UK Football

Where does UK rank in AP’s all-time college football poll?

Kentucky Coach Bear Bryant, center, told identical twins Harry, left, and Larry Jones, right, that he wanted them to be double trouble for Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl game on New Years Day on Dec. 19, 1950. The Cats went on to defeat the No. 1 Sooners.
Kentucky Coach Bear Bryant, center, told identical twins Harry, left, and Larry Jones, right, that he wanted them to be double trouble for Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl game on New Years Day on Dec. 19, 1950. The Cats went on to defeat the No. 1 Sooners. ASSOCIATED PRESS

Who’s No. 1?

The Associated Press began asking the most important question in sports in 1936, and 1,103 times since then the AP college football poll has provided an answer that has only led to more questions, such as: What? Why? Are you kidding?

The arguments about what team is best in college football have moved from bars and taverns to Facebook and Twitter, but if you think it’s more heated now then back in the day, consider:

Before the AP started asking its member sports writers and editors to vote for the top teams, then-sports editor Alan J. Gould in 1935 went about ranking them himself. In the final rankings he named Minnesota, Princeton and TCU co-No. 1s, and Gophers fans, as the story goes, hanged Gould in effigy.

“It created a storm in the Big Ten in general,” said Gould, who died in 1993, recalled on the 50th anniversary, “and Minneapolis-St. Paul, in particular.”

Gould quickly realized it was best to spread the blame, er, responsibility for the rankings around.

And so it’s been that way ever since, with various tweaks and turns. The Top 20. The Top 10, for a little while. And since 1989, the Top 25.

As college football has evolved, the poll’s role has changed. The Bowl Championship Series led to the College Football Playoff and at this point college football’s champion is sort of settled on the field. The AP still crowns a champion.

But it’s not just about who’s No. 1. That’s easy to figure out these days. It’s about who’s better. This team or that team? My team or your team. My conference or your conference. The media members who vote in the Top 25 are also charged with figuring out who’s No. 2. And No. 6. And No. 12 and 14 and 21 and so on and so forth. Just because we can all agree on a champion now doesn’t mean everything is settled.

The one constant in college football over the last 80 years has been the AP poll. It has helped link the past with the present and provided perspective. With that in mind, the AP is using 80 years of poll data and a simple formula to bring you the top 100 college football programs of the poll era.

To determine an all-time Top 100 for the first time, the AP counted poll appearances (one point) to mark consistency, No. 1 rankings (two points) to acknowledge elite programs and gave a bonus for championships won (10 points).

The top five teams using that criteria: Ohio State, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Alabama and Southern California.

Surely that will settle all the arguing. Right?

The top 100

1. Ohio State 1,112 points; 2. Oklahoma 1,055; 3. Notre Dame 1,042; 4. Alabama 993; 5. Southern California 974.

6. Nebraska 901; 7. Michigan 894; 8. Texas 822; 9. Florida State 714; 10. Florida 674.

11. LSU 655; 12. Penn State 647; 13. Miami 642; 14. Tennessee 624; 15. Georgia 572.

16. Auburn 570; 17. UCLA 535; 18. Texas A&M 447; 19. Michigan State 443; 20. Washington 430.

21. Arkansas 412; 22. Clemson 411; 23. Pittsburgh 356; 24. Wisconsin 336; 25. Iowa 329.

26. Georgia Tech 320; 27. Colorado 316; 28. Oregon 293; 29. Mississippi 290; 30. Arizona State 284.

31. Virginia Tech 276; 32. Stanford 272; 33. West Virginia 271; 34. BYU 258; 35. Missouri 256; 36. Purdue 246; 37. Minnesota 241; 38. North Carolina 240; 39. TCU 234.

40. Maryland 230; 41. Syracuse 221; 42. Army 214; 43. Oklahoma State 208; 44. Kansas State 207; 45. California 199; 46. Mississippi State 195; 47. Baylor 187; 48. South Carolina 185; 49. Houston 184.

50. Northwestern 183; 51. Illinois 181; 52. Virginia 174; 53. Duke 172; 54. Arizona 168; 55. SMU 165; 56. N.C. State 149; 57. Boston College 141; 58. Texas Tech 137; 59. Washington State 129.

60. Navy 128; 61. Boise State 127; 62. Louisville 119; 63. Kansas 108; 64. Utah 100; 65. Oregon State 95; 66. Penn 89; 67. Air Force 78; 68. Kentucky 75; 69. Rice 70.

70. Tulane 62; 71. Wyoming 56; 72. (tie) Indiana, Fresno State, Southern Mississippi, Cornell 55; 76. Toledo 45; 77. (tie) Santa Clara, Tulsa and Colorado State 43.

80. Wake Forest 42; 81. (tie) Cincinnati and Miami (Ohio) 41; 83. (tie) Fordham and Iowa State 40; 85. Holy Cross 39; 86. Rutgers 38; 87. (tie) Dartmouth and East Carolina 37; 89. Vanderbilt 31.

90. Yale 30; 91 (tie) Princeton and Marshall 29; 93. Hawaii 28; 94. South Florida 26; 95. Villanova 25; 96. Northern Illinois 23; 97. Duquesne 20; 98. Iowa Pre-Flight 18; 99. (tie) Columbia, William & Mary, Nevada and Bowling Green 16.

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