The 30 most dominant college football programs

The 30 most dominant college football programs

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BI Graphics_The most dominant college football programs_2x1Samantha Lee/Business Insider

When it comes to college football, there are powerhouses and then there’s everyone else.

Business Insider has compiled a list of the schools that have run the most dominating football programs over the last 15 years.

To create the ranking we used a formula based on factors such as games and championships won in the last 15 years across all levels (with recent championships weighted more heavily), appearances in the biggest bowl games during that stretch, NFL players produced, and revenue generated by the football team.

Here are the 30 most dominant college football programs.

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30. Houston

30. Houston

Tim Warner/Getty Images

Football revenue, last 3 years: $36.9 million

BCS/New Years 6 bowl appearances: 1

Conference championships: 2

BCS title game/Playoff appearances: 0

National championships: 0

Players in the NFL: 13

One thing to know: Houston has proven in recent years to be one of the top and most consistent teams in FCS. They have been ranked in the top 10 at different points in three of the six seasons prior to this year and reached a New Year’s Six bowl in 2015 under Tom Herman when they beat Florida State.

Data is is for the 2002-16 seasons across FBS, FCS, Division II, and Division III. Championships were weighted by division and years since title.

29. Louisville

29. Louisville

Michael Chang/Getty Images

Football revenue, last 3 years: $103.5 million

BCS/New Years 6 bowl appearances: 2

Conference championships: 4

BCS title game/Playoff appearances: 0

National championships: 0

Players in the NFL: 24

One thing to know: In 2007, head coach Bobby Petrino left Louisville just months after signing a 10-year contract extension, accepting the head coaching job for the Atlanta Falcons. Prior to the 2016 season, he signed a new 7-year deal that has him under contract at Louisville through the 2023 season. Louisville won at least nine games in six of Petrino’s first seven seasons at the school.

28. Northern Illinois

28. Northern Illinois

Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

Football revenue, last 3 years: $25.8 million

BCS/New Years 6 bowl appearances: 1

Conference championships: 3

BCS title game/Playoff appearances: 0

National championships: 0

Players in the NFL: 4

One thing to know: Northern Illinois won at least 11 games every season from 2010 through 2014. They also played in eight straight bowl games — including the 2012 Orange Bowl — a streak that only ended last season.

27. Wisconsin-Whitewater

27. Wisconsin-Whitewater

Don Petersen/AP

Football revenue, last 3 years: $0.4 million

BCS/New Years 6 bowl appearances: 0

Conference championships: 10

BCS title game/Playoff appearances: 0

National championships: 6

Players in the NFL: 1

One thing to know: Wisconsin-Whitewater is one of two schools, with the other being Mount Union, that has thoroughly dominated Division III football. Although Mount Union has the more recent championship (2015), the Warhawks have had more consistent success over the last ten years, with six national championships and eight conference titles.

26. Oklahoma State

26. Oklahoma State

Brett Deering/Getty Images

Football revenue, last 3 years: $140.2 million

BCS/New Years 6 bowl appearances: 2

Conference championships: 1

BCS title game/Playoff appearances: 0

National championships: 0

Players in the NFL: 13

One thing to know: The Cowboys are on pace to win at least ten games for the third straight season and the sixth time in the last eight seasons under head coach Mike Gundy. After Oklahoma State won just 18 games in Gundy’s first three seasons, he has had them in the AP top ten at least one week in seven of the last ten seasons, and finished third in 2011.

25. Washington

25. Washington

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Football revenue, last 3 years: $203.8 million

BCS/New Years 6 bowl appearances: 0

Conference championships: 2

BCS title game/Playoff appearances: 1

National championships: 0

Players in the NFL: 23

One thing to know: After Chris Peterson took Washington to the College Football Playoff last season, he was rewarded with a new contract that will pay him at least $34.1 million through the 2023 season.

24. Iowa

24. Iowa

Matthew Holst/Getty Images

Football revenue, last 3 years: $162.5 million

BCS/New Years 6 bowl appearances: 3

Conference championships: 2

BCS title game/Playoff appearances: 0

National championships: 0

Players in the NFL: 26

One thing to know: In an era when 72% of college coaches are gone within their first five seasons at a school, head coach Kirk Ferentz has now been the head coach at Iowa for 19 seasons and is the longest-tenured coach in FBS.  During his tenure, Iowa has finished the season in the top ten five times.

23. Northwest Missouri State

23. Northwest Missouri State

Colin E. Braley/AP

Football revenue, last 3 years: $3.0 million

BCS/New Years 6 bowl appearances: 0

Conference championships: 11

BCS title game/Playoff appearances: 0

National championships: 4

Players in the NFL: 1

One thing to know: Northwest Missouri State is the class of Division II football. They have won three of the last four championships and just recently saw their streak of 38 straight wins come to an end. During their winning streak — which included eight playoff games — they won each game by an average score of 40-11.

