The countdown of the best 100 teams in college football history concludes with the top 25. And nobody proved to be deeper and more powerful against strong opponents than the best teams of the 1940s and '70s, led, of course, by Notre Dame and Army.

Once again, the rankings here are 100 percent objective, using the Simple Rating System. The methodology:

It is very difficult to compare teams from 1915 to teams of 2015, but one way to do it is through the Simple Rating System metrics that Sports-Reference.com has compiled. For a complete explanation, go here to Pro Football Reference, but SRS is rather simple to follow. It combines average point differential and strength of schedule, providing a fairly accurate gauge of how strong teams have been throughout history. Obviously, any team of today -- with its size and athleticism -- would dominate a team from 100 years ago if they met on the same field. The goal here, however, is to find which teams were the most dominant. Understanding SRS numbers is simple: A team that has an SRS rating of 20 would be expected to beat a team with an SRS of 10 by 10 points. Zero is average. Margin of victory is capped, which adjusts for some of the absurd scores of the early days of the sport (hello, Georgia Tech beating Cumberland 222-0 in 1916), and it's important to note that SRS does not care about wins and losses. Its results generally match up with how often a team wins, but in general it gauges how a team is performing, in a very simple way.

I have gathered all of Sports-Reference's SRS data -- including offense/defense splits and strength of schedule -- into one spreadsheet, resulting in a sortable list of nearly 13,000 major teams throughout history. (The word "major" can be ambiguous the deeper you go into college football history, but we'll go by Sports-Reference's judgments and explanation).

So, what we have here are 100 percent objective ratings of the 100 best college football teams ever. They are hardly perfect -- I would debate plenty of the results -- but they provide a statistical snapshot of the best teams that produced the most impressive results against the best opponents, regardless of the whims of voters, the timing of losses or whatever else may have impacted national championship decisions. We'll reveal the SRS top 100 over four installments, telling the story of college football through four groups of 25.

Special acknowledgements again go to the indispensable Sports-Reference sites, the ESPN College Football Encyclopedia, James Vautravers' TipTop25.com and cfbstats.com, among numerous other sources. References to national championships are generally taken from the list on the NCAA's official website, although no list of claimed mythical national champions is perfect.

Thursday: Part I, Nos. 100-76
Friday: Part II, Nos. 75-51
Saturday: Other best and worst teams
Monday: Part III, Nos. 50-26
Tuesday: Part IV, Nos. 25-1

25. Oklahoma 1974

SRS: 27.8
Coach: Barry Switzer
Record: 11-0
AP ranking: 1

Switzer took home his first national championship in just his second year as a head coach, winning the AP vote after an 11-0 season -- one in which the Sooners were ineligible for the coaches poll, and banned from playing on television or in a bowl game, thanks to NCAA violations. It all makes for a strange situation, one in which '74 Oklahoma is the last national champion to not play in a bowl. The season also marked the first time the final coaches poll came out after the bowls, and they named USC, with a 10-1-1 record, national champion after the Trojans beat No. 3 Ohio State in the Rose Bowl. The Sooners were the nation's lone unbeaten, probation or not, beating Texas 16-13 and Nebraska 28-24 along the way, with halfback Joe Washington finishing third in the Heisman race. They led the nation in scoring offense (43 points per game), and allowed only 8.4 points per game.

24. USC 1931

SRS: 28.06
Coach: Howard Jones
Record: 10-1
AP ranking: N/A

For an all-time great team, by SRS metrics, USC got off to a strange start in 1931: It lost 13-7 to Saint Mary's (who did actually finish 8-2 against a middling schedule). Jones led the Trojans to three Rose Bowl wins in four years from 1929-32, and despite the opening disappointment, this was the best of the bunch. They went on a tear the rest of the way, notching six shutouts, including a 60-0 win over Georgia. They also beat Notre Dame 16-14 on the road -- the Irish hadn't lost in 26 games -- and capped the season with a 21-12 win over Tulane in the Rose Bowl. Gus Shaver and John Baker both earned consensus All-American honors, and USC holds the primary claim on the '31 national title, its first of two in a row, as it didn't lose a game again until Nov. 11, 1933.

