The term “blue bloods” is very divisive. It’s largely a group of the “good, ol’ boys” in college football that are propped up every season, fairly or unfairly, because of their name-brand status in college football.
Of course, the term blue blood doesn’t come without the success — in the near and far past — to back it up. Some of the blue bloods just may have had more success than others lately.
Kyle Umlang, a data analyst and podcast host, created his own way to evaluate blue bloods.
Umlang’s formula combines regular season achievements (wins, weeks ranked in AP Poll, weeks ranked No. 1 in AP Poll, conference titles, bowl wins, major bowl wins, national championships), postseason awards (NCAA national awards, consensus and unanimous All-Americans and Heisman winners and runners-up) and professional achievement (CFB Hall of Famers, NFL Draft picks, first round NFL Draft picks, Pro Bowlers, All-Pros and NFL Hall of Famers).
Each category is weighted, multiplied by a numerical value that that Umlang determined by its difficulty. The eight blue bloods that he determined are USC, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Michigan, Texas and Nebraska.
My updated Blue Blood Viz is finally here!
More categories, more data and new All-Time Top 50 Blue Blood rankings. Make sure to use your computer and hover over any logo to see the data behind it.
— Kyle Umlang (@kyleumlang) January 26, 2023
Pitt checks in at No. 15 on the blue bloods list, just seven spots away from that vaunted blue bloods status.
So, let’s look into how Pitt was able to climb so high on the list.
Pitt is one of the winningest teams in college football history, checking in with 758 (19th all-time), and the Panthers have been ranked in the AP Poll 314 weeks (27th) — with 21 weeks spent at No. 1 (tied-17th).
A century of independent football seriously hurt Pitt’s conference championship count, just three (102nd), but with 15 bowl wins (tied-39th), two more major bowl wins (tied-35th) and nine national championships (fifth), Pitt makes up for it in other ways.
A major boost to Pitt’s resume comes from the caliber of student-athletes that the program has produced over the years. With 17 national college football awards (16th), 55 consensus All-Americans (eighth) and 13 unanimous All-Americans (10th).
And while Tony Dorsett has won Pitt’s only Heisman Trophy, Umlang values runner-up finishes, so he gives credit to Pitt’s runners-up in Larry Fitzgerald, Hugh Green and Marshall Goldberg. With six points, Pitt is 12th in the Heisman category.
Post-collegiate success is another large factor in Pitt’s resume, too.
With 291 NFL Draft picks (20th) and 25 first round draft picks (25th), with neither updated to include the 2023 NFL Draft, but there’s even greater success once those players actually reach the NFL.
With 126 Pro Bowler selections (eighth) and 47 All-Pro selections (seventh), Pitt’s success in the professional ranks is nearly unmatched. And that’s true when it comes to the College Football Hall of Fame (19, 14th) and Pro Football Hall of Fame (10, third).
So, while Pitt has had periods of not-so-great football, it is still one of the better programs in college football history — bolstered by national championships and the development of excellent college and professional football players.
Umlang’s model is just one way of looking at the blue bloods debate, but it is an interesting way of looking at it using relevant statistics.
Wins (x1.00): 758 (19th)
Weeks in AP Poll (x0.75): 314 (27th)
Weeks at No. 1 (x1.50): 21 (tied-17th)
Conference championships (x2.00): 3 (102nd)
Bowl wins (x1.50): 15 (tied-39th)
Major bowl wins (x2.75): two (tied-35th)
National championships (x3.50): nine (fifth)
Consensus All-Americans (x2.25): 55 (eighth)
Unanimous All-Americans (x2.75): 13 (10th)
Heisman (and runner-ups) (x3.00): 6 (12th)
College Hall of Fame (x3.50): 19 (14th)
NFL Draft picks (x1.25): 291 (not updated) (20th)
First round NFL Draft picks (x2.25): 25 (not updated) (25th)
Pro Bowl (x2.5): 126 (eighth)
All-Pro (x3.00): 47 (seventh)
Hall of Fame (x3.50): 10 (third)