ESPN: Gophers 33rd best football program in history

Andrew Cummins

Image source: University of Minnesota

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Here’s some rhetorical ammunition for a future edition of the Gopher-Badger debate:  The Gophers football program is ranked ahead of the Badgers, albeit by one spot, in ESPN’s "Prestige Rankings."

The Gophers are ranked 33rd out of 119 schools in the rankings which are meant to be a numerical way to rank the best programs in college football dating back to 1936 (the year the AP poll was introduced).

For those of you that know your Gopher football history, you’ll remember that the team won three straight national championships from 1934-36.  That means two aren’t incorporated into the ranking – tough break there. 

There’s a ton of data that goes into the formula so I won’t bore you and list it all here, but key factors include all-time winning percentage, number of championships and number of players who went on to play professionally.

Programs could also lose rankings points for NCAA violations, which explains how Indiana ended up being ranked 102nd with a point total of -8.