Which schools should be considered college football royalty?

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What are the most important programs in the history of college football?

It's a thorny, fun, fascinating question that we posed to 12 of our writers. We asked them to rate every current FBS program on a scale of 1-10, based on each school's overall impact on the history of college football.

The rankings below list the school, then their average score. The top five finished with unanimous 10 scores, and we rounded up from 9.5 for those that just missed a perfect score.

The end result? Eight schools qualify for what we're calling blue bloods -- the royalty of the game.


T1. Alabama Crimson Tide | 10

The Tide own 11 national titles (including the most recent one). They play in the ever-competitive SEC, where they have won 25 conference titles, 12 more than the next closest team. Alabama also has more bowl wins (35) than any team in the country.

T1. Notre Dame Fighting Irish | 10

It's hard to argue with the highest all-time winning percentage in all of college football, which is the perch on which Notre Dame sits. At 892-313, the Irish have won more than 73 percent of their games. They have also won eight national championships and generated seven Heisman Trophy winners.

T1. Ohio State Buckeyes | 10

Ohio State also has seven Heisman Trophies, including the only two-time winner in running back Archie Griffin (1974, 1975). The Buckeyes have six titles to their names, half of which were won by Woody Hayes, who led the program for 28 seasons. The Buckeyes have won 35 Big Ten titles.

T1. Oklahoma Sooners | 10

The Sooners have won 72 percent of their games since taking the field in 1895, and they've won 75 percent of their conference games. With seven national titles and 14 undefeated seasons, Bob Stoops' program is a lock for blueblood status.

T1. USC Trojans | 10

The Trojans would be part of the seven-Heisman club were it not for Reggie Bush's vacated trophy. They have won seven national titles and boast 33 bowl wins, the No. 2 mark in the country behind Alabama.

6. Michigan Wolverines | 9.92

The Wolverines fall short of their fellow blue bloods in national championships with only two. But while Notre Dame has the best winning percentage, Michigan has won more games overall by a margin of 33. Current coach Jim Harbaugh will try to widen the gap.

7. Texas Longhorns | 9.83

The Longhorns have won four titles and are one of eight teams to have won 70 percent or more of their games all-time. Texas won or shared 25 conference championships during its time in the Southwest Conference but has only won three in the Big 12.

8. Nebraska Cornhuskers | 9.5

Relatively speaking, Nebraska has enjoyed more recent success. The first of the Cornhuskers five national championships came in 1970. They went back to back in 1970-71 and again in 1994-95. They've also produced three Heisman winners including 2001's winner, quarterback Eric Crouch.


9. LSU Tigers | 9.33

LSU is often a part of the national title conversation, but the Tigers have won only three, the most recent of which came from current coach Les Miles in 2007. They've also produced only one Heisman Trophy winner, Billy Cannon in 1959.

10. Penn State Nittany Lions | 9.17

Penn State owns two titles but hasn't won one since 1986. The Nittany Lions still rank in the top 10 in winning percentage with an overall record of 856-382 (.685). Their lone Heisman Trophy belongs to running back John Cappelletti (1973).

T11. Florida Gators | 9

Florida's three national titles come from two big names in the coaching world with Steve Spurrier claiming its first crown in 1996 and Urban Meyer winning two during his six-year stint in Gainesville. Spurrier also won a Heisman Trophy for the Gators as did fellow quarterbacks Danny Wuerffel and Tim Tebow. The three signal-callers have statues that sit outside of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

T11. Georgia Bulldogs | 9

One of college football's greatest running backs, Herschel Walker, calls Georgia his alma mater. Walker won the Heisman in 1982 for the school's second such trophy. Walker also helped the Dogs to their only national championship as a freshman in 1980.

13. Florida State Seminoles | 8.92

Former coach Bobby Bowden broke through for Florida State's first title in 1993. He won another in 1999 before handing the reins to current coach Jimbo Fisher, who won again in 2013. A trio of Seminoles quarterbacks have won Heismans with Charlie Ward (1993), Chris Weinke (2000) and Jameis Winston (2013) taking home the award.

