College football has a long, sordid history, with a number of historians whose trustworthiness may be in direct relation to how they view your favorite team. The one source everyone agrees on? The Associated Press.

Whether on purpose or accident, the AP poll has become the game’s undisputed history book since its 1936 inception. And on Tuesday, the AP used its status as kingmaker to crown an all-time champion, naming Ohio State the greatest program of the AP era.

Using a formula that awarded one point for a Top 25 appearance, an extra point for a No. 1 ranking and 10 for an AP national championship, Ohio State, with its 852 total appearances, 105 No. 1 rankings and five national championships, was the clear winner. And at 50-4 in four seasons under Urban Meyer, it doesn’t appear the Buckeyes will relinquish that claim any time soon.

The All-Time Top 10
1. Ohio State
2. Oklahoma
3. Notre Dame
4. Alabama
5. USC
6. Nebraska
7. Michigan
8. Texas
9. Florida State
10. Florida

What, no SEC programs in the top three? Hold your horses, PAWWWL-ites.

Programs in the Top 25:
1. SEC – 8
2. Big Ten – 7
3. ACC – 4
4. Pac-12 – 3
5. Big 12 – 2

Let’s break the list down a little bit further.

Most total appearances
1. Ohio State – 852
2. Michigan – 806
3. Oklahoma – 784
4. Notre Dame – 766
5. Alabama – 745

Most No. 1 rankings
1. Ohio State – 105
2. Oklahoma – 100.5 (not a typo)
3. Notre Dame – 98
4. USC – 90.5
5. Alabama – 74

Most national championships
1. Alabama – 10
2. Notre Dame – 8
3. Oklahoma – 7
4. Ohio State – 5
USC – 5
Miami – 5

A few odds and ends before we get to a conference-by-conference breakdown:

– The AP has ranked college football teams for 80 seasons. Ohio State has appeared at least once in 77 of them.

– The AP began ranking teams in 1936. The first season Notre Dame did not make a single appearance? 1962.

– Programs to appear in every single poll for an entire decade: Michigan (1970s), Nebraska (1990s) and Florida State (1990s).

– The most accomplished team to never win an AP championship? UCLA. The Bruins, ranked 17th all-time by the AP, registered their first ranking in 1939, grace the rankings a total of 521 times and garnered seven No. 1 rankings.

– As of late November 1984, Florida had neverĀ appeared higher than fourth. They’ve been ranked No. 3 or higher 95 times since.

– Florida State went an entire decade never ranking lower than 11th.

– Nick Saban has led Alabama to 43 No. 1 rankings over the past eight seasons. Pete Carroll pushed USC to No. 1 42 times over a seven-season stretch.

– Nebraska missed a total of three Top 25 rankings from 1970 to 1999. That’s three in three decades.

– Michigan State has been No. 1 29 times, but not once since the 1960’s.

– If you’re only as strong as your weakest link, one could argue the Pac-12 as the most alpha of the alpha conferences. While it may not have the strength at the top to equal its peers, the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC all have at least one team ranked in the 80’s. The Pac-12’s lowest-ranked program is No. 65 Oregon State.

And, finally…

Total AP Top 100 Appearances by Conference

American
49. Houston
55. SMU
60. Navy
70. Tulane
77. Tulsa
81. Cincinnati
88. East Carolina
94. South Florida

ACC
9. Florida State
13. Miami
22. Clemson
23. Pittsburgh
26. Georgia Tech
31. Virginia Tech
38. North Carolina
41. Syracuse
52. Virginia
53. Duke
56. NC State
57. Boston College
62. Louisville
80. Wake Forest

Big 12
2. Oklahoma
8. Texas
33. West Virginia
39. TCU
43. Oklahoma State
44. Kansas State
47. Baylor
58. Texas Tech
63. Kansas
83. Iowa State

Big Ten
1. Ohio State
6. Nebraska
7. Michigan
12. Penn State
19. Michigan State
24. Wisconsin
25. Iowa
36. Purdue
37. Minnesota
40. Maryland
50. Northwestern
51. Illinois
72. Indiana
86. Rutgers

Conference USA
69. Rice
72. Southern Miss
91. Marshall

Ivy League
66. Penn
72. Cornell
87. Dartmouth
90. Yale
91. Princeton
99. Columbia

MAC
76. Toledo
81. Miami (Ohio)
96. Northern Illinois
99. Bowling Green

Mountain West
61. Boise State
67. Air Force
71. Wyoming
72. Fresno State
77. Colorado State
93. Hawaii
99. Nevada

Pac-12
5. USC
17. UCLA
20. Washington
27. Colorado
28. Oregon
30. Arizona State
32. Stanford
45. California
54. Arizona
59. Washington State
64. Utah
65. Oregon State

SEC
4. Alabama
10. Florida
11. LSU
14. Tennessee
15. Georgia
16. Auburn
18. Texas A&M
21. Arkansas
29. Ole Miss
35. Missouri
46. Mississippi State
48. South Carolina
68. Kentucky
89. Vanderbilt

Independents/Others
3. Notre Dame
34. BYU
42. Army
77. Santa Clara
83. Fordham
85. Holy Cross
95. Villanova
97. Duquesne
98. Iowa Pre-Flight
99. William & Mary