Colin Cowherd Has A Poor Memory, Odd Way Of Defining National Champions
ESPN radio host Colin Cowherd twisted history to suit his own purposes Wednesday morning when making the argument that quarterbacks who win the national championship in college go on to be professional failures.
His list of national championship-winning quarterbacks (1992-2007) was as follows:
Jay Barker, Charlie Ward, Tommie Frazier, Danny Wuerffel, Brian Griese, Tee Martin, Chris Weinke, Josh Heupel, Ken Dorsey, Craig Krenzel, JaMarcus Russell, Matt Leinart, Vince Young, Chris Leak, and Matt Flynn.
The problems with this list are numerous. For one, even in the BCS age defining exactly whom is the "national champion" is difficult -- there are no fewer than sixteen organizations that name national champions. ESPN's traditional policy is to use their poll (ESPN co-sponsored the USA Today poll from 1997-2005) on-air, yet Cowherd cited the Associated Press poll for 1997. (He should have stuck with the ESPN poll, which named 13-0 Nebraska led by Scott Frost its national champion.)
He ignores the 1994 Penn State team, named national champs by eight organizations -- including the then-influential New York Times poll in the pre-ESPN age -- and one helmed by Kerry Collins, who led four teams to the playoffs and is now in his 18th year in the NFL.
These somewhat excusable oversights are trumped, however, by his inclusion of Russell on the list, most likely because of his status as a notorious NFL flop. Russell was, indeed, on the 2003 LSU team that was named USA Today/ESPN national champions (the AP tapped USC, led by Matt Leinart, their champions). But Russell was redshirted in 2003, and never saw the field. Matt Mauck led that Tigers team to the championship.
Cowherd's point is entirely salient (with the exception, perhaps, of his exclusion of Collins) without these errors and oversights. He doesn't need to twist history just to sound smarter with his audience.
Follow Timothy on Twitter at @bubbaprog.
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