College Football’s Greatest Pre-Season #1 Teams of All-Time

alabama florida state highlights week 1 college football slate 1 560x316

Since 1950, the AP Poll has been releasing its annual preseason poll revealing the number one team in the country just weeks before the regular season began. Recently, the 2017 AP Poll announced that Alabama would be the number one team in the country this season marking their sixth time atop the poll. In their previous five times beginning the season as number one overall, they won the national championship once, in 1978.

That kind of statistic is common among teams ranked first in the AP’s Preseason poll. Of the 67 years that the AP Poll unveiled its’ preseason poll number one, only 10 of those teams have won a national title (USC vacated their title in 2004). For the most part, teams that start the season atop the AP Poll wind up finishing in the top ten or worse but rarely are they ever celebrating a national title when the season ends.

alabama fsu 560x315

This year’s poll has given us plenty to be excited about with Alabama standing high atop the poll followed by Ohio State, Florida State, USC, Clemson, Penn State, Oklahoma, Washington, Wisconsin, and Oklahoma State to round out the top ten. But for the first time in AP Poll history, the first game of the season is going to be between number one Alabama and number three Florida State. There has never been a top three match-up between two teams in the preseason AP Poll history.

In honor of this prestigious poll, let’s go back in time and rank all of the best teams that were once dubbed the AP Poll’s number one overall to start the season. Enjoy.

50) 1976 Nebraska

50 1 560x390

  • Conference: Big-8
  • Head Coach: Tom Osborne
  • Season Record (Conference): 9-3-1 (4-3)
  • Bowl Game: Bluebonnet
  • Result: W, 27-24 (Texas Tech)
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 9

49) 2013 Alabama

49 560x373

  • Conference: SEC
  • Head Coach: Nick Saban
  • Season Record (Conference): 11-2 (7-1)
  • Bowl Game: Sugar Bowl
  • Result: L, 31-45 (Oklahoma)
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 7

48) 2000 Nebraska

48 1 560x388

  • Conference: Big-12
  • Head Coach: Frank Solich
  • Season Record (Conference): 10-2 (6-2)
  • Bowl Game: Alamo Bowl
  • Result: W, 66-17 (Northwestern)
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 8

47) 1958 Ohio State

47 1 560x373

  • Conference: Big Ten
  • Head Coach: Woody Hayes
  • Season Record (Conference): 6-1-2 (4-1-2)
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 8

46) 1973 USC

46 1 560x388

  • Conference: Pac-8
  • Head Coach: John McKay
  • Season Record (Conference): 9-2-1 (7-0)
  • Bowl Game: Rose Bowl
  • Result: L, 21-42 (Ohio State)
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 8

45) 1994 Florida

45 1 560x374

  • Conference: SEC
  • Head Coach: Steve Spurrier
  • Season Record (Conference): 10-2-1 (7-1)
  • Bowl Game: Sugar Bowl
  • Result: L, 17-23 (Florida State)
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 7

44) 1977 Oklahoma

44 1 560x315

  • Conference: Big-8
  • Head Coach: Barry Switzer
  • Season Record (Conference): 10-2 (7-0)
  • Bowl Game: Orange Bowl
  • Result: L, 6-31 (Arkansas)
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 7

43) 1996 Nebraska

43 1 560x460

  • Conference: Big 12
  • Head Coach: Tom Osborne
  • Season Record (Conference): 11-2 (8-0)
  • Bowl Game: Orange Bowl
  • Result: W, 41-21 (Virginia Tech)
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 6

42) 1989 Michigan

42 1 560x858

  • Conference: Big Ten
  • Head Coach: Bo Schembechler
  • Season Record (Conference): 10-2 (8-0)
  • Bowl Game: Rose Bowl
  • Result: L, 10-17 (USC)
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 7

41) 2014 Florida State

41 1 560x467

  • Conference: ACC
  • Head Coach: Jimbo Fisher
  • Season Record (Conference): 13-1 (8-0)
  • Bowl Game: CFB Semi-Final (Rose Bowl)
  • Result: L, 20-59 (Oregon)
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 5

40) 1970 Ohio State

40 1 560x388

  • Conference: Big Ten
  • Head Coach: Woody Hayes
  • Season Record (Conference): 9-1 (7-0)
  • Bowl Game: Rose Bowl
  • Result: L, 17-27 (Stanford)
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 5

39) 1967 Notre Dame

39 1 560x446

  • Head Coach: Ara Parseghian
  • Season Record: 8-2
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 5

38) 1995 Florida State

38 1 560x378

  • Conference: ACC
  • Head Coach: Bobby Bowden
  • Season Record (Conference): 10-2 (7-1)
  • Bowl Game: Orange Bowl
  • Result: W, 31-26 (Notre Dame)
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 4

