Varsity Numbers: Top 100 Redux

Varsity Numbers: Top 100 Redux
Varsity Numbers: Top 100 Redux
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by Bill Connelly

This will be the final visit to the Top 100 list that we have been exploring for the last month. With the entire Top 100 unveiled, it felt like a good time to reflect and summarize with a two-part podcast and a few lists.

First, here are links to those five articles in case you missed any of them:


First, legendary ESPN analyst and college football historian Beano Cook joined me to give yay-nay votes on the Top 10 and talk about the teams he has always considered the best of all-time.

Afterwards, I was joined by the captain of the 1959 Ole Miss Rebels, the No. 1 team on the Top 100. Charlie Flowers was an All-American fullback for the Rebels that year and finished fifth in the Heisman. I asked him about the Rebels' legendary defense, coach John Vaught, and his thoughts on both college football playoffs (since perhaps no team might have benefited from a playoff more than the 1959 Rebels) and the impact segregation had on both scheduling and the teams of that time.

Now, before we wrap everything up, it's time to make some lists.

Top Teams By Decade

Though you could derive most of this yourself if you took the time, I felt it would be interesting to take a look at the Top Ten lists for each decade.


1. 1912 Harvard (9-0, No. 48)
2. 1916 Yale (8-1, No. 110)
3. 1918 Pittsburgh (4-1, No. 145)
4. 1911 Minnesota (6-0-1, No. 164)
5. 1916 Pittsburgh (8-0, No. 165)
6. 1914 Illinois (7-0, No. 176)
7. 1913 Auburn (8-0, No. 177)
8. 1912 Wisconsin (7-0, No. 198)
9. 1915 Georgia Tech (7-0-1, No. 216)
10. 1917 Georgia Tech (9-0, No. 217)

Football was an eastern and midwestern game in the 1910s. There is no way around that. As mentioned before, there was such great disparity between the great teams and the terrible ones that it was hard for a truly great team to distinguish itself at the top. So many teams were utterly dominant (and so few played teams outside of their immediate geographic area) that it is difficult to figure out who was the toppermost of the poppermost.


1. 1925 Michigan (7-1, No. 58)
2. 1921 Chicago (6-1, No. 64)
3. 1926 Michigan (7-1, No. 69)
4. 1923 Illinois (8-0, No. 93)
5. 1929 Notre Dame (9-0, No. 103)
6. 1920 Texas (9-0, No. 113)
7. 1924 Alabama (8-1, No. 130)
8. 1925 Alabama (10-0, No. 131)
9. 1923 Michigan (8-0, No. 160)
10. 1922 Princeton (8-0, No. 169)

Alabama seemingly discovered football before most of the south (John Heisman's Georgia Tech teams aside, naturally), but in the 1920s, the game was still stuck in the midwest. The top four teams on the list all played in what is now known as the Big Ten, and the fifth (Notre Dame) was a Big Ten proxy. Interesting omission: Notre Dame's Four Horsemen of 1924.


1. 1938 Tennessee (11-0, No. 29)
2. 1932 USC (10-0, No. 33)
3. 1930 Notre Dame (10-0, No. 37)
4. 1931 USC (10-1, No. 46)
5. 1933 Michigan (7-0-1, No. 51)
6. 1939 Texas A&M (11-0, No. 53)
7. 1939 Tulane (8-1-1, No. 57)
8. 1934 Alabama (10-0, No. 61)
9. 1937 Pittsburgh (9-0-1, No. 67)
10. 1931 Notre Dame (6-2-1, No. 71)

The 1930s were when the South officially discovered the game. Teams from Alabama, Tennessee and Tulane all make this list, not to mention Texas A&M. USC developed its presence out west, but the southern developments here were quite interesting.


