The 25 Best College Football Teams of All-Time | 2025 Rankings

Sometimes it can feel like there are as many sports as there are stars in the sky. Most cultures and countries have their sports. Different sports, whether they are team sports or individual sports, focus on and improve different skills and traits.

There are so many choices that there is something for everyone. But sometimes it can be hard to decide because there are so many.

When it comes to college football, of course, we have the best college football teams of all time. The question of which team is the best always sparks debate and lively conversation in living rooms across the country.

Ranking teams gives us a lot of chances to talk about and compare them. It also gives older people a chance to say that football players from their generation were tougher.

This article has a list of the 25 best college football teams of all time. Keep reading.

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#1. Physical Fitness

One of the most obvious benefits of playing a sport is that it makes you more physically fit. Keeping up with physical activity is important in a world where most people are overweight or obese. Football is a great way to stay in shape, and it’s a great full-body workout that gives the body everything it needs.

During a game, the average player runs between five and seven miles. Switching between jogging, running, and sprinting at any time. This not only improves the ability to use oxygen, but also the health of the heart and blood vessels. This strengthens and protects the heart and lowers the risk of getting heart disease.

#2. Build Up Your Faith

Team sports are one of the best ways to build self-esteem and confidence. By working hard and seeing the results of your work on the field in the form of a win, your confidence will grow.

Putting in the work to improve a skill and develop your abilities will pay off in every area of your life. It would make you feel more at ease and ready to deal with whatever comes your way.

#3. Develop Relationships and Camaraderie

Since team sports are what they are, you will always be working closely with your teammates and learning to work as a unit. This will help people feel closer to each other and build strong relationships that will last for a long time.

Players have to work together for 90 minutes on offense and defense. They learn to depend on each other more than their teammates in other sports.

#4. Expand Worldly Horizons

Since soccer is a game that is popular all over the world. Watching or playing it makes you automatically a part of a bigger global community. Even if you only play football in your town, you’ll find that soccer is the game of the world.

American football isn’t very popular outside of the U.S., so fans of the sport might feel very out of place.

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Step 1

Tell your high school counselor what you want to do with your life. Plan your high school course load as soon as you can and talk to your high school counselor about your goals.

Your counselor will know what the NCAA core requirements are and can help you make sure you get all the classes you need while you’re still in high school.

Step 2

Take the core classes you need in high school. Both Divisions I and Division II schools have strict core academic requirements that you must meet during high school.

There are 16 core classes that all high school students must take. These classes range from math to English. If you can, start these required classes early in high school so you can finish them in four years.

Step 3

Take the ACT or the SAT. As a junior in high school, you should take both the ACT and the SAT and send your scores to the NCAA. Even though each NCAA division has different requirements for standardized tests, if you take them early on in high school, you can take them again if you need to.

Your SAT combined score or ACT sum score should match your overall high school GPA. The required overall GPA will depend on which NCAA Division you want to play in.

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Step 4

Get ready to be eligible for Division I in school. Division I school and sports programs are the most competitive and have specific academic requirements.

High school football players who want to play for a Division I school must take 16 core classes approved by the NCAA over four years. You must also keep a 2.30 GPA overall in high school and get the same score on the SAT or ACT as your overall GPA

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Step 5

Make the decision that you want to join a Division II team. To be eligible for Division II, you have to take 16 approved core courses. The specifics of these courses are less strict than the ones for Division I. You must keep a GPA of 2.20 throughout high school and get a similar score on the SAT or ACT.

Step 6

Be able to play college sports in Division III. All Division III schools decide their academic requirements for admission, and each school’s rules may be different. The best way to find out what a Division III school needs for academic certification is to call the school.

Step 7

Send your information to the NCAA Eligibility Center. No matter what division you want to play in, you must sign up with the NCAA Eligibility Center at eligibilitycenter.org.

Register with the NCAA as soon as you can so that you can change your high school schedule if you need to.

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The best college football teams of all time are-

#1. ’96 Florida Gators

After the Gators beat No. 2 Tennessee in a tough game at Neyland Stadium. They never had a problem until they played Florida State late in the season. Even though Florida lost, they are on this list for a reason.

After a heartbreaking 24-21 loss to FSU ruined their perfect season, the team came together. They beat Alabama in the SEC championship game. This made it possible for the ‘Noles to play again.

