Greatest College Football Programs

The Top TenXW


Alabama has long been the example of Southern College Football Pride. Winning football games at the regularity Alabama has in the deep south against Tennessee, LSU, Georgia, Florida, Auburn, etc. is remarkable. However the national presence and historic games against teams like Penn State, Notre Dame, USC, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Texas, Michigan, etc. help solidify their ranking at the top of any greatest college football program list. While they did not win all of those historic games they have played in as many or more than these other programs and have won more than their fair share. More bowl games played and won than any other program as helps justify a number 1 ranking of the greatest college football programs. Alabama has also had some of the greatest college football coaches in Paul "Bear" Bryant, Nick Saban, Wallace Wade, Gene Stallings, and Frank Thomas. They won at least 1 title in the following decades 20's, 30's, 40's, 60's, 70's, 90's, 2000's, and 2010's, leaving ...more

Alabama football is not just about a team. The program has more national championships than any other, sure. It turns out NFL players by the dozen, sure. It consistently finishes near the top of the rankings, sure. But Alabama football is also a huge source of pride to a region of the country usually viewed with disdain. While the rest of the country makes fun of this state for its rural roots, poor population, poor education and every other stereotype imaginable, no one - No One - doubts the power of the Bama Football Nation. They hate Alabama football. They hate Saban and Kiffin. They can't stand the fight song and Rammer Jammer. They insult the legacy of the Bear. But in the end, they still watch as Bama walks away with another trophy. Alabama is a polarizing team with a legacy that inspires love or envy. In yet through it all you won't hear Bama players talking trash or being disrespectful. They win and win humbly. Every player believes in a team effort and show boating usually ...more

I'm a middle aged Notre Dame fan in Illinois and just I voted Alabama #1. Why? Because a "Greatest of All Time" list means you have to be great throughout the history of college football. I love Notre Dame but only Alabama has been consistently great in the distant past, the recent past, right now in the present, and will be great on into the future. Notre Dame was only great from the 1920s-1980s. But in actuality our decline isn't confined to the last 28 years since our last national championship in 1988. It has actually been trending down for the past 50 years, since 1965. In the past 50 years Notre Dame has won 4 national titles and 1 Heisman trophy. Alabama has won 9 national titles, 2 Heisman trophies, and a lot more bowl games than and. I'm a Fighting Irish fan who is reasonable and realistic, and I have no problem admitting Alabama has overtaken us by now in prestige, tradition, and overall value.

Not my favorite team, but Bear Bryant is one of the all-time greatest coaches. - thomwim

V51 Comments
2Ohio State

When you combine the tradition, level of excellence and the DURATION over which that excellence was maintained, no program not named USC comes close to Ohio State. Add to that the hardware for individual merits, NFL picks (including 1st round picks) and one of the highest football budgets (after you filter out the accounting noise, such as donations which programs like Penn State classify as football revenue, but Ohio State doesn't), they are among the bluest of blue bloods in college football. Plus it's the program that coined THREE YARDS AND A CLOUD OF DUST

The tradition, honor, and Excellence THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY possesses is unmatched! Best college football program of all time without a doubt! We have the best fans in the nation and continue to be a force in college football every year, especially with Urban Meyer! GO BUCKS!

By far Ohio state has the best college football program. Ohio State has been great for a very long time and the coaches they have had were great coaches who lead them to so many championships and conference championships. Ohio state has many more wins in them, too. Go Bucks!

The? The school who cannot win it all. so much for Urban Meyer.

V14 Comments
3Notre Dame

Being #3 on this list is an affront to my fandom & to my identity as a man. But if I'm being rational as a CFB fan & being honest with myself, it's probably fair. We should be #2 ahead of Ohio State at least (even though they've obliterated us in our last 3 matchups in big bowl games) since we have 8 consensus national titles in the poll era and Ohio State only has 5. Everything else is about equal between us in all the other areas with us having slight leads over them in those other categories. Only Alabama should be ahead of us because they've legitimately surpassed us now. It ' sucks and I can't stand it, but we've screwed around too much in the past 25 years and we've allowed Alabama to pass us. With the new "doom and gloom" mentality being the mindset that has set in among our fanbase; the stringent academic requirements; and the new focus/center of CFB being the Southeast, Alabama is the greatest program ever right now because their present and future look just as bright as ...more

I just visited this campus recently and it was nearly a religious experience. Great crowd, wonderful atmosphere and football team that places more weight on the scholar over the athlete than most other schools. - byronshell

Most CONSENSUS National Championships (11) (Alabama only has 9). Most National Championships CLAIMED AND UNCLAIMED (22) (Alabama only has 19). Tied for most National Championships recognized by the NCAA (13). Most Heisman winners (7). Most NCAA Hall of Fame Inductees (44). Best all-time winning percentage (.733). Most All-Americans (97). 2nd most NFL draftees (485). 2nd most NFL HOF (10). Best alumni. Best traditions and history. Oh and JOE Montana! NOTRE DAME IS COLLEGE FOOTBALL.

Highest winning % in NCAA

V13 Comments

One of the oldest teams in college football history, they've won 11 consensus national titles, 15 total national titles, 42 conference titles, and 924 total games (the most EVER). They have had 78 consensus All-Americans, 3 Heisman winners, and they currently have the largest stadium in not only in college football, but in all of the United States. GO BLUE!

No. Not on their best day. They get 1/3 of their recruits from Ohio. Woodson has the State of Ohio (outline) tattooed on his arm. Traitor

To the second commentor, where they get their recruits does not matter. The team wins regardless of where the players come from. Yes, the last 5 of 6 years have been average because of a bad athletic director who made two bad hires. But other than that, a top and exemplary body of work over generations.

