The NCAA recognizes its first college football national champions all the way back in 1869, a year in which Princeton and Rutgers share the title. Ten years thereafter, the University of Michigan began fielding a team, and by the turn of the century, the Wolverines had grown into a powerhouse. They won their first national championship in 1901. They captured another in 1902. And in 1903. And again in 1904.
Sure, there were far fewer programs contending. But still, Michigan has more than established itself as a consistent force with which to be reckoned, capturing at least one national title in every twentieth-century decade other than the 70s and 80s, for a grand total of 12. To say the very least, U of M wins. In fact, it's won more football games than any other team in college football history: 925.
68 years after the Wolverines began playing football, and after they'd already won seven of those national championships, Florida State began suiting up on the gridiron, in 1947, 11 years after the NFL Draft began. Now, that may not seem like a tremendous head start for Michigan, regarding draft picks. But keep in mind the aforementioned success the maize and blue had already enjoyed. And then remember that FSU was starting from scratch. The 'Noles didn't play a game in Doak Campbell Stadium until 1950. They took until 1964 to beat in-state rival Florida.
Before Florida State had ever kicked off, Michigan had five first-round selections, its first in 1941. 28 years later, in 1969, FSU's Ron Sellers became the school's first first-rounder. But while the nation is still chasing that Michigan win total, after last night's selection of Seminole Jalen Ramsey by the Jacksonville Jaguars with the fifth overall pick, the 'Noles have caught the Wolverines regarding first-round NFL Draft picks, at 43.
And FSU has done so by running away from Michigan over the last 20 drafts. During that span, the 'Noles have had 28 players chosen in the first round. The Wolverines? 11.
There are still some teams left for the Seminoles to catch, and, not surprisingly, they've all been playing ball a lot longer than Florida State-- by an average of more than half a century (50.5 years, to be exact). Some are more long-term pursuits, but a few of them could be tracked down in the very near future. Here are the college football programs with the most first-round NFL Draft selections, along with the year in which their respective football programs kicked off:
- USC: 79 (1888)
- Ohio State: 74 (1890)
- Notre Dame: 66 (1887)
- Miami: 62 (1926)
- Alabama: 52 (1892)
- Florida: 51 (1906)
- Texas, Tennessee: 45 (1893, 1891)
- Oklahoma: 44 (1895)
- FSU, Michigan: 43 (1947, 1879)
Noticeably absent from the above list is FSU's chief present rival for ACC supremacy, Clemson. The Tigers now have 28 first-round picks. They've been playing football since 1896.