Florida took control of the game right away and never let go, beating FSU 52–20 in the end. This team was a force to reckon with. They became one of the best college football teams of all time.

#2. ’91 Washington Huskies

The Huskies finished their perfect season by beating Michigan 34-14. They got ranked No. 2 in the final AP poll and shared the championship with Miami.

Nobody lost to these powerful Huskies by less than a touchdown, and their defense was the best. They are one of the best college football teams of all time.

Several of UW’s touchdowns came after the starters had taken off the field. Head coach Don James would rather have his backups get real experience than run up the score. Steve Emtman was the leader of the defense and took first in the draft the next year.

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#3. ’97 Michigan Wolverines

In 1997, Michigan won the national title and topped the AP poll at the end of the season. The Wolverines won all of their 12 games, and their defense was the best part. Charles Woodson, who went on to win the Heisman Trophy, helped the University of Miami beat its opponents.

The season ended with a 21-16 come-from-behind win in the Rose Bowl against Washington State, which had been unbeaten up to that point. The Michigan Wolverines are one of the best college football teams of all time.

#4. ’40 Minnesota Golden Gophers

Before the United States got involved in World War II, Minnesota won its fourth national championship. The tackle Urban Olson and the halfback George Franck led the Gophers to a perfect 8-0 season.

That year, Franck came in third place in the Heisman voting. They became one of the best college football teams of all time.

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#5. ’69 Texas Longhorns

The Longhorns had a perfect 11-0 season, led by consensus All-American tackle Bob McKay. The ‘Horns beat No. 2 Arkansas 15-14 in a game called the “Game of the Century.”

This kept them unbeaten and set them up to beat Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl. They are one of the best college football teams of all time.

#6. ’74 Oklahoma Sooners

The Sooners won their first championship under head coach Barry Switzer because of how hard they ran the ball.RB After his great year, Joe Washington went home with a boatload of awards. DE Lee Roy Selmon was the first pick in the next NFL Draft.

In their last game of the season, the Sooners played Oklahoma State. In the third quarter, the Sooners were behind 13-10, but they scored five touchdowns to win 44-13. They are now ranked as one of the best college football teams of all time.

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#7. ’47 Michigan Wolverines

The ’47 Michigan Wolverines are one of the best college football teams of all time.

Before bowl season, Notre Dame may have been number one, but after beating USC 49-0 in the Rose Bowl, the “Mad Magicians” was the clear number one.

People say that this team was one of the first to have players who only played offense or defense. Before this, most guys played on both sides of the field. The Wolverines’ score in the Rose Bowl is still tied for the most points ever scored in that game. Coach Fritz Crisler’s changes to the game will be forever remembered.

#8. ’00 Oklahoma Sooners

In Bob Stoop’s second year as head coach, the Sooners were unbeatable on their way to winning the National Championship. With QB Josh Heupel at the helm, the Sooners beat six teams that got ranked and went 13-0.

They won the Orange Bowl by beating the defending champion, Florida State, 13-2. Thanks to a strong defensive effort. They have now become one of the best college football teams of all time.

#9. ’99 Florida State Seminoles

The Seminoles were the first team to be number one in the polls from the beginning to the end of the season. The offense got led by QB Chris Weinke and had players like Travis Minor, Laveranues Coles, Anquan Boldin, and Peter Warrick, who is always dangerous.

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The Sugar Bowl win over Virginia Tech, 46-29, was the last game of a 12-0 season. The Florida State Seminoles are one of the best college football teams of all time.

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#10. ’68 Ohio State Buckeyes

The 1968 Buckeyes are still one of the best teams Ohio State has ever put together. They also go higher to rank as one of the best college football teams of all time.

The Buckeyes beat rival Michigan 50-14 and then beat the USC Trojans 27-16 in the Rose Bowl to win the national championship. They had 11 All-Americans and six players drafted into the NFL.

Outstanding running back Jim Otis led the Buckeyes. He led the team in rushing and won the Heisman trophy in 1969.

#11. ’87 Miami Hurricanes

The year before, Miami was the clear favorite to win the title. However, after a disappointing loss to Penn State in the Fiesta Bowl and the loss of star quarterback Vinny Testaverde, Jerome Brown, and Alonzo Highsmith, it looked like the Canes would have to start over.

