It’s been going on since 1936. Eighty years.
Eighty years? Hey, we go back a lot farther than that!
Except success isn’t about longevity, it’s wins and losses. That’s why Ohio State is No. 1 in the AP’s all time ranking of college football teams.
In the polls 80th year, the AP decided to come up with a formula to rank all of the teams through all of the years. One point for each appearance in the poll, two points for a No. 1 ranking, and a ten-point bonus for an AP championship.
Of the 1,103 polls released by the AP, Ohio State was not on it three times. Three! Yes, that is why they can be arrogant.
Rutgers made the 100, but so did Fordham, Santa Clara, and Toledo. And they are all ranked ahead of RU.
The Knights came in at No. 86 with 38 points. Since we’ve never won a national championship (in the AP poll era - 1869 does not count here) and were never No. 1, that means RU has appeared 38 times (38 weeks).
From the Big Ten, there are seven schools in the top 25, three in the top ten.
In its two undefeated seasons (1961, 1976) Rutgers finished 15 and 17 respectively. The best weekly performance by the Knights was in the 2006 season when RU soared as high as No. 7 after topping Louisville. At that point - to show how little respect was afforded Rutgers - I can recall watching PTI on ESPN and hearing Tony Kornheiser and Mike Wilbon debating what to do should Rutgers “run the table”. You know, could these guys actually be in the conversation for a national title run? Yeah, well, thanks Cincinnati.
Rutgers lack of ranking has a lot to do with its opponents over the years. Unless it was undefeated - as in 1961 and 1976 - it tended to not get the attention that the schools playing “major college football” got. And even then, the fact that Rutgers was beating Princeton, Cornell, Columbia and Lafayette took away the luster for the people casting ballots in the polls.
For example, look at Army which is ranked at No. 42. For much of the 1940’s and the early 1950’s, Army was a player on the national stage. The post-WW2 era was a golden era for the Black Knights and there were three Heisman Trophy winners from Army between 1945 and 1958. Their play - and the fact that they played a national schedule - propelled them higher in the polls, a far cry from where they are now.
Rutgers’ last ranking was at the end of the 2012 season when it was No. 25 as it faced Louisville in the last regular season game,