The 20 most dominant college football programs in the modern era

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

That’s right – college football season is back in full swing.

And as co-eds gear up for tailgates, home games, and fierce rivalry matches, some schools’ pride and atmosphere clearly surpasses the rest.

Niche, a company that researches and compiles information on schools, ranked which colleges have the best football programs, primarily looking at the number of BCS bowl appearances, number of NCAA championship wins, and average attendance at home games. The ranking also took factors such as BCS bowl game wins, number of alumni in the NFL, and student survey responses into consideration.

For its ranking, Niche used the number of National Championships won recently (since 2000), but we included the number in the modern poll era – since 1936 – for reference. Check out a full breakdown of the methodology here.

Whether you prefer to sport Wisconsin red, yell “Roll Tide,” or cheer the Fighting Irish to victory, scroll down to see the 20 best colleges for anyone obsessed with college football.


20. West Virginia University

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Location: Morgantown, West Virginia

National championships: 0

Average attendance at home games: 52,910

Number of alumni who have played in the NFL: 180


19. University of Tennessee

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Location: Knoxville, Tennessee

National championships: 2

Average attendance at home games: 95,584

Number of alumni who have played in the NFL: 310


18. Penn State

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Location: State College, Pennsylvania

National championships: 2

Average attendance at home games: 96,587

Number of alumni who have played in the NFL: 343


17. Stanford University

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Location: Stanford, California

National championships: 0

Average attendance at home games: 50,726

Number of alumni who have played in the NFL: 232


16. Auburn University

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Location: Auburn, Alabama

National championships: 2

Average attendance at home games: 85,657

Number of alumni who have played in the NFL: 241


15. University of Georgia

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Location: Athens, Georgia

National championships: 1

Average attendance at home games: 92,746

Number of alumni who have played in the NFL: 281


14. Virginia Tech

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Location: Blacksburg, Virginia

National championships: 0

Average attendance at home games: 63,999

Number of alumni who have played in the NFL: 131


13. University of Notre Dame

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Location: South Bend, Indiana

National championships: 8

Average attendance at home games: 80,795

Number of alumni who have played in the NFL: 536


12. University of Wisconsin

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Location: Madison, Wisconsin

National championships: 0

Average attendance at home games: 78,911

Number of alumni who have played in the NFL: 294


11. University of Oregon

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Location: Eugene, Oregon

National championships: 0

Average attendance at home games: 57,660

Number of alumni who have played in the NFL: 207


10. University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

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Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan

National championships: 2

Average attendance at home games: 111,592

Number of alumni who have played in the NFL: 346


9. University of Texas at Austin

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Location: Austin, Texas

National championships: 4

Average attendance at home games: 98,976

Number of alumni who have played in the NFL: 288


8. University of Miami

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Location: Coral Gables, Florida

National championships: 5

Average attendance at home games: 53,837

Number of alumni who have played in the NFL: 304


7. Florida State University

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Location: Tallahassee, Florida

National championships: 3

Average attendance at home games: 75,421

Number of alumni who have played in the NFL: 261


6. University of Oklahoma

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Location: Norman, Oklahoma

National championships: 7

Average attendance at home games: 84,722

Number of alumni who have played in the NFL: 324


5. Louisiana State University

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Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

National championships: 3

Average attendance at home games: 91,418

Number of alumni who have played in the NFL: 313


4. University of Alabama

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Location: Tuscaloosa, Alabama

National championships: 11

Average attendance at home games: 101,505

Number of alumni who have played in the NFL: 298


3. University of Florida

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Location: Gainesville, Florida

National championships: 3

Average attendance at home games: 87,440

Number of alumni who have played in the NFL: 278


2. University of Southern California

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Location: Los Angeles

National championships: 7

Average attendance at home games: 73,126

Number of alumni who have played in the NFL: 471


1. Ohio State University

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Defensive lineman Kosta Karageorge #53 of the Ohio State Buckeyes celebrates after defeating the Oregon Ducks 42 to 20 in the College Football Playoff National Championship.
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Location: Columbus, Ohio

National championships: 6

Average attendance at home games: 104,933

Number of alumni who have played in the NFL: 409