2020 Super Squads – Ranking the Best College Football Programs in Recent Memory

Hierank Super Squads

This post is the core of a 26 week, 25+ post series, updating every Sunday.
Last updated: August 2, 2020


In our first-annual Super Squad series, we honor the best-performing College Football programs in every Division I conference, over the last three seasons!
(2017-18 | 2018-19 | 2019-20)


We ranked every single Division I College Football program by overall-performance the past three seasons, #1-256.

Why three seasons?

  1. Three years is a great encapsulation of what could be called “recent memory”.
  2. Three years is short enough to include core groups of consistent athletes and staff, for special recognition.
  3. Three years is long enough to establish averages and trends that can provide usable insights for the coming Fall.

This post will act as a running log of all conference winners, with updated #1-256 rankings graphics to show each winner’s conference rivals ranked behind them. Each Super Squad will receive a focused article, graphic, and [with your help] a physical memento highlighting their successes too.

Enjoy!


Rankings

Starting with the least of all conference winners in Week 1, a higher-ranking winner will be announced each Sunday going forward.

About Super Squad Rating

Super Squad Ratings range 0-100, heavily-weighed toward zero. A 100.0 rating is only achievable for a team that finishes #1 in College Football all three years, with a 100+ power rating each year. The top three 2020 Super Squads rate in at 78, 57, and 47, respectively.

Best thought of as a notoriety score:
“How many normal people out of 100 should recognize this program’s success the last three years?”

EXAMPLE
Consider an SSR (Super Squad Rating) of 78 to abstractly mean that program deserves 78% of Americans’ attention.
Conversely a program with a 1.1 SSR would be worth the attention of only 11 out of 1,000 Americans.



Sunday, August 2, 2020

2020 ACC Super Squad I – [Top 10] Clemson Tigers

77.8 Super Squad Rating

Clemson Tigers logo

Record:

43-1 Overall
23-1 ACC
3 ACC Titles
3 CFP Appearances
1 CFP National Title (2018)

Average Power:

98.9 Overall
#2, #1, #2

Best Season:

#1 Overall, 15-0 Finish
(2018)

Week 24 Super Squad Poster
47 athletes played on all three squads that earned the program its Super Squad title. Congratulations!

Sunday, July 26, 2020

2020 SEC Super Squad II – [Top 10] Alabama Crimson Tide

56.9 Super Squad Rating

Alabama Crimson Tide logo

Record:

38-4 Overall
21-3 SEC
1 SEC Title
1 Bowl Victory
1 CFP National Runner-up
1 CFP National Title

Average Power:

94.3 Overall
#1, #2, #7

Best Season:

#1 Overall, 13-1 Finish
(2017)

Week 23 Super Squad Poster
41 athletes played on all three squads that earned the program its Super Squad title. Congratulations!

Sunday, July 19, 2020

2020 Big Ten Super Squad III – [Top 10] Ohio State Buckeyes

45.3 Super Squad Rating

Ohio State Buckeyes logo

Record:

38-4 Overall
25-2 Big Ten
3 Big Ten Titles
2 Bowl Victories
1 CFP Semi-Final Appearance

Average Power:

90.0 Overall
#4, #5, #3

Best Season:

#3 Overall, 13-1 Finish
(2019)

Week 22 Super Squad Poster
62 athletes played on all three squads that earned the program its Super Squad title. Congratulations!

Sunday, July 12, 2020

2020 Big 12 Super Squad IV – [Top 10] Oklahoma Sooners

37.3 Super Squad Rating

Oklahoma Sooners logo

Record:

36-6 Overall
24-3 Big 12
3 Big 12 Titles
3 CFP Semi-Final Appearances

Average Power:

86.5 Overall
#5, #3, #9

Best Season:

#3 Overall, 12-2 Finish
(2018)

It’s again no surprise finding one of College Football’s most perennially-powerful programs high up on this list.

This time with the strongest band of runners-up we’ve seen yet, five Big 12 teams in Top 25 and nine in the Top 60, the Sooners still managed to be a clear step above the rest.

For more information on how the entire Big 12 Conference ranks in recent memory:

Week 21 Super Squad Poster
41 Sooner athletes played on all three squads that earned the program its Super Squad title. Congratulations!

