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Ranking The Top 10 Programs In College Football In 2016

Earlier this week, the six of us here at College Spun decided to rank all the Power 5 college football programs. 

Ranking a "program" is pretty different than ranking a "team" - this isn't a prediction of which teams will do the best during the 2016 season. It's an overall look at which programs now - and going forward - are in the best position for success. You have to look at everything.

 So we decided to rank each program on a scale of 1-10 in five different categories.

  • On-field success
  • Recruiting prowess
  • Head coach
  • Stability
  • Future hope

Alabama, for example, scored 10s in the on-field success category. Michigan, meanwhile, scored fairly highly in the future hope category. 

The best possible score a program could achieve is 300 (five categories, six people voting 1-10 for each category). 

Next week, we'll be revealing our full rankings, No. 1 to No. 66, for every Power 5 program (ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, SEC, Notre Dame and BYU). 

For now, we'll reveal our top 10 programs. Here they are. 

Start With No. 10 ??? >>>

10. Oregon 

Total score: 246

How the Ducks scored in the categories:

  • On-field success: 52
  • Recruiting prowess: 49
  • Head coach: 43
  • Future hope: 52
  • Stability: 47

The Ducks have been one of the five or so best programs in college football over the last five to seven years, but they come in at No. 10 on our list. Oregon has nearly everything you could want for a power program, but the Pacific Northwest isn't a great recruiting area. The Ducks also lack some of the tradition other programs in the top 10 have, so they're viewed as a little less stable than say a Michigan or Notre Dame. 

2015 Oregon Football from OregonVideo on Vimeo.

Oregon's a program that could really rise on this ranking in another 10 years or so.

Next: No. 9 ??? >>>

9. Stanford 

Total score: 248

How the Cardinal scored in the categories:

  • On-field success: 49
  • Recruiting prowess: 45
  • Head coach: 55
  • Future hope: 49
  • Stability: 50

Stanford almost had an identical score to its Pac-12 rival, Oregon. The Cardinal come in one spot higher, though, thanks mostly to how David Shaw scored in the head coach category (12 points higher than Mark Helfrich). Few programs are more stable than Stanford, too. You pretty much know what you're going to get from a Shaw-led team, and that's one that will likely win 10 or more games. 

2016 Rose Bowl Game Highlight from Stanford Football on Vimeo.

If Shaw decides to leave for the NFL at some point, though, the Cardinal could be in trouble. Although people were probably thinking the same thing when Jim Harbaugh left...

Next: No. 8 ??? >>>

8. Notre Dame 

Total score: 250

How the Fighting Irish scored in the categories: 

  • On-field success: 47
  • Recruiting prowess: 50
  • Head coach: 52
  • Future hope: 51
  • Stability: 50

The Fighting Irish have started to climb back to that elite program category under Brian Kelly and hope remains high for the future. They've had a couple of disappointing results on the national stage, but this is a program stocked with talent and talent will always flock to South Bend, Ind. 

Much like Stanford, though, this is a program whose coach could bolt for the NFL. 

Next: No. 6 (tie) ??? >>>

No. 6 (tie) Oklahoma, LSU

Total score: 254

We had a tie for the No. 6 ranking, with the Tigers and the Sooners both achieving the same score of 254. 

Here's how they did in the categories:

  • On-field success: 49 (Oklahoma), 47 (LSU)
  • Recruiting prowess: 51 (Oklahoma), 58 (LSU)
  • Head coach: 51 (Oklahoma), 49 (LSU)
  • Future hope: 50 (Oklahoma), 51 (LSU)
  • Stability: 53 (Oklahoma), 49 (LSU)

As you can see, the Tigers scored a decent amount better in the recruiting category, but we had the Sooners a tad higher in the other four categories. Both programs have consistently been among the best in the country and that'll likely continue.

Which program would you take going forward? 

Next: No. 5 ??? >>>

5. Michigan

Total score: 255

How the Wolverines scored in the categories: 

  • On-field success: 42
  • Recruiting prowess: 51
  • Head coach: 54
  • Future hope: 56
  • Stability: 52

This might seem too high for a program that hasn't competed for a championship in a decade, but the Wolverines' on-field success score reflects that. Michigan comes in at No. 5 thanks to Jim Harbaugh, who scored high in the head coach category and gives the Wolverines an extremely high score in future hope (only two were higher in that category). 

Can Michigan live up to the hype in the coming seasons? 

Next: No. 4 ??? >>>

4. Clemson 

Total score: 273

How the Tigers scored in the categories:

  • On-field success: 53
  • Recruiting prowess: 53
  • Head coach: 56
  • Future hope: 56
  • Stability: 55

The Tigers have truly arrived in the elite category and they're not going anywhere. Clemson's winning at a high rate on the field, has one of the best head coaches in the country and is recruiting as well as it ever has. If you had to buy stock in a college football program, Clemson would be one of the best choices. 

">March 8, 2016

The upcoming season could be a special one, too. Next: No. 3 ??? >>>3. Florida State Total score: 276How the Seminoles scored in the categories:

  • On-field success: 53
  • Recruiting prowess: 57
  • Head coach: 53
  • Future hope: 57
  • Stability: 56

As great as Clemson's current setup is, Florida State's is a tad better. This is mostly just because of the Seminoles' recruiting prowess. FSU, thanks to the fact that it resides in talent-ridden Florida, has always been one of the best recruiting programs and it will continue to be. The ACC has been dominated lately by these two programs and it doesn't look like that's going to change. 

Who would you take in 2016 - Clemson or Florida State? The Seminoles do get the Tigers at home. Next: No. 2 ??? >>>2. Ohio State Total score: 292How the Buckeyes scored in the categories:

  • On-field success: 58
  • Recruiting prowess: 59
  • Head coach: 60
  • Future hope: 56
  • Stability: 59

There's really no doubt about who the top two programs in the country are and the scores reflected that. The Buckeyes scored 16 points higher than the No. 3 program, Florida State. The only real question is if you'd rather be the Buckeyes or the No. 1 program going forward. Ohio State's program status will be challenged this season, though, as Urban Meyer attempts to replace a slew of NFL players. Next: No. 1 ??? >>>1. Alabama Total score: 295How the Crimson Tide scored in the categories: 

  • On-field success: 60
  • Recruiting prowess: 59
  • Head coach: 60
  • Future hope: 59
  • Stability: 57

Surprised? Of course not. This is a program, after all, that has won four national championships since 2009. It boasts the best coach in the country. It consistently ranks No. 1 in the nation in recruiting rankings. There's nothing not to like about the Crimson Tide. 

">March 11, 2016

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