1. 1944 Army (9-0, No. 4)
2. 1945 Army (9-0, No. 5)
3. 1946 Army (9-0-1, No. 10)
4. 1946 Notre Dame (8-0-1, No. 11)
5. 1943 Notre Dame (9-1, No. 20)
6. 1940 Michigan (7-1, No. 27)
7. 1948 Michigan (9-0, No. 32)
8. 1945 Navy (7-1-1, No. 42)
9. 1943 Navy (8-1, No. 52)
10. 1947 Michigan (10-0, No. 84)

The war changed college football. For obvious reasons, Army and Navy dominated, but so did Notre Dame and Michigan after the war. The South's takeover of college football was halted because of World War II, but it was only a matter of time.


1. 1959 Ole Miss (10-1, No. 1)
2. 1957 Auburn (10-0, No. 7)
3. 1952 Georgia Tech (12-0, No. 16)
4. 1958 LSU (11-0, No. 23)
5. 1959 LSU (9-2, No. 28)
6. 1953 Maryland (10-1, No. 41)
7. 1956 Georgia Tech (10-1, No. 50)
8. 1959 Syracuse (11-0, No. 55)
9. 1955 Georgia Tech (9-1-1, No. 66)
10. 1950 Army (8-1, No. 70)

And boom goes the dynamite. Eight of the ten teams here are from below the Mason-Dixon line, seven from the SEC. Interesting omission: Bud Wilkinson's undefeated Oklahoma teams. They won 47 straight in the mid-1950s, but as this list uncovered, the Big 7 was an awful conference in those days. By simply playing the six other teams in the conference, only one or two of whom were ever decent in a given year, Oklahoma's strength of schedule was significantly damaged.


1. 1961 Alabama (11-0, No. 2)
2. 1966 Notre Dame (9-0-1, No. 3)
3. 1962 Alabama (10-1, No. 8)
4. 1962 LSU (9-1-1, No. 17)
5. 1966 Alabama (11-0, No. 24)
6. 1961 LSU (10-1, No. 30)
7. 1960 Ole Miss (10-0-1, No. 34)
8. 1962 Ole Miss (10-0, No. 44)
9. 1961 Ole Miss (9-2, No. 45)
10. 1965 Michigan State (10-1, No. 76)

Seven of the ten teams here played between 1960-62. The other three played in 1965-66. Desegregation led to a major dissemination of power in college football, with more good teams and fewer truly great ones. Honestly, this period fascinates me; it has fascinated others too, as you can find any number of quality books about this period.


1. 1972 Oklahoma (11-1, No. 9)
2. 1971 Nebraska (13-0, No. 12)
3. 1979 Alabama (12-0, No. 15)
4. 1974 Oklahoma (11-0, No. 21)
5. 1971 Alabama (11-1, No. 40)
6. 1975 Alabama (11-1, No. 63)
7. 1973 Oklahoma (10-0-1, No. 68)
8. 1973 Ohio State (10-0-1, No. 73)
9. 1973 Notre Dame (11-0, No. 77)
10. 1973 Alabama (11-1, No. 80)

The Bear took over in the 1970s. As Charlie Flowers mentioned in the podcast above, USC's Sam Cunningham may have done more for desegregation in the South than anybody else. When he ran all over Alabama in 1970, it became very clear that the Crimson Tide were going to have to change their recruiting approach to win. Between his recruitment of African-Americans and his adoption of the Wishbone, Alabama became the program of the 1970s.

One other interesting note: as we have seen with the spread offense in the late-2000s, the Wishbone changed everything in college football. Texas unveiled it in the late-1960s, but Alabama and, later, Oklahoma perfected it. The first teams to truly master a ground-breaking offense usually reap the benefits. In the 2000s, no single team has done that, although Urban Meyer has come the closest.


1. 1987 Miami (12-0, No. 14)
2. 1986 Oklahoma (11-1, No. 19)
3. 1988 Miami (11-1, No. 25)
4. 1988 Notre Dame (12-0, No. 31)
5. 1980 Florida State (10-2, No. 39)
6. 1986 Penn State (12-0, No. 49)
7. 1980 Pittsburgh (11-1, No. 59)
8. 1987 Florida State (11-1, No. 62)
9. 1986 Miami (11-1, No. 65)
10. 1982 Penn State (11-1, No. 74)

The South may have discovered football in the 1930s, and they may have begun to dominate the game when Southern children who were raised on football came of age in the 1950s; but football in the state of Florida was not truly cultivated until Bobby Bowden and Howard Schnellenberger came to town. Miami and Florida State make up half of this decade's list.