Sunday, July 5, 2020

2020 College Football Independents Super Squad V – [Top 10] Notre Dame Fighting Irish

32.1 Super Squad Rating

Notre Dame Fighting Irish logo

Record:

33-6
National Playoff Appearance (2018)
Two Bowl Titles (2017, 2019)

Average Power:

84.7 Overall
#7, #6, #8

Best Finish:

#6 Overall
#6 FBS
(2018)

It’s no surprise finding one of College Football’s most esteemed historical programs high up on this list. Their sub-par cohort of fellow independents make this title alone doubly shrug-worthy.

That said, this squad of 49 young Irish athletes present all three years has performed impeccably. They can brag of an undefeated regular season (2018), a playoff appearance thwarted by the eventual national champ (2018), and two strong bowl wins over respectable LSU (2017) and Iowa State (2019) foes.

For more information on how the other Independent college football programs landed:

Week 20 Super Squad Poster

Sunday, June 28, 2020

2020 Missouri Valley Super Squad VII – [Top 10] North Dakota State Bison

24.1 Super Squad Rating

North Dakota State Bison logo

Record:

45-1 Overall
23-1 Missouri Valley
3 Missouri Valley Titles
3 FCS National Titles

Average Power:

80.9 Overall
#11, #7, #17

Best Finish:

#7 Overall
#1 FCS
(2018)

Who?

For the uninitiated, here are just a few of our favorite Bison accolades:

  • 45-1 last three years. More Wins and fewer Losses than any D1 team.
  • Holds eight of last nine FCS National Titles.
  • More-than-tripled their opponents scores each of last three years.
  • 6-0 vs FBS teams in 2010s, impressively last-beating Iowa in 2016.
  • Five NFL draftees in the last five years, 10 active NFL players.

For the thoroughly curious, here’s an even-sharper rundown of this program’s decade of dominance:

And for those curious how their conference rivals rank:

51 Bison athletes played on all three squads that earned the program its Super Squad title. Congratulations!

Sunday, June 21, 2020

2020 Pacific-12 Super Squad VII – #11 Washington Huskies

19.7 Super Squad Rating

Washington Huskies logo

Record:

28-12 Overall
18-9 Pac-12
1 Pac-12 Title (2018)

Average Power:

78.1
#16, #16, #15

Best Finish:

#15 Overall
#15 FBS
(2019)

Week 18 Super Squad Poster
45 Huskies athletes played on all three squads that earned the program its Super Squad title. Congratulations!

Sunday, June 14, 2020

2020 American Athletic Super Squad VIII – #16 UCF Knights

16.3 Super Squad Rating

UCF Knights Logo

Record:

35-4 Overall
22-2 American Athletic
2 American Athletic Titles
(2017, 2018)

Average Power:

75.2
#12, #27, #28

Best Finish:

#12 Overall
#11 FBS
(2017)

Week 17 Super Squad Poster
46 Knights athletes played on all three squads that earned the program its Super Squad title. Congratulations!

Sunday, June 7, 2020

2020 CAA Super Squad VIV – #18 James Madison Dukes

15.0 Super Squad Rating

James Madison Dukes logo

Record:

37-7 Overall
22-2 CAA
2 CAA Titles
(2017, 2019)

Average Power:

73.9
#13, #52, #18

Best Finish:

#13 Overall
#2 FCS
(2017)

Week 15 Super Squad Poster
45 Broncos athletes played on all three squads that earned the program its Super Squad title. Congratulations!

Sunday, May 31, 2020

2020 Mountain West Super Squad X – #27 Boise State Broncos

12.1 Super Squad Rating

Boise State Bronco logo

Record:

33-8 Overall
22-2 Mountain West
2 Mountain West Titles
(2017, 2019)

Average Power:

69.7
#33, #42, #26

Best Finish:

#26 Overall
#24 FBS
(2019-20)

With two Mountain West titles, only two Mountain West game losses, and a history of stalking the Top 25, this week’s title winner was an easy one to guess.

How’d the rest of the conference pan out?

Week 15 Super Squad Poster
45 Broncos athletes played on all three squads that earned the program its Super Squad title. Congratulations!

Sunday, May 24, 2020

2020 Sun Belt Super Squad XII – #31 Appalachian State Mountaineers

11.0 Super Squad Rating

Appalachian State Mountaineers Logo

Record:

33-7 Overall
21-3 Sun Belt
3 Sun Belt Titles
(2017 shared, 2018-2019)

Average Power:

68.2
#62, #34, #25

Best Finish:

#25 Overall
#23 FBS
(2019-20)

This lifetime Wolverines fan doesn’t feel like re-living Appalachian State’s accolades twice. They’re the obvious choice for four straight conference titles and five straight bowl wins AND IT’S BEEN THIRTEEN YEARS AND WE’RE STILL NOT OVER IT ALL RIGHT!?