22. Georgia

22. Georgia

Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Football revenue, last 3 years: $251.5 million

BCS/New Years 6 bowl appearances: 3

Conference championships: 2

BCS title game/Playoff appearances: 0

National championships: 0

Players in the NFL: 38

One thing to know: Georgia has been in the AP top ten at different points in 13 of the last 15 seasons, but has only finished a season higher than No. 9 once in the last nine seasons. That being said, former Nick Saban assistant Kirby Smart appears set to have the Bulldogs back as a perennial title contender. Smart is already proving to be a top-level recruiter as the Bulldogs have one of the five best collections of talent, based on recent recruiting rankings.

21. TCU

21. TCU

Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Football revenue, last 3 years: $133.7 million

BCS/New Years 6 bowl appearances: 3

Conference championships: 6

BCS title game/Playoff appearances: 0

National championships: 0

Players in the NFL: 20

One thing to know: When Gary Patterson took over TCU in 2000, they were in the WAC conference. Since then, they have moved to Conference USA, the Mountain West, and now into an annual championship contender as a member of one of the lucrative Power-5 conferences, the Big 12. 

20. Penn State

20. Penn State

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Football revenue, last 3 years: $214.8 million

BCS/New Years 6 bowl appearances: 3

Conference championships: 3

BCS title game/Playoff appearances: 0

National championships: 0

Players in the NFL: 30

One thing to know: James Franklin has done an amazing job turning the Nittany Lions back into a top-ten team considering it has only been six years since the Sandusky scandal that many thought would end the program.

19. Virginia Tech

19. Virginia Tech

Michael Shroyer/Getty Images

Football revenue, last 3 years: $142.2 million

BCS/New Years 6 bowl appearances: 5

Conference championships: 4

BCS title game/Playoff appearances: 0

National championships: 0

Players in the NFL: 14

One thing to know: The Hokies are in their second season under Justin Fuente, just the school’s third football coach since 1977. VaTech appears headed towards another decent bowl game. It would be their 26th straight season that ends in a trip to a bowl.

18. Notre Dame

18. Notre Dame

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Football revenue, last 3 years: $265.2 million

BCS/New Years 6 bowl appearances: 3

Conference championships: 0

BCS title game/Playoff appearances: 1

National championships: 0

Players in the NFL: 31

One thing to know: Notre Dame has not won a championship since Lou Holtz was running the show in 1988. But it is starting to feel like it is only a matter of time for Brian Kelly. They went to the BCS Championship game in 2012 and looked like a top playoff contender this season before their loss to Miami. 

17. Wisconsin

17. Wisconsin

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Football revenue, last 3 years: $163.3 million

BCS/New Years 6 bowl appearances: 4

Conference championships: 3

BCS title game/Playoff appearances: 0

National championships: 0

Players in the NFL: 32

One thing to know: Despite Wisconsin having four head coaches in the last 15 seasons, they have consistently been one of the top teams in the country. They have been ranked in the top five at least once in four of the last eight seasons and are on pace to make their first playoff this season.

16. Boise State

16. Boise State

Loren Orr/Getty Images

Football revenue, last 3 years: $59.5 million

BCS/New Years 6 bowl appearances: 3

Conference championships: 10

BCS title game/Playoff appearances: 0

National championships: 0

Players in the NFL: 21

One thing to know: Boise State has been the class of the non-Power 5 conferences in FBS for the last 15 seasons, finishing ranked in the top 20 ten times and in the top ten four times. That run included three appearances in BCS bowl games.

15. North Dakota State

15. North Dakota State

Matthew Holst/Getty Images

Football revenue, last 3 years: $4.6 million

BCS/New Years 6 bowl appearances: 0

Conference championships: 8

BCS title game/Playoff appearances: 0

National championships: 5

Players in the NFL: 7

One thing to know: North Dakota State would probably be a very good team in FBS. If they played in a bigger television market, the Big Ten or Big 12 may have swallowed them up by now. Instead, they have dominated FCS, winning five of the last six championships.

14. Michigan

14. Michigan

Leon Halip/Getty Images

Football revenue, last 3 years: $276.8 million

BCS/New Years 6 bowl appearances: 5

Conference championships: 2

BCS title game/Playoff appearances: 0

National championships: 0

Players in the NFL: 35

One thing to know: After Lloyd Carr’s final season (2007) at Michigan, the Wolverines only finished three of the next seven seasons ranked in the AP top 25 and never higher than 12th. Michigan finished each of its first two seasons under Jim Harbaugh ranked in the top 12. 

13. Michigan State

13. Michigan State

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Football revenue, last 3 years: $176.7 million

BCS/New Years 6 bowl appearances: 2

Conference championships: 3

BCS title game/Playoff appearances: 1

National championships: 0

Players in the NFL: 29

One thing to know: Michigan State has finished in the top six of the AP Poll three times in the last four seasons. They have also won at least 11 games in five of the last six seasons.

12. Texas

12. Texas

Tim Warner/Getty Images

Football revenue, last 3 years: $361.4 million

BCS/New Years 6 bowl appearances: 2

Conference championships: 2

BCS title game/Playoff appearances: 2

National championships: 1

Players in the NFL: 29

One thing to know: Thanks in part to their own television network, the Longhorn Network, no school generates more revenue in college football than Texas.

