Alabama Football: National Championship Club Top 10 CFB Programs

(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /
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Alabama Football
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In 150-plus years of CFB, a few teams dominate Championships, Alabama football and these 10 others.

Alabama football is not unique in setting National Championship goals before a season. In recent years, those goals have been realistic more frequently for the Alabama Crimson Tide. A historical look at college football’s top National Championship programs shows why other schools often share similar optimism.

According to NCAA records, only 44 schools have won National Championships since the first was awarded for a two-game season in 1869. The number over a shorter interval, beginning in 1919, drops to 37 CFB programs. Keep in mind, before the BCS in 1998, it was not uncommon for more than one team to be declared a National Champion. Sometimes it was three or four teams.

The NCAA, in an effort to provide more clarity, does not recognize all those championships. Using only the list on the NCAA website, not all claimed Championships will be credited for this post. For example, Alabama football claims 17 National Championships. Based on the NCAA definition of major selectors, the Crimson Tide is credited with 15 National Championships.

The Alabama Crimson Tide is not alone in claiming Championships, chosen by ‘minor’ selectors. Many schools do the same thing. While rare, in a few cases, schools have not claimed Championships before the Poll-Era.

The list of the top National Championship programs is not segmented by coaches. For example, LSU and Alabama football National Championships won under Nick Saban are included for each school. The same is true with Florida and Ohio State Championships won under Urban Meyer.

How a Top Ten became 11 CFB Programs

Trying to keep this list to the Top 10 programs caused a demarcation point of four National Championships being the minimum. Because of ties, 11 programs met the threshold. Programs coming up just short, at three National Championships, are Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Illinois and Michigan State.