Polls & Rankings

AP All-Time College Football Rankings: 5 Things That Matter

Ohio State 2


The AP came up with its all-time college football rankings with the top 100 teams. What does it all mean? Here’s what matters most.


Greatest College Football Programs of All-Time

The AP all-time college football rankings care about teams being ranked

The way the AP did this is by ranking all the teams placed in the polls since the inception in 1936. It’s based on appearances in the polls – registering one point – and giving a one point bump to a team ranked No. 1 and a 10 point boost for a team that won an AP national title. Get in the poll on a consistent basis for a long, long time, win a few national titles, and you’re going to rank highly in this.

Ohio State is No. 1

The Buckeyes earn the top spot thank to being a mainstay in the AP rankings since 1936. The recent national title didn’t turn out to be the difference, but it became a boost to get a nice cushion up over No. 2 Oklahoma. The Sooners were better at a higher level – especially in the final rankings over the years – but the Buckeyes have been in more polls.

The recently great programs catch a big break

Considering there was a time when the AP poll ranked only 10 teams – from 1962 and 1967 – and it was just a top 20 ranking up until 1961, and then from 1968 to 1989, that means there are more chances to get ranked and find the way into the top 25. The old school blue bloods benefit overall, but the programs that became great over the last few decades – like Miami – get a significant boost.

This all-time ranking doesn’t really care where you’re ranked …

As long as you’re ranked. Being in the No. 1 spot is a huge help – and again, winning a national title is the biggest deal, which is why Michigan is seventh – but overall the goal is to highlight the programs that hung around the polls.

What does this all REALLY mean?

It’s a fun way to see who the best programs really are over the last 80 years, by way of a steadily consistent method. Here are the top 25 rankings with the points after each team, but one thing, the points and rankings don’t jibe with Pitt and Wisconsin …

1. Ohio State 1,112
2. Oklahoma 1,055
3. Notre Dame 1,042
4. Alabama 993
5. USC 974
6. Nebraska 901
7. Michigan 894
8. Texas 822
9. Florida State 714
10. Florida 674
11. LSU 655
12. Penn State 647
13. Miami 642
14. Tennessee 624
15. Georgia 572
16. Auburn 570
17. UCLA 535
18. Texas A&M 477
19. Michigan State 443
20. Washington 430
21. Arkansas 412
22. Clemson 411
23. Pitt 356
24. Wisconsin 366
25. Iowa 329