Greatest Teams of the 1940s - The AP Rankings
Michigan RB Tom Harmon
Michigan RB Tom Harmon
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 18, 2013


The AP poll is has been the most consistent ranking system over the long history of college football. Going by the final rankings, what programs come out best? Here are the top programs of the late 1940s according to the AP polls.


Decade Rankings - 1940s

The AP Rankings 

 
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By the AP Rankings - The Greatest Programs Ever
- 2013 AP Preseason Poll | Top Teams of All-time
- Top Teams of the 1930s | Top Teams of the 1940s
- Top Teams of the 1950s | Top Teams of the 1960s
- Top Teams of the 1970s | Top Teams of the 1980s
- Top Teams of the 1990s | Top Teams of the 2000s 
- Top Teams of the 2010s

The AP rankings might now be irrelevant since they don't have anything to do with determining a national champion anymore, but they're still great to use when analyzing college football on a historical scale.

Around since 1936, the AP college football poll has been through World War II, has changed and adapted with the times, and has often looked to make a statement when needed - like in 2003 by naming USC the national champion, even though LSU took home the BCS title..

Since the AP poll is the only consistent ranking system from 1936 through today, CFN came up with a scoring system to compare and contrast how the programs finished over the decades. Every time a team finished No. 1 in the final poll, it got 25 points. The No. 2 team got 24 points, No. 3 got 23 points, and so on.  Through the decades, the AP ranked the top ten teams for a few years before going back to the top 20 rankings, and eventually, the it went  to the top 25 system it's at now.

According to the scoring system, consistent production isn't necessarily rewarded. For example, if a team finished 17th for four straight years, it would get a total of 36 points (No. 17 gets 9 points). A team that finished the beginning of the decade No. 2 (24 points) and the end of the decade ranked tenth (16 points), but wasn't ranked any year in between, would get a total 40 points.

So with all of that in mind ...

1940 AP National Champions: 1940 Minnesota - 1941 Minnesota - 1942 Ohio State 1943 Notre Dame - 1944 Army - 1945 Army - 1946 Notre Dame - 1947 Notre Dame - 1948 Michigan - 1949 Notre Dame

Rank Teams Points
1 Michigan 210
2 Notre Dame 201
3 Army 146
4 Texas 107
5 Tennessee 103
6 Ohio State 96
7 Duke 86
8 Georgia 85
9 Navy 83
10 Penn  79
11 Minnesota 78
12 Georgia Tech 77.5
13 Northwestern 70
T14 North Carolina 67
T14 Oklahoma 67
15 Alabama 66
16 California 56
17 USC 52
18 Tulsa 51
19 SMU 49
20 LSU 46
T21 Rice 45
T21 Iowa Pre-Flight 45
23 Boston College 39
24 Stanford 38
25 Mississippi 37.3
others receiving votes
Santa Clara 37
Texas A&M 37
Mississippi State 35
UCLA 35
Penn State 34.3
Fordham 34
Wm & Mary 33
Cornell 32
Illinois 32
Great Lakes 30
Bainbridge NTS 30
Washington 30
Indiana 28
Missouri 24.5
Pacific 23
Wisconsin 23
Randolph Field 23
Oklahoma State 21
Purdue 21
Michigan State 19
Duquesne 18
Nebraska 18
Del Monte PF 18
NC State 17
Oregon 17
Washington State 16
Clemson 15
Kentucky 15
Wake Forest 15
Holy Cross 14.3
Kansas 14
Oregon State 14
Saint Mary's (Cal.) 14
Vanderbilt 14
Yale 14
Georgetown 13
Tulane 13
Villanova 13
Norman Pre-Flight 12.5
Coumbia 12
Maryland 12
Arkansas 10
Auburn 10
Dartmouth 10
El Toro Marines 10
Hardin-Simmons 9
Princeton 8
Fort Pierce 8
Colorado College 8
Delaware 7
Lafayette 7
2nd Air Force 6
Baylor 5.5
Saint Mary's PF 2

 
By the AP Rankings - The Greatest Programs Ever
- 2013 AP Preseason Poll | Top Teams of All-time
- Top Teams of the 1930s | Top Teams of the 1940s
- Top Teams of the 1950s | Top Teams of the 1960s
- Top Teams of the 1970s | Top Teams of the 1980s
- Top Teams of the 1990s | Top Teams of the 2000s 
- Top Teams of the 2010s