Ask someone who knows their way around college football’s all-time greatest programs, they’ll likely focus more on the national champs. Most times, top programs dominate these annual lists. However, only a select few have sustained remarkable feats for several decades – and some have had streaks of prominence while a legendary coach led them.
Go through the history of some football programs and you’ll find a team that had a great start in the sport’s early days. However, these teams gave way to more programs around the country.
In this outlook on all-time winningest programs, we highlight the top five all-time winningest programs in college football. These teams not only have several national championship titles against their names on the record sheets but also remain one of the first on the betting slips of punters who wager on college football odds due to their track records.
To make up our list of all-time winningest programs, we’ve chosen only programs that have piled up wins for several decades till now.
Top 5 All-Time Winningest College Football Programs
The following is an overview of college football’s top five programs in history based on all-time wins. Official NCAA stats and other related sources have helped put together this list. Here you go.
Oklahoma Sooners are the only side to have as many as four coaches with up to 100 wins. The team also owns a college football record of a 47-game winning streak. Bob Stoops led Oklahoma Sooners into the new century, leading OU between 2000 and 2017.
After Bob Stoops was Lincoln Riley, who went 55-10 and produced two Heisman Trophy winners at quarterback. The Oklahoma Sooners have made the College Football Playoff four times. However, the side is yet to win a game at the semifinal stage.
The most alarming record for the Michigan Wolverines is that no school has won more games than the team. The school is the first non-Ivy league program in the country to make waves at the national level of college football.
Fielding Yost assisted the team in becoming a superpower during UM’s early years, winning the Premier Rose Bowl. Then came Harry Kipke in the 30s, who won two titles during the decade. Fritz Crisler and Bennie Oosterbaan followed Kipke with a couple of national championships in the 1940s.
Bo Schembechler lifted 13 Big Ten crowns between 1969 and 1989, and the team’s most recent half title came under Lloyd Carr in 1997. After a rather not-to-spectacular season, Jim Harbaugh, an alumnus from Michigan, helped lead a renaissance in 2021. His side ended Ohio State’s eight-game winning streak in The Game and won their first College Football Playoff Berth.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
This team has played most of the most renowned college football games in history. Many observers have given ‘Game of the Century awards to this side. Moreover, several face-offs against Army, Michigan, and USC have remained some of the most thrilling and impactful in college football history.
Notre Dame is undoubtedly one of the most significant sports teams in college football. Two coaches from this team have won at least 100 games. Notable names like Knute Rockne and Lou Holtz have led the team to remarkable successes at the national level.
During the 1940s, Frank Leahy built a football dynasty that only the Second World War could interrupt. Things picked up in the 60s after Ara Parseghian assumed the team’s leadership in the 1960s. Recently, the team has attained an upturn in form, including recording two College Football Playoff Berths.
Alabama Crimson Tide
The number of national championship titles won isn’t the sole criterion for this outlook’s ranking. But one of the most striking stats about Alabama Crimson Tide is that it has the most claimed national championships (18). It claimed the first national championship in 1925 and won the latest in 2020.
To the team’s history; Bear Bryant’s legacy in his 24-year career at Alabama is one record that’s hardly surpassed by another school. However, Nick Saban has managed to register more heroics to his name than Bear Bryant. He’s won the most championships in college football (7). Saban had six.
If Bryant’s legacy was challenging, Saban’s run of dominance, both in the SEC and nationally, is more challenging. He holds the record for the highest College Football Playoff berths and wins.
The Ohio State Buckeyes
Here’s the best college football program with the most game wins. Since they became a team in 1890 and became a top feature in the 1910s, Ohio State Buckeyes haven’t reneged on their oars.
Ohio State Buckeyes remains the leading team in the Big Ten, particularly on the recruiting front. Season-in-and-out, you’re almost sure to find the Buckeyes in every playoff race.
As the team eased into the 21st century, Jim Tressel and Urban Meyer led the team to win a national championship each or being in the mix a few other times. While Meyer led OSU, he went 82-9 and built the college into a humongous recruiting team. Ryan Day leads the Buckeyes today and retains a record of ranking in the Top 10 of the final AP poll in all seasons.
In the over-a-century college football history, a fair share of individual geniuses has come from the sport. However, not many programs sustained collective dominance in the sport over several decades.
Only a few elite institutions like the ones we’ve put in this article were able to achieve such a feat.
In every of these college football teams, coaches have been highly instrumental in helping the teams maintain their top forms throughout the years.