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Newsstand: Notre Dame named to ‘Mount Rushmore of College Football villains’

Kyle Kellyby:Kyle Kelly05/20/24


The University of Notre Dame and its football program must not be one of the heroes of college football after all. In fact, one sports media outlet thinks the Fighting Irish are among the sport’s “Mount Rushmore of Villians.”

Last Tuesday, The Athletic’s Ari Wasserman, Sam Khan and Mitch Light each named their four biggest villains in college football since 1980. Khan chose the Irish as his fourth selection.

“The current Fighting Irish aren’t as polarizing as they used to be, but think of the program a little bit like the New York Yankees: a ton of historical success that earned the Irish a lot of haters,” Khan said. “The Irish have the fourth-most wins in college football history, the second-most national titles among current FBS schools (and fourth-most overall). Notre Dame is the only major program with its own network TV rights contract and the only major program not in a football conference, and it has received special consideration in college football’s postseason structure (see: the BCS’ “Notre Dame rule”). 

“For a long time, the Fighting Irish were the anti-underdogs. Tony Kornheiser used to call Notre Dame ‘The University of Football in America.’ Oh, and lest we forget, the Irish had run-ins with those old Miami teams, including the birth of the infamous ‘Catholics vs. Convicts’ T-shirt in 1988.”

On Light’s list, he named former Irish and Kansas head football coach Charlie Weis.

“Weis was despised by college football fans around the country from the time he uttered the phrase ‘decided schematic advantage’ as the coach at Notre Dame,” Light said. “He used that decided advantage to go 35-27 in five seasons at Notre Dame and 6-22 in two-plus seasons at Kansas.”

A complete breakdown of their Mount Rushmore’s of college football’s villains can be found here

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