23. Michigan 1973

SRS: 28.08
Coach: Bo Schembechler
Record: 10-0-1
AP ranking: 6

Six teams from 1973 made this top 100 list, more than any other single season. The Wolverines finished sixth in the AP poll at 10-0-1, and they didn't play in a bowl game because the Big Ten didn't allow teams to play in any bowls aside from the Rose until 1975. The Wolverines lost out on the Rose Bowl despite going through the season unbeaten and tying No. 1 Ohio State 10-10 at the end. With identical records and a tie between them, the Rose Bowl spot was put up to a vote among Big Ten athletic directors. The Big Ten's previous rule that didn't allow consecutive Rose Bowl appearances was no longer in effect (Ohio State had gone the year before).

Ohio State won the vote -- possibly because Michigan QB Dennis Franklin broke his collarbone in the fourth quarter -- and Michigan was forced to stay home for the holidays. Schembechler successfully lobbied the Big Ten to open the door to multiple bowl teams, but not for another couple years. With the No. 15 all-time defense, this was an all-time great Michigan team, but it went unrecognized, never ranking higher than fourth in the AP poll during the season despite not losing a game in one of the most competitive seasons ever at the top among the sport's blue bloods.

22. Minnesota 1917

SRS: 25.89
Coach: Henry Williams
Record: 4-1
AP ranking: N/A

Yes, this is the most bizarre inclusion on this list. The Gophers have six teams in the top 100, all from the first half of the 20th century, and this was, apparently, the best -- better than Bernie Bierman's five national championship teams. Georgia Tech claims the 1917 title, and Minnesota actually played only five games -- and lost one of them -- with a shortened schedule during World War I. So, OK, 1917 Minnesota is the most overrated team on this entire list, and I do not believe these Gophers were better than 2001 Miami or 1995 Nebraska. But, we're beholden to the numbers. So what made the '17 Gophers so good, good enough to overlook the 10-7 loss at Wisconsin? They shut out Chicago 33-0. They beat Illinois 27-6. They beat Indiana 33-9. And they beat South Dakota State 64-0. This was the No. 12 offense ever, according to SRS. But let's just blame all of this on a small sample size, even if this was in reality a strong team that didn't get to play enough games because much more important matters were happening away from the football field.

21. Michigan 1940

SRS: 28.21
Coach: Fritz Crisler
Record: 7-1
AP ranking: 3

Legendary Heisman winner Tom Harmon led Crisler's best team yet in his third year in Ann Arbor after coming over from Princeton. The Wolverines took their best shot at a national title, but ranked third in early November -- after a 14-0 win over No. 8 Penn -- they lost 7-6 at No. 2 Minnesota on a missed extra point from Harmon, a result that sprung the Gophers to their first of two straight national titles. SRS still liked Michigan best in 1940 by a slight margin, as the Wolverines allowed 4.3 points per game. Harmon (second nationally in rushing, also known to dodge fans who tried to tackle him) was part of a loaded backfield that also featured Bob Westfall (fourth in rushing) and quarterback Forest Evashevski (who went on to coach two all-time top-100 teams at Iowa). The Wolverines missed an opportunity for more, but it was by the slightest of margins in a season in which they pitched five shutouts. The season also began a run of 11 straight finishes in the AP top 10.

20. Texas 1970

SRS: 28.29
Coach: Darrell Royal
Record: 10-1
AP ranking: 3

Texas can thank the coaches poll for still voting before the bowls for its piece of the national title. The Longhorns carried a 30-game winning streak into the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 1, only to lose 24-11 to Notre Dame and fall to third in final AP poll. Their wishbone offense continued to roll, inspiring Bear Bryant to make the switch the next season. It's easy to see why Bear made the move: Texas had the 26th best offense ever, according to SRS, with fullback Steve Worster leading the attack and finishing fourth in the Heisman race. Prior to the Cotton Bowl loss, Texas beat No. 4 Arkansas 42-7, and it also beat Oklahoma 41-9. And despite the loss to Notre Dame, the Longhorns can claim a national title and still hold the edge in SRS.

