seasons. It's still a solid football program for a conference which needs it. But it's laughable to include it in the same breath as Alabama.