The Top 10 College Football Programs of All-Time
Who is the best over time!
It's the argument that has gone on between all thanksgiving dinners and post-season bowl conversation. What program has the best tradition? What program has the most wins? What program has the most championships and Heisman winners? We throw all these and more into the hat and find out who is really the top dog.
10. Penn State
The Nittany Lions have two NC's under their belt, both took place in the early 1980's. Penn state has shown over the years that it is not only a good school to attend for academics, but a great place to play football.
If you attend a game at Happy Valley the first thing you notice is that there are 107,000-plus cheering on the lions on game day.
They sit seventh in total wins (811)since they started play in 1887.
They also have run aclean program as they have never been put on probation by the NCAA.
9. Florida State
The Seminoles had a huge amount of success in the 90s as they had 10 win seasons each year and finished in the AP top five every year, a feat that might never be matched again.
They also have had two NC's (1993, 1999), but didn't even field a football program until 1947. Their 58 weeks at No. 1 in the AP during the 90s was matched by none. They also had two Heisman winners in Charlie Ward and Chris Weinke.
The reason the Seminoles are further down this list is mostly because of their lack of longevity in success and recent downfall.
Bottom line, if you went to Doak Campbell stadium in the 90s you didn't come away with a win.
Dont mess with Texas, especially of late.
The Longhorns are starting to scratch themselves into the tablets of the most elite programs ever. They have arguably more money, and a bigger talent pool to choose from than any other school in the nation.
Texas has 4 consensus National Championships ('63, '69, '70, '05), they also have two Heisman winners in Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams.
They sit second in total wins at 845 and have been playing football since 1893.
The reason they sit at eighth on my list is they didn't live up to expectations like the other elite teams for 3 decades from 1970-2000.
Roll Tide, and that they have.
They won a undisputed NC last year and their first Heisman to go along with the 7 consensus national championships they already had ('61, '64, '65, '73, '78, '79, '92).
Bryant-Denny stadium holds 83,000+ and is never more crazy than when Auburn comes to town.
They sit sixth in all time victories and boast arguable one of the top coaches that ever coached the game in Paul "Bear" Bryant.
They played their first game in 1892, and over the next decade could move up this list with more of their recent success.
The Wolverines reside in Ann Arbor and play ball at what is know as "The Big House". They have 3 NC's ('47, '48, '97), and they also have had 3 Heisman winners.
Michigan sports the most memorable helmets and jerseys, and plays in front of one of the largest crowds on game day.
The maize and blue have the most wins of all the NCAA teams at 877 and have been playing since 1879. they also have played in more games than anyone else.
The negative for this pigskin powerhouse is that they only have two major bowl wins since 1992 (one being a NC). Not only that, but their even more recent demise hasn't helped either.
5. Notre Dame
Touchdown Jesus lives here, so does Rudy and just about everything else that is good in football.
These guys have their own TV contract, and have found a way to be successful even though they don't belong to a conference. This alone is amazing in itself.
The Irish have eight NC's ('43, '46, '47, '49, '66, '73, '88), and seven Heisman winners.
They sit third with total wins at 837 since they started the football program in 1887.
When you think of college football, you think of Notre Dame. They are the only private school on this list, and if this was a tradition and fan loyalty list only they would be up even higher. As of late the Irish are starting to slip, tradition and their television aren't luring the same coaches and talent that they once did. Kids are starting to opt to go south where their is sun and just as many games are on tv.
The legendary "Win one for the Gipper" speech has been repeated in several movies, and is know by every college football fan.
When the Cornhuskers play at home its the third largest city in Nebraska. No university has soaked more out of what they were given than the Cornhuskers.
The winningest program in total wins and winning percentage since modern era football (1950-present). Nebraska had nine-plus win seasons for 30 years straight form 1968-2001
Tradition, the Blackshirts are dripping with it as they have what has been voted on as the best team of all time by several sources in the 1995 National championship team.
They sport five NC's ('70, '71, '94, '95, '97) they also have had three Heisman winners. They are fourth in total wins all time.
Nebraska had a record 35 consecutive bowl appearances from 1969 to 2003. The longest current bowl-appearance streak belongs to Florida State, at 27.
One more thing if you want success, but also want fan support. The Huskers have sold out every game since Nov. 3, 1962, thats 304 games. In comparison The Irish are second at 207 games.
In the land of the blind the one eye'd man is king. That Cyclops has been the Trojans the last 10 years.
The men of Troy are tied for first with seven Heisman winners, they also have seven NC's ('62, '67, '72, '74, '78, '03, '04). They sit 10th in total wins.
Known as Tailback U for Saturday studs such as O.J. Simpson and Marcus Allen. You can catch a game at the Coliseum with the other 92,000+ that show up on Saturday morning.
Nobody in the last 10 years has put more first and second round draft picks into the NFL than USC.
The only reason USC isn't at the top of this mountain is mostly due to the 1989-2001 stretch where they didn't have a single 10 win season and were about a .500 team.
2. Ohio State
You want tradition and wins, these buckeyes are dripping with it. Considered a great honor, "dotting the i" is bestowed only on the greatest guests at the Horseshoe.
The Buckeyes have six NC's and seven Heisman winners as Archie Griffin won it twice.
101,000+ fans pack into the Horseshoe to see the scarlet and gray take the field. They started play back in 1890.
The Buckeyes have only two losing season since 1960, that alone puts them in the top 10.
I once met a man in his 80's on a plane ride from Chicago in 2004. He showed me a buckeye tattoo on his shoulder of the Ohio State emblem. I asked him if he got it when he was a kid and just recently got it filled in again. He stated "No son, I just got it last year when they won the National Championship"
That's a fan of 70 years still supporting his team.
My top team of all time is the University of Oklahoma Sooners.
They have seven NC's and four Heisman's, but that's not the reason why they are the No. 1 team alone.
They have the longest winning streak at 47 games, they also have been conference champs 39 times. Both are more than any other team.
Since 1942 they have a .762 winning percentage which is matched by none.
The Sooners also have been in the top five final AP an outstanding 29 times.
Oklahoma is also the only team on this list that boasts two long standing rivals that are on this list in Texas and Nebraska.
The "Game of the Century" was played in 1971 against Nebraska, it featured a Heisman member from both teams. The Sooners lost a heartbreaker, but beat the Cornhuskers more than they lost over the years
Let the debate begin!