1. 1991 Washington (12-0, No. 26)
2. 1991 Miami (12-0, No. 38)
3. 1995 Nebraska (12-0, No. 47)
4. 1993 Florida State (12-1, No. 56)
5. 1997 Michigan (12-0, No. 60)
6. 1992 Alabama (13-0, No. 83)
7. 1996 Ohio State (11-1, No. 94)
8. 1994 Nebraska (13-0, No. 106)
9. 1998 Tennessee (13-0, No. 118)
10. 1999 Florida State (12-0, No. 124)

I know, I know. I would have ranked 1995 Nebraska first too. Regardless, this list is fascinating because of what it represents. Yes, Florida State and Nebraska each managed to get two teams in the top ten, but this list truly shows us the impact of scholarship limitations. Eight different programs got a team into the top ten, much more than previous decades. Teams of this decade also ranked lower than in the previous couple of decades. The wealth was spread around, and while it helped the game as a whole, it also hurt teams' ability to become truly, completely great.


1. 2001 Miami (12-0, No. 6)
2. 2000 Oklahoma (13-0, No. 13)
3. 2004 USC (13-0, No. 18)
4. 2003 LSU (13-1, No. 22)
5. 2004 Auburn (13-0, No. 35)
6. 2000 Florida State (11-2, No. 36)
7. 2002 Ohio State (14-0, No. 43)
8. 2000 Miami (11-1, No. 54)
9. 2009 Alabama (14-0, No. 78)
10. 2004 Oklahoma (12-1, No. 87)

Biggest oddity of this list: 2005 Texas not ranking higher. As mentioned previously, their defense was only good and not great, and the Big 12 fell into a slump at this time (Oklahoma temporarily disappeared, and Kansas State and Nebraska had already begun to fall apart), but ... that was a ridiculously good team.

Beyond that omission, this list is most interesting for its overall lack of teams from the last half of the decade. Parity seems to have taken another step forward recently. That is amazing to say, considering we are still at a point where only about ten percent of FBS schools enter a season with a legitimate shot at the national title, but it is true. The standard deviation among teams in these ratings has gotten progressively lower from the 1910s to the 2000s, and while some years are still stronger than others, it is still more difficult to craft a loaded team now than it ever has been.

Worst Champions

Actually, let's just call them the "least-proven" champions. "Worst" is not quite fair, as any team in the Top 2000 of this list still qualifies for the 80th percentile of all teams in the last century. Regardless, this is a list of the ten lowest-ranked teams to win the top spot in either the AP, UPI or USA Today coaches' polls. The earliest poll came in 1938, so that is when this list begins.

1. 1960 Minnesota (8-2, No. 1091)
2. 1950 Oklahoma (10-1, No. 856)
3. 1942 Ohio State (9-1, No. 749)
4. 1974 USC (10-1-1, No. 658)
5. 1938 TCU (11-0, No. 599)
6. 2007 LSU (12-2, No. 575)
7. 1957 Ohio State (9-1, No. 572)
8. 1984 BYU (13-0, No. 483)
9. 1968 Ohio State (10-0, No. 479)
10. 1967 USC (10-1, No. 437)

It is likely not a coincidence that 1960 was the year that sentiment moved toward taking final polls after bowl games. Minnesota benefited from a series of shocking November upsets (not unlike 2007 LSU) to win the title, but when Washington romped over them in the Rose Bowl, it became clear that they were very much not the most deserving team of the season. In terms of Estimated S&P+, they actually ranked a staggering 14th that year. The top five included Ole Miss, Alabama, Iowa, Florida, and Syracuse.

