The 50 greatest college football teams throughout history
Ranking the 50 best college football teams of all time, featuring Alabama, LSU, Ohio State, Oklahoma and USC among the programs with multiple selections.
This post is updated as of 2/14/2023.
Before we begin counting down this list of the best college football teams of all time, here is how the list was compiled
First, ascribing for you a list of the top 50 teams of all time in the long, storied history of college football is about as big of a task as defending New York City from the naturally occurring super villains of the world. (I mean seriously, have you seen how many heroes it takes to defend the area?) It’s almost an impossible job to put together a list that would please everyone out of the hundreds of fantastic teams, so don’t take it as a personal offense if your favorite team gets left off.
Second, to mount this big of a task requires some sort of standard guidelines—those guidelines change each time someone creates a list of this sort. I ranked these teams according to the overall quality of the team. This includes players and coaching staff and how their victories stack up against the varying strengths of their schedules. National Championships alone are far from guarantee a team landing a place on this list but it definitely doesn’t hurt.
Third, the time period does play a part in these rankings. We’ve seen amazing teams which, under the right set of rules, would be able to compete almost timelessly. Some teams on this list just have the plain ability to win, whether the game was set in the time and place where the first official collegiate game was played or the time and place of the 2019 National Championship at Levi’s Stadium. You’ll see teams from college football’s earliest days, all the way to the modern-day.
Programs with the most selections on the 50 best college football teams:
- Alabama – 6
- Notre Dame – 5
- Michigan – 4
- Nebraska – 3
- Florida State – 3
- Ohio State – 3
- Oklahoma – 3