Which college football program deserves the title of best all-time?
Well, it depends on how you define greatness.
For ESPN’s recent look at the most successful programs ever ahead of college football’s 150-year anniversary celebration this season, the Worldwide Leader’s Stats and Information Group put a heavy emphasis on wins and national championships across multiple eras and levels of competition.
“Our goal: Honor the accomplishments of teams across 150 seasons and all divisions, while rewarding successful programs at the highest level in the sport’s most competitive era,” ESPN writes.
ESPN’s formula includes the following, split evenly at 20 percent — dominance, peak strength, since integration, early modern and pre-modern. This accounts for current success and the years before all of us were born. Adjustments include national championships below the FBS level count at 50 percent; national championships before the poll era (1936) count at 50 percent and winning percentages when a team was not in Division I are reduced by 10 percent.
Most of the programs listed are national bluebloods, but surprisingly, not all.
ESPN ranked the Top 50 here, but we’ve pulled the Top 10 with a future outlook: