College Football Teams And Their World Cup Doppelgängers
By Dan Mathews
I’m sure most of us here are still reeling from the United States' 2-1 loss in extra time to Belgium at the World Cup. This whole experience did, however, get me thinking: What college football teams compare favorably to the World Cup squads we have watched over the last three weeks?
So here goes teams 1-8 of 16 total during this two-day series:
Spain: Comparison — Texas Longhorns
I think we can all agree that Spain not making it to the knockout round was a huge surprise, especially after it had won the whole thing in 2010. I think many view Texas’ mediocre standing since the 2010 season in the same light. It isn't for a lack of facilities, talent pool or even money! I mean, my God, Texas has its own TV network. The Spanish are going to stick with Vicente del Bosque as their manager until at least 2016, according to their governing body. The Longhorns decided to move on from Mack Brown, or at least he says he decided to move on. Now steps in Charlie Strong coming off his success at Louisville. Only time will tell if he’s a great fit on the 40 Acres in Austin.
Germany: Comparison — Oklahoma Sooners
Both of these teams are riding a lot of momentum right now. Germany is on to the quarterfinal round in Brazil and the Sooners have been buzzing after their Sugar Bowl upset of Alabama. The Sooners have risen to the college football elite level at times since Bob Stoops’ arrival in Norman. They’ve even won a national title in 2000 and played the bridesmaid in a few other championship games. Germany hasn’t won the World Cup since 1990. The Germans had to go through archrival France in order to make it to the semifinals, which is similar to the Red River Rivalry for Texas and OU every year. By the way, can we call that match the Rhine River Rivalry? I think I just did.
Brazil: Comparison — Alabama Crimson Tide
Like Alabama in college football, Brazil has the most World Cup titles at five. The Crimson Tide stake claim to 15 national titles. Both teams are always mentioned near the top of the list of teams vying for their respective titles. The proud tradition and names that both have added to their history almost mirror each other. Joe Namath-Pele. Bear Bryant- Mario Zagallo. Just like in Brazil, which is still alive in the World Cup, Alabama is being picked by many to make a run at their 16th national title in the first year of the new college football playoff.
Portugal: Comparison — Oregon Ducks
I think it’s safe to say that many had Portugal as one of the two teams that was supposed to advance this year out of the “Group of Death” in Brazil. We all know how that went. Likewise, Oregon is a program that has been unable to win the national title despite its growing hype. Many people do not think of the Ducks for their play on the field. Instead, the first thought that usually comes to mind is their never-ending line of new Nike gear they wear pretty much every game day. With Portugal, who do we think of? Christiano Ronaldo. Portugal is seemingly a club that has been unable to get to that next level and yet we still watch it because it feature one of the world’s best players. Oh yeah, we still owe Portugal a huge "thank you" for beating Ghana.
Argentina: Comparison — Florida State Seminoles
Right now, the best player in college football is Jameis Winson after winning both a national title and the Heisman Trophy. Lionel Messi is arguably soccer’s best player in the world right now and his play could lead Argentina to its third World Cup title. The Seminoles have won three national titles of their own and many believe they could be in line to win their fourth this season.
USA: Comparison — Baylor Bears
Both Baylor and The Yanks have won in the past. That being the case, both have made changes at the top that have propelled them in the right direction. The Bears brought head coach Art Briles and his unconventional style to Waco back in 2008. He soon brought QB Robert Griffin III with him. Jurgen Klinsmann brought his prowess as a manager and player in Germany to the USA. Many believe that his RG3 could be the man who scored their lone goal against Belgium, Julien Green. Baylor is also set to move into its new state-of-the-art home stadium on the banks of the Brazos River this season. The future seems to be bright for both the Yanks and the Baylor Bears football program.
Uruguay: Comparison — South Carolina Gamecocks
No, nothing compares to what Luis Suarez did for the third time! I am saying that, like the Suarez distraction, we normally don’t think of South Carolina for its on-field play. Think about it, we usually talk about the Gamecocks for things that head coach Steve Spurrier has been quoted as saying in the media. We also talked a lot about whether defensive end Jadeveon Clowney plays hard on every play. Should he have even played in 2013? These factors make you think of the Gamecocks for things that aren’t necessarily pertinent to the team as a whole on the field. That said, Uruguay is quickly becoming one of the world’s best soccer teams and South Carolina continues to push its way into the SEC elite.
Italy: Comparison — USC Trojans
Italy is always mentioned as a team that is filled with talent and always in the running to win the World Cup. Their last title came in 2006 and in 2014, they didn’t make it out of group play. USC has won many national titles and are usually stacked with talent. They can pull from the athlete-rich Los Angeles-area which always makes the Trojans a recruiting class away from being in the running for another national title. Italy is looking for a new manager after Cesare Prandelli decided to resign following the disappointing showing in Brazil. USC now begins the Steve Sarkisian era on Figueroa Street.
SEC, Big Ten, and one more huge one…you’re on tomorrow’s list. See who are the next eight World Cup teams that college football programs compare to right here on Football.com.