11. Stanford

11. Stanford

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Football revenue, last 3 years: $118.0 million

BCS/New Years 6 bowl appearances: 5

Conference championships: 3

BCS title game/Playoff appearances: 0

National championships: 0

Players in the NFL: 28

One thing to know: Stanford won one game the year before Jim Harbaugh took over. By his fourth and final season, they won 12 games. David Shaw has continued the pace, winning at least ten games in five of his first six seasons.

10. Oregon

10. Oregon

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Football revenue, last 3 years: $183.5 million

BCS/New Years 6 bowl appearances: 3

Conference championships: 4

BCS title game/Playoff appearances: 2

National championships: 0

Players in the NFL: 27

One thing to know: Oregon won at least ten games every season from 2008 through 2014 and finished ranked among the top four teams four times in five seasons.

9. Auburn

9. Auburn

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Football revenue, last 3 years: $228.9 million

BCS/New Years 6 bowl appearances: 2

Conference championships: 3

BCS title game/Playoff appearances: 2

National championships: 1

Players in the NFL: 34

One thing to know: Gus Malzahn led Auburn to the BCS Championship game in his first season as head coach at Auburn. That earned him an early extension. Auburn was just 23-16 in the next three seasons, but appear to have righted the ship and have a good shot to get into the College Football Playoff this season.

8. Florida

8. Florida

Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Football revenue, last 3 years: $227.7 million

BCS/New Years 6 bowl appearances: 2

Conference championships: 2

BCS title game/Playoff appearances: 2

National championships: 2

Players in the NFL: 45

One thing to know: Florida has fallen on hard times recently and will soon be on to their third head coach in five seasons, not counting the two interim bosses. So it easy to forget that it wasn’t that long ago that Urban Meyer won two championships in three seasons in Gainesville and narrowly missed having three in four years.

7. LSU

7. LSU

Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Football revenue, last 3 years: $259.9 million

BCS/New Years 6 bowl appearances: 1

Conference championships: 3

BCS title game/Playoff appearances: 3

National championships: 2

Players in the NFL: 51

One thing to know: No school produces more NFL players than LSU, with 51 on opening weekend rosters this year. No other school had more than 45.

6. Clemson

6. Clemson

Michael Shroyer/Getty Images

Football revenue, last 3 years: $132.3 million

BCS/New Years 6 bowl appearances: 2

Conference championships: 3

BCS title game/Playoff appearances: 2

National championships: 1

Players in the NFL: 38

One thing to know: Head coach Dabo Swinney was a wide receiver for the 1992 Alabama team that won the National Championship and started his coaching career as an assistant coach with the Crimson Tide. He left for Clemson when Mike Shula became the head coach at Bama and has his team on pace to reach the playoff for the third straight season.

5. USC

5. USC

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Football revenue, last 3 years: $142.0 million

BCS/New Years 6 bowl appearances: 6

Conference championships: 7

BCS title game/Playoff appearances: 2

National championships: 2

Players in the NFL: 45

One thing to know: Under Pete Carroll, the Trojans finished the season ranked in the top four for seven straight seasons. Last season was the first time they did it since Carroll left.

4. Oklahoma

4. Oklahoma

Jonathan Bachman/Getty

Football revenue, last 3 years: $244.2 million

BCS/New Years 6 bowl appearances: 6

Conference championships: 9

BCS title game/Playoff appearances: 4

National championships: 0

Players in the NFL: 33

One thing to know: OU won a national title in 2000 under Bob Stoops. They have not won a title since, but have finished in the top ten of the AP Poll ten times in those 16 seasons.

3. Florida State

3. Florida State

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Football revenue, last 3 years: $183.4 million

BCS/New Years 6 bowl appearances: 6

Conference championships: 6

BCS title game/Playoff appearances: 2

National championships: 1

Players in the NFL: 40

One thing to know: Florida State has not had a losing season since 1976, Bobby Bowden’s first season as head coach. But that streak will end this season as the best the Seminoles can do is 5-6.

2. Ohio State

2. Ohio State

Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

Football revenue, last 3 years: $236.0 million

BCS/New Years 6 bowl appearances: 7

Conference championships: 8

BCS title game/Playoff appearances: 5

National championships: 2

Players in the NFL: 42

One thing to know: Ohio State has won two national championships in the last 15 seasons and has finished the season ranked in the top 10 a whopping 12 times during that stretch.

1. Alabama

1. Alabama

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Football revenue, last 3 years: $295.9 million

BCS/New Years 6 bowl appearances: 2

Conference championships: 5

BCS title game/Playoff appearances: 6

National championships: 4

Players in the NFL: 44

One thing to know: Alabama has been ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll at least once in each of the last ten seasons. During that stretch, Bama is 122-13. Six of those losses were to teams ranked in the top five at the time. The most dominant college football program resides in Tuscaloosa and nobody else is close. Roll Tide!

Now check out how nice college football facilities have become.

Now check out how nice college football facilities have become.

HOK

Clemson’s new $55 million football complex shows how swanky college football facilities have become

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