14. Miami Hurricanes | 8.33

Few 10-year runs rival the stretch that Miami enjoyed from the school's first title in 1983 to its fourth in 1991. Three different head coaches (Howard Schnellenberger, Jimmy Johnson and Dennis Erickson) led the Hurricanes during those years. The decade of dominance produced two Heisman Trophy winners: Vinny Testaverde in 1986 and Gino Torretta in 1992.

15. Tennessee Volunteers | 8.08

Tennessee has won 13 SEC titles and two national championships, one under Bob Neyland (for whom the stadium is named) and one under Phillip Fulmer. Fulmer's title-winning quarterback was not NFL great Peyton Manning, who was drafted No. 1 overall after the previous season. It was current USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin. The Vols are the first team on the list to not have a Heisman trophy winner.

16. Auburn Tigers | 8

Auburn fans had to wait quite a while after Ralph "Shug" Jordan won the school's first title in 1957. Gene Chizik and a quarterback named Cam Newton brought home another in 2010. Newton also became the school's third Heisman winner, joining Bo Jackson (1985) and Pat Sullivan (1971).

17. Clemson Tigers | 7.83

Clemson came within a game of doubling the school's championship trophy count. Coach Danny Ford and the Tigers went undefeated in 1981. The Tigers are also without a Heisman Trophy winner, something current quarterback Deshaun Watson could change.

T18. Michigan State Spartans | 7.67

Some great coaches, including Alabama's Nick Saban, have passed through East Lansing since Duffy Daugherty won the school's second title in 1965 but none have been able to pull off the feat. The Spartans appeared in the College Football Playoff last season, where they lost to Alabama.

T18. UCLA Bruins | 7.67

UCLA has one national title and one Heisman Trophy (quarterback Gary Beban), but both came before 1970. Former coach Terry Donahue won seven straight bowl games in the 1980s, and Jim Mora has the Bruins winning again as of late.

20. Texas A&M Aggies | 7.42

Coach Homer Norton won the Aggies their first and only national championship in 1939. They have since produced two Heisman winners in running back John David Crow (1957) and quarterback Johnny Manziel (2012).

T21. Oregon Ducks | 7.33

Oregon is the first team on the list to never have claimed a national title. Quarterback Marcus Mariota brought the school's first Heisman to Eugene in 2014, the same year the Ducks fell to Ohio State in the first College Football Playoff final. Oregon was also the runner-up to Auburn's title in 2010.

T21. Stanford Cardinal | 7.33

Stanford also lacks a national title, but the Cardinal have an impressive line of quarterback alumni including Jim Plunkett (who won the Heisman in 1970), John Elway and Andrew Luck. Current coach David Shaw has made three Rose Bowl appearances in the past four seasons, and the Cardinal have won two of them (2012 and 2015).

23. Washington Huskies | 7.17

Washington's lone title came in 1991 under the direction of coach Don James. The Huskies have also won seven Rose Bowls, the most recent of which came in 2001 when coach Rick Neuheisel and quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo took down Drew Brees' Purdue team.

24. Wisconsin Badgers | 6.92

Wisconsin's strong tradition of running the football is borne out in its two Heisman-winning backs: Ron Dayne in 1999 and Alan Ameche in 1954. The Badgers have won 14 Big Ten titles and won three Rose Bowls.

25. Arkansas Razorbacks | 6.42

Arkansas is without a Heisman Trophy or a national championship. The Razorbacks have never won an SEC conference title and won 13 conference crowns while a member of the Southwest Conference.

Voters for the blue-bloods project: Andrea Adelson, Edward Aschoff, Brian Bennett, Heather Dinich, Travis Haney, Chris Low, Ivan Maisel, Ryan McGee, Ted Miller, Adam Rittenberg, Mark Schlabach and Mitch Sherman