ESPN Names Oklahoma Most Prestigous Program During AP/BCS Eras

J. Robert ByromCorrespondent IJanuary 23, 2009

"We want to build a university our football team can be proud of," said Dr. George Lynn Cross, in exasperation during a Oklahoma legislative hearing on why OU needed more money from the state to improve the university. 

After he had spent 30 to 45 minutes explaining why his university needed more money, the next question he fielded from one of the Oklahoma congressmen was "why exactly do you need more money, again?"

Knowing that there was no better way to get the congress' attention than football, Dr. Cross uttered those famous words that made him a Oklahoma legend in a state where football is definitely king.

It worked—Dr. Cross got the money he wanted, even though most thought he would not.

And Cross was recently justified when ESPN ranked the OU football program as the most prestigous program since the AP era started in 1936.

As a Sooner fan, I have long prided myself on being a fan of the best team since WWII, but I never considered the entire era because OU was mediocre for the first 15 years.

OU made their rise out of mediocrity by way of the state legislature.  Looking for ways to improve the state's image after Steinbeck's book Grapes of Wrath—which painted a less than admirable picture of the people of the state—the state legislature approved $375,000 to be paid to soldiers coming back from the war to try out for OU football. 

Was it illegal back then? I dont know, probably. But I do know that was an era where almost every school cheated so it doesn't affect me when fans, usually Longhorns, recite this fact to me.

And by the time the 47-game win streak ended to Notre Dame in '57, those players were long gone anyway. 

But since WWII, it is hard to argue that OU hasnt been the greatest. Here is a list of OU accomplishments taken from my site, The fact that they have all been accomplished in the last 60ish years makes them more impressive.

OU may not be deserving of the top spot but it is hard to read this list and dispute that they aren't one of the best.

  • Seven national championships

  • 42 conference championships

  • 144 All-Americans

  • Five coaches and 17 players inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame

  • The longest winning streak in Division I-FBS history with 47 straight victories

  • 524 wins and a 76.1 winning percentage since 1945

  • Ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll for 97 weeks (first all-time)

  • Ranked in the top five of the AP Poll for 342 weeks (first all-time)

  • 768 rushing yards as a team in one game in 1988 against Kansas State

  • NCAA record for most 10-win seasons with 30

  • NCAA record for most 11-win seasons with 17

  • Ranked No. 1 in the BCS for 18 weeks

  • Ranked top five in the BCS for 38 weeks

  • Most points scored in the history of NCAA football (30,488)

  • Most rushing yards in a season with 5,635 in 1971

  • Holds the NCAA record for the most points scored in a single season with 702

The rest of the top five is ...

2) USC

3) Ohio State

4) Notre Dame

5) Nebraska

If you disagree, please tell me why and who you think should be No. 1, but remember not to count anything before 1936 in your argument, because this ranking was based on the AP/BCS era.