Do Big 12 football teams or Pac-12 football teams have a better pedigree?

Zach Miller
Run It Back With Zach
4 min readJul 14, 2022

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Arizona celebrates a touchdown in a 2012 win over Oklahoma State.

As the Big 12 and Pac-12 try to fend each other off from gutting the other in the latest round of conference realignment, fans on both sides certainly have strong opinions about which one conference has the upper hand.

One of the words I keep seeing thrown around is “pedigree.” Fans of both conferences seem to think the teams left in their conference have more of a winning tradition than the teams left in other.

So I looked into every Power 5 school’s all-time winning percentage, and one conference clearly has the upper hand here after Texas and Oklahoma leave the Big 12 for the SEC, and Southern Cal and UCLA leave the Pac-12 for the Big Ten.

The SEC and Big Ten (and Notre Dame) account for the entire Top 10. Those conferences and the ACC account for the entire Top 17. The Pac-12 checks in for the first time with Nos. 18 and 19 (Washington and Arizona State) and the Big 12 doesn’t make an appearance until No. 23 (West Virginia).

But it’s not those first schools where the Pac-12 really separates itself from the Big 12, it’s what you see as you move down the list.

Four more Pac-12 schools crack the top half of the list (Utah, Stanford, Colorado and Oregon) while only one other Big 12 team makes the cut (BYU). And another Pac-12 school (Arizona) shows up before you get to the next Big 12 schools (UCF and Texas Tech). There are also three Big 12 schools (Kansas, Iowa State and Kansas State) in the final seven spots.

Winning “pedigree” is hardly the only factor in conference realignment and the Big 12 may very well end up winning this power struggle with the Pac-12. But it won’t be because the Big 12 has a better football tradition.

Power 5 football teams by all-time winning percentage

  1. Ohio State — 73.15%
  2. Alabama — 73.10%
  3. Notre Dame — 73.02%
  4. Michigan — 72.87%
  5. Oklahoma — 72.81%
  6. Texas — 70.17%
  7. Southern Cal — 69.53%
  8. Penn State — 68.65%
  9. Nebraska — 68.39%
  10. Tennessee — 67.01%
  11. Florida State — 66.49%
  12. Georgia — 65.92%
  13. LSU — 65.27%
  14. Miami— 63.21%
  15. Florida — 62.97%
  16. Auburn — 62.81%
  17. Clemson — 62.15%
  18. Washington — 61.36%
  19. Arizona State — 60.64%
  20. Texas A&M — 60.54%
  21. Virginia Tech — 60.43%
  22. Michigan State — 60.06%
  23. West Virginia — 59.50%
  24. Utah — 59.46%
  25. Wisconsin — 58.62%
  26. UCLA — 58.36%
  27. Georgia Tech — 58.26%
  28. BYU — 58.11%
  29. Arkansas — 57.88%
  30. Stanford — 57.81%
  31. Pittsburgh — 57.55%
  32. Colorado — 57.54%
  33. Minnesota — 57.19%
  34. Oregon — 57.17%
  35. Boston College — 57.07%
  36. Syracuse — 56.18%
  37. North Carolina — 55.77%
  38. Arizona — 55.66%
  39. UCF — 55.59%
  40. Texas Tech — 55.17%
  41. California — 54.97%
  42. Mississippi — 54.71%
  43. Houston — 54.61%
  44. Missouri — 54.26%
  45. Iowa — 54.22%
  46. TCU — 53.96%
  47. Oklahoma State — 52.36%
  48. Louisville — 52.17%
  49. Cincinnati — 52.05%
  50. Virginia — 51.89%
  51. Maryland — 51.78%
  52. Purdue — 51.83%
  53. NC State — 51.22%
  54. Baylor — 51.20%
  55. South Carolina — 50.87%
  56. Illinois — 50.23%
  57. Kentucky — 50.15%
  58. Washington State — 49.45%
  59. Rutgers — 49.24%
  60. Mississippi State — 48.92%
  61. Duke — 48.82%
  62. Vanderbilt — 48.59%
  63. Kansas — 47.04%
  64. Oregon State — 46.92%
  65. Iowa State — 45.69%
  66. Kansas State — 45.58%
  67. Northwestern — 44.99%
  68. Indiana — 42.10%
  69. Wake Forest — 41.90%

Group of 5 teams by all-time winning percentage

If you’re curious which Group of 5 teams have the best all-time winning percentage, here is the complete list. These percentages include wins prior to moving up to Division I.

The recently-expanded Sun Belt makes up half of the Top 10. There are no AAC teams in the Top 20.

  1. Boise State — 72.66%
  2. Coastal Carolina — 65.07%
  3. Appalachian State — 64.99%
  4. Georgia Southern — 62.75%
  5. James Madison — 61.75%
  6. Miami (OH) — 59.51%
  7. Central Michigan — 59.15%
  8. Western Kentucky — 58.72%
  9. Fresno State — 58.62%
  10. Southern Miss — 57.72%
  11. Jacksonville State — 57.35%
  12. San Diego State — 57.07%
  13. Army — 57.01%
  14. Louisiana Tech — 56.88%
  15. Old Dominion — 56.85%
  16. Middle Tennessee — 56.76%
  17. Bowling Green — 56.71%
  18. Troy — 56.26%
  19. Western Michigan — 55.66%
  20. Toledo — 55.64%
  21. Navy — 55.25%
  22. Air Force — 55.18%
  23. Tulsa — 55.03%
  24. Hawaii — 54.70%
  25. South Florida — 53.87%
  26. Northern Illinois — 53.82%
  27. Sam Houston — 53.69%
  28. Nevada — 53.25%
  29. Liberty — 52.83%
  30. Marshall — 52.17%
  31. Texas State — 51.65%
  32. Ball State — 51.38%
  33. East Carolina — 50.61%
  34. Utah State — 50.35%
  35. Ohio — 50.25%
  36. North Texas — 50.14%
  37. Memphis — 49.44%
  38. Louisiana — 49.44%
  39. Arkansas State — 48.94%
  40. San Jose State — 48.83%
  41. UTSA — 48.48%
  42. SMU — 48.39%
  43. Wyoming — 48.28%
  44. UMass — 48.27%
  45. UAB — 48.21%
  46. Akron — 47.93%
  47. Colorado State — 47.04%
  48. UConn — 46.46%
  49. Temple — 45.13%
  50. Tulane — 44.99%
  51. Florida Atlantic — 44.66%
  52. New Mexico — 44.37%
  53. South Alabama — 44.30%
  54. Eastern Michigan — 43.96%
  55. Rice — 43.22%
  56. Buffalo — 42.56%
  57. ULM — 41.79%
  58. New Mexico State — 40.16%
  59. UTEP — 39.71%
  60. UNLV — 38.96%
  61. Kent State — 38.76%
  62. Charlotte — 36.11%
  63. Georgia State — 35.21%
  64. FIU — 34.19%

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Zach Miller
Run It Back With Zach