What is a Dynasty in College Wrestling?


Penn State recently won its second straight national title and the buzz now is that they are the next dynasty. This has made us think about things. What makes a dynasty? In today’s sports world the term is thrown around more than Adam the takedown dummy.

This made us start looking at the statistics and what we think makes a team a dynasty. Is it success over the history of the program? Is it dominance of a decade or dominance over a shorter time period?

No matter what formula you choose there are two teams that are clearly in the dynasty category. That would be Oklahoma State and Iowa. From the first national championship in 1928 Oklahoma State is at the top of every category we looked at. Those would be; number of individual national champions, number of all-Americans, number of team titles and number of top 10 finishes by a team. Iowa was second in every category but one. They were third in top 10 finishes.

When we started down this path we looked at the data. The data lead us to use a simple formula to determine what we see as the top 10 teams of all-time. From there we will look at the accomplishments of these teams. In the end we can discuss our original thought of Penn State being a dynasty or not.

1. Oklahoma State/Oklahoma A&M

As we stated earlier they lead every category we looked at. They have 134 individual national champions, 428 All-Americans, 34 team championships and 76 top 10 finishes. Rather impressive when you look at the numbers. It was not until 1969 and 1970 that Oklahoma State went more then one year without a national championship. That is 40 years for those of you counting. They then went on an 18 year run where they were unable to claim the top spot. During that time we all know who rose to power and that would be Iowa. The Cowboys came back in 1989 to win their first title since 1971. Since 1989 they have won seven team titles. That equates to 30% of the championships since 1989. It is pretty clear as to why they are sitting at the top for now.

2. Iowa

Not all that far behind is the Iowa Hawkeyes. They were a little late to the party not getting their first team title until 1975. The quick statistics show that Iowa has; 79 individual champions, 297 All-Americans, 23 team titles and 58 top 10 finishes. These are also rather impressive numbers. Much like how Oklahoma State dominated the early years of wrestling Iowa has dominated the latter part. Since 1975 they have won 23 of 37 national tournaments. That is a 62% success rate. They also hold two of the three longest win streaks at nine and six.

3. Iowa State

We wonder if this surprises people. It shouldn’t but one never knows. The Cyclones are right there with Iowa in every category except team titles. They have accomplished; 68 individual champions, 281 All-Americans, 7 team titles and 56 top 10 finishes.

4. Oklahoma

The Sooners are right on the heels of Iowa State. Over the years they have also had solid numbers. Let’s look at their statistics; 65 national champions, 264 All-Americans, 7 team titles and 61 top 10 finishes.

5. Penn State

Penn State has a long history of success that had gone dry for awhile. The expectations are high for the Nittany Lions and rightfully so. They are in the middle of the deepest wrestling state and have some amazing talent to pick from. Penn State won their first title in 1953 and their second in 2011. With the 2012 crown they appear poised to make a real run over the next few years. Overall here are their numbers; 25 individual champions, 177 All-Americans, 3 team championships and 45 top 10 finishes.

6. Minnesota

The Gophers are more of a modern day power. They have won three titles since 2001 and been near or at the top each year since. As you will see, overall Minnesota and Penn State seem to be pretty close to one another statistically. The Gopher numbers are; 21 individual champs, 157 All-Americans, 3 team titles and 34 top 10 finishes.

7. Lehigh

Lehigh is the other east coast team on the list. Over time they have shown to be a solid program. The numbers on the Mountain Hawks look like this; 27 individual champions, 135 All-Americans, 0 team titles and 40 top 10 finishes.

8. Michigan

Although not as good the last decade as most Wolverine fans would have hoped. They have been solid over the long haul. For Michigan it looks like this; 22 individual champs, 174 All-Americans, 0 team titles and 41 top 10 finishes.

9. Michigan State

Now this one surprised us. They have not been real good for about 20 years. But we are looking over the long term and this is where they land. How you may ask? Well this is why; 25 individual champions, 135 All-Americans, 1 team title and 25 top 10 finishes. Their team title came in 1967.

10. Northern Iowa
The Panthers are the third team from the great state of Iowa to make the top 10. The program has great history and it looks like they may be back on the rise. Here are their numbers; 21 individual champions, 114 All-Americans, 1 team title and 18 top 10 finishes. Their team title came in 1950.

That is your top 10 for now; based on the categories we laid out.

There is one current DIII team that has a DI national title at that would be Cornell, IA who captured the crown in 1947.

We see two teams that can lay claim to the title of Dynasty and that would Oklahoma State and Iowa. It would take a lot of catching up to do for another team to be placed in this group. At least that is our opinion.

What would it take? Well to be considered a modern dynasty we would say either four or more team titles in a row or winning 60% or more of the titles over a 10 year period of time. If a team could achieve either of those, we would be willing to move them into the same group as Iowa and Oklahoma State. The most recent win streak was six straight championships and that was done by Iowa from 1995-2000.