AP College Football Rankings: Greatest Programs Of All-Time

AP College Football Rankings: Greatest Programs Of All-Time

AP Poll

AP College Football Rankings: Greatest Programs Of All-Time

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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.

No other ranking system provides a better historical snapshot of the last 80+ seasons.

There were 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.

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 the rankings were only a top ten for a bit, and was 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.

AP Final Rankings Greatest Teams Of All-Time

Rankings from 1935 through to Clemson’s national championship after the 2018 season. Who earned the most respect and attention from the AP voters?

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

Rank Teams Points Previous Rank
1 Oklahoma 1182 1
2 Alabama 1062 2
3 Ohio State 1052 3
4 Michigan 985 4
5 Notre Dame 975 5
6 USC 832 6
7 Texas 789 8
8 Nebraska 783 7
9 Penn State 694 10
10 Tennessee 686 9
11 LSU 653 11
12 Georgia 591 14
13 Auburn 572 13
14 Florida State 563 12
15 Miami 530 15
16 Florida 518 17
17 UCLA 503 16
18 Michigan State 454 18
19 Arkansas 439 19
20 Clemson 424 20
21 Washington 376 22
22 Texas A&M 375 21
23 Wisconsin 363 22
24 Ole Miss 347 24
25 Georgia Tech 343 25

NEXT: AP College Football Rankings: Greatest Programs Of All-Time: 26 to Finish

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