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CFN 2011 Final Season Rankings

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jan 13, 2012


Which teams had the best seasons and who deserves to be ranked where? Forgetting the opinion side of the equation, here's our annual ranking of the teams based on the CFN Season Ranking Formula. Next week ... the 2012 Pre-Preseason Rankings.


CFN 2011 Season Rankings

The Top Ten


- CFN 2008 Final Season Rankings
- CFN 2009 Final Season Rankings 
- CFN 2010 Final Season Rankings  

2011 CFN Final Season Rankings
The Top 10 | Rankings 11-25 | Rankings 26-50
- Rankings 51-75 | Rankings 76-100The Bottom 20

- Based On Opinion ... CFN 2011 FINAL Rankings, Top  25

The Formula's Components: 
1. Wins. - If you win, everything else falls into place. Each win counts as 1.
2. Quality Wins - The number of wins over teams that finished with a winning record. Each win counts as 1.
3. Elite Wins - The number of wins over teams that finished with two losses or fewer. Each win counts as 1 with a road win over an Elite team getting an extra 0.5. Also counting as 1 is a road win over a team that finished with three losses or fewer (but the extra 0.5 isn't added). A win over a team that finishes with three losses in a bowl game counts as one.
4. Bad Loss - The number of losses to teams that finished with three wins or fewer or a loss to a FCS (DI-AA) team. Each loss counts as minus-1. Take away an additional 0.5 for a Bad Loss at home.
5. Bad Win - The number of wins to teams that finished with three wins or fewer, or a win over a D-IAA team. Each win counts as minus 0.25. 
6. Elite Loss - The number of losses to teams that finished with two losses or fewer. