I was listening to the Cover 3 podcast this morning at the gym. One of the topics the hosts were discussing was the question of this post - who are the blue bloods of college football? I found myself mostly agreeing with Chip (I think that's his name) and not with Barton Simmons and Tom Fornelli. What follows is my list of blue bloods, blue bloods, but declining, the nouveau riche, were blue bloods, but not anymore, almost there, and who isn't and never was. My general criteria are: post-WWII (i.e., no Navy, Army, Yale, Minnesota, etc.); show me consistency by decade by winning conference championships in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 2000s, 2010s; win or compete for national championships on at least a periodic basis over the course of the last 70 years; and consistent winning records or at least more winning peaks or plateaus and only the occasional valley.
The Blue Bloods: Ohio State; Oklahoma; Alabama; Notre Dame; USC (they might be heading to the next category soon).
Blue Bloods, but declining: Michigan; Texas.
They were Blue Bloods, but not anymore: Nebraska; Florida State (maybe they were a blue blood once, but two decades of success really doesn't measure up); Miami (same).
The Nouveau Riche: LSU (yeah, a 1958 national championship, but the 1960s, 1970s, and most of the 1980s and 1990s they weren't much, but three titles this century); Clemson (show me more than a decade). I'd call LSU the Apple of college football and Clemson the NetFlix. LSU is darn close to blue blood status, probably closer to being a blue blood than are either Michigan, Texas, or USC at remaining. Clemson has a ways to go. Apple has a cash hoard, NetFlix is still burning cash.
Almost there, but not yet (but also not nouveau riche): Georgia; PSU; Florida.
They aren't and never have been: Tennessee, Oregon, Auburn, Texas A&M, UCLA.