19. Notre Dame 1947

SRS: 28.31
Coach: Frank Leahy
Record: 9-0
AP ranking: 1

Notre Dame was dominant throughout the 1940s, but the post-WWII teams were the most loaded in football history. They had their typical allotment of star players, but they also had star players who returned from the military having not yet used up their eligibility. Leahy coached eight seasons after his WWII hiatus, with three of those finishing with no losses (one with a tie). This is one of two to go undefeated and untied. It won the national championship, but not without controversy -- as described even higher on this list in the 1947 Michigan blurb. SRS rated Notre Dame third this year, with Texas and Michigan both winning bowl games after the final polls were released (Notre Dame didn't accept a bowl invitation until 1969). Not that this Irish team was undeserving, of course. They're 19th all-time, allowing more than a touchdown only once all season. They own impressive wins over Army and USC, and they also boasted a Heisman winner in QB Johnny Lujack. Lujack finished off Notre Dame's national title season in 1943 after Heisman winner Angelo Bertelli left to serve in the Marines. He then served in the Navy hunting German submarines, and then returned to lead two more national championships and take home a Heisman of his own as a star on both offense and defense.

18. Michigan 1948

SRS: 28.49
Coach: Bennie Oosterbaan
Record: 9-0
AP ranking: 1

Fritz Crisler churned out national contender after national contender during the WWII era, but it was Oosterbaan who captured the first Michigan championship AP poll that decade, the year after Crisler stepped down, in a season in which Michigan won several non-AP claims to the title. Oosterbaan spent two decades as a Michigan assistant, and while he had mixed results as a head coach, his first team went 9-0 and won the championship over fellow undefeated Notre Dame (the previous year, Michigan went 10-0 and lost the title to the Irish), who tied USC the week after the final polls came out. The Wolverines had the No. 20 defense in history, recording five shutouts -- including a 28-0 win over then-No. 3 Northwestern -- and despite the controversy over two years, this was the clear choice for national champion.

17. Georgia Tech 1917

SRS: 28.62
Coach: John Heisman
Record: 9-0
AP ranking: N/A

One year earlier, Georgia Tech famously beat Cumberland 220-0 in the most lopsided game in football history. That team ranks 386th in the all-time rankings (it did actually play to a 7-7 tie with Washington & Lee) because SRS justifiably caps margin of victory, not to mention the fact that Cumberland wasn't considered a major opponent. The next season, Heisman led the Yellow Jackets to a 9-0 season in which they gave up 17 points all year. They beat Washington & Lee 63-0 this time. They beat Vanderbilt 83-0. They beat Tulane 48-0. They beat Carlisle 98-0. And they ended the year with a 68-7 win over Auburn. SRS says it was the 39th best offense ever, with All-American halfback Everett Strupper leading the way. After the season, The New York Times wrote that "this football machine is proclaimed by competent observers as the greatest team which has ever been developed in the South." That may still be a true a century later.

16. Texas 1947

SRS: 28.75
Coach: Blair Cherry
Record: 10-1
AP ranking: 5

Previously the Longhorns' offensive coordinator under Dana Bible, Cherry inherited the head coach job for only four seasons, with his first team going 10-1 and finishing fifth in the AP poll -- but 16th in all-time SRS, ahead of '47 national champion Notre Dame. Texas lost 14-13 to future Heisman winner Doak Walker and SMU, who finished the season ranked third by the AP, thanks to a missed extra point in the fourth quarter. Behind All-American QB Bobby Layne, Texas was untouchable the rest of the season, beating Oklahoma 34-14 and winning the Sugar Bowl 27-7 vs. No. 7 Alabama.

