NCAA football has passed through various eras, but the NCAA’s official win-loss records reveal the programs that have historically achieved the most victories. Let’s delve into the top 10 winningest NCAA football teams.
The top 10 winningest NCAA football teams
The competitiveness of NCAA football is globally recognized. Shaping a team into a competitive force is an accomplishment, but maintaining and excelling at that edge is a different feat entirely. Only a select few teams have achieved legendary status in the history of college football. Here’s a look at who they are. Below you can see the Top 10 winningest teams in NCAA football history.
No. 10 – Harvard (901 wins)
Harvard, known for its academic excellence, also boasts one of the world’s oldest football programs. With roots dating back to 1873, the ‘Crimson’ has an impressive list of accomplishments including 13 national championships and 20 College Football Hall of Fame inductees. Notably, William H. Lewis became the first African-American college player in history to become an All-American.
No. 9 – Nebraska (917 wins)
The Cornhuskers are among the most storied programs in college football, having clinched forty-six conference championships and five national championships. Following a downturn in recent years, the hiring of Matt Rhule in November 2022 signals a new era for the team.
No. 8 – Penn State (928 wins)
The name Joe Paterno is synonymous with Penn State, where he amassed 409 wins, nearly half the school’s total. Despite a fall from grace due to a sex abuse scandal, the team remains in the top 10 in the nation under the leadership of James Franklin.
No. 7 – Yale (936 wins)
Another Ivy League inclusion, the Bulldogs, founded in 1872, have secured 27 national championships and featured two of the first three Heisman Trophy winners. The school moved down a division when the ‘Ivy League’ was created in 1956 in response to lower attendance levels at top tier schools.
No. 6 – Oklahoma (942 wins)
Oklahoma, one of the most successful programs in college football history, boasts seven national championships and a record-tying seven Heisman Trophy winners. The team is set to join the Southeastern Conference (SEC) after negotiations alongside the University of Texas.
No. 5 – Notre Dame (945 wins)
The ‘Fighting Irish’ of Notre Dame have an illustrious history, with 11 consensus national championships and 7 Heisman Trophy winners. Remarkably, the team has recorded 22 undefeated seasons, including 12 perfect seasons.
No. 4 – Texas (945 wins)
Synonymous with success in college football, Texas has 4 national championships to its name and joined Oklahoma in accepting an invitation to join the Southeastern Conference (SEC) in 2021.
No. 3 – Alabama (962 wins)
Alabama is unquestionably one of the most successful teams in college football history, clinching 18 national championships and making an NCAA-record 76 postseason Bowl appearances.
No. 2 – Ohio State (963 wins)
Ohio State has a storied history, with eight national championships, 41 conference championships, and seven Heisman Trophy winners. It is also the only team in history to have a two-time winner of the award: Archie Griffin.
No. 1 – Michigan (1000 wins)
Michigan recently became the first team in history to reach 1000 wins. The program has secured or shared 44 league titles and has finished in the top 10 a total of 39 times since 1936. The team, despite controversy surrounding its head coach, remains one of college football’s most formidable sides.
Alex Martin is your guide to the global phenomenon of football. With a focus on international leagues and tournaments, he provides match commentary, player interviews, and behind-the-scenes stories from the world of football.