FanPost

So Which Is the Best Program in College Football?

As we all know, the real reason for college football is to give millions of fans who have, for the most part, little to nothing to do with the teams a reason to argue about who's team is the best. So, in the spirit of encouraging and inflaming said debate, here is the (Not-Even-Close-to-)Definitive Ranking of All College Football Big 5 Teams.

In the interest of replicating the laid-back aura of college, these numbers use only the facts that can be found in the "Quick Facts" box on the right side of the Wikipedia article for each team; Namely, the stadium size, Win pct, bowl wins, national championships, conference championships, Heismen, and Consensus All-Americans. To further the college theme, the rankings use another college hallmark: SAT Scores. For those who don't know, the SAT follows a Normal curve with a mean of 500 and standard deviation of 100 (meaning 500 is an average school)

In this case, I standardized each of the individual components listed above, put them on a scale resembling that of the SAT, and then found the average of the components for each school. Here are the bests and worsts from each component, followed by the scores for all 62 Big 5 schools

Note: the SAT caps scores at 800 max. I elected not to do so in order to give a better impression of the magnitude of the differences between some schools.


Stadium Size

The Best: Michigan (The Big House, capacity 109,901 / SAT Score: 718)

Michigan's Big House is one of the most formidable environments in college football, and the size is a large part of why. Built in 1927, Michigan Stadium is the largest stadium in the US and third-largest in the world. The Big House hosted the largest crowd in college football history (115,109) when Michigan beat Notre Dame, 41-30, on September 7, 2013.

Second Place: Penn State (Beaver Stadium, 106,572 / 701)

The Worst: Wake Forest (BB&T Field / Groves Stadium, capacity 31,500 / SAT Score: 318)

While Wake Forest is certainly not known for their football, this one took me by surprise a little bit. I thought that Duke's Wallace Wade Stadium (which hosted the 1942 Rose Bowl) to take the prize, but Groves Stadium had them beat by about 2400 fans. Groves was built in 1967 for just $4 million.

Second Place: Washington State (Martin Stadium, 32,740 / 328)


Win Percentage

The Best: Michigan (.732 / SAT Score: 699)

The school with the most wins in college football history also sports the best winning percentage. Michigan began playing football in 1879, and joined the Big Ten (then the Western Conference) in 1896 as a founding member. Michigan has 910 wins to match just 321 losses and 36 ties.

Second Place: Oklahoma (.720 / 684)

The Worst: Wake Forest (.410 / SAT Score: 291)

Just as the team with the biggest stadium has the highest winning percentage, so the team with the smallest stadium has the lowest winning percentage. Wake Forest is easy to understand; it's the third-smallest school in the FBS by enrollment, and easily the smallest in the big 5. WF has been playing since 1888, with an overall record of 429-624-33.

Second Place: Indiana (.424 / 309)


Bowl Wins

The Best: Alabama (34 wins / SAT Score: 758)

Alabama has been successful for quite a while, and has the postseason success to show it. Those bowl wins have come since 1926, beginning with a 10-9 win over Washington, and their recent loss to Oklahoma snapped a 4-game winning streak that included three national championships.

Second Place: USC (32 / 732)

The Worst: Northwestern (2 wins / SAT Score: 338)

Ah, Northwestern. The B1G's perpetual little brother. while the "mildcats" jokes might have started with Kansas State, they could just as easily refer to the other purple team from the midwest. Northwestern's two bowl wins came in the 1948 Rose Bowl against Cal and the 2012 Gator Bowl against Mississippi State, the second snapping a 9-bowl-game losing streak.

Second place: Duke / Indiana / Iowa State (3 / 351)


National Championships*

The Best: Alabama (15 championships / SAT Score: 886)

That's a lot of national championships. 1925, 1926, 1930, 1934, 1941, 1961, 1964, 1965, 1973, 1978, 1979, 1992, 2009, 2011, 2012. Alabama has been good for a long time, with 10 undefeated seasons (9 perfect).

Second place: Michigan/USC (11 / 764)

The Worst: A lot (27 teams) (0 championships / SAT Score: 428)

Arizona, Arizona State, Baylor, Duke, Indiana, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Mississippi State, Missouri, Northwestern, NC State, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Oregon State, Purdue, South Carolina, Texas Tech, UNC, Utah, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Washington State, Wisconsin, West Virginia. Just keep trying, guys. You'll get there one day.

Second place: Arkansas / Boston College / Clemson / Colorado / Iowa / Kentucky / Maryland / Syracuse / UCLA (1 / 459)

*These are the National Championships claimed by the school. Feel free to criticize it in the comments

Conference Championships

The Best: Nebraska (46 championships / SAT Score: 806)

Nebraska has been winning conference championships since 1894, although they're still waiting on their first of the 21st century. Most came in the Big 6/7/8/12, where either Nebraska or Oklahoma won the conference all but 9 times between 1948 and 1995. Their last title came in 1999, where they beat Texas in the Big 12 championship

Second Place: Oklahoma (44 / 787)

The Worst: Boston College / Mississippi State (1 championship / SAT Score: 379)

Of these two, Mississippi State is probably the worst with regards to conference championships: Boston College was independent until they joined the Big East in 1991, while Mississippi State has played in the SEC since 1932. In all that time, Mississippi won once, in 1940, when their only loss was to Duquense. Duquense.

