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AP College Football Poll: The greatest programs of all-time, and also Virginia

Where do the Cavaliers rank among college football programs since the AP Poll was founded? The answer is not quite as bleak as recent memory might suggest


Which program is the best of them all? That’s the subject of a debate that has raged among college football fans for generations. The Associated Press provided a new data point on Tuesday when it released its “All Time Top-100” to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the weekly AP Poll. According to the AP, the top 5 programs of the last eighty years have been #1 Ohio State; #2 Oklahoma; #3 Notre Dame; #4 Alabama; and #5 Southern Cal.

According to the official release, “to determine the all-time Top 25, the AP formula counted poll appearances (one point) to mark consistency, No. 1 rankings (two points) to acknowledge elite programs and gave a bonus for AP championships (10 points).”

From a Virginia fan perspective, the Top-100 poll provided a mixed bag. UVA finished 52nd overall and ninth among ACC schools. FSU led the conference by placing 9th, while Miami, Pitt, and Clemson all placed in the top-25. UVA came out ahead of Duke, NC State, Louisville, and Wake Forest, but fell behind Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, and North Carolina.

On one hand, Virginia placed quite high considering that an overwhelming majority of its AP poll appearances are condensed within the 20 year period from 1984 and 2004. On the other hand, one has to wonder where the program would have placed if it hadn’t been in a downward spiral over the last decade. Virginia Tech, which had a similar program trajectory to UVA until the Michael Vick era, placed 31st.

Perhaps the best news is that this poll helps whittle away one more day until the 2016 season. UVA starts camp this upcoming Friday. Thankfully, we’ll all be talking about actual football before you know it.