Throughout college football’s 150-year history, many programs have secured (and lost) dominance, turned around losing seasons and streaks and worked their way up to conference titles and national championships. Which programs come out on top? In honor of the sport’s anniversary, SI.com ranked the top 10 programs in the history of the sport.
The Sooners have been a juggernaut for two decades straight after some woes in the 1990s, and Lincoln Riley has them in position to win a ninth all-time national title, which would be a first since 2000.
While the stock for No. 10 on this list (Oklahoma) is rising, the stock for No. 9 is falling rapidly. Forget national titles—the Vols are struggling to consistently field a team that makes a bowl game. Because of the struggles, Georgia is gaining on them in all-time wins and USC has passed them for ninth place.
8. Penn State
The Nittany Lions are eighth on the all-time wins list, but they are the only program on this list with a longer drought without a national title than Notre Dame. It’s at 33 years.
The Cornhuskers are like many on this list (Texas, Michigan, USC): They’ve been stuck in a decade-long rut where championships—conference or national—are rare. But only six other teams have won more national titles in program history.
6. Notre Dame
The Irish and their eight AP titles are only bested by Alabama’s 11. Their 897 all-time wins are tied with Nebraska for fifth, but only one other team on this list has a longer streak without a national championship.
The Trojans have been on a rollercoaster ride since the highs of the Pete Carroll era ended a decade ago. They’ve gone through four heads coaches since, along with 40 losses and just one conference championship.
The Longhorns are just three wins behind Ohio State for third all-time, but this last decade has been rough. Tom Herman seems to have the ship pointing in the right direction. Now, can Texas chart the championship course?
The Wolverines haven’t won a championship since 1997, but it feels like Jim Harbaugh has the program on the cusp of such a feat. The problem? No. 2 on this list is standing in the way (the Wolverines have lost seven straight and 14 of the last 15 in the rivalry series).
2. Ohio State
The Buckeyes only trail Michigan in all-times wins (953-911), but their two titles this century (2002, 2014) put OSU above its bitter Big Ten rival.
The Crimson Tide, fourth on the all-time wins list and No. 1 in titles, have cemented themselves atop this list with five national championships under Nick Saban to go with the five that Bear Bryant won and the 1992 crown under Gene Stallings.