Notre Dame often catches eye rolls for being given the benefit of the doubt. The Irish were named champions in both 1946 and 1966 over teams some felt were more deserving, and they have often been overrated to start the season. But it should be noted that their name does not appear on the above list. Ohio State, on the other hand, does three times. Now, if anybody's style of play is going to be hurt by this rating system, it is going to be Woody Hayes'. No team won more dominant 20-7 games than Ohio State, and his extreme reluctance to pass, even as the rest of the country was moving toward that, hurt their overall output. But still, showing up on this list three times (with two different coaches) is interesting.

And by the way, congratulations to 1984 BYU for not landing on top of this list. Few titles have annoyed more fans than the Cougars' run that season, but while they do appear on this list, theirs is easily not the most schedule-tainted title of all-time.

Best Non-Champions

You clearly know who No. 1 on this list will be.

1. 1959 Ole Miss (10-1, No. 1)
2. 1962 Alabama (10-1, No. 8)
3. 1972 Oklahoma (11-1, No. 9)
4. 1946 Army (9-0-1, No. 10)
5. 1952 Georgia Tech (12-0, No. 16)
6. 1962 LSU (9-1-1, No. 17)
7. 1986 Oklahoma (11-1, No. 19)
8. 1943 Notre Dame (9-1, No. 20)
9. 1966 Alabama (11-0, No. 24)
10. 1988 Miami (11-1, No. 25)

Aside from 1966 Alabama, all of these teams ranked higher than the team that actually won the national title that season.

USC's 1962 title gets called into question here. They finished a distant fifth in the Est. S&P+ rankings for that season (behind four SEC teams -- Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss and Georgia Tech), though they still finish a semi-respectable No. 389 overall.

Best Programs of All-Time

To officially wrap this up, we will take a stab at all-time program rankings in two different ways.


One way we can do this is through a point system. We will give credit to any team finishing in the Top 500 overall. The No. 500 team gets one point, No. 499 two, and so forth, until No. 1 gets 500 points. Here is the result.

1. Alabama (10,329)
2. Notre Dame (8,343)
3. Oklahoma (7,457)
4. Michigan (6,264)
5. USC (5,167)
6. Nebraska (5,094)
7. Texas (5,007)
8. Miami (4,927)
9. Pittsburgh (4,554)
10. Tennessee (4,491)
11. Penn State (4,400)
12. Florida State (4,204)
13. LSU (3,554)
14. Auburn (3,388)
15. Ole Miss (3,297)
16. Ohio State (3,222)
17. Georgia (3,078)
18. Georgia Tech (3,033)
19. Army (2,949)
20. Florida (2,687)

Major credit goes to Miami and Florida State for both finishing in the Top 12 despite giving the rest of the country an approximately 50-year head start. Army also deserves dap for staying in the Top 20 despite failing to be truly relevant for over 40 years. That was how good Army was in the 1940s and 1950s.

Average Rank

Our other method of ranking overall programs would be to take a look at each team's average ranking over the last century. Using that method, here are your rankings.

1. Ohio State
2. Notre Dame
3. Alabama
4. Michigan
5. Texas
6. Tennessee
7. USC
8. Oklahoma
9. Penn State
10. Georgia
11. Florida State
12. Nebraska
13. LSU
14. Auburn
15. Florida
16. Georgia Tech
17. Miami
18. Michigan State
19. Pittsburgh
20. Washington

Ohio State gets redemption for its amazing consistency. Though the Buckeyes won a couple of titles they may not have deserved, they do get a lifetime achievement award of sorts. We will just call them the Denzel Washington of college football, not necessarily winning when they deserved it (1996, for instance, would have been their Malcolm X or The Hurricane), but getting the hardware nonetheless (1968 being their Training Day).

Roller Coaster Rankings

Finally, here are the teams with the highest standard deviation of overall rankings, teams who have seen extreme highs and extreme lows over the last century.

