AP College Football Rankings: Greatest Programs Of All-Time

AP College Football Rankings: Greatest Programs Of All-Time

Polls & Rankings

AP College Football Rankings: Greatest Programs Of All-Time


The AP poll is has been the most consistent ranking system over the long history of college football. What programs come out best? Here are the top programs according to a CFN formula using all the AP’s final rankings.


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The AP college football rankings don’t have anything to do with the College Football Playoff process, and they haven’t had a part in determining the actual national champion for over a decade, but they’ve been the most consistent and reliable polls since 1936.

There might have been times when the AP rankings went rogue – making the biggest splash in 2003 naming USC the national champion, and not BCS Champion LSU – and they’ve played a part in the past when it comes to split title winners. They just keep on marching along.

There might be other polls out there, and there are several other historical markers to go by, but the AP college football rankings have been around long enough to provide a proper snapshot of the last 80 years.

Here’s the drill. 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 – currently No. 25, but there was a top ten for a bit and later a top 20.

What does this all prove? Consistency is great, consistency at a high level matters more, and winning national championships – or coming close – becomes a gamechanger.

Over a three-year span, a school could finish 15th – getting 33 overall points according to this system – and it would be behind a team that won a national title one year, 17th the next, and unranked the following year.

AP Final Rankings Greatest Teams Of All-Time

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

Rankings from 1935 through to Alabama’s national championship after the 2017 season.

Top Teams Of The … 1930s | 1940s | 1950s
1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s | 2010s

Rank Teams Points Previous Rank
1 Oklahoma 1160 1
2 Alabama 1038 2
3 Ohio State 1029 3
4 Michigan 973 4
5 Notre Dame 954 5
6 USC 832 6
7 Nebraska 783 7
8 Texas 772 8
9 Tennessee 686 9
10 Penn State 685 10
11 LSU 633 11
T12 Auburn 572 13
T12 Georgia 572 14
14 Florida State 563 12
15 Miami 530 15
16 UCLA 503 16
17 Florida 499 17
18 Michigan State 454 18
19 Arkansas 439 19
20 Clemson 399 20
21 Texas A&M 365 21
T22 Washington 363 22
T22 Wisconsin 363 24
24 Ole Miss 347 23
25 Georgia Tech 343 25
Others Receiving Votes
26 Iowa 319 26
27 Pitt 293 27
28 TCU 289 29
29 Stanford 284 28
30 Colorado 267 30
31 Oregon 254 31
32 Missouri 251 32
33 Arizona State 242 33
34 Army 239 34
35 Maryland 238 35
36 Minnesota 236 36
37 Virginia Tech 225 37
38 Duke 213 38
39 North Carolina 210 39
40 Navy 207 40
41 West Virginia 204 41
42 California 198 42
43 Purdue 196 43
44 Syracuse 191 44
45 Houston 183 45
46 Oklahoma State 179 51
47 BYU 178 46
T48 Illinois 177 T47
T48 Baylor 177 T47
50 Kansas State 176 49
51 SMU 168 50
T52 Boston College 150 52
T52 Boise State 150 53
54 Northwestern 147 54
55 Washington State 123 55
56 Oregon State 120 56
57 South Carolina 118 57
58 Miss State 122 58
59 Louisville 109 59
61 N.C. State 108 60
60 Rice 107 61
62 Texas Tech 104 62
63 Kansas 96 63
64 Kentucky 96 64
65 Pennsylvania 95 65
66 Utah 92 66
67 Fordham 88 67
68 Santa Clara 86 68
69 Arizona 84 69
70 Tulane 81 70
71 Tulsa 79 71
72 Air Force 75 72
T73 Cornell 68 T73
T73 Miami Univ. 68 T73
75 Virginia 66 75
76 Indiana 63 76
77 Dartmouth 61 77
78 Princeton 55 78
79 Yale 54 79
80 Holy Cross 53 80
81 Wyoming 48 81
82 Duquesne 46 82
83 Iowa Pre-Flight 44 83
T84 UCF 41 T99
T84 Villanova 41 84
86 Rutgers 40 85
87 Cincinnati 37 86
88 William & Mary 33 87
89 March Field 32 88
T90 Colorado State 31 T89
T90 Toledo 31 T89
92 Bainbridge NTS 30 91
93 Great Lakes 29 92
94 Utah State 26 93
95 Southern Miss 25 94
T96 East Carolina 23 T95
T96 Pacific 23 T95
T96 Randolph Field 23 T95
99 Wake Forest 22 98
100 Marshall 21 T99
101 Carnegie Tech 20 101
T102 St. Mary’s (Cal.) 19 T102
T102 Vanderbilt 19 T102
104 Del Monte P-F 18 104
105 Nevada 15 105
T106 Georgetown 13 T106
T106 Hawaii 13 T106
T106 Norman Pre-Flight 13 T106
T109 Columbia 12 T109
T109 San Francisco 12 T109
T109 USF 12 T123
T112 San Diego State 11 T111
T112 Western Michigan 11 T111
T114 Boston University 10 T113
T114 El Toro Marines 10 T113
T116 George Washington 9 T115
T116 Hardin-Simmons 9 T115
T116 New Mexico State 9 T115
T116 Temple 9 T115
T120 Colorado College 8 T119
T120 Fort Pierce 8 T119
T120 Iowa State 8 T119
T120 Washington & Lee 8 T119
T124 Delaware 7 T123
T124 Lafayette 7 T123
T124 St. Mary’s PF 7 T123
T127 Fresno State 6 T127
T127 Marquette 6 T127
T127 Ohio 6 T127
T127 Sec. Air Force 6 T127
T127 VMI 6 T127
132 San Jose State 5 132
133 Northern Illinois 4 133
T134 Bowling Green 3 T134
T134 Central Michigan 3 T134
T136 WKU 2 136
T136 Memphis 2 137
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