Michigan represents more than Ohio State does with 11 championships and 40+ conference wins with a (.730) win percentage second most all time.

V16 Comments

Always a football powerhouse but had a few down years in 90's.

Boomer Sooner best in the nation! Just look at the list of legends that come from Norman... No one else competes.

Oklahoma plays virtually no one year in & year out. There assured a 10 win season every year because 85% of their schedule are against teams ranked outside the top 50 & when they play a descent team like Baylor or Texas they lose. Extremely over rated.

V5 Comments

A symbolic west coast powerhouse football program packed with tradition and history. Greatest in the West? Look no further

Running Back U starting to turn into QB U.

11 Claimed National Championships (5 consensus, 8 recognized by the NCAA), 6 Heisman winners, 36 Conference Titles, 80 Consensus All-Americans, 31 College Football Hall of Famers and the most NFL draftees (487) and NFL HOF (11). King of the Rose Bowl.

V2 Comments

Success in national championships is only matched by success in the NFL draft and pro bowls. Best players in this sport play in Miami

Just look at NFL star players today.. end of story

It's all about the U. No program has won more titles in a shorter period of time. Enough said.

This college produces so much NFL talent

V5 Comments
8Florida State

1 coach "Bobby Bowden" 34 years. Not to many schools could say that.
14 straight top ten finishes. No school can say that.
Unfortunately 3 wide left or right field goals cost us 3 national championships.


Most consistent team of last 30 years.

Still a young program. should not be top 10

V2 Comments


-AVERAGE GAIN PER RUSH IN A SEASON, 7. 81, Mike Rozier 1983

Nebraska is awesome, 1995 team most dominant of all time, they beat the unstoppable #2 Florida Gators 62 - 24 in the national championship game. No other team can compare.

Most supportive and most welcoming fan base in all of college football. Enough said.

Should be higher... 27 all-time records

V5 Comments

A talent rich state and they get the loin's share from there as well as Mississippi and East Texas area.

V2 Comments

The Contenders


I'd put them around 10...although the past decade they have been HORRIBLE. Weird since they've stunk so bad without being on probation or something. Talk about falling off a cliff.

Say what you want, but these Volunteers are over 800 wins, true not enough national titles or SEC titles but they sure do draw a crowd. Rocky Top Rules.

Won the most games since the NCAA was founded, and is one of the only 2 teams that never lost 8 or more games in a season. Ohio State was the other one.

"Top 5 programs of all time. Period."

V5 Comments

UT throughout the years has been a powerhouse. Not many teams have more all-time wins than the Longhorns. Although they are currently in a down period, you can rest assured they won't be down for long. Football is King in Texas, and The University of Texas has given their fans something to be proud of for years. Without a doubt they should be considered one of the best programs of all-time.

They have had some lean years lately but they've beaten the who's who of college football. 8-1 all time against Alabama, 2-1 against Ohio state ( overrated university). The talent they have produced and recruited such as Earl Campbell, Vince Young, Colt McCoy, Ricky Williams, Major Applewhite, Jamal Charles etc along with Mack holding a record for most consecutive ten win seasons speaks for itself.

Most dominant team of all time beat the 2 time reigning champs who were trying to make it a 3rd the cheating USC Trojans in 2005! Vincent Young

13Penn State

I know the NCAA took away 114 wins but let's be real, those games happened and Penn State won. How on earth did Oregon, Tennessee and LSU get higher on this list?

Six undefeated seasons, two championships, and always seems to be at least good

Beasts of the East! Linebacker U! Top 10 winningest program of all time and if we say the last 50 years, they're top 5! JoePa turned a regionally good team, into a nation power and Penn State has been one of the very best since 1966! WE ARE...

Should be atop 5 or 7

V5 Comments

Oregon! ? are you kidding me they shouldn't be on this list anywhere unless you need a good example of how not to play defense.

Too young should not be in the top 20

They've only been good recently. Doesn't belong on a list with teams rich in tradition and history

V3 Comments

They were this high 70 years ago.


The university of Georgia is always a contender in the SEC, and should therefore be ranked much higher in this comparison.

The University of Georgia, usually gets stoppeon their way to the national championship but ware a SEC powerhouse

V2 Comments
17VirginiaV1 Comment
18West VirginiaV2 Comments

I heard Auburn had a losing record against the worst team in the SEC, Vanderbilt.

2010 BCS National Champions
3 Perfect Seasons in the last 17 years (more than any other team)

Best team not to win a national title the last 25 years.

Ownership of bama the last 30 years

V2 Comments

Hmm... Kansas Iowa UNC SYRACUSE MIAMI Ohio North Dakota Tennessee (Recently)! They all stink and should not be ahead of Florida 3 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS 8 SEC CHAMPIONSHIPS THIS IS A GREAT FOOTBALL TEAM! - peaceswagtv

V3 Comments
PSearch List

Related Lists

Top Ten Most Prestigious College Football Programs Best College Football Programs that Have Never Won a Heisman Trophy Best College Football Rivalries Best College Football Teams Greatest College Football Players Ever

List StatsUpdated 28 Oct 2016

700 votes
43 listings
9 years, 56 days old

Top Remixes (11)

1. Michigan
2. Ohio State
3. Alabama
1. Tennessee
2. Georgia
3. Nebraska
1. Notre Dame
2. Ohio State
3. Alabama

View All 11


Add Post

Error Reporting

See a factual error in these listings? Report it here.