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The Greatest Program Of All-Time Is ...

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 16, 2014


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 teams since 1936 according to the AP polls.


All-Time Decade Rankings

The AP Rankings 


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By the AP Rankings - The Greatest Programs Ever
- 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 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.

The AP college football poll has been through World War II, 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 with the No. 25 team getting one point.  Through the decades, the AP ranked the top ten teams for a few years before going back to the top 20 rankings, and eventually, 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.

One fascinating thing to note: all the club teams that played during World War II. Notice the rankings of the all-star teams like the Iowa Pre-Fight juggernaut and the Bainbridge NTS powerhouse. In the end, though, the big-name programs you'd think would rock, did. There's a reason the superpowers of today got their reputations - they won.

However, things can change in a big hurry. When we did this in 2000, Notre Dame was on top of the world by a huge margin. Over a decade later and a following down period, things have changed up a bit. Also, one big year can change things up fast. Oklahoma was great last year, Michigan wasn't, so the gap between the two widened. Last year, OU was only ten points ahead of the Wolverines, 953 points to 943. Ohio State, Alabama and Notre Dame are closing fast, but one program stands as the far and away best of all-time - at least according to this formula.

So here we go - here are the greatest college football programs since 1936 according to the AP rankings.

1 Oklahoma 995
2 Michigan 943
3 Ohio State 941
4 Alabama 940
5 Notre Dame 932
6 Nebraska  782
7 USC  773
8 Texas  741
9 Penn State 665
10 Tennessee 659
11 LSU 584
12 Georgia 553
13 Auburn  550
14 Miami 528
15 Florida State 511
T16 Florida  486
T16 UCLA 486
18 Arkansas 415
19 Michigan State 403
20 Texas A&M 383
21 Georgia Tech 343
22 Washington 323
23 Ole Miss 322
24 Clemson 317
25 Wisconsin 309
Others Receiving Votes
26 Iowa  302
27 Pitt 293
28 Colorado 258
29 Stanford 241
30 Army 239
31 Maryland 238
32 Arizona State 236
33 Minnesota 236
34 TCU 230
35 Missouri 219
36 Purdue 215
T37 Duke 213
T37 Virginia Tech 213
39 Oregon 204
40 North Carolina 199
T41 California 198
T41 Navy 198
43 West Virginia 194
44 Syracuse 191
45 SMU 184
46 BYU 178
47 Illinois 177
48 Kansas State 168
49 Houtson 164
50 Oklahoma State 146
51 Baylor 145
52 Southern Miss 143
53 Oregon State 139
54 Boise State 136
55 Northwestern 135
56 Washington State 131
57 Boston College 128
58 South Carolina 118
59 Texas Tech 116
60 Rice 107
61 NC State 105
62 Lousiville 102
63 Mississippi State 100
T64 Kansas 96
T64 Kentucky 96
66 Fordham 88
67 Santa Clara 85
68 Tulane 81
69 Penn 76
T70 Air Force 75
T70 Utah 75
T72 Cornell 68
T72 Miami University 68
T72 Tulsa 68
75 Virginia 66
76 Indiana 63
77 Dartmouth 60
78 Princeton 55
79 Yale 54
80 Holy Cross 52
81 Wyoming 48
T82 Arizona 46
T82 Duquesne 46
84 Iowa Pre-Flight 44
85 Villanova 41
86 Rutgers 40
87 Cincinnati 37
88 William & Mary 33
89 March Field 32
T90 Colorado State 31
T90 Toledo 31
92 Bainbridge NTS 30
93 Great Lakes 29
94 Utah State 26
T95 East Carolina 23
T95 Pacific 23
T95 Randolph Field 23
98 Wake Forest 22
99 UCF 21
100 Carnegie Tech 20
T101 St. Mary's (CA) 19
T101 Vanderbilt 19
T103 Del Monte Pre-Flight 18
T103 Marshall 18
105 Nevada 15
T106 Georgetown 13
T106 Hawaii 13
T106 Norman Pre-Flight 13
T109 Columbia 12
T109 San Francisco 12
111 Tuslsa 11
T112 Boston University 10
T112 El Toro Marines 10
T112 San Diego State 10
T115 George Washington 9
T115 Hardin-Simmons 9
T115 New Mexico State 9
T115 Temple 9
T119 Colorado College 8
T119 Fort Pierce 8
T119 Iowa State 8
T119 Washington & Lee 8
T123 Delaware 7
T123 Lafayette 7
T123 St. Mary's Pre-Flight 7
T126 Fresno State 6
T126 Marquette 6
T126 Ohio 6
T126 Sec. Air Force 6
T126 VMI 6
131 San Jose State 5
132 Northern Illinois 4
T133 Bowling Green 3
T133 Central Michigan 3