With one key determine, Bobby Bowden from the US state Florida is alone among the many school coaches


College football lost an icon on Sunday when former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden died at the age of 91. The stories flow in a multitude and abundance for a man who was popular, colorful, and one of the most successful the sport has ever seen.

Yes, he has “only” won two national championships. There are a handful of trainers who called more. But with one metric, Bobby Bowden stands alone among the brotherhood of legendary college football coaches.

From 1987 to 2000 his Seminoles landed in the AP Top 5 every season. Nobody comes anywhere near this type of sustainable success. With 14 years in a row with a top five team, he is not only alone, he laps the field.

Here’s another way to put Bowden’s run in perspective: Alabama’s Bear Bryant, widely considered one of the sport’s finest coaches, had 12 top five finishes in his 23 years at Tuscaloosa. He never had more than three straight. Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler, Urban Meyer, Jimmy Johnson, Joe Paterno and many other greats neither

MORE: Tributes from Deion Sanders, more, are pouring in after Bowden dies at the age of 91

Here is the list of trainers with at least four consecutive top 5 placements in the AP poll-era:

Surname University Strand years
Bobby Bowden State of Florida 14th 1987-2000
Pete Carroll USC 7th 2002-09
Bud Wilkinson Oklahoma 7th 1952-58
Dabo Swinney Clemson 6th 2015-20 *
Nick Saban Alabama 5 2014-18
See Parsegian Our lady 5 966-70
Steve Spurrier Florida 4th 1995-98
Dennis Erickson Miami 4th 1989-92
Barry Switzerland Oklahoma 4th 1973-76
Darryl Royal Texas 4th 1961-64
Frank Leahy Our lady 4th 1946-49

* still active

Clemson’s Dabo Swinney is in position for his seventh straight top 5 result this year, which would put him halfway to Mount Bowden and make up for Pete Carroll’s notable run at USC. And the Tigers haven’t shown any signs of slowing down on the recruitment path or in the field, so maybe Swinney will keep up with the heights of Florida State legend.

But for now, Bowden’s run stands alone.