Which college football programs are the greatest of all-time – or at least since 1950 – according to the UPI and USA TODAY Coaches final polls?
The AP Poll started in 1936, and the Coaches Poll came on 14 years later with UPI (United Press International) handling the job up until 1991 when USA TODAY took over.
Over the years, the Coaches Poll held just as much weight as the AP’s version, creating split national champions in some seasons with its own set of rules and guidelines.
There’s one key, funky difference between the two polling systems over the years. The Coaches Poll doesn’t rank teams on probation.
That started in 1974 after the 1973 Oklahoma Sooners finished the season No. 2 despite being penalized for past transgressions. So in 1974 when OU went 11-0 and finished the season as the AP’s national champion, USC won the UPI Coaches Poll national title – the Sooners weren’t even ranked.
But Oklahoma wasn’t alone. Ohio State – you’ll see in a moment how much probation matters – didn’t see its 2012 12-0 season get ranked.
Alabama – 2002 and 1995 – wasn’t ranked despite finishing in the top 20 of the respective AP polls for those seasons. Others like Auburn (1979, 1993), Clemson (1982, 1983), and Miami (1981, 1995) likely would’ve been higher, too, if their great seasons were ranked.
We started from scratch from when we did this a few years ago and reran all the numbers. Like we did with the AP rankings, CFN devised a scoring system giving every UPI/USA TODAY national champion 25 points, the No. 2 team 24, No. 3 23, and so on down to the bottom of the top 20 in the early years, and then it became the top 25 after USA TODAY took over.
Coaches Poll, College Football Rankings: Greatest Programs Of All-Time
Based on the final Coaches Poll top 25 rankings from 1950 through to Georgia’s national championship after the 2021 season. Who earned the most all-time recognition from the voters?
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