ESPN Has SJU & Gophers Among Best Programs in 150 Years
COLLEGEVILLE -- The football team at St. John's University has been very good for a very long time, and that winning tradition has landed the program on a very elite list of teams.
ESPN has just ranked what they determined are the 50 best college football programs over the past 150 years.
The Johnnies are #18 on the list. ESPN writes:
4 national titles
It is not true that the Johnnies' late head coach, John Gagliardi, coached against Frank Leahy. But it is true that Gagliardi became head coach at St. John's in 1953, the last season that Leahy coached at Notre Dame, and didn't retire until 2012, after 60 seasons and 465 victories. St. John's, according to our metrics, had one of the 10 most successful programs of the past 100 years. That's another way of saying Gagliardi won 27 conference titles and four national championships.
It might surprise you to learn the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers program comes in at #29 on the list.
6 national titles
To be rated this high when it has been 52 years since you shared a Big Ten title, let alone a national championship, tells you how good the Golden Gophers once were. In the 1920s, Minnesota unleashed an in-state freak of nature named Bronko Nagurski on an unsuspecting sport. In the decade before World War II, under taciturn head coach Bernie Bierman, Minnesota used a brutish style of play to win three of the first six Associated Press national championships.
Another regional powerhouse North Dakota State University has landed at #10 overall.
15 national titles
Talk about higher education: Where else would Saturday's America have learned there's a "z" in Bison. The dominance that North Dakota State has exerted over the FCS (née I-AA) in the past decade is rivaled only by the program's dominance over Division II for a quarter of a century beginning in 1965. And as we saw when College GameDay visited Fargo in 2013, Bison fans have got some juice.
Top 10 programs on the ESPN list are a who's who of college football:
#1 - Alabama
#2 - Notre Dame
#3 - Ohio State
#4 - Oklahoma
#5 - USC
#6 - Michigan
#7 - Yale
#8 - Nebraska
#9 - Texas