1. Army
2. Miami
3. Pittsburgh
4. Navy
5. Northwestern
6. Nebraska
7. TCU
8. Kansas State
9. California
10. Auburn

So that's it. While we will always have an eye toward history -- there has been so much to love about this sport, and we should always respect and enjoy that -- it is time to turn our gaze to the present. The college football season starts in a month. Let's roll.


29 comments, Last at 06 Dec 2012, 2:31pm

#1 by CalGrad (not verified) // Jul 30, 2010 - 5:08pm

Interesting that none of the California teams from the 1920's made the list either, or the 1937 team which held it's opponents to a combined 33 points in 11 games.

Points: 0

#2 by CuseFanInSoCal // Jul 30, 2010 - 5:39pm

I guess I really have to agree with the point that showed up in the final top 100 segment, which is that I just can't believe the segregation-era SEC in the 1950s and 1960s produced so many of the most dominant teams of all time, and is probably a statistical anomaly caused by how you're doing strength of schedule rankings.

Points: 0

#3 by Dired // Jul 30, 2010 - 7:53pm

Yeah, when you have teams that played only the closed subset of segregated teams, it's hard not to get at least a bit of "little fish, small pond" effect. While I'm sure a lot of segregated SEC teams would have done just fine against the rest of the country, it's pretty speculative. Too what degree is, say, your #1 the "best team" versus the "best all-white team"?

Points: 0

#4 by CuseFanInSoCal // Jul 30, 2010 - 8:49pm

I'm really hoping that I'm not getting overly worked up about this because '59 Syracuse ranked well below two all-white SEC teams from the same season, neither of which would have consented to meet the Orange on the field.

Points: 0

#8 by mm (not verified) // Jul 31, 2010 - 12:36am

Being morally superior is not the same thing as being athletically superior.

By not segregating, Syracuse was drawing from a bigger pool of athletes, but that doesn't mean they managed to get a greater ensemble of football players.

It's too bad they never played the top SEC teams; looking at their schedule, they were only connected by opponents of opponents. With that differentiation, you can only really compare them using mathematical methods. Perhaps a different system would give a different result, but you need to judge the segregated and non-segregated teams by the same formula.

Points: 0

#9 by Bill Connelly // Jul 31, 2010 - 1:08am

I've got to ask: what exactly was I supposed to do differently here? If the goal was to gauge every team of the last hundred years by the same criteria, how exactly was I supposed to go about a "segregation penalty" of sorts? The only subjective part of this process, really, was my decision on how much to penalizes losses and ties, and the numbers said what the numbers said. I can't imagine why anybody would get worked up about this because of race. The math did not care about race.

Points: 0

#10 by Jeff Fogle // Jul 31, 2010 - 1:31am

Was heading to bed and saw the question. First, enjoyed the podcasts very much.

To the degree this is the S&P+ formula, race doesn't matter. You calculated what the formula said.

If you're going to say that '59 Ole Miss is "the top team of all time," then you have to deal with the fact that they were an all-white team playing an all-white schedule in a sport where a significant number of white players lost their starting positions as soon as integration took hold. A tough case to make that the "top team of all time" was all white given how history started playing out so soon afterward.

Not saying that it's something that's easy to fix. I called it "unsatisfying" in the other thread. Think that's the right word. It's like, we know better. Once integration took hold, African American's improved the caliber of teams dramatically. That suggests a pre-integration team so close to the time of integration probably wasn't the best of all time.

Points: 0

#12 by Bill Connelly // Jul 31, 2010 - 10:01am

That's why I went out of my way to say things like "They might have been the best of all-time" and "If you disagree, that's fine." Even forgetting about the segregation issue for a moment, there's still too much gray area with points scored/allowed, and there have been just too damn many teams over the years, to truly come up with a measure that tells which single team was the greatest. I'll stick up for '59 Ole Miss, but in the "They were phenomenal" sense, not the "They were the best ever, and you should suck it up if you can't deal with it" sense.

Points: 0

#14 by Jeff Fogle // Jul 31, 2010 - 12:11pm

Yup, you bent over backwards repeatedly to make that point in the articles and the podcasts. Don't think anyone would say otherwise.

