Who is No. 1 for the ages?
Well, according to ESPN.com’s prestige rankings, Oklahoma is.
ESPN’s prestige rankings are a numerical method of ranking the best FBS college football programs since the 1936 season. Point values were assigned for certain successes (win a national title, earn 25 points) and failures (get your program banned from the postseason, lose two points). The research department ran all the numbers through the computer to come up with the No. 1 program (and Nos. 2 to 119) of the past 73 seasons.
Here’s what ESPN said about OU:
1. Oklahoma Sooners
Total points: 1,968
Positives: When you look at the big picture of college football since 1936, no program has achieved greatness as consistently as Oklahoma. We didn’t even count the fact that Oklahoma owns the longest win streak in FBS history (47) or leads the nation with a .765 winning percentage since World War II. The 1956 Oklahoma team catapulted the Sooners past Notre Dame to the top of the Prestige Rankings, and it’s been in the top spot ever since. OU’s seven national titles have spanned four decades. The Sooners have finished in the final poll’s top 5 an astounding 29 times. But the real fuel for OU’s rise to the top of our rankings has been its conference dominance. The Sooners finished the regular season with at least a share of their conference’s best record a stunning 39 times, seven more than any other program in the country.
Negatives: Oklahoma was downright mediocre in the ’90s. The Sooners ranked 51st in that decade’s rankings, directly behind Hawaii. OU also didn’t have a single major bowl win and suffered through three losing seasons. The Oklahoma program also has been punished by the NCAA to varying degrees six separate times in its history.
Through the decades: Through 1958: 1st | 1968: 1st | 1978: 1st | 1988: 1st | 1998: 1st
Did you know? Oklahoma has been voted the No. 1 team in the country by the AP a record 97 times, including twice this past season to break a tie with Notre Dame.
By Jake Trotter