Top 25 college football teams based on percentage of time ranked in AP Poll

·7 min read

There are many ways to judge the success of a college football program, and Ohio State checks almost all the boxes. You can measure by national championships, conference championships, the number of players churned out to the NFL, and more.

Another way to measure the blue bloods of college football is by the major polls. One of those — the AP Poll — has been around since 1936 and has not only crowned national champions in the past but has continued to rank the top 25 teams on a week-by-week basis. Our friends at College Football News did their own analysis and crowned the best program of all time based on the final ranking in each AP Poll, but we thought we’d look at it from another angle.

In this case, we’re taking a look at which teams have been ranked in the AP Poll the most percentage of the time throughout history. And since the Associated Press ranks the top 25, we’ll do the same.

Here are the top 25 college football programs of all time based on the percentage of time they have been ranked in the AP Poll. We count down from 25 to numero uno. All information is taken from College Poll Archive.

Oregon Ducks

LOOK. Oregon Ducks reveals uniform combination for Ohio State game.
LOOK. Oregon Ducks reveals uniform combination for Ohio State game.

Dec 6, 2019; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Oregon Ducks mascot Puddles poses with a rose during the Pac-12 Conference championship game against the Utah Utes at Levi’s Stadium. Oregon defeated Utah 37-15 to earn a Rose Bowl berth. Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Percentage of time ranked in AP Poll

27.9%

Iowa Hawkeyes

Dec 27, 2019; San Diego, California, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes mascot Herky the Hawk gestures in the first half against the Southern California Trojans during the Holiday Bowl at SDCCU Stadium. Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Percentage of time ranked in AP Poll

2979%

Wisconsin Badgers

Bucky Badger does 65 pushups in front of the crowd during the University of Wisconsin 68-17 football game win over Bowling Green at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin, Saturday, September 20, 2014. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel photo by Rick Wood/RWOOD@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM

Percentage of time ranked in AP Poll

34.3%

Michigan State Spartans

Michigan State mascot Sparty takes the field before the Youngstown State game at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021. Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Percentage of time ranked in AP Poll

34.6%

Arkansas Razorbacks

AUBURN, AL – AUGUST 30: Arkansas Razorbacks mascot Big Red flexes during the game against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan Hare Stadium on August 30, 2014, in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)

Percentage of time ranked in AP Poll

35.6%

Washington Huskies

Oct 26, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Carol James, wife of the late former coach Don James, greets Washington Huskies quarterback Keith Price (17) before a game against California Golden Bears at Husky Stadium. Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Percentage of time ranked in AP Poll

38.0%

Clemson Tigers

Clemson offensive lineman Sean Pollard (76) and running back Darien Rencher (21) join teammates in the alma mater after the Tigers beat Alabama 44-16 to win the National Championship after the College Football Championship game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California Monday, January 7, 2019. Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Percentage of time ranked in AP Poll

39.7%

Texas A&M Aggies

Sept. 8, 2018; College Station, TX, USA; Texas A&M Aggies mascot Reveille runs onto the field before the game between the Texas A&M Aggies and the Clemson Tigers at Kyle Field. Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Percentage of time ranked in AP Poll

40.2%

Miami Hurricanes

Nov 20, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Hurricanes mascot Sebastian the Ibis performs on the field between plays in the first half between the Miami Hurricanes and the Virginia Tech Hokies at Hard Rock Stadium. Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Percentage of time ranked in AP Poll

42.4%

UCLA Bruins

Sep 4, 2021; Pasadena, California, USA; UCLA Bruins wide receiver Kyle Philips (2) celebrates with offensive lineman Paul Grattan (65) offensive lineman Jon Gaines II (57) and tight end Greg Dulcich (85) his touchdown scored against the Louisiana State Tigers during the second half the at the Rose Bowl. Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Percentage of time ranked in AP Poll

44.6%

Florida State Seminoles

Sep 28, 2019; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles symbols Osceola and Renegade during the game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack at Doak Campbell Stadium. Credit: Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

Percentage of time ranked in AP Poll

46.6%

Tennessee Volunteers

Dec 5, 2020; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Volunteers mascot Smokey during the second half against the Florida Gators at Neyland Stadium. Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Percentage of time ranked in AP Poll

49.0%

Auburn Tigers

Aug 31, 2019; Arlington, TX, USA; Auburn Tigers mascot Aubie the Tiger celebrates with cheerleaders after the victory against the Oregon Ducks at AT&T Stadium. Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Percentage of time ranked in AP Poll

50.1%

Georgia Bulldogs

Dec 12, 2020; Columbia, Missouri, USA; A detailed view of a Georgia Bulldogs helmet during the second half against the Missouri Tigers at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Percentage of time ranked in AP Poll

52.4%

LSU Tigers

LSU cornerback enters transfer portal, lists Ohio State in top 4
LSU cornerback enters transfer portal, lists Ohio State in top 4

Oct 6, 2018; Gainesville, FL, USA; A detailed view of LSU Tigers football helmets against the Florida Gators during the second half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Percentage of time ranked in AP Poll

53.3%

Florida Gators

Sep 28, 2019; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators mascot, Albert, cheers with fans during the second half against the Towson Tigers at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Percentage of time ranked in AP Poll

53.4%

Penn State Nittany Lions

Dec 28, 2019; Arlington, Texas, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions defensive end Shane Simmons (34) and linebacker Cam Brown (6) and the mascot celebrate after the game against the Memphis Tigers at AT&T Stadium. Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Percentage of time ranked in AP Poll

55.3%

Nebraska Cornhuskers

Oct 6, 2018; Madison, WI, USA; A Nebraska Cornhuskers helmet sits on the sidelines during the game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium. Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Percentage of time ranked in AP Poll

60.8%

Texas Longhorns

Ohio State now has 3 of top 15 Texas football prospects for 2022
Ohio State now has 3 of top 15 Texas football prospects for 2022

Sep 21, 2019; Austin, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns fan poses with University of Texas logo on Bevo Boulevard before the game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Percentage of time ranked in AP Poll

62.3%

USC Trojans

Sep 7, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans white horse mascot Traveller during the game against the Stanford Cardinal at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Percentage of time ranked in AP Poll

65.5%

Alabama Crimson Tide

Jan. 1, 2020; Orlando, Florida; Alabama Crimson Tide mascot Big Al entertains the fans before the game against the Michigan Wolverines at Camping World Stadium. Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Percentage of time ranked in AP Poll

70.0%

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Dec 28, 2019; Orlando, Florida, USA; The Notre Dame Fighting Irish mascot celebrates the field goal against the Iowa State Cyclones during the first half at Camping World Stadium. Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Percentage of time ranked in AP Poll

70.7%

Oklahoma Sooners

ATLANTA, GEORGIA – DECEMBER 28: Oklahoma Sooners animal mascots Boomer and Sooner pulling Sooner Schooner Conestoga wagon on the field before the game against the LSU Tigers in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 28, 2019, in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Percentage of time ranked in AP Poll

73.0%

Michigan Wolverines

LOOK: Michigan marching band's futile attempt to troll Ohio State
LOOK: Michigan marching band's futile attempt to troll Ohio State

Michigan marching band takes the field before the Northern Illinois game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021. Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Percentage of time ranked in AP Poll

73.9%

Ohio State Buckeyes

Sat., Jan. 1, 2022; Pasadena, California, USA; A special rose helmet stripe adorns Thayer Munford’s helmet before the start of the 108th Rose Bowl Game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Utah Utes at the Rose Bowl. Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Percentage of time ranked in AP Poll

79.1%

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