15. Navy 1945

SRS: 25.89
Coach: Oscar Hagberg
Record: 7-1-1
AP ranking: 3

Somewhat surprisingly, this is the only Navy team to make the top 100. Not surprisingly, it was from the World War II era in which top players flocked to military academies and various other armed forces teams. The '45 Midshipmen were no match for Army -- with its top-two Heisman finishers and numerous All-Americans -- but they entered that game ranked No. 2, before losing 32-13. Otherwise, they tied then-No. 2 Notre Dame 6-6 and beat everyone else, including top-10 Michigan and Penn teams. Navy went 7-1-1 against the 15th toughest schedule in history (the next year, Navy went 1-8 against the hardest schedule ever), with Dick Duden earning All-America honors, and it didn't give up more than a touchdown in a game until the season finale against an Army, one of the greatest matchups ever. Hagberg spent only two seasons as the coach in 1944-45. With WWII finished, Navy would win only 10 games total over the next six seasons.

14. Notre Dame 1930

SRS: 29.23
Coach: Knute Rockne
Record: 10-0
AP ranking: N/A

Also somewhat surprisingly, this is the only Rockne team on the list. The season marked the opening of new Notre Dame Stadium, and it was also Rockne's final team, as he died in a plane crash in March 1931. Rockne may be on this list only once, but he can be credited with setting the table for the other 12 Notre Dame teams in the top 100. Rockne led Notre Dame to a 10-0 record in 1930, the Fighting Irish's second straight unbeaten national champion, behind the No. 16 all-time offense. Backs Marchy Schwartz and Frank Carideo were both All-Americans, and the Irish shared the national title with fellow unbeaten Alabama. Their season included a 7-6 win over Army in Chicago, and a 27-0 win at USC, two of the best teams in the country.

13. Oklahoma 1971

SRS: 29.24
Coach: Chuck Fairbanks
Record: 11-1
AP ranking: 2

The '71 Sooners came up short of a national title, as they lost in one of the biggest of all the so-called Game of the Century matchups. They carried a perfect record into a home date on Thanksgiving, as the No. 2 ranked team set to meet No. 1 Nebraska. Along the way, they beat No. 3 Texas 48-27, No. 6 Colorado 45-17 and No. 17 USC 33-20. They had the best offense in college football history, according to SRS, with Greg Pruitt (third) and Jack Mildren (sixth) both in the thick of the Heisman race. They scored 44.9 points per game and averaged 472.4 rushing yards -- a rushing record that still stands today and may never be broken -- behind their wishbone attack, with Mildren rushing for 1,279 yards and Pruitt rushing for 1,760 (9.0 per carry). And yet… the Sooners lost to Nebraska 35-31, in perhaps the greatest game in college football history. They closed the season with a 58-14 win over Oklahoma State, then a 40-22 win over Auburn in the Sugar Bowl, finishing second in the AP poll behind the 13-0 Huskers.

12. Ohio State 1973

SRS: 29.66
Coach: Woody Hayes
Record: 10-0-1
AP ranking: 2

Ohio State won the Big Ten vote to go to the Rose Bowl after its 10-10 tie with fellow unbeaten Michigan, and while it beat No. 7 USC 42-21 in Pasadena, it fell short of the national title. The AP voted Notre Dame first after the bowls, while the UPI title went to Alabama -- before it lost to the Irish in the Sugar Bowl. In an otherwise down year for the Big Ten, Ohio State didn't beat any other ranked teams. Appropriately, it blew out everyone on the way to the Michigan tie. Ohio State allowed a total of 20 points in its first eight games, beating Northwestern 60-0, among other blowouts. The Buckeyes owned the No. 6 defense ever, finishing the year allowing 4.3 points per game behind lineman Van DeCree and linebacker Randy Gradishar. On offense, tackle John Hicks finished second to Penn State's John Cappelletti for the Heisman. Hicks received 114 first-place votes despite playing offensive line, and he won the Outland and Lombardi awards. Also on the team? Sophomore running back Archie Griffin, who ran for 1,577 yards, setting up his back-to-back Heisman wins the next two years. He finished fifth in 1973, and Gradishar finished sixth.

