AP College Football Rankings: Greatest Programs Of All-Time

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

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 consistent and reliable since 1936.

No other ranking system provides a better historical snapshot of the last 90+ 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 – make a program an all-time powerhouse.

AP Final Rankings Greatest Teams Of All-Time

Rankings from 1935 through to LSU’s national championship after the 2019 season. Who earned the most all-time 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 1201 1
2 Alabama 1080 2
3 Ohio State 1075 3
4 Michigan 993 4
5 Notre Dame 989 5
6 USC 832 6
7 Texas 790 7
8 Nebraska 783 8
9 Penn State 711 9
10 Tennessee 686 10
11 LSU 678 11
12 Georgia 591 12
13 Auburn 584 13
14 Florida State 563 14
15 Florida 538 16
16 Miami 530 15
17 UCLA 503 17
18 Michigan State 454 18
19 Arkansas 439 19
20 Clemson 448 20
21 Wisconsin 378 23
22 Washington 376 21
23 Texas A&M 375 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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