You said you wanted these to be a conversation starter. A conversation has started about how the objective use of S&P+ has lead to a clustering at the top of your chart of all-white teams who played in an all-white league before integration increased the quality of play in that league.

Don't think anyone's getting "worked up" about race. Integration happened to be the thing that increased the quality of play in that league just after those teams had dominant years. Had wishbone teams clustered at the top just before the offense largely went extinct amongst the superpowers, a discussion may have started about whether that was appropriate. If teams in the Big Ten from the 1920's-30's had clustered at the top, a conversation may have started about whether or not there was something unique about that league that was creating illusions. If the chart was top heavy from teams between 2000-2010, a conversation may have started about whether or not the method was giving short shrift to prior eras.

Discussing the results isn't a reflection on you personally. So, "what was I supposed to do," and "I went out of my way," seem a bit out of place if we're standing back looking at what an objective process spit out. I don't think you only wanted conversations about how great the ratings were. You made it clear you wanted discussion and debate. We don't know the process, so all there is to discuss and debate are the rankings we see. The process lists a cluster of teams at the top from a conference/era that preceded an INCREASE in the quality of play within THAT conference.

And, that was a conversation starter...

Points: 0

#18 by CuseFanInSoCal // Jul 31, 2010 - 6:41pm

I'm not sure. I mean, I strongly suspect the SEC of that era was a lot less connected to the rest of college football, being at least two steps removed from any integrated teams, and that's distorting the strength of schedule numbers, but I don't really know how you could compensate for it. Me, I don't think I'd make any effort to rate pre-1978 (and the I-A/I-AA split) teams at all.

Points: 0

#26 by John Thacker (not verified) // Aug 05, 2010 - 12:48am

It's actually worse than that... in some cases SEC schools and other Southern schools did play integrated teams, but asked those teams not to play their black players. That's even worse, because those schools didn't play those teams at full strength.

Points: 0

#5 by PeterS (not verified) // Jul 30, 2010 - 9:07pm

Any chance of getting the "Top 500" list?

Points: 0

#6 by Jason // Jul 30, 2010 - 9:10pm

Thanks for the podcasts, Bill. I really enjoyed them, especially the conversation with Charlie Flowers. As a southerner in my early 20s, I really enjoy learning about the history of SEC football and of college football in general. I look forward to more podcasts during this upcoming season.
If I hit a grand slam on this hole-in-one the dominoes will fall like a house of cards. Checkmate.

Points: 0

#7 by mm (not verified) // Jul 31, 2010 - 12:08am

Interesting data (will listen to the podcasts in the next few days).

Two other ways to define 'Worst Champions' would be:
1) find the 'Champions' with the most teams ranked ahead of them that year
2) find the 'Champions' whose score is the furthest behind the 'Est. S&P+ Champion' of that year

Points: 0

#11 by TomKelso // Jul 31, 2010 - 6:38am

Only two SWC/Texas teams -- 1920 Texas and 1939 A&M -- in the top 10 of any decade? The Orangebloods are going to be howling.

And 2003 USC not found anywhere either -- interesting.

Points: 0

#13 by Bill Connelly // Jul 31, 2010 - 10:03am

The main problem with the SWC was that, even when they produced great teams, their overall depth wasn't that great. Either Texas and A&M, or Texas and Arkansas, or SMU and TCU were good, but very rarely did the conference have more than 2-3 really good teams. That meant the great teams were always playing at least 4-6 weak conference games, which meant their points scored/allowed had to be that much better than teams from tougher conferences.

Points: 0

#15 by DoubleB4 (not verified) // Jul 31, 2010 - 2:24pm

This makes sense to me. The state doesn't have enough players NOW to support more than 2 teams being very good at one time. It certainly didn't back in the day when the state was less populous, poorer, and segregated.

As a SWC aside, how did the 1949 Rice team rank? I presume it was the highest Owl squad.

