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Baby placing blocksHow to Rate College Football Teams

Whether you are a voter in the AP poll, the coaches' poll, the Harris poll, a fan poll, or are just interested in ranking college football teams yourself, I am here to help you get better at it. And judging by various poll results I've seen over the years, chances are you have room for improvement.

Access the entire guide here:  How to Rate College Football Teams

Florida State receiver Kelvin Benjamin's late touchdown catch to beat Auburn 34-31 for the 2013 season national championshipFixing the Final AP College Football Poll for the 2013 Season

Here it is, the final 2013 AP poll, cleansed of logical errors! This AP poll was much better than usual, and required relatively little fixing, but it holds some good examples of the complexity of accounting for head-to-head results. Some people think that when 2 teams have the same record, and one team beats the other, the winner should always be rated higher. Not so. What if the loser defeated 2 teams that the winner lost to? In that case, all else being equal, the loser of the head-to-head matchup should be ranked higher.

This poll has a lot of trouble properly accounting for head-to-head results:  Fixing the Final 2013 AP Poll

I have also repaired the errors in all the AP polls going back to the first one in 1936. You can find those repaired polls by clicking the
Fixed AP Polls link at the upper left of this page, or by clicking this one right here.

Sooner Schooner defaced with Michigan logoThe Greatest College Football Programs of the AP Poll Era

Now that I have fixed all the AP polls 1936-2013, we can total up the numbers and see which programs have truly been the best since 1936. You know the drill: each team gets 25 points for each #1 finish, 24 for #2, etc., down to 1 point for a #25 finish. If you do this with the original AP polls, Oklahoma is #1 overall since 1936. But in the far more accurate fixed polls, Oklahoma is only #4.

Who's #1? And who's #120? Hit the link for the entire top-to-bottom list:  Greatest Programs of the AP Poll Era

But wait, that's not all! I've got a couple more AP Poll era lists for your perusing pleasure

Most Overrated and Underrated Programs in AP Poll History

Greatest College Football Dynasties of the AP Poll Era

More Lists!

I hope you love lists as much as I do-- but if you're a college football fan, I know you do. And rest assured, you'll not have to trudge your way through a 50-page "slide show" for any list I ever compile. Hit the links, and the whole lists are there-- the way God intended the internet to be. Hallelujah.

Top Major-College Football Coaches of All Time by Winning Percentage

Top College Football Coaches of the AP Poll Era by Total Ranking Points

Harvard-Yale football game 1901The 1901 College Football National Championship

Who deserves the imaginary trophy for the mythical national championship of 1901, Harvard or Michigan? Or should they share it? The experts of 1901 said Harvard. The experts today say Michigan. Who is right? For many older seasons, there is no clear answer to such questions. But there is a clear answer for 1901.

Take a look at my analysis and I think you'll agree:  1901 National Championship

I have also written articles summarizing the mythical national championship race for each season 1902 through 1940, with more to come below. You can find those summaries by clicking the
National Champions link at the upper left of this page. Or this one.

Northwestern's touchdown to beat Minnesota 6-0 in 1936Fixing the Final 1936 AP College Football Poll

Here it is, the very first AP college football poll, fully repaired and made sensible. After 2 1/2 years, I've finally fixed every AP poll. Now I'm going to Disneyland. This was a good one too, with a full-blown controversy at the top of the poll. Minnesota finished #1, but Pittsburgh likely would have finished #1 if the AP had conducted a poll after the bowls, and writers continued to argue about it through the following Spring.

Who should have been the first #1?:  Fixing the Final 1936 AP Poll

Notre Dame halfback Creighton Miller scoring a 65 yard touchdown against Michigan in 1943The 1943 College Football National Championship

It's been a long time between articles, but I've finally finished this one. Notre Dame is a unanimous choice as mythical national champion of 1943. They went 9-1, losing their finale to Great Lakes Navy, making them the only team to ever lose their last game but remain ranked #1 in the AP poll. However, Purdue went 9-0 this season, including a win over Great Lakes Navy, the team that beat Notre Dame.

