Over the weekend, Scout.com published a series of posts creating a historical ranking of the the top NCAA Football programs. The posts use the results of the season-ending AP polls to rate each D-1 football program on a decade-by-decade basis as well as overall since the poll was created during the 1936 season. Scout's methodology for the ranking is as follows.
CFN came up with a scoring system to compare and contrast how the programs finished over the decades. Every time a team finished No. 1 in the final poll, it got 25 points. The No. 2 team got 24 points, No. 3 got 23 points, and so on with the No. 25 team getting one point. Through the decades, the AP ranked the top ten teams for a few years before going back to the top 20 rankings, and eventually, it went to the top 25 system it's at now.
According to the scoring system, consistent production isn't necessarily rewarded. For example, if a team finished 17th for four straight years, it would get a total of 36 points (No. 17 gets 9 points). A team that finished the beginning of the decade No. 2 (24 points) and the end of the decade ranked tenth (16 points), but wasn't ranked any year in between, would get a total 40 points.
We have talked about the history of UCLA Football quite a bit on this blog over the years, including discussion of how - until recent years - UCLA has been a "perennial top-15 football program" with a tradition of bowl success. Scout's findings back us up rather well, rating UCLA as the nation's 15th best football program from 1936-present. The Bruins place just a hair behind Auburn, Georgia and Miami in the 12th-14th spots, and ahead of Florida and Florida State in 16th and 17th.
More detail on where we fit into the Pac-12's overall football heirarchy, along with the rise and fall in the fortunes of UCLA Football after the jump.
Since 1936, 125 schools/football programs have finished at least one season ranked in the AP poll's top-25, including all of the members of the modern Pac-12 Conference. This is where the programs rate in the all-time AP ranking:
Rank Team AP Points
6 USC 757
15 UCLA 503
21 Washington 330
28 Colorado 258
33 Arizona State 223
38 California 207
43 Stanford 186
47 Oregon 185
55 Oregon State 124
56 Washington State 123
69 Arizona 76
T70 Utah 75
So, we see that Southern Cal leads the Pac-12 programs, and places 6th among all programs. No shock there. But the Bruins are right there behind them, closer to the Trogans than the 3rd place Huskies are to us. That is how things look when you throw together 76 years worth of AP polling. Scout also broke down their rankings on a decade-by-decade basis. Let's see how UCLA and the conference shake out.
- 1930's: UCLA - 26th (tied) overall; 3rd Pac-12
- 1940's: UCLA - 28th (tied) overall; 4th Pac-12
- 1950's: UCLA - 9th overall; 1st Pac-12
- 1960's: UCLA - 10th overall; 2nd Pac-12
- 1970's: UCLA - 16th overall; 3rd Pac-12
- 1980's: UCLA - 5th overall; 1st Pac-12
- 1990's: UCLA - 19th overall; 3rd Pac-12
- 2000's: UCLA - 53rd (tied) overall; 10th (tied) Pac-12