Let's say one day soon you receive word that a distant relative has passed away, and this long lost aunt has gifted you $1,000 on the condition that you use that money to buy stock in a college football program. I realize this a completely unrealistic scenario, but roll with me here. What program would you sink your money into?
The obvious (and possibly correct) answer would be a powerhouse program like Alabama, Florida State or Ohio State, or maybe you've bought into the mind of Gus Malzahn and decide to go with Auburn. Hard to go wrong there. There's value in keeping a healthy brand strong, but the truly lucrative stocks are ones that grow year after year.
To help answer this little thought experiment, I've parsed through the FBS standings and found 50 51 programs that upped their win totals from 2012 to 2013.
Here they are in alphabetical order (get your scrolling finger ready):
New Mexico State
Jump back another year, and the number drops tremendously. Only 20 programs have managed to increase their win totals two years in a row:
Go back another year, and that number dwindles even further. Much further. Only four programs have managed to increase their win totals three seasons in a row:
Ball State jumped from 4-8 in 2010 to 6-6 in 2011 to 9-4 in 2012 to 10-3 last fall. Bowling Green has leaped from 2-10 to 5-7 to 8-5 up to 10-4 last fall, culminating in the 2013 MAC championship. Buffalo has moved from 2-10 to 3-9 to 4-8 up to 8-5 this fall. And out West, UCLA's record has grown from 4-8 to 6-8 to 9-5 and then to 10-3 in 2013.
If you bought hypothetical stock in Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo or UCLA back in 2010, Pete Lembo, Dave Clawson, Jeff Quinn and Jim Mora (with some help Rick Neuheisel) would have left you a happy shareholder.
Finally, let's jump back one more season, where we'll find one and only one program to up its win total in four consecutive seasons. This program's win total has grown from two to four to six to nine to 10 wins from 2009-13.