Polls & Rankings

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


The UPI and Coaches polls have been part of the college football fabric almost 70 years. Going by the final rankings, what programs come out on top and how are they ranked? Here are the top programs of the 1980s according to a CFN formula using all the UPI and USA Today Coaches poll final rankings.


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Coaches Poll College Football Rankings 
All-Time Coaches Poll Rankings | AP All-Time Rankings
ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | M-West | Pac-12 | SEC
1950s | 1960s  | 1970s | 1990s | 2000s | 2010s

Which college football programs are the greatest of all-time according to the UPI and USA Today Coaches final polls?

You’d think this would’ve been the decade of Miami with three national titles and being a few plays away from winning a couple more, but Nebraska was the consistently great star of the 1980s. There might not have been a national championship, but the Huskers were right there in the hunt each and every year.

BYU was the interesting program outside of the blue blood superpowers, finishing 12th helped by the 1984 national title. Washington and Pitt were powerhouses, and UCLA was great finishing seventh as the highest-ranked Pac-10 team.

Taking all the UPI and Coaches Poll 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.

1980s Coaches Poll National Champions

1980 Georgia
1981 Clemson
1982 Penn State
1983 Miami
1984 BYU
1985 Oklahoma
1986 Penn State
1987 Miami
1988 Notre Dame
1999 Miami

1980s Coaches Poll Rankings Greatest Teams

Rank Schools Points
1 Nebraska 194
2 Miami 149
3 Oklahoma 148
4 Michigan 135
4 Penn State 135
6 Florida State 134
7 UCLA 129
8 Auburn 123
9 Alabama 120
10 Georgia 113
11 Ohio State 106
12 BYU 91
13 USC 87
14 Washington 86
15 Clemson 81
16 Pittsburgh 79
17 Arkansas 78
18 Iowa 72
19 LSU 67
20 Notre Dame 64
21 SMU 63
22 Oklahoma State 58
22 Texas 58
24 Tennessee 56
25 West Virginia 54
Others Receiving Votes
26 Texas A&M 50
27 North Carolina 48
28 Florida 46
29 Arizona State 41
30 Baylor 39
31 Boston College 36
31 Syracuse 36
33 Air Force 32
33 Illinois 32
35 Maryland 28
35 Michigan State 28
37 South Carolina 24
38 Colorado 22
38 Michigan 22
40 Virginia 20
41 Arizona 16
42 Indiana 13
43 Fresno State 10
43 Purdue 10
43 Texas Tech 10
43 Washington State 10
47 Mississippi State 9
47 NC State 9
49 Georgia Tech 8
50 Kentucky 7
50 Southern Miss 7
52 Missouri 6
52 Wyoming 6