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College Football's Best Programs Without a National Championship

J.P. ScottSenior Analyst IJanuary 10, 2017

College Football's Best Programs Without a National Championship

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    In college football, tradition is everything.

    You build tradition by winning, not just games, but championships.

    Schools like Michigan, Nebraska and Notre Dame forged legacies long ago by winning national titles. As a result, their football programs still hold a certain level of prestige decades later.

    There are some college football programs who have vaulted themselves into the national conversation every year without ever winning a national title. Consistent winning and bowl appearances, combined with a little marketing, have helped these schools build football traditions without reaching the pinnacle of the sport.

    Here are the five best programs in college football who have never won a national title (BCS or AP).

5. Missouri

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    After establishing itself as a perennial power in the Big 12 Conference over the past decade, Mizzou is taking its talents to the SEC.

    Year in and year out, you never know what you are going to get with Missouri football, as they have both the Kansas City and St. Louis metros right in their back yard.

    Since being hired as head coach in 2001, Gary Pinkel has led the Tigers to an 85-54 record.

    This offseason, he signed 6'6, 220 pound wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, the nation's top high school recruit. Not a bad way to head into a new conference.

    Time will tell how they'll do in the SEC, but for now, they are one of college football's rising programs.

4. Oregon

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    Fueled by a steady stream of cash from alum and Nike CEO Phil Knight, the Oregon athletic program has become the envy of many.

    The football program has become the face of the university, taking advantage of USC's sanctions and cementing itself as a perennial PAC 12 title contender, winning five titles since 2000.

    Head coach Chip Kelly enters his 5th season with a 34-6 record at Oregon, including a loss in the 2011 BCS Championship game.

    Over half of the 2012 roster is comprised of players from the talent rich states of California and Texas, shattering the myth that cold weather schools can't recruit warm weather states.

    With the marketing power of Nike behind them, the sky is the limit for Oregon football.

3. Boise State

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    Boise State has carved out a national reputation the old fashioned way: by winning.

    Often the subject of water-cooler disputes, you can't argue with Boise's ability to consistently win 11 games a season. 

    If it's so easy to do in non-BCS conferences, why don't more teams do it?

    Head coach Chris Peterson has compiled a 73-6 record in his six seasons at Boise State, including two BCS bowl wins.

    They'll make the jump to the Big East soon, but with a playoff on the horizon for college football, the next chapter of Boise State football has yet to be written.

    For now, they'll keep piling up wins and churning out NFL talent (two first round draft picks in 2012).

2. West Virginia

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    Death, taxes and West Virginia in a BCS game.

    After years of owning Big East football, the Mountaineers have moved to the Big 12 with the intent of doing the same.

    Continuity has not been an issue for West Virginia, as they've won 6 conference titles in nine years under three different head coaches, along with 95 wins over the last ten seasons.

    Something tells me it won't take them long to add to that number.

    Oklahoma and Texas aren't exactly UConn or Syracuse, but West Virginia has proven they can take on the big boys, and be successful in doing so.

1. Virginia Tech

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    Frank Beamer has created a national power from the ground up.

    Certainly one of the all-time coaching greats, Beamer has complied a 209-98-2 record over 25 years in Blacksburg. That includes 19 consecutive bowl appearances.

    After leaving the Big East, Virginia Tech football has become the unofficial king of the ACC.

    With conference realignments likely not over, the Hokies are an attractive option for both the Big Ten and SEC if it ever came to it.

    On the back of a blue-collar defensive mentality and a strong focus on special teams, Virginia Tech and Beamer have made themselves at home in the top 25. 

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