But in seriousness, this squad’s been awesome. Read our summary.

Week 14 Super Squad Poster
54 Mountaineer athletes played on all three squads that earned the program its Super Squad title. Congratulations App State!

Sunday, May 17, 2020

2020 Ivy League Super Squad XII – #41 Dartmouth Big Green

9.4 Super Squad Rating

Dartmouth Big Green

Record:

26-4 Overall
17-4 Ivy League
1 Ivy League Title
(2019 shared)

Average Power:

65.5
#87, #24, #48

Best Finish:

#24 Overall
#3 FCS
(2018-19)

College football’s academic powerhouse conference also perpetually hosts some of the best squads in the FCS.

With the Ivy League having hosted four title winners in three years, our week 13 super squad was particularly close. The runner-up Princeton Tigers were edged-out by mere decimal points, falling only one spot behind our winner on the full rankings list.

Week 13 Super Squad Poster
48 Dartmouth scholars played on all three squads that earned the program its Super Squad title. Congratulations Big Green!

Sunday, May 10, 2020

2020 Conference USA Super Squad XIII – #46 FAU Owls

9.0 Super Squad Rating

Florida Atlantic Owls logo

Record:

27-13 Overall
18-6 Conference USA
2 Conference USA Titles
(2017, 2019)

Average Power:

62.9
#32, #111, #32

Best Finish:

#32 Overall
#29 FBS
(2017-18)

Our second awarded FBS winner, Florida Atlantic University, is almost a perfect contrast with our first FBS winner, Ohio:

While our spotlight on the Ohio Bobcats showed zero conference titles but near-top finishes each year with respectable winning records, these FAU Owls were high and low and high again, crushing Conference USA opponents in 2017 and 2019, but losing more than half their games the year between.

Congratulations Owls for the HOOT-worthy 2019 turnaround, and for snagging this budding title!

Here’s your countdown of everyone else.

Week 12 Super Squad Poster
45 FAU athletes rooted this awesome title squad. Congratulations on your achievement!

Sunday, May 3, 2020

2020 Big South Super Squad XIV – #56 Kennesaw State Owls

8.3 Super Squad Rating

Kennesaw State Owls logo

Record:

34-7 Overall
14-1 Big South
2 Big South Titles
(2017, 2018)

Average Power:

62.9

Best Finish:

#43 Overall
#5 FCS
(2017-18)

Having twice as many league titles as league-game losses in three years make the Kennesaw State Owls our easy next pick.

Standing atop an arguably-weaker conference than our last winner Weber State out of the Big Sky, Kennesaw State does so solidly – nearly 50 positions ahead of their next Big South contender. In both teams best season (2017), the Owls coincidentally finished one position ahead of the Wildcats, at #5-6 (FCS) and #43-44 (CFB), respectively.

Congratulations Kennesaw State Owls for owning the Big South Conference for the majority of the past three seasons!

Here’s the detailed rundown of everyone else.

Week 11 Super Squad Poster - Kennesaw St
33 Kennesaw State athletes found their names on all three of these years’ rosters. Way to go Owls!

Sunday, April 26, 2020

2020 Big Sky Super Squad XV – #59 Weber State Wildcats

8.2 Super Squad Rating

Weber State Wildcats logo

Record:

32-10 Overall
21-3 Big Sky
3 Big Sky Championships
(all shared)

Average Power:

62.3

Best Finish:

#44 Overall
#6 FCS
(2017-18)

With hands in three Big Sky titles, three good FCS playoff runs, and only three FCS losses in our analyzed three year period, this week’s choice was rather simple.

Congratulations Weber State Wildcats for rocking the Big Sky Conference for the past three seasons!

Here’s a countdown of everyone else.

Week 10 Super Squad Poster
38 Wildcat Athletes found their names on all three of these years’ rosters. Way to succeed together!

Sunday, April 19, 2020

2020 MAC Super Squad XVI – #73 Ohio Bobcats

6.9 Super Squad Rating

Ohio Bobcats logo

Record:

25-14 Overall
16-8 Pioneer League
0 MAC Championships

Average Power:

59.3

Best Finish:

#56 Overall
#48 FBS
(2018-19)

Ohio was one of the tighter winners in front of one of the tightest conferences that we’ve graded to date.