Michael Irvin, Brian Blades, and Steve Walsh all walked in and they became one of the best college football teams of all time.

The ‘Canes had a perfect 11-0 regular season and played the top-ranked Oklahoma Sooners in the Orange Bowl. During the 1985-1986 season, the Sooners only lost two games.

Both of those losses came at the hands of the Hurricanes. They beat OSU 20–14, ending one of the most surprising runs to the National Championship in history.

#12. ’47 Notre Dame Fighting Irish

The “47 Notre Dame Fighting Irish are one of the best college football teams of all time.

In 1947, when Notre Dame was at the top of its “dynasty,” coach Frank Leahy led the Irish. This was their second straight championship.

Led by Johnny Lujack, who won the Heisman Trophy, the Irish went 9-0 and won Notre Dame’s sixth national title.

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#13. ’38 TCU Horned Frogs

Yes, a long time has passed, but this team is still one of the best college football teams of all time. The 1938 Horned Frogs, led by coach Dutch Meyer, finished the season with a perfect 11-0 record. After beating Carnegie Mellon in the Sugar Bowl, they got named national champions.

Davey O’Brien, the quarterback, played well and led the offense. He threw for more than 1,400 yards and 19 touchdowns. They also wore cool, small helmets.

#14. ’02 Michigan Wolverines

The 1901 team coached by Fielding Yost went unbeaten and outscored its opponents 555-0. The 1902 team averaged 58 points per game and won the same national title as the 1901 team.

They scored 644 points more than their opponents. Which is about the same number that the Big Ten’s bowl opponents scored against them. Since ’02, they are still one of the best college football teams of all time.

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#15. ’92 Alabama Crimson Tide

1992 was a big year for the Alabama Crimson Tide in many ways. It was also the year they became one of the best college football teams of all time. The Tide played their 100th season of football at the university in Gene Stallings’ third year. This was as head coach.

They held their opponents to 9.2 points per game and won the first SEC championship game to win their 20th SEC title. Then, to top it all off, they beat number one and the favorite to win the Sugar Bowl, Miami. They also won the National Championship.

#16. ’04 USC Trojans

Even though the 2004 Trojans team, led by coach Pete Carroll, got a lot of bad press, it was one of the best teams ever. It ranks high as one of the best college football teams of all time.

The school hasn’t had an undisputed national championship since the memorable 1972 season. The Trojans rode the play of Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Matt Leinart to the Orange Bowl. There, they won the BCS national championship and left “no doubt” about their championship status.

Leinart and Reggie Bush led the Trojans to a 55–19 win over the Oklahoma Sooners in the championship game. However, that win was later taken away.

#17. ’94 Penn State Nittany Lions

The Nittany Lions might have been the best team that didn’t win a championship. Their offense got led by RB Ki-Jana Carter, QB Kerry Collins, and WR Bobby Engram. To date, they are one of the best college football teams of all time.

After a perfect season, the Lions beat the 12th-ranked Oregon Ducks 38-20 in the Rose Bowl. But they didn’t win the national championship. That went to the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Collins, Carter, and TE Kyle Brady, all from Penn State, got picked in the top 10 of the NFL draft.

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#18. ’61 Alabama Crimson Tide

Most people agree that this group is one of the best defensive teams in history. On the way to Bear Bryant’s first national title at Alabama, they only let the other team score 25 points.

The two-way lineman Billy Neighbors did a great job for the Tide. They beat the ninth-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks in the Sugar Bowl to finish the season 11-0. The “61 Alabama Crimson Tide is one of the best college football teams of all time.

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#19. ’56 Oklahoma Sooners

Bud Wilkinson’s Sooners were on a 47-game winning streak. However, conference rules meant they couldn’t play in a bowl game that year. They didn’t need to, though, because they won the national title anyway.

Halfback Tommy McDonald led the Sooners. He ran for 14 touchdowns, caught four touchdowns, and passed for three touchdowns. The team is one of the best college football teams of all time.

#20. ’05 Texas Longhorns

The ’05 Texas Longhorns are one of the best college football teams of all time.

During their 13-0 season, the Longhorns beat their opponents by a score of 653 to 213.

Mack Brown’s team had their best season ever. This was due to how well quarterback Vince Young played and how good their defense was.

To top it all off, Texas beat defending national champion USC in a thrilling title game. USC had never lost before.

