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Andy Wittry | | January 10, 2019

College football's 9 winningest teams

Clemson rolls Alabama for the CFP national title

Here are the nine schools with the most wins in college football history, using the NCAA's official win-loss records.

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Note: Schools needed at least 25 years in the top division of football, which may have pre-dated the separation of teams into the FBS and FCS levels, to qualify for this list. That explains the inclusion of one school on this list, whose presence may come as a surprise to many.

* This has been updated as of Jan. 7., 2019

  Penn State won at least 10 games in consecutive seasons for just the third time since joining the Big Ten.
9. Penn State

All-time record: 887-391-41

First season: 1887

Win percentage: .688

Penn State has improved from back-to-back seven-win seasons in 2014 and 2015 to consecutive 11-win seasons the last two falls, when the Nittany Lions have finished inside the top 10 of the AP poll. That stretch was just the third two-year span that Penn State won at least 10 games in consecutive years since joining the Big Ten. Now the Nittany Lions will try to win at least 10 games three years in a row for the first time since the early '80s.

There's never an easy year in the Big Ten East but Penn State gets to play some of its toughest opponents at home this fall, when it hosts Ohio State, Michigan State and Wisconsin.


  Oklahoma has made the College Football Playoff in two of the last three years.
8. Oklahoma

All-time record: 896-325-53

Win percentage: .724

First season: 1895

Oklahoma has averaged 10.8 wins per season since 2000 and the Sooners have made the College Football Playoff twice in the last four years, reaffirming their status not just as a historically great program but one of the best this century.

  Nebraska has won five national championships in football.
T-6. Nebraska

All-time record: 897-388-40

Win percentage: .692

First season: 1890

Nebraska is trying to recapture the success it had in the 1970s through the '90s, when the Huskers won five national championships and produced a pair of Heisman Trophy winners. With the hiring of former national championship-winning quarterback Scott Frost to return to his alma mater as head coach, Nebraska appears to be on the right track. Frost led UCF to a 13-0 record last season, capped off by a win over Auburn in the Peach Bowl.

But, the Frost era began with a trio of home losses against Akron, Colorado and Troy, before a road game at the Big House against Michigan.

  Notre Dame has averaged more than 8.5 wins per season under coach Brian Kelly.
T-6. Notre Dame

All-time record: 897-324-42

Win percentage: .727

First season: 1887

Notre Dame is tied with Michigan for the highest winning percentage in college football history, winning 72.9 percent of its games. The Irish have won eight national championships since the Associated Press began certifying the national champion in 1936.

To put the 37-win difference between No. 2 Notre Dame and No. 1 Michigan into context, hypothetically for ND to bridge the gap in the shortest amount of time possible, it would take roughly three consecutive undefeated seasons for the Fighting Irish while the Wolverines were concurrently winless. The two teams squared off in South Bend, Indiana, in Week 1 this fall.

  Alabama has won five national championships in the last nine years.
5. Alabama

All-time record: 905-329-43

Win percentage: .726

First season: 1892

Alabama won five national championships in nine years as Nick Saban has made the Crimson Tide the kings of college football. Alabama missed out on adding another title when Clemson beat the Tide in the CFP title game.

  Yale won the Ivy League last season with a 6-1 conference record.
4. Yale

All-time record: 907-379-55

Win percentage: .697

First season: 1872

Yale played its first football game at least seven years before every other school on this list. The Bulldogs joined the Ivy League in 1956 and the Ivy League moved to Division I-AA in 1982. Yale currently plays at the FCS level and won the Ivy League last season.

  Texas won at least 10 games every year from 2001 to 2009.
3. Texas

All-time record: 908-370-33

Win percentage: .705

First season: 1893

It's too bad that Texas and Ohio State, which are tied for fourth all-time in win totals, aren't playing to open the season, with the winner taking a one-game lead in the rankings. The Longhorns have experienced a downturn recently with a 53-48 record this decade but from 2000 to 2009, Texas averaged 11 wins per season and peaked in the top five of the AP poll every season.

  Ohio State has averaged more than 12 wins per season since Urban Meyer was hired after the 2011 season.
2. Ohio State

All-time record: 911-325-53

Win percentage: .727

First season: 1890

The winners of the inaugural College Football Playoff in 2014, the Buckeyes have mostly been national title contenders year in and year out since the mid-90s. Since 1995, Ohio State has finished in the top six of the AP poll 15 times with two national championships and two runner-up finishes.

  Michigan is the winningest program in the history of college football.
1. Michigan

All-time record: 953-342-36

Win percentage: .730

First season: 1879

The 11-time national champion Wolverines enter year four under Jim Harbaugh searching for their first Big Ten title since 2004. Michigan might have one of the most unenviable schedules in the country this season, bookended by road games at Notre Dame (Sept. 1) and Ohio State (Nov. 24). The Maize and Blue also travel to rival Michigan State, in addition to home games against Nebraska, Wisconsin and Penn State.

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