Notre Dame Cleans Up On SI's Celebrating 150 Years of College Football

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Notre Dame Cleans Up On SI's Celebrating 150 Years of College Football

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Notre Dame Cleans Up On SI's Celebrating 150 Years of College Football

The Fighting Irish lore is strong as college football heads into it's historic season.

Elsa | Getty Images


College football is near.

We can smell it. We can hear it. The cicada bugs are out in the evening, and in the distance you can almost hear the pads crunching, the coaches yelling, and the bands practicing for the glorious return of one of our favorite sports. 

This season is a little extra special for college football as it celebrates 150 years of existence. Because of that remarkable anniversary, Sports Illustrated has compiled a list to celebrate the greatest of the great in college football over the last 150 years. 

Notre Dame shows up often. 

Each list is a top-10 list of various categories surrounding the game including best college football town, best mascot, best coach, etc. Let's see how they did. 

BEST COACH 

  • #3 Knute Rockne

"Rockne didn't just transform Notre Dame, he transformed college football. Famous for helping popularize the forward pass as a player, Rockne was named Fighting Irish head coach in 1918 and quickly turned the program into a brand name. In 13 years at Notre Dame, he won three national titles, only lost 12 games, and introduced the Irish to a national schedule by adding formidable opponents like Army, Penn State, Navy and USC. His life was cut short when he died in a plane crash in 1931, but his legendary status and impact live on forever—not just in South Bend, but everywhere."

The national titles, the famed speech from Rudy, the Four Horseman. There's no surprise that Rockne is on this list. He made it ahead of other legendary ball coaches Pop Warner, Woody Hayes, and Bobby Bowden. 

BEST HELMET

  • #1 NOTRE DAME 

"When people think of college football helmets, the Fighting Irish always come to mind. There’s no logo, but the simplicity is part of what makes it the greatest helmet in college football history. The distinctive gold color is a nod to the Golden Dome atop the Notre Dame Administration Building on campus. A further link: Each helmet contains 23.9 karat gold flakes collected from the dome when it was regilded in the mid-2000s. The result? The helmets are shinier than ever, and the Fighting Irish continue to be the gold standard for helmets."

They are the envy of college football. No matter how great any other program says their helmet is *cough Michigan cough*, they still don't have literal gold on their head. 

BEST FOOTBALL PROGRAM

  • #6 NOTRE DAME

"The Irish and their eight AP titles are only bested by Alabama's 11. Their 897 all-time wins are tied with Nebraska for fifth, but only one other team on this list has a longer streak without a national championship."

IS NOTRE DAME STILL A BLUE-BLOOD PROGRAM?! is a pretty common First Take debate we get it at least a college football fall. The answer is clear - yes. They always will be. Unfortunately, a couple of their biggest rivals in Michigan (3) and USC (5) bested them here. 

BEST FIGHT SONG

  • #4

"Widely regarded as one of—if not the—most recognizable college fight songs, “Victory March” was shoe-in for a spot on this list. Brothers Michael and John Shay, also alums, wrote the Notre Dame anthem. The song was first played on campus on Easter Sunday in 1909, perhaps a nod to the school’s Catholic faith."

Much to the shagrin of all Notre Dame faithful, Michigan's "The Victors" wound up number one on the list. 

BEST STADIUM

  • #3

"Located right in the thick of the South Bend campus, Notre Dame Stadium is a classic location in college football. Known for its view of the school’s famous “Touchdown Jesus” mural rising above the north end zone, the stadium has been atop the travel list for many a visiting fan over the years, and the university has impressively sold out 268 consecutive home games."

That last stat is saying something because there's been a few really, really rough seasons in the past 15 years. 2007 and 2017 the Irish were a combined 7-17. Irish faithful are definitely not used to that, but hey, that's part of the reason Notre Dame Stadium is so high on this list - it's never a bad gameday experience. 

There's a handful more categories to check out. Heck, there's even a "best college town eats" countdown. That's another beautiful part about college ball - all the legendary local foods. 

As soon as you get on campus you can almost smell them. 

Just like college football. 

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