Bill Connelly at SB Nation put out a list of the best 50 college football teams since World War II (based on an estimated version of his S&P+ ratings). I was curious to see which decades and years had the most teams in the top 50. Since the 1940s only had five years worth of teams, and the 2010s only have six, their numbers get multiplied accordingly.
The Best* Decades of College Football
The best* decade of college football? The 1970s. Twelve teams from the 1970s made the top-50 list.
1. 1970s – 12 top-50 teams
2. 1940s (5 – doubled to account for the absence of teams from 1940-44)
3. 2010s (5 – multiplied by 1.66 to account for 2016-2019 seasons)
4. 2000s (9)
The Best* Seasons of College Football
Now to which seasons had the most great teams: The best* season of college football since WWII? 2008 with FOUR top-50 teams (Texas, USC, Florida, and Oklahoma).
1. 2008 – 4 top-50 teams
2. 1971, 1977, and 1980 (3)
The Best* Programs of All Time
Finally, which are the best* programs since WWII? Coming in first (no surprise): Alabama with seven top-50 teams.
1. Alabama – seven top-50 teams
2. Oklahoma (6)
3. USC (5)
4. Miami and Nebraska (4)
6. Florida St., Notre Dame, and Texas (3)
*”Best” is defined here as having the most top-50 teams of all time according to Bill Connelly’s rating system.