All-Time Associated Press National College Football Champions

Learn More About How the AP Poll Determines a National Champ

Nick Saban national championship 2013
Nick Saban has helped Alabama surpass Notre Dame on the all-time AP National Champions list. Getty Images

The winner of the Associated Press (AP) college football championship trophy may no longer be a determining factor in the Bowl Championship Series formula, however, the long-running AP poll carries a lot of weight in the college football world.

Awarded annually by the AP, the trophy goes to the team who finishes the season at the number one spot in the AP Poll. That team is named the national college football ​​champion for that season

How the Poll Works

The AP Poll weekly ranks the top 25 NCAA teams in Division I  football, men's basketball and women's basketball. Sixty-five sportswriters and broadcasters from across the nation are polled. Each voter creates a ranking of the top 25 teams. The individual rankings are combined to produce the national ranking by giving a team 25 points for a first-place vote, 24 for a second-place vote, and so on down to 1 point for a twenty-fifth place vote. Voting members ballots are public.

History of the AP National Poll

The AP college football poll has a long history. In the early 1930s, there was a flurry of news media running polls of their sportswriters to determine who was, by popular opinion, the best football team in the country at the end of the season. For consistency, in 1936, the AP established a poll of sports editors, which then became the standard.

For decades, the AP poll was considered the final word on college football rankings and being named the AP’s poll winner meant being that team was the national champion.

In 1997, the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) was developed to pick the two top-ranked teams for a national championship game. For the first several years the AP Poll factored in the determination of the BCS rankings, along with other factors including the Coaches Poll and computer-based polls. In December 2004, due to a series of controversies surrounding the BCS, the AP demanded that BCS stop using its poll for their ranking calculations.

The 2004–2005 season was the last season that the AP Poll was used.

AP National College Football Champions

CollegeNumberYear
Alabama101961, 1964, 1965, 1978, 1979, 1992, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015
Notre Dame81943, 1946, 1947, 1949, 1966, 1973, 1977, 1988
Oklahoma71950, 1955, 1956, 1974, 1975, 1985, 2000
Miami (FL)51983, 1987, 1989, 1991, 2001
Ohio State51942, 1954, 1968, 2002, 2014
USC51962, 1967, 1972, 2003, 2004
Minnesota41936, 1940, 1941, 1960
Nebraska41970, 1971, 1994, 1995
Florida31996, 2006, 2008
Florida State31993, 1999, 2013
Texas31963, 1969, 2005
Army21944, 1945
Auburn21957, 2010
Clemson21981, 2016
LSU21958, 2007
Michigan21948, 1997
Penn State21982, 1986
Pittsburgh21937, 1976
Tennessee21951, 1998
BYU11984
Colorado11990
Georgia11980
Maryland11953
Michigan State11952
Syracuse11959
TCU11938
Texas A&M11939
Format
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Hyland, Tim. "All-Time Associated Press National College Football Champions." ThoughtCo, Mar. 10, 2017, thoughtco.com/all-time-associated-press-national-champions-791515. Hyland, Tim. (2017, March 10). All-Time Associated Press National College Football Champions. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/all-time-associated-press-national-champions-791515 Hyland, Tim. "All-Time Associated Press National College Football Champions." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/all-time-associated-press-national-champions-791515 (accessed September 19, 2017).