37) 2015 Ohio State

37 1 560x315

  • Conference: Big Ten
  • Head Coach: Urban Meyer
  • Season Record (Conference): 12-1 (7-1)
  • Bowl Game: Fiesta Bowl
  • Result: W, 44-28 (Notre Dame)
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 4

36) 1965 Nebraska

36 1 560x323

  • Conference: Big-8
  • Head Coach: Bob Devaney
  • Season Record (Conference): 10-1 (7-0)
  • Bowl Game: Orange Bowl
  • Result: L, 28-39 (Alabama)
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 5

35) 1991 Florida State

35 1 560x460

  • Head Coach: Bobby Bowden
  • Season Record: 11-2
  • Bowl Game: Cotton Bowl
  • Result: W, 10-2 (Texas A&M)
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 4

34) 1957 Oklahoma

34 1 560x354

  • Conference: Big-7
  • Head Coach: Bud Wilkinson
  • Season Record (Conference): 10-1 (6-0)
  • Bowl Game: Orange Bowl
  • Result: W, 48-21 (Duke)
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 4

33) 1972 Nebraska

33 1 560x447

  • Conference: Big-8
  • Head Coach: Bob Devaney
  • Season Record (Conference): 9-2-1 (5-1-1)
  • Bowl Game: Orange Bowl
  • Result: W, 40-6 (Notre Dame)
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 4

32) 2009 Florida

32 1 560x317

  • Conference: SEC
  • Head Coach: Urban Meyer
  • Season Record (Conference): 13-1 (8-0)
  • Bowl Game: Sugar Bowl
  • Result: W, 51-24 (Cincinnati)
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 3

31) 1969 Ohio State

31 1 560x378

  • Conference: Big Ten
  • Head Coach: Woody Hayes
  • Season Record (Conference): 8-1 (6-1)
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 4

30) 1954 Notre Dame

30 1 560x409

  • Head Coach: Terry Brennan
  • Season Record: 9-1
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 4

29) 1955 UCLA

29 1 560x257

  • Conference: PCC
  • Head Coach: Red Sanders
  • Season Record (Conference): 9-2 (6-0)
  • Bowl Game: Rose Bowl
  • Result: L, 14-17 (Michigan State)
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 4

28) 1990 Miami

28 1 560x361

  • Head Coach: Dennis Erickson
  • Season Record (Conference): 10-2
  • Bowl Game: Cotton Bowl
  • Result: W, 46-3 (Texas)
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 3

27) 1987 Oklahoma

27 1 560x396

  • Conference: Big-8
  • Head Coach: Barry Switzer
  • Season Record (Conference): 11-1 (7-0)
  • Bowl Game: Orange Bowl
  • Result: L, 14-20 (Miami)
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 3

26) 2007 USC

26 1 560x434

  • Conference: Pac-10
  • Head Coach: Pete Carroll
  • Season Record (Conference): 11-2 (7-2)
  • Bowl Game: Rose Bowl
  • Result: W, 49-17 (Illinois)
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 3

25) 2001 Florida

25 4 560x373

  • Conference: SEC
  • Head Coach: Steve Spurrier
  • Season Record (Conference): 10-2 (6-2)
  • Bowl Game: Orange Bowl
  • Result: W, 56-23 (Maryland)
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 3

24) 1986 Oklahoma

24 4 560x333

  • Conference: Big-8
  • Head Coach: Barry Switzer
  • Season Record (Conference): 11-1 (7-0)
  • Bowl Game: Orange Bowl
  • Result: W, 42-8 (Arkansas)
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 3

23) 1992 Miami

23 4 560x403

  • Conference: Big East
  • Head Coach: Dennis Erickson
  • Season Record (Conference): 11-1 (4-0)
  • Bowl Game: Sugar Bowl
  • Result: L, 13-34 (Alabama)
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 3

22) 1988 Florida State

22 4 560x438

  • Head Coach: Bobby Bowden
  • Season Record: 11-1
  • Bowl Game: Sugar Bowl
  • Result: W, 13-7 (Auburn)
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 3

21) 1966 Alabama

21 4 560x503

  • Conference: SEC
  • Head Coach: Bear Bryant
  • Season Record (Conference): 11-0 (6-0)
  • Bowl Game: Sugar Bowl
  • Result: W, 34-7 (Nebraska)
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 3

20) 1959 LSU

20 4 560x373

  • Conference: SEC
  • Head Coach: Paul Dietzel
  • Season Record (Conference): 9-2 (5-1)
  • Bowl Game: Sugar Bowl
  • Result: L, 0-21 (Ole Miss)
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 3

19) 2003 Oklahoma

19 4 560x376

  • Conference: Big 12
  • Head Coach: Bob Stoops
  • Season Record (Conference): 12-2 (8-1)
  • Bowl Game: Sugar Bowl (National Title)
  • Result: L, 14-21 (LSU)
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 3

