Skip to main content

Sporting News Ranks 20 Best College Football Programs Of The Decade

alabama football head coach nick saban in the national title

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide walks on the field during warm ups prior to the game against the Georgia Bulldogs in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 8, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Nick Saban took over Alabama ahead of the 2007 season, after a pretty down period for the Crimson Tide. In that time period, he has become arguably the greatest coach in program history, and his team is the defining one of the decade, which comes to a close this season.

He isn't without rival though. Dabo Swinney elevated a middling Clemson program to national superpower status over the last few years. That includes a four-game split with Alabama in the College Football Playoff, with wins in two of three national title games over the last four years.

When someone puts out a college football ranking, it is a fair bet that Alabama and Clemson come in at the top, no matter what the measure is. That is the case with Sporting News' new measure of the top 20 programs of the last decade.

Starting with the 2010 season, the publication put together a ranking using a point system based on these criteria:

National championships: 10 points each
National title game appearances: 5 points each
College Football Playoff appearances: 5 points each
New Year's Day Six/BCS bowl appearances: 3 points each
Heisman Trophy winners: 2 points each

That's not all: Overall winning percentage, All-Americans and NFL Draft picks first-round picks were awarded with a poll style 15-1 score. Ties were broken by the team with the higher ranking heading into this season.

Unsurprisingly, Alabama football is No. 1 by a large margin in Sporting News' decade ranking of college football programs.

The Tide have 166 points, ahead of second place Clemson's 105.5.

Nick Saban won his first national championship at Alabama with in 2009, and the Crimson Tide tacked on four more this decade. They've reached the College Football Playoff all five times and have played for the national championship in six of nine seasons this decade. If not for the Kick Six, it would have been seven. Alabama also leads in winning percentage, draft picks and All-Americans. It is the complete program.

From there, it is another precipitous drop to No. 3 Ohio State, which sits at 78.5 points. Florida State, another national champion this decade, has 69 points at No. 4.

Auburn, the fifth national championship-winning program this decade, has been more up and down than other teams on the list. At 34 points, the Tigers sit at No. 9.

Other major programs included in the list: Oklahoma (No. 5), Notre Dame (No. 11), Georgia (No. 12), and Michigan (No. 19).

Head to Sporting Newsfor the full list and write-ups for all 20 teams.