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#21. ’45 Black Army Knights

It’s not often that a team has two Heisman winners in the backfield. But Felix “Doc” Blanchard and Glenn Davis did it in 1945 and 1946. Both men were behind the front lines during the Army’s amazing campaign.

The Army had a pretty good season. They went overseas and beat some people up, and then beat the Navy in front of 102,000 people to win the national championship. They also beat Notre Dame by a score of 48-0 and Penn by a score of 61-0 in back-to-back weeks. This team is no doubt, one of the best college football teams of all time.

#22. ’71 Nebraska Cornhuskers

Many people think this team is the best in the game’s history. Their strong defense kept their opponents from scoring more than 8.2 points per game. While they averaged 39 points per game.

The Huskers beat rival and No. 2 ranked Oklahoma 35-31 in the “game of the century.” Johnny Rodgers was a big reason for their victory. They are also one of the best college football teams of all time.

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#23. ’01 Miami Hurricanes

Of course, you have heard of the 01’ Miami Hurricanes. They are one of the best college football teams of all time. 34 points. That was the average amount by which the Canes won.

This was one of the most explosive college football teams ever. They have players like TE Jeremy Shockey, QB Ken Dorsey, and RB Clinton Portis on offense and CBs Mike Rumph and Philip Buchanon on defense.

Miami beat Nebraska 37-14 in the Rose Bowl to end a regular season in which they didn’t lose a game.

#24. ’72 USC Trojans

The 1972 Trojans, who had their coach John McKay, were the first team to win every single postseason poll. Amazing right? No surprise they made our list of the best college football teams of all time.

Under the direction of fullback Sam “Bam” Cunningham, the Trojans ran over six ranked teams. All on their way to a 12-0 season. The season for the Trojans ended with a 25-point win over Ohio State in the Rose Bowl.

#25. Nebraska Cornhuskers

Tom Osborne’s team averaged more than 50 points per game and had a great defense that only gave up 14 points per game. They then ran the ball well, led by Ahman Green.

That season, the Huskers beat four teams in the top ten. None of these teams ever got within 23 points of each other.

If a team goes 11-0 and then beats Florida 62-24 in the Fiesta Bowl, they may be one of the best teams in sports history.

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The College Football Playoff is the championship game for the Football Bowl Subdivision. It’s played at the end of the season. The playoff ensures that college football’s unique regular season could keep its excitement and importance.

The way the playoffs are set up makes for an exciting four-team playoff. It keeps the best regular season in sports and protects the rich bowl tradition in the United States.

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The College Football Playoff is usually run by CFP Administration, LLC. It consists of the FBS conferences and the University of Notre Dame. The conferences run the College Football Playoff National Championship. It also sets rules for the bowl games that host the Playoff Semifinals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which college football team was the best of all time?

Nebraska (1971) Many people think that the 1971 Cornhuskers were the best college football team ever, and we can’t argue with that. Others are-

  • Army (1945)
  • USC (1972)
  • Nebraska (1995)
  • Miami (2001)
  • Michigan (1947)
  • Notre Dame (1947)
  • Oklahoma (1947)

Which college football team is the best?

Oklahoma Sooners. This team is currently ranked as the best college football team of all time.

What is the most successful football team ever?

  • 1952 Michigan State Spartans.
  • 2004 Southern California Trojans.
  • 2001 Miami Hurricanes.
  • 2025 Clemson Tigers.

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Who is the best football player in college?

CBS Sports says that Alabama is now number one and Notre Dame is in the top five.

Who is the best quarterback in college history?

  • The best QBs in college history are-
  • Robert Griffin III.
  • Jim McMahon.
  • Colt Brennan
  • Peyton Manning
  • Eric Crouch
  • Cam Newton
  • Kellen Moore
  • Dan Marino, and
  • Jim McMahon.

Who is the best coach in the history of college football?

Paul “Bear” Bryant is still the best college football coach of all time. Even though Nick Saban is getting close.

Conclusion

Participating in college football is a fun and life-changing experience. To play college football, you need to meet certain academic requirements in high school. You must also figure out which schools are the best fit for you.

College football is a tough game, but if you start getting ready early in high school, you’ll be ahead of the game and set yourself up for success off the field.

We hope our list of the best college football teams of all time has answered any questions you had.

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References

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