11. Ohio State 1944

SRS: 29.87
Coach: Carroll Widdoes
Record: 9-0
AP ranking: 2

Notre Dame and Army dominated the WWII era, but Ohio State won the national title in 1942 under Paul Brown, and two years later it went 9-0 in its first of two seasons under Widdoes. Despite coaching the Buckeyes for only two years, Widdoes led the best team in school history, according to SRS. They beat ranked teams from Wisconsin, Great Lakes Navy and Indiana before edging No. 6 Michigan 18-14 to finish off an undefeated season. Army won a consensus national championship, meaning this is one of the greatest unrecognized teams ever, although it did win an individual honor: Quarterback Les Horvath won the Heisman over Army's Glenn Davis and Doc Blanchard, who finished second and third and went on to win the next two.

10. USC 1972

SRS: 30.33
Coach: John McKay
Record: 12-0
AP ranking: 1

The top 10 begins with the first team on this list that has an SRS over 30, which means 30 points better than the average team. McKay captured his third national championship in a decade (he won another in 1974), leading the No. 36 offense ever to a 12-0 season, capped by a 42-17 win over then-No. 3 Ohio State in the Rose Bowl. The Trojans opened the year ranked eighth, but they immediately moved to first -- and stayed there the rest of the year -- after winning 31-10 at No. 4 Arkansas (who ultimately finished unranked). Only one team (Stanford) stayed within single digits of the Trojans, who were led by star sophomore tailback Anthony Davis, Lynn Swann, Sam Cunningham and All-American tight end Charles Young. With no other unbeaten teams, USC emerged as one of the most obvious undisputed national champions ever.

9. Michigan 1947

SRS: 30.39
Coach: Fritz Crisler
Record: 10-0
AP ranking: 2

The best Michigan team ever, by SRS standards, was undeservedly denied a national championship. Crisler's final team had the No. 40 offense in history, beating Michigan State 55-0, Pittsburgh 69-0 and No.9 Wisconsin 40-6, with a post-poll 49-0 win over No. 3 USC in the Rose Bowl. Michigan spent two weeks at No. 1 but fell after a 14-7 win over No. 11 Illinois. It never recovered. It's not that Notre Dame was anything less than a great team (19th on this list) -- the Irish's Johnny Lujack also won the Heisman over the Wolverines' Bob Chappuis -- but this was an all-time great Michigan squad that also was revolutionary: Crisler is credited with the onset of specialization, of the two-platoon system that split up offensive and defensive players (before the NCAA banned free substitutions from 1953-64).

8. Army 1946

SRS: 30.44
Coach: Red Blaik
Record: 9-0-1
AP ranking: 2

After back-to-back national championships during World War II, Army slipped to second in '46 -- because it played to a 0-0 draw with Notre Dame, in what SRS would say was the greatest matchup in college football history, just edging 1971 Oklahoma vs. Nebraska. Army was No. 1 for much of the season, but Notre Dame jumped ahead in the final poll after beating No. 16 USC 26-16, while Army edged a 1-8 Navy team 21-18 in what was nearly one of the biggest upsets ever, thanks to a late stand deep in the red zone. This Army team had the No. 25 offense in history -- despite that scoreless tie with Notre Dame -- behind the combination of running backs Glenn Davis (Mr. Outside) and Doc Blanchard (Mr. Inside). After Blanchard won the Heisman in 1945, Davis won the award in '46, following two straight second-place finishes. While the tie with Notre Dame and the close win over Navy were disappointing, Army beat No. 4 Michigan 20-13, No. 11 Columbia 48-14, No. 13 Duke 19-0 and No. 5 Penn 34-7, behind a pair of Heisman winners in the same backfield, making its credentials as one of the top-10 teams in history undeniable.

7. Nebraska 1971

SRS: 31.49
Coach: Bob Devaney
Record: 13-0
AP ranking: 1

There's a reason the best offensive team of all time lost a game. Devaney's Huskers took down Oklahoma's greatest-ever rushing attack, behind the No. 16 defense ever (not to mention the No. 76 all-time offense). The Huskers were loaded, with '72 Heisman winner Johnny Rodgers teaming with quarterback Jerry Tagge to lead the offense, while the defense featured Outland Trophy winner Larry Jacobson and All-Americans Willie Harper and Rich Glover. Oklahoma, who averaged a record 472 rushing yards per game, managed only 279 yards on 64 attempts in their Thanksgiving showdown, and Nebraska -- fueled by Rodgers' 72-yard punt return TD and Jeff Kinney's fourth touchdown with 1:38 left -- beat Oklahoma 35-31. Including a trip to Hawaii, Nebraska played a rare 13 games that year, holding 10 opponents to a touchdown or less. That included Colorado -- who finished the season ranked third -- in a 31-7 win, and it included a 38-6 win in the Orange Bowl over Alabama, who finished fourth, to secure the championship. This Nebraska team is widely considered one of the best ever, and that Nebraska-Oklahoma game is too. All of the plaudits are deserved.

