Polls & Rankings

AP All-Time College Football Rankings: Best Teams 1980 To 1989

Nov 27, 2015; Lincoln, NE, USA; The Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Iowa Hawkeyes play at Memorial Stadium. Iowa beat Nebraska 28-20. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 27, 2015; Lincoln, NE, USA; The Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Iowa Hawkeyes play at Memorial Stadium. Iowa beat Nebraska 28-20. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports


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 1980s according to a CFN formula using all the AP’s final polls.


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It was the decade of the Miami Hurricanes with three AP national championships, Penn State won two, and BYU managed to pull it off in 1984, but Nebraska’s consistent greatness ended up making it the best program of the 1980s – at least according to the final AP rankings.

Taking all the AP final rankings, CFN devised a scoring system giving every AP national champion 25 points, the No. 2 team 24, No. 3 23, and so on down to the bottom. So even though Nebraska didn’t win a national championship, it still turned out to be very, very good.

1980 AP National Champions
1980 Georgia
1981 Clemson
1982 Penn Sate
1983 Miami
1984 BYU
1985 Oklahoma
1986 Penn State
1987 Miami
1988 Notre Dame
1989 Miami

1980s AP Rankings Greatest Teams

These rankings are created according to the CFN scoring system – this isn’t the official AP ranking of its all-time greatest teams.

RANK TEAM POINTS
1 Nebraska 190
2 Miami 174
3 Michigan 144
4 Oklahoma 142
5 UCLA 128
6 Penn State 125
T7 Auburn 124
T7 Florida State 124
9 Georgia 113
10 Clemson 112
11 Alabama 106
T12 Ohio State 99
T12 USC 99
14 SMU 94
15 BYU 85
16 Washington 80
17 Pittsburgh 79
18 LSU 76
19 Notre Dame 75
20 Arkansas 69
21 Iowa 66
22 Florida 64
23 Arizona State 58
T24 Tennessee 55
T24 Texas A&M 55
others receiving votes
Texas 54
West Virginia 52
Oklahoma State 49
North Carolina 41
Baylor 35
Boston College 35
Syracuse 35
Illinois 32
Air Force 31
Maryland 28
Michigan State 28
Colorado 22
Houston 20
Arizona 16
South Carolina 15
Virginia 14
Washington St 10
Purdue 9
Georgia Tech 7
Kentucky 7
Mississippi St 7
Missouri 7
Texas Tech 7
East Carolina 6
Indiana 6
Virginia Tech 5