18) 2006 Ohio State

18 4 560x315

  • Conference: Big Ten
  • Head Coach: Jim Tressel
  • Season Record (Conference): 12-1 (8-0)
  • Bowl Game: BCS Title Game
  • Result: L, 14-41 (Florida)
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 2

17) 2016 Alabama

17 4 560x364

  • Conference: SEC
  • Head Coach: Nick Saban
  • Season Record (Conference): 14-1 (8-0)
  • Bowl Game: CFB Title Game
  • Result: L, 31-35 (Clemson)
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 2

16) 1998 Ohio State

16 4 560x373

  • Conference: Big Ten
  • Head Coach: John Cooper
  • Season Record (Conference): 11-1 (7-1)
  • Bowl Game: Sugar Bowl
  • Result: W, 24-14 (Texas A&M)
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 2

15) 2002 Miami

15 3 560x373

  • Conference: Big East
  • Head Coach: Larry Coker
  • Season Record (Conference): 12-1 (7-0)
  • Bowl Game: Fiesta Bowl
  • Result: L, 24-31 (Ohio State)
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 2

14) 2005 USC

14 4 560x368

  • Conference: Pac-10
  • Head Coach: Pete Carroll
  • Season Record (Conference): Vacated Entire Season for Violations
  • Bowl Game: Rose Bowl (National Title)
  • Result: L, 38-41 (Texas)
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 2

13) 1953 Notre Dame

13 4 560x453

  • Head Coach: Frank Leahy
  • Season Record: 9-0-1
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 2

12) 1983 Nebraska

12 4 560x418

  • Conference: Big-8
  • Head Coach: Tom Osborne
  • Season Record (Conference): 12-1 (7-0)
  • Bowl Game: Orange Bowl
  • Result: L, 30-31 (Miami)
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 2

11) 1979 USC

11 4 560x315

  • Conference: Pac-10
  • Head Coach: John Robinson
  • Season Record (Conference): 11-0-1 (6-0-1)
  • Bowl Game: Rose Bowl
  • Result: W, 17-16 (Ohio State)
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 2

10) 1985 Oklahoma

10 4 560x369

  • Conference: Big-8
  • Head Coach: Barry Switzer
  • Season Record (Conference): 11-1 (7-0)
  • Bowl Game: Orange Bowl
  • Result: W, 25-10 (Penn State)
  • National Champion: Yes
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 1

9) 1951 Tennessee

9 4 560x421

  • Conference: SEC
  • Head Coach: Robert Neyland
  • Season Record (Conference): 10-1 (5-0)
  • National Champion: Yes
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 1

8) 1975 Oklahoma

8 4 560x400

  • Conference: Big-8
  • Head Coach: Barry Switzer
  • Season Record (Conference): 11-1 (6-1)
  • Bowl Game: Orange Bowl
  • Result: W, 14-6 (Michigan)
  • National Champion:
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 1

7) 1978 Alabama

7 4 560x312

  • Conference: SEC
  • Head Coach: Bear Bryant
  • Season Record (Conference): 11-1 (6-0)
  • Bowl Game: Sugar Bowl
  • Result: W, 14-7 (Penn State)
  • National Champion: Yes
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 1

6) 1952 Michigan State

6 4 560x412

  • Head Coach: Clarence Munn
  • Season Record: 9-0
  • National Champion: Yes
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 1

5) 1993 Florida State

5 4 560x280

  • Conference: ACC
  • Head Coach: Bobby Bowden
  • Season Record (Conference): 12-1 (8-0)
  • Bowl Game: Orange Bowl
  • Result: W, 18-16 (Nebraska)
  • National Champion: Yes
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 1

4) 1974 Oklahoma

4 4 560x453

  • Conference: Big-8
  • Head Coach: Barry Switzer
  • Season Record (Conference): 11-0 (7-0)
  • National Champion: Yes
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 1

3) 2004 USC

3 4 560x393

  • Conference: Pac-10
  • Head Coach: Pete Carroll
  • Season Record (Conference): 11-0 (8-0)
  • Bowl Game: Orange Bowl
  • Result: W, 55-19 (Oklahoma)
  • National Champion: Vacated Title for Violations
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 1

2) 1999 Florida State

2 4 560x315

  • Conference: ACC
  • Head Coach: Bobby Bowden
  • Season Record (Conference): 12-0 (8-0)
  • Bowl Game: Sugar Bowl
  • Result: W, 46-29 (Virginia Tech)
  • National Champion:
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 1

1) 1956 Oklahoma

1 4 560x462

  • Conference: Big-7
  • Head Coach: Bud Wilkinson
  • Season Record (Conference): 10-0 (6-0)
  • National Champion: Yes
  • Final AP Poll Ranking: 1