6. Army 1944

SRS: 32.17
Coach: Red Blaik
Record: 9-0
AP ranking: 1

Army had the greatest three-year run in college football history as top football prospects ended up at West Point during World War II and many other teams either temporarily stopped playing or fielded much weaker squads than usual. This was the first year of that run. After a 7-2-1 finish the previous year, Army debuted the legendary combination of running backs Glenn Davis and Doc Blanchard, then sophomores. They finished second and third, respectively, in the Heisman race, and second and eighth, respectively, nationally in rushing. This offense rates as the 31st best ever, and the defense never allowed more than a touchdown, allowing zero points four times and seven points five times. The season included a 59-0 win over No. 5 Notre Dame -- its first win over the Irish since 1931, and its first points against them since 1938 -- an 83-0 win over Villanova, a 69-7 win over Pittsburgh and a 23-7 win over No. 2 Navy in Baltimore to secure the national title on Dec. 2.

5. Notre Dame 1949

SRS: 32.35
Coach: Frank Leahy
Record: 10-0
AP ranking: 1

From 1946-49, Leahy returned from military service to lead the Irish to a 36-0-2 record over four seasons, capturing three national championships. In 1949, the Irish capped their incredible late-'40s run by going 10-0, behind a top-60 all-time offense and a top-10 defense. They beat then-No. 4 Tulane 46-7, No. 10 Michigan State 34-21 and No. 17 USC 32-0, and they were untouchable beyond a close 27-20 win at SMU to close the season. End Leon Hart ran away with the Heisman Trophy, while quarterback Bob Williams finished fifth and halfback Emil Sitko finished eighth. Oklahoma, Army and Pacific all finished unbeaten as well, but Notre Dame was a clear-cut winner in the final AP poll, which came out before its season finale against SMU. Nobody could match the depth of Leahy's team, which finished college football's greatest dynasty.

4. Oklahoma 1973

SRS: 32.87
Coach: Barry Switzer
Record: 10-0-1
AP ranking: 3

The best team in the history of college football to not win a national championship, according to SRS. In the messy 1973 season, filled with legendary coaches leading some of their best teams -- six of the top 53 teams ever are from 1973 -- Switzer's first team went unrecognized, finishing third in the AP poll. Why? Because of a 7-7 tie with then-No. 1 USC on Sept. 29, the second game of the season. Oklahoma was ranked eighth at the time, and it would rise as high as second in December, but it wasn't enough to beat out Notre Dame and Alabama for the national title. The Sooners went 10-0-1 against the No. 73 schedule ever, with Switzer leading the No. 15 all-time offense. Behind all three Selmon brothers -- Dewey, Lee Roy and Lucious -- on the defensive line, and behind a backfield that included 1,000-yard rushers Waymon Clark and Joe Washington, Oklahoma blew out everyone on its schedule after the USC tie and a 24-20 win over Miami. That included a 52-13 win over Texas, a 27-0 win over Nebraska, a 48-20 win over Kansas and a 31-13 win over Missouri -- four teams that finished in the top 20. Banned from a bowl game because of an NCAA violation, Oklahoma fell short of a national title, but the Sooners won championships the next two seasons.