There have been three different MAC Football Champions the last three years, and even more, six different teams playing in those three championship games.

Amidst such a cluster, Ohio‘s three bowl wins and constant cling to the top of the crowd was enough to snag them the honor.

Congratulations Ohio Bobcats! For how the rest of the conference panned out:

Mid-American Conference Super Squad Countdown.

Ohio Week 9 Super Squad Poster
50 athletes hung around for all three years we analyzed. Congratulations Bobcats!

Sunday, April 12, 2020

2020 MEAC Super Squad XVII – #77 North Carolina A&T Aggies

6.4 Super Squad Rating

North Carolina A&T Aggies logo

Record:

31-5 Overall
20-3 Pioneer League
3 League Championships

Average Power:

58.0

Best Finish:

#59 Overall
#11 FCS
(2017-18)

Much like last week’s pick, this one wasn’t even close.

While the Aggies (Hey, that was my High School mascot!) did drop an average of one conference match-up per year over this period, they still stand monolith within the MEAC, outranking their runner-up contender by 111 positions!

For a not-so-fun fact about this HBCU, it’s split between two North Carolina U.S. congressional districts, a rarity for a single college campus and widely-considered a deliberate move to disenfranchise A&T’s students at the ballot. While that has nothing to do with football, Hierank values our readers’ power to exercise their sovereignty; and that goes doubly for our Super Squad winners dammit.

Congratulations A&T Aggies! To see how the lesser teams in the conference have fared recently, check out our detailed MEAC Super Squad countdown.

NC A&T Week 8 Super Squad Poster
33 athletes were present on all three title-winning A&T rosters. Congratulations Aggies!

Sunday, April 5, 2020

2020 Pioneer League Super Squad XVIII – #81 San Diego Toreros

6.3 Super Squad Rating

San Diego Toreros logo

Record:

28-9 Overall
24-0 Pioneer League
3 League Championships

Average Power:

57.6

Best Finish:

#64 Overall
#13 FCS
(2017-18)

San Diego might just be the most dominant football team for their Division I conference of the entire last decade. Being our first winner with three unanimous conference titles over the select-period, the Toreros have actually succeeded to win the last six, five unanimously, as well as eight of the last nine titles and 11 of the last 15.

They’re only one Pioneer League title short of overtaking Dayton’s all-time leading 12, and already have scored the most of any team unanimously, with seven.

The Toreros dominance doesn’t just go back either, it goes big. This particular squad of three-year veterans, and the entire 2020 Torero player roster will have never lost a Pioneer League contest going into this Fall! And while they significantly outscored the competition every year, in 2017 this squad outscored their Pioneer League opponents at an impressive rate of nearly 4-to-1!

This degree of untouchability among peers puts San Diego 73 positions above their nearest league competition in this contest, 131 positions better than their average Pioneer League contender (#212), and 11 positions ahead of our most recent winner, the #92 Wofford Terriers.

To see how the lesser teams in San Diego’s conference have fared since Fall three years ago, check out our detailed Pioneer League Super Squad countdown.

San Diego Super Squad Rankings
31 Athletes were present on all three title-winning San Diego Toreros rosters. Them and staff make up the core of a program which hasn’t lost a single conference game since 2015. Congratulations Toreros!

Sunday, March 29, 2020

2020 Southern Conference Super Squad XIX – #92 Wofford Terriers

6.0 Super Squad Rating

Wofford Terriers logo

Record:

27-11 Overall
20-4 Southern Conference
3 League Championships

Average Power:

56.8

Best Finish:

#79 Overall
#14 FCS
(2018-19)

Wofford has been a team without equal in the Southern Conference since Fall of 2017. Our first winner with three conference titles in the three seasons, the Terriers have proven dominant, but not infallible with at least one conference loss each time through. They’re not in a bad position to repeat the Super Squad title next year, if they aren’t overtaken by the Furman Paladins, their next-trailing contender.

After the Paladins, how does the rest of the conference look?

