College Football Prestige Rankings: 20-16
Before I get to the next five, let's look back at the first five quickly (released Jan. 14).
21. Georgia Tech, 800.5
22. Clemson, 696.25
23. Michigan State, 686.25
24. Colorado, 683.5
25. Ole Miss, 656
The next group has an SEC and Pac-12 flavor. These teams tended to be very good at times, but had their fair share of struggles as well.
They tend to be the bunch that's close to real national power status but just falls short.
Three fall under the world of of "little brother status," but have still managed to put together a successful history.
20. Texas A&M Aggies (SEC)
Total = 815.75 Points
Summary: The Aggies are truly a pretty successful program with one National Title (1939) and nearly 500 wins since 1936.
They have 12 major bowls, most being the Cotton Bowl—winning five times—and 32 total bowl games. They have only managed 13 wins, though, which has certainly not helped in the final polls, with only two top-five finishes in Aggie history.
The success of Aggie football is definitely older than a lot of programs, but has enough to sustain a spot in the top 20.
The 80's and 90's were great, while the BCS era has not been kind to the Aggies, with just three finishes in the top 25 and one major bowl. From 1985 to '98, Texas A&M won 10 games seven times and went to 11 bowl games, though losses in those bowls continued to kill them in the final polls.
Interesting Fact: As the Aggies look forward to the future in the SEC, they hope for some success, but I'm not so sure they will obtain elite status any time soon. They go from being third in prestige rankings in their conference to...well, a lot lower than that.
19. Washington Huskies (PAC-12)
Total = 861 Points
Summary: Success and Washington is not something people put together these days. Recently, Washington has been going through possibly the worst era in their football history, but it hasn't always been that way.
The Huskies have made it to 13 major bowls and won eight, which is quite an accomplishment. Even their only championship was not too far ago (1991). The true success of this program is based off Don James.
Washington had managed a good history, but was never in the conversation of great programs until James arrived in 1975.
Until he left in 1992, he put together the best stretch of Washington teams. His teams finished in the top 10 seven times, almost all of their 11 top-10 finishes. He also only had one losing season early in his career.
Interesting Fact: Washington has a losing record to only two other Pac-12 schools (USC and UCLA).
18. Arkansas Razorbacks (SEC)
Total = 898.75 points
Summary: Like all programs, Arkansas's prestige can be traced back to one coach that put them on the pedestal. Frank Broyles arrived in 1958 and took a program with just four top-25 finishes and made them one of the best in the country.
Lou Holtz arrived right after, and in the 25 years at Arkansas, the two coaches put together 12 top-10 finishes.
Overall, Arkansas has put together 28 bowls, with 14 being major. They have only managed four wins in the major bowls, though. Arkansas has also been ranked in 408 released AP polls.
Recent years have had scattered success under Nutt and Petrino has taken Arkansas back to they days when success was expected and achieved.
Interesting Fact: Arkansas is one of the better programs not in the elite status at avoiding dead periods. Since 1954, there has only been one time where Arkansas did not finish in the polls for more than five years.
17. UCLA Bruins (Pac-12)
Total = 979.25 points
Summary: UCLA is interesting because even with only seven 10-win seasons, they have still managed to put out some pretty good football teams through the years.
They have the ninth most All-Americans and 32 bowl appearances. They also have nine top five finishes.
UCLA can give a lot of thanks to Terry Donahue for their football success. Donahue may not be the only coach to obtain success at UCLA, but he did it the longest time. Donahue took the team to three Rose Bowls in four years in the 80's.
Red Sanders is the first Bruins coach to lead to national power consistently, also winning their only Championship (1954).
Interesting Fact: UCLA has more bowl wins in the Terry Donahue era (eight) than the rest of their history combined (seven).
16. Auburn Tigers (SEC)
Total = 1064.25 points
Summary: Auburn football came to the national spotlight under coach Shug Jordan back in the 50's. He brought Auburn their first Championship (1957) and had decent sustained success in his tenure.
Auburn reached new heights in the 80's, as they became one of the nation's elite teams under Pat Dye. Since 1982, Auburn has even surpassed its big brother in the Iron Bowl, winning 17 of 30.
They even had three undefeated seasons in the last 20 years, winning another National Championship (2010) along the way.
Overall, Auburn has put together 37 bowl appearances while winning 22. They have 17 top-10 finishes and one of the 16 programs to put together 500-plus wins since 1936.
Interesting Fact: Though behind Alabama in these rankings, Auburn has three Heismans to Alabama's one.