3. Notre Dame 1946

SRS: 32.91
Coach: Frank Leahy
Record: 8-0-1
AP ranking: 1

The beginning of the post-war Notre Dame dynasty saw the Fighting Irish tie Army 0-0 in the greatest SRS matchup of all time, then pass the Black Knights to win the national championship thanks to their 26-6 win over USC and Army's close call against a bad Navy team. QB Johnny Lujack returned from the war to lead the Irish to another national title, and he'd do so again while winning the Heisman in 1947. He settled for third in the Heisman race in '46, and Notre Dame rode a defense that ranks third in history in SRS, behind 1952 USC and 1985 Michigan. Linemen George Connor, John Mastrangelo and George Strohmeyer all earned All-America recognition, and Notre Dame gave up 24 total points all season -- six points four times, and zero points five times. After two years away serving in the Navy during WWII, Leahy returned to not only inherit one of the most talented rosters in the country, but to also welcome back a hoard of talent that had been serving in the war as well. The result was some of the deepest teams ever, and college football's greatest dynasty.

2. Army 1945

SRS: 33.35
Coach: Red Blaik
Record: 9-0
AP ranking: 1

The best team of the Army dynasty, and the second-best team in college football history. A few weeks after World War II ended, Army began a dominant season in which it went undefeated for the second year in a row, highlighted by a 48-0 win over then-No. 2 Notre Dame -- meaning Army beat good Notre Dame teams 107-0 over two years -- plus a 61-0 win over No. 6 Penn and a 32-13 win over No. 2 Navy to clinch a second straight national title. Glenn Davis finished second in the Heisman race again (he'd win in 1946), and this time it was backfield mate Doc Blanchard who beat him in a tight vote, even though Davis averaged 11.5 yards per carry and rushed for more yards. Alabama and Oklahoma State also finished undefeated, but there was never a doubt about the national championship. Like the year before, the 1945 Army-Navy game was justifiably one of the most hyped games in the sport's history, matching two of the 15 best teams ever, according to SRS, but the Midshipmen proved to be no match for the Cadets. In fact, over two seasons, nobody came close to shutting them down.

bertelli_lujack
Heisman winner Angelo Bertelli was called to active duty during the season. Future winner Johnny Lujack replaced him. (AP)

1. Notre Dame 1943

SRS: 34.77
Coach: Frank Leahy
Record: 9-1
AP ranking: 1

While Notre Dame is known for its post-war dynasty under Leahy, the greatest team in college football happened during the war, in Leahy's final season before a two-year stint in the Navy. Believe it or not, the greatest team ever lost one game, 19-14 in its season finale against Great Lakes Navy -- a naval station in Chicago coached by legendary NFL coach Paul Brown. Notre Dame still won the championship anyway, because the week before, it beat No. 2 Iowa Pre-Flight -- a training school at the University of Iowa -- by a point. In the end, Notre Dame beat teams ranked 13th (Georgia Tech), third (Michigan), fourth (Navy), 11th (Army), ninth (Northwestern) and second (Iowa Pre-Flight) in the final AP poll, losing to No. 6 Great Lakes Navy.

In other words, Notre Dame went 9-1 against the ninth toughest schedule in college football history, making it the best team ever, among nearly 13,000 teams rated by Sports-Reference SRS over nearly 150 seasons. Its offense ranks 11th, and its defense ranks 36th. It's also worth noting than 1947 Heisman winner John Lujack finished the season as the starting QB after Angelo Bertelli was called to active Marine duty, going on to fight at Iwo Jima. Bertelli won the '43 Heisman anyway in a landslide, despite missing the team's final four games and attempting only 36 passes and 14 runs all season. However, his 10 touchdowns and 512 yards on 36 attempts gave him a QB Rating of 258.4.

Notre Dame may have lost a game, but it was to a military training school that amassed a ton of talent in the middle of World War II. The Irish were dominant, and their Heisman winning quarterback left in the middle of the season to win a Bronze Star and Purple Heart in the Pacific, to be replaced by a future Heisman winner who went on to hunt Nazi submarines in the English Channel.

SRS numbers say it is the best team in history. Who's going to argue against that story?

Thursday: Part I, Nos. 100-76
Friday: Part II, Nos. 75-51
Saturday: Other best and worst teams
Monday: Part III, Nos. 50-26
Tuesday: Part IV, Nos. 25-1

* * *
Contact Matt at matt.brown5082@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @MattBrownCFB and Facebook.