College football has been around for over a century and we’ve seen countless universities produce strong football teams during that time. However, there’s only a few college football programs in the nation that are considered the most successful of all-time. Below I’ve listed the top five most successful power 5 college football programs of all-time.
1. University of Alabama
Starting our list is a team which has been in the championship conversation practically every year for the past two decades. However, the program has enjoyed an immense amount of success since it first began in 1902.
Alabama has compiled a 953-335-43 record all-time, which puts them tied for first in wins and second all-time in winning percentage at 73.3%. They’ve also won the most national championships out of any power 5 program with 16, including 6 in the past 14 seasons, and have dominated the Southeastern Conference, the best conference in college football, with 29 conference championships.
2. University of Notre Dame
Second on my list is the Notre Dame fighting Irish, who may be able to claim the title of the most historic program in all of college football. Although they haven’t achieved much success in the past three decades, their dominance in the 20th century easily puts them among the top football programs in the nation.
Notre Dame have compiled a respectable 938-335-42 all-time record, which puts them 4th in winning percentage at .729. The Fighting Irish have won 13 national championships since its founding in 1899, which is the second most of any power 5 program. Although they aren’t currently aligned to a conference, Notre Dame faces some of the toughest competition every season and have earned their spot on this list.
3. University of Michigan
The winningest football team in all of college football, the Michigan Wolverines have been one of the elite programs in the nation since they began competing in 1881. Although they haven’t been able to reclaim the top spot in the nation in the past few decades, they’ve remained as a consistent squad throughout the years and have recently reemerged as one of the top teams in the nation.
Despite having the most wins in all of college football, the Wolverines rank 3rd in winning percentage at .731, as they’ve compiled a 989-353-36 record. Michigan is also tied for the third most national championships with 9, even though they’ve only won once since 1949. The Wolverines have dominated their conference with 43 conference championships, including 19 Big Ten championships, which they joined back in 1917.
4. University of Southern California
The youngest team on this list, the University of Southern California have been the powerhouses of the West since their team first started competing in 1922. The Trojans have struggled in the past few decades, but have recently returned to the center stage in 2022 thanks to Heisman Winner Caleb Williams.
Southern California’s football program has compiled a decent 867-363-54 record all-time, which puts them eighth in winning percentage in the nation at .696. The Trojans sit level with Michigan at 9 national championships, with their most recent victories coming in back-to-back seasons in 2003 and 2004. They’ve also won 39 conference championships which puts them at the top of the Pac-12 all-time.
5. Ohio State University
The Ohio State Buckeyes fall to number five on this list, but their program’s strength matches up to any other team in the nation. Ohio State fielded their first football team in 1904 and have seemingly improved every season since then.
The Buckeyes have the best winning percentage out of every program in the nation at .733, as they’ve compiled an extremely impressive 953-331-53 record. In addition to this, they’ve won 8 national championships, which is the 4th most of all power 5 teams, with their two most recent championships coming in 2014 and 2002. They’ve also achieved great success in the Big Ten with 40 conference championships, second behind only their rivals, the Michigan Wolverines.
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