Second place: Indiana / Iowa State / Kentucky / Pittsburgh / South Carolina / Wake Forest (2 / 389)

Heisman Winners

The Best: Ohio State (7 Heismen / SAT Score: 907)

Ohio State has been a veritable Heisman-winner factory, producing 5.5 running backs and 1.5 quarterbacks as winners. The list: QB/RB Les Horvath, RB Vic Janowicz, RB Howard "Hopalong" Cassidy, RB Archie Griffin, RB Archie Griffin, RB Eddie George, and QB Troy Smith.

Second Place: USC (6 / 840)

The Worst: A lot more (34 teams) (0 Heismen / SAT Score: 437)

Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas, Boston College, California, Clemson, Duke, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Missouri, Northwestern, NC State, Ole Miss, Oregon, Purdue, Tennessee, Texas Tech, UNC, Utah, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Washington State, Washington, West Virginia. Life is haaard.

Second Place: Alabama / Baylor / Colorado / Iowa / LSU / Minnesota / Oklahoma State / Oregon State / Penn State / Pittsburgh / South Carolina / Stanford / Syracuse / TCU / UCLA (1 / 504)

Consensus All-Americans

The Best: USC (80 All-Americans / SAT Score: 770)

USC has been known for a long time for churning out quality talent, and their 80 All-Americans show it. From O.J. Simpson to Matt Leinart, USC has been recruiting and developing top-tier talent ever since their first season in 1888.

Second Place: Michigan / Ohio State (78 / 760)

The Worst: Mississippi State (2 All-Americans / SAT Score: 388)

I had fun with this one. The individual responsible for Northwestern's Wikipedia page decided not to list their consensus All-Americans anywhere on the page, so I wound up going to sports-reference.com and using their lists. I was tempted to just give Northwestern 0 All-Americans, but that wouldn't really be fair. They've already been on the wrong side of this list enough (they actually have 13, for those of you who are wondering).

Second Place: Iowa State / Wake Forest (3 / 393)

The List

TEAM TOTAL STADIUM SIZE WIN PCT BOWL WINS NATL CHAMPS CONF CHAMPS HEISMEN ALL-AMERICANS
USC 731 635 661 732 764 711 840 771
OSU 706 679 678 561 642 711 907 762
Michigan 703 718 699 574 764 768 638 762
Oklahoma 698 576 684 679 642 787 772 747
Alabama 682 676 676 758 886 626 504 649
Nebraska 653 601 663 640 581 806 638 644
Texas 635 668 678 666 550 673 571 639
Auburn 590 603 574 601 489 512 638 712
FSU 587 577 626 653 520 531 638 565
Tennessee 584 680 636 640 611 522 437 565
Georgia 577 630 592 666 581 503 571 496
Penn St 569 701 644 666 489 408 504 570
Florida 556 609 574 574 520 446 638 531
LSU 553 629 593 614 520 503 504 511
Miami 546 539 576 548 581 455 571 550
TAMU 536 578 535 522 520 541 571 487
UCLA 534 629 521 522 459 531 504 570
Pitt 527 489 504 483 703 389 504 619
Clemson 510 573 528 548 459 541 437 482
GT 510 438 524 614 550 522 437 482
Mich St 508 540 528 443 611 465 437 531
Colorado 504 431 519 470 459 616 504 526
Minnesota 502 416 494 378 642 541 504 541
Washington 502 515 549 535 489 512 437 477
Wisconsin 501 567 497 456 428 503 571 487
California 490 477 480 443 581 503 437 511
Arizona St 488 523 545 483 428 531 437 467
Arkansas 487 524 522 483 459 493 437 491
Iowa 486 517 443 496 459 493 504 487
Stanford 484 412 500 456 489 503 504 526
Syracuse 484 409 507 509 459 417 504 585
Ole Miss 483 466 481 614 520 427 437 433
Illinois 478 472 428 417 581 512 437 496
TCU 477 387 488 483 489 531 504 457
Utah 472 387 517 483 428 597 437 457
WVU 471 463 530 496 428 512 437 433
Mizzou 468 500 461 496 428 512 437 442
VT 461 495 543 443 428 465 437 418
Texas Tech 461 466 485 496 428 474 437 437
UNC 460 478 492 483 428 455 437 447
Purdue 453 476 442 430 428 484 437 477
Ok St 452 464 410 509 428 398 504 447
Oregon 451 453 485 470 428 474 437 408
Maryland 448 433 441 456 459 474 437 433
NC State 444 451 416 496 428 474 437 408
SoCar 444 566 418 404 428 389 504 398
Boston College 441 384 505 483 459 379 437 437
Arizona 440 443 483 417 428 427 437 447
Baylor 438 387 414 443 428 446 504 442
Kentucky 433 502 399 417 459 389 437 428
Virginia 429 471 435 404 428 398 437 433
Oregon St 428 390 385 456 428 417 504 413
Miss St 421 470 386 456 428 379 437 388
Kansas 417 413 399 391 428 446 437 403
Vandy 416 364 405 365 428 503 437 408
Kansas St 411 412 336 404 428 427 437 433
Duke 410 330 393 351 428 531 437 398
N'western 403 398 332 338 428 446 437 442
Iowa State 399 447 350 351 428 389 437 393
Wash St 398 328 390 391 428 408 437 403
Indiana 393 427 309 351 428 389 437 408
Wake Forest 378 318 291 391 428 389 437 393

But we all know who the best really is...

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