Coaches Poll, College Football Rankings: Greatest Programs Of All-Time Top 25

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Coaches Poll, College Football Rankings: Greatest Programs Of All-Time Top 25

Coaches Poll

Coaches Poll, College Football Rankings: Greatest Programs Of All-Time Top 25

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According to the Coaches Poll top 25 rankings, how do all of the teams stack up all-time? Here’s how they rank according to the final polls.


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Which college football programs are the greatest of all-time – or at least since 1950 – according to the UPI and USA TODAY Coaches final polls?

The AP Poll started in 1936, and the Coaches Poll came on 14 years later with UPI (United Press International) handling the job up until 1991 when USA TODAY took over.

Over the years, the Coaches Poll held just as much weight as the AP’s version, creating split national champions in some seasons with its own set of rules and guidelines.

There’s one key, funky difference between the two polling systems over the years. The Coaches Poll doesn’t rank teams on probation.

That started in 1974 after the 1973 Oklahoma Sooners finished the season No. 2 despite being penalized for past transgressions. So in 1974 when OU went 11-0 and finished the season as the AP’s national champion, USC won the UPI Coaches Poll national title – the Sooners weren’t even ranked.

But Oklahoma wasn’t alone. Ohio State – you’ll see in a moment how much probation matters – didn’t see its 2012 12-0 season get ranked.

Alabama – 2002 and 1995 – wasn’t ranked despite finishing in the top 20 of the respective AP polls for those seasons. Others like Auburn (1979, 1993), Clemson (1982, 1983), and Miami  (1981, 1995) likely would’ve been higher, too, if their great seasons were ranked.

We started from scratch from when we did this a few years ago and reran all the numbers. Like we did with the AP rankings, CFN devised a scoring system giving every UPI/USA TODAY national champion 25 points, the No. 2 team 24, No. 3 23, and so on down to the bottom of the top 20 in the early years, and then it became the top 25 after USA TODAY took over.

Coaches Poll, College Football Rankings: Greatest Programs Of All-Time

Based on the final Coaches Poll top 25 rankings from 1950 through to Georgia’s national championship after the 2021 season. Who earned the most all-time recognition from the voters?

USA TODAY Coaches Poll, All-Time Rankings
1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s | 2010s | 2020s
AP Greatest Programs of All-Time 

Coaches Poll: 1950 to 2021 Final All-Time College Football Top 25 Rankings

T1 Ohio State 1028

T1 Oklahoma 1028

3 Alabama 1011

4 Michigan 806

5 Notre Dame 743

T6 Nebraska 736

T6 USC 736

8 Penn State 715

9 Texas 714

10 Florida State 617

11 Georgia 596

12 LSU 569

13 Tennessee 551

14 Miami 521

15 Florida 517

16 Auburn 506

17 UCLA 475

18 Michigan State 454

T19 Arkansas 434

T19 Ole Miss 434

21 Wisconsin 400

22 Clemson 394

23 Iowa 345

24 Washington 328

25 Texas A&M 316

NEXT: Coaches Poll: 1950 to 2021 College Football Rankings 26 to 114

USA TODAY Coaches Poll, All-Time Rankings
Greatest Programs of All-Time | 1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s
1990s | 2000s | 2010s | 2020s | AP Greatest Teams of All-Time

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