Week 6 Wofford Super Squad Poster
48 Athletes were present on all three title-winning Wofford Terriers rosters. They become the first team to crack our Top 100 top teams since Fall of 2017.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

2020 Ohio Valley Conference Super Squad XX – #106 Jacksonville State Gamecocks

5.2 Super Squad Rating

Jacksonville State Gamecocks logo

Record:

25-12 Overall
18-6 Ohio Valley Conference
2 League Championships

Average Power:

53.7

Best Finish:

#72 Overall
#16 FCS
(2017-18)

We started awarding Super Squads just in the nick of time, if not too late, for Jacksonville State. The Gamecocks completely-owned their conference with five titles and only one Ohio Valley in-game loss over all five 2014-2018 seasons. Unfortunately though, 2019 ended quite mediocre for the Gamecocks, leaving the 2021 Ohio Valley Super Squad title a toss-up between them and rising Austin Peay and SE Missouri State programs.

Speaking of the competition, how did the rest of the conference pan out?

The Gamecocks had 30 athletes present on all three squads, with 2017 being the best overall-performance for the program.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

2020 Patriot League Super Squad XXI – #121 Colgate Raiders

4.8 Super Squad Rating

Colgate Raiders logo

Record:

21-14 Overall
14-4 Patriot League
2 League Championships
(1 shared)

Average Power:

51.3

Best Finish:

#50 Overall
#5 FCS
(2018-19)

After a week with our most-disputable winner to-date, we’ve returned to conference dominance. The Raiders won their conference title twice over the three years, and were the only Patriot League team to finish with an overall winning record.

Read more about how the Patriot League ranked!

39 Raiders played on all three season rosters that won them their top position. 2018 Was the season that really got it done.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

2020 Southland Conference Super Squad XXII – #128 Sam Houston State Bearkats

4.7 Super Squad Rating

Sam Houston State Bearkats logo

Record:

25-12 Overall
19-8 Southland
0 Southland Championships

Average Power:

49.7

Best Finish:

#45 Overall
#7 FCS
(2017-18)

Our first winner not to grab two conference championships, or one for that matter, is the Sam Houston State Bearkats.

Their position on this list rather, can be attributed to three solid seasons, including the best single season performance yet, #7 in the FCS and in the Top 50 teams overall after a deep FCS Playoff run in 2017-18.

Read more about how the Southland Conference teams ranked!

Sam Houston Super Squad Poster 2020
Sam Houston State’s 2017 season snagged them the top spot, week three. The top of the Southland was very competitive, with three teams beating out our first winner, Central Connecticut State.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

2020 Southwestern Athletic Conference Super Squad XXIII – #130 Alcorn State Braves

4.6 Super Squad Rating

Alcorn State Braves logo

Record:

25-13 Overall
19-4 SWAC
2 SWAC Championships

Average Power:

51.4

Best Finish:

#105 Overall
#22 FCS
(2019-20)

Congratulations to Alcorn State for snagging this honor, and for winning your fourth SWAC title in only six years!

While this analysis only went back three years to include most upperclassmen players, Alcorn State has been at the top of their game for double that length. They’ve appeared in their conference championship game for six years straight, snagging four titles.

One of their conference rivals actually had the best single season over our analysis period, but Alcorn’s overall-consistency and their titles the other two years earn them this award without question.

Read here for a full listing of how the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) teams ranked!

Alcorn State Super Squad Poster 2020
Alcorn State is Hierank’s second-ever Super Squad honoree, dominating their conference since 2017 and beyond, winning the SWAC four of the last six years.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

2020 Northeast Conference Super Squad XXIV – #144 Central Connecticut Blue Devils

4.1 Super Squad Rating

Central Connecticut Blue Devils logo

Record:

25-11 Overall
17-2 Northeast Conference
2 NEC Championships

Average Power:

48.1

Best Finish:

#110 Overall
#24 FCS
(2019-20)

Congratulations to the Central Connecticut Blue Devils for being the first Super Squad honored in Hierank history!

The team, hailing from New Britain, CT rings in as our lowest-ranking Super Squad of 2020, but is awarded here for being their conference’s top performer across the last three seasons.

Ranking #144 overall, Central Connecticut led all of their Northeast Conference rivals, winning two championships and only taking two conferences losses in three years!

We ranked them 2nd (#147), 3rd (#163), and 1st (#110) within their conference each of the three years, and coming off an 11-2 season, this team may still be hot!

For an in-depth look at how the Northeast Conference shook out, visit the full write-up, here.

Central Connecticut Super Squad Poster 2020
The Blue Devils snagged our first ever Super Squad title, as the top-performing Northeast Conference team since Fall of 2017.

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4 comments

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    Matt

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