Can this possibly be fair?:  1943 National Championship

California center Roy Riegels returning a fumble 65 yards the wrong way against Georgia Tech in the 1929 Rose Bowl1928 College Football Top 25

Here's my latest hypothetical AP poll top 25. Georgia Tech is #1, but places #2 though #6 are all hogged up by West Coast teams. The Pacific Coast had a remarkable season, their only intersectional loss being Cal's 1 point loss to #1 Georgia Tech in the Rose Bowl.

A total of 7 Pacific Coast teams make this top 25:  1928 Top 25

I am currently creating hypothetical AP poll top 25s for every season prior to the actual AP poll's debut in 1936, going back to 1901. You can find those here.

1944 Army-Notre Dame football gameThe 1944 College Football National Championship

9-0 Army was not only the greatest team of 1944, but they are one of the greatest teams of all time, outscoring their opposition by an average of 56-4, and outscoring 4 top 10 opponents by an average of 43-5. They would continue this rampage for a similar 9-0 campaign in 1945, then settle for a "mere" 9-0-1 in 1946. But they are not the only team to consider for 1944, as Ohio State went 9-0 as well.

Do the Buckeyes merit a share of the 1944 MNC?:  1944 National Championship

1927 Yale-Princeton football game, Yale quarterback Johnny Hoben throwing a pass1927 College Football Top 25

The Southwest had its best season ever to this point in history, and though 1927's hypothetical AP poll voters wouldn't have given them as much respect as I think they deserved, 4 Southwest teams make this top 25, and another couple fall just outside it, and that would have been unprecedented in 1927. The top 10 was dominated by the Great Lakes region, Notre Dame and 3 Big 10 teams.

But the Southwest was actually a deeper region in the top 35 teams this year:  1927 Top 25

Army halfback Glenn Davis and fullback Doc BlanchardThe 1945 College Football National Championship

Army continued their incredibly dominating rampage this season with another 9-0 campaign, this time outscoring their opposition by an average of 46-5, and outscoring 5 top 10 opponents by an average of 43-7. Alabama went 10-0 this year, and Oklahoma State went 9-0, but only Alabama makes a fit contender to Army's crown. Oklahoma State had neither the schedule nor performance to compare, whereas no one came within a touchdown of Alabama this season.

Can Alabama squeeze out a sharing spot on Army's throne?:  1945 National Championship

1926 Navy vs. Army in ChicagoNEW!-- 1926 College Football Top 25

The East was still holding on as a power region in 1926, and they place 12 teams in this top 25, headlined by #1 Navy, the consensus choice as MNC at the time (though not in later decades by organizations selecting MNCs retroactively). The Great Lakes region (Big 10 and Notre Dame) took 6 spots, and the West Coast took 5.

The rest of the country scrambled for the 2 remaining slots:  1926 Top 25

Notre Dame's Bill Gompers about to be stopped short on a 4th down run near the goal line in the 1946 game against ArmyNEW!-- The 1946 College Football National Championship

#1 Army, attempting to win its 3rd straight MNC, met #2 Notre Dame in a "Game of the Century" this season, and the teams fought to a 0-0 draw. Army finished 9-0-1, Notre Dame 8-0-1, but Army barely beat 1-8 Navy 21-18 in their finale, allowing Notre Dame to pass them up for #1 in the final AP poll. Relatively ignored in the shadows of these giants was 11-0 Georgia, who won all their games by more than a touchdown.

Which of these 3 contenders merits the throne for 1946?:  1946 National Championship

Alabama halfback Johnny Mack Brown carrying against Washington in the 1926 Rose BowlNEW!-- 1925 College Football Top 25

1925 was very deep in strong football teams, and I think a top 40 for 1925 is comparable to a top 25 of today, so for this article I include a bonus. After listing the top 25 teams, I also rank the next 15 in order, giving us a top 40. That lets some little schools get a little time in the light: Hawaii, St. Mary's (California), Ohio Wesleyan, Carnegie, Georgetown, Colorado State, Fordham, and Louisville.

The whole list is here:  1925 Top 25

Contact the writer at this e-mail address:   James@TipTop25.com