Fixed AP Polls
Annual Top 25 1901-1935
How to Rate College Football Teams
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
NEW-- Comments on the Latest Weekly AP PollDecember 7, 2014
I will not be fully fixing the AP poll until the final edition is
released in January, I am ready to start commenting on some of the
logical problems I am seeing in the weekly rankings.
I also include some comments on the playoff committee's rankings: Comments on AP Poll
Fixing the Final AP College Football Poll for the 2013 SeasonHere
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
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.
The Greatest College Football Programs of the AP Poll EraNow
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
The 1901 College Football National Championship
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
Take a look at my analysis and I think you'll agree: 1901 National Championship
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.
Fixing the Final 1936 AP College Football PollHere
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
Who should have been the first #1?: Fixing the Final 1936 AP Poll
1922 College Football Top 25There 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
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.
The 1950 College Football National ChampionshipOklahoma
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
1921 College Football Top 25As
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
The 1951 College Football National ChampionshipFor
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 College Football Top 25The
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
The 1952 College Football National ChampionshipFor
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
1919 College Football Top 25You 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
The 1953 College Football National ChampionshipFor
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
The Orange Bowl result left Notre Dame as the only legitimate choice for mythical national champion: 1953 National Championship
1918 College Football Top 25The
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