College News

All-Time Division 1 Top 25 Rankings


The 2015 season starts up Friday.

We already released our Preseason Top 50, which you can find here.

However, how have programs stacked up historically?

We took a look.

Putting together the Top 25 All-Time programs was like most other ranking processes – there were some obvious choices and ambiguity everywhere else.

When a school has captured the most national championships in the sport’s history and has been ranked in 30 of the 33 final Top 25 polls nationally, it’s clearly one of the best all-time programs in the nation. That’s not hard to figure out.

There are two programs that have never missed a Top 25 and own multiple national championships. Those are a couple more easy selections.

However, as the championships and Top 25 appearances start to thin out, it gets tougher to slot the programs. There is the two eras – sideout and rally scoring – and how do you handle that? Another factor still is the beginning, when volleyball was in the young stages of being a NCAA sport.

The competition wasn’t as widespread then as it is now, from a numbers standpoint. Competitively speaking, a national championship is a national championship because there have always been good teams at the top. There just weren’t as many top teams then as now and so with less overall depth the odds of winning a national championship were better in the earlier years.

No one is saying winning a national championship in one era was harder or easier than in the other era, at least not here (as we are positive people are saying that somewhere). Therefore, for the purposes of these rankings all national championships are treated equally.

(I also feel like I’m running for political office after making a statement like that. If elected, I promise I will treat all national championships equally, regardless of scoring era. This, I pledge to all the people! Tobolski/Tawa ’16!)

The same does not go for the Top 25 rankings.

With the country not as deep top to bottom early on, the chances of making the Top 25 were better. As a result, getting ranked in the Top 25 recently weighs a bit more heavily than getting ranked early on.

We looked at that stuff – the number of national championships, times ranked in the Top 25, times ranked in the Top 10 and times ranked in the Top 5 – to determine the best programs of all time.

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