A few weeks ago someone left us a suggestion in our comment section: they said we should rank all of the College football teams historically. We didn’t give it a second look at first; seemed like something someone would’ve done long ago. I was wrong, though, as my 15 year old informed me that night.
Not only has no one bothered to do this, its a harder question to answer than you’d think. Could be why no one has done it.
You look at the question: If you look at every team, and judge them by their entire body of work; not just this year, or decade, or even era…. every game of top tier football they’ve ever played… who’s best? Who’s worst?
We started in what seemed like the most obvious place: Wins. You want to know who wins the most, it seems like a reasonable place to begin. Only… it wasn’t. The top few teams were the ones we’d all expect, but beyond that, you started to see teams you know damn well aren’t anything close to one of the best teams. It turns out there are a lot of teams high up on that list not because they’ve been good, but because they’ve been playing damn near since the civil war.
So we tried the next obvious stop: Winning percentage. Only that proved just as worthless when we saw the top team on that list…. the team with the highest winning percentage in history? Boise State.
We realized this was going to be a matter of gathering the info. But we didn’t want to just make a subjective list. Big dreams here. We wanted to build a little system… one based on numbers, not opinions. But nothing too damn complicated; you ever seen the formula to figure out QB Rating? Holy sh@t. No, we wanted to make something that even average folks like us can understand. And damned if, after a good two weeks of bumbling around and experimenting, we don’t think we did.
College Football Rankings
Here’s how it works. 7 categories
- Winning Percentage
- Conference Titles
- NFL Draft Picks
- Weeks In Top 25
- Seasons ended ranked
We ranked all 130 teams in each category. Yes, there were others we could have included, but these covered the basics well enough to gather a good size cross section. And these numbers are all fixed points; how many wins and conference titles aren’t questions… they’re facts. And we kept it simple. The number one team gets 130 points. Number 2 gets 129, and so on, all the way to 130, which gets one point. Because we wanted to make it so anyone can understand it, we plugged those numbers into this:
If you want to see the individual lists, here they are. We’ll put them here and at the bottom below if you decide after seeing your team that you want to see them.
We made a few changes along the way; The last two columns up there… + season and – season…. 2 points added to the total for each winning season, negative one for each losing season… we wanted a number that emphasized consistent winning and losing. Some schools were independent for much of their history; namely Notre Dame, Penn State, Army, and more recently, BYU. So being that there weren’t any conference championships, we added points for these teams for seasons with 2 or fewer losses; a number we felt was the equivalent of a conference title. We also added points for National Championships, split in years where the title was.
That’s it. We added the totals, put the teams in order, and below is what you get. Looking at it all after nearly 3 weeks, it’s a pretty damn good list. Most of it is hard to argue with.
If you’re a football nerd or a stat geek, which we obviously are, you’ll probably enjoy this. Some of the numbers, if you’re any kind of student of the game, are actually really damned interesting.
As always, we appreciate you joining us. If you like what we do, share it. We put buttons down there for that too, I think. Until we find another pointless venture to share, be safe.
130 Charlotte 49ers
130 South Alabama Jaguars