Points: 0

#23 by Trust Doesn't Rust (not verified) // Aug 01, 2010 - 1:36pm

But isn't that where college football is different from other major sports? The gap between the best 5-10 national teams and everybody else is so huge that it's almost pointless to discuss conference depth. Whether the 4th-10th best teams in a conference are pretty good, decent, mediocre, or terrible doesn't matter all that much because none stand much of a chance against the powerhouses. College football is filled with streaks like Nebraska going 30 or whatever years without losing to certain Big 8 teams, so I don't think it's really fair to pull down a top team simply because its conference lacks depth.

Points: 0

#16 by TomKelso // Jul 31, 2010 - 2:34pm

Seeing 2007 LSU on the list of weak champions made me wonder --

As both of the losses came as a result of the college overtime, what would their rank have been if they had been 12-0-2 instead of 12-2-0? Would there have been much of a change?

Points: 0

#17 by Jeff Fogle // Jul 31, 2010 - 4:50pm

Hadn't thought about that. Great question in general about overtimes. Should an effort like this be standardized at 60 minutes per game? Some teams suffered losses in extra minutes that previous generations never had a chance to lose. And, nobody would assume that they'd all be wins for the earlier generations. Plus, that famous ND/Army tie surely helped one of the teams rank higher than they would have with a loss. Well, I say surely, that's a guess.

BC, is it a huge bear of a project to standardize everything at 60 minutes...making all overtime games for the more recent generations ties?

Points: 0

#19 by cfn_ms // Jul 31, 2010 - 10:08pm

on the other hand, not having OT dropped the ranking of the other 1946 team, since someone would have won it. I definitely think that less credit should be given for OT wins and less penalty applied to OT losses, but I would assume that this model already does that; the only question is to what degree, which is a somewhat arbitrary assumption to make, since there's no obvious answer.

Points: 0

#21 by Bill Connelly // Aug 01, 2010 - 9:48am

Looks like it would have landed them somewhere between about No. 250 and 300. Still low for a champion, but obviously a lot better.

Points: 0

#20 by Anonymous1 (not verified) // Jul 31, 2010 - 11:49pm

So you ranked every major college school from 1900 onward. Is the bottom 20 list interesting at all, or is it all schools from the early days?

Points: 0

#22 by Bill Curley (not verified) // Aug 01, 2010 - 11:54am

Any chance of getting the podcasts in a conveniently downloadable location?

Points: 0

#24 by young curmudgeon // Aug 01, 2010 - 2:44pm

I'm not a fan of the podcast format--I can read a lot more quickly and with more understanding than I can listen. I'd much rather have a transcript. I might be in a minority here, but unless the voice on the podcast is, say, Kathleen Turner's from when she was doing the Jessica Rabbit voice in the movie, I'd much rather read.

Points: 0

#25 by John Thacker (not verified) // Aug 05, 2010 - 12:38am

I have to say I'm a little bit interested in where the 1938 Duke team showed up in your rankings. Undefeated, untied, unscored upon in the regular season (lost to USC in the Rose Bowl 7-3 on a last minute TD), they didn't just play in the Southern Conference. They beat Pitt 7-0, and beat Syracuse 21-0 (and, unlike other Southern teams, they played against black players like Wilmeth Sidat-Singh)

I'm also surprised that Duke didn't make the list for high standard deviation between their pre '70s powerhouse teams and the decades of futility.

Points: 0

#27 by ConnGator (not verified) // Aug 06, 2010 - 3:55pm

How could FSU possible by in the top anything for the past century when they were a girl's school for half of the time?

Shouldn't they get zero points for 50 years? Can you post methodology?

Points: 0

#28 by Eddo // Aug 06, 2010 - 5:47pm

Um, what? This is ranking teams from individual years.

Points: 0

#29 by marketing comp… (not verified) // Dec 06, 2012 - 2:31pm

Hi! This post couldn't be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this write-up to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!

Points: 0

Save 10%
& Support Bill
Support Football Outsiders' independent media and Bill Connelly. Use promo code WRITERS to save 10% on any FO+ membership and give half the cost of your membership to tip Bill.