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A website devoted to properly ranking
major college football teams
past to present

National Champions

Fixed AP Polls

Annual Top 25 1901-1935

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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

Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott scoring a touchdown against Oregon in the national championship game for the 2014 seasonNEW!-- Fixing the Final AP College Football Poll for the 2014 Season

Here it is, the final 2014 AP poll, cleansed of logical errors! As is typical, the voters did a much better job ranking the top half than they did ranking the bottom half, and in fact I did not have to change anything in the top 11. Nice job there, sportswriters! Unfortunately, a whole lot of head-to-head results were ignored in the bottom half of the poll.

The voters also had their typical trouble with properly accounting for strength of schedule:  Fixing the Final 2014 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 logo, then that defaced with "tOSU."The Greatest College Football Programs of the AP Poll Era

Now updated for 2014!

Now that I have fixed all the AP polls 1936-2014, 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 #5.

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     -- Now updated for 2014!

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     -- Now updated for 2014!

Top College Football Coaches of the AP Poll Era by Total Ranking Points     -- Now updated for 2014!

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 1949, 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

1922 Princeton-Chicago football game1922 College Football Top 25

There were 6 MNC contenders this season, and they were well spread out: 2 from the East, 2 from the Great Lakes, 1 from the South, and 1 from the West Coast. Those are the regions that dominated this top 25 as well. The East hogged up the most slots, as usual, with 13, the Great Lakes took 5, and the South, ever-improving, took 4. The West Coast, which was about to make a huge power jump in the 1920s, had but 2 top 25 teams this season.

The full list is here:  1922 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.

Kentucky quarterback Babe Parilli throwing against Oklahoma in the 1951 Sugar BowlThe 1950 College Football National Championship

Oklahoma finished the regular season 10-0 and ranked #1 in the final AP poll. But then they lost the Sugar Bowl to 11-1 Kentucky, the fist time an AP poll "champion" ever lost a bowl game. This was the beginning of a trend, as the AP poll's #1 team would lose its bowl game again to cap the 1951 and 1953 seasons as well. Obviously I do not consider Oklahoma to be the mythical national champion (MNC) of 1950. Army had been 8-0 and ranked #2 in the last AP poll, but the poll didn't just ignore bowl games back in these days, and Army was upset by 3-6 Navy in their regular season finale to finish 8-1. 11-1 Tennessee, ranked #4, defeated 9-2 Texas, ranked #3, in the Cotton Bowl, and Tennessee is also the team that dealt Kentucky their only loss.

Tennessee is therefore our rightful MNC for the 1950 season:  1950 National Championship

1922 Rose Bowl, Washington and Jefferson vs. California1921 College Football Top 25

As usual, the East occupied the most top 25 slots this season, but the Great Lakes region was very deep, and took an unusually high 8 slots, with another 2 teams falling just outside the top 25. The South, growing a little deeper every year, secured 4 slots.

That didn't leave many spots for the rest of the country:  1921 Top 25

Maryland quarterback Jack Scarbath scoring a touchdown in #3 Maryland's 28-13 win over #1 Tennessee in the 1952 Sugar BowlThe 1951 College Football National Championship

For the second straight season, the AP poll's #1 team lost its bowl game. This time it was 10-1 Tennessee losing to 10-0 Maryland 28-13 in the Sugar Bowl, and that leaves Maryland as the consensus post-bowl choice for 1951 mythical national champion (MNC). However, Maryland was #3 in the final AP poll and 9-0 Michigan State #2, so obviously they have a contender for the imaginary crown.

Who is our MNC?:  1951 National Championship

1920 California football team at the Rose Bowl1920 College Football Top 25

The West Coast has its first-ever #1 slot in this 1920 hypothetical post-bowl AP poll. The East secured the most slots in the top 25, as per usual, but the Great Lakes snagged 4 top 10 spots, and the South had a breakout year with 5 spots in the top 25.

Check the full list of 25, plus 13 teams who were close, here:  1920 Top 25

Michigan State halfback Billy Wells carries for Michigan State at Purdue in 1952The 1952 College Football National Championship

For the first time since 1949, the AP poll's #1 team didn't lose their bowl game. But that's because 9-0 Michigan State didn't play in a bowl game. MSU topped the UPI coaches' poll as well, but this was the debut season for the International News Service sportswriter poll, which crowned 12-0 Georgia Tech #1, and Tech claims their own mythical national championship for 1952 based on that.

Who deserves to sit on the throne?:  1952 National Championship

1920 Rose Bowl, Harvard's touchdown to beat Oregon1919 College Football Top 25

You know the drill: the East took the most slots (12), and the Great Lakes region was also very strong (7 slots). The South took 3 slots, and they had another 4 teams waiting just outside the top 25, so it was a good season for them. The rest of the country took the last 3 slots.

For this season I list 14 teams that were close:  1919 Top 25

Oklahoma's touchdown to beat Maryland 7-0 in the 1954 Orange BowlThe 1953 College Football National Championship

For the 3rd time in 4 years, the AP poll's #1 team lost its bowl game. This time it was 10-1 Maryland falling 7-0 to 9-1-1 Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl. 9-0-1 Notre Dame, who was ranked #2, was the team that gave Oklahoma its only loss, 28-21 in Norman in the season opener for both teams.

The Orange Bowl result left Notre Dame as the only legitimate choice for mythical national champion:  1953 National Championship

1918 Pittsburgh-Georgia Tech football game, Pitt's Tom Davies with the ball1918 College Football Top 25

The 1918 college football season barely happened, first impacted by World War I, then almost canceled entirely by the Spanish flu epidemic. Many teams played shortened seasons, and some didn't play at all. That left a lot of room for new and unusual faces in this top 25. The Great Lakes region placed as many teams in the top 25 as the East did, highly unusual, and 6 other regions placed teams on the list as well!

An unprecedented 6 teams from West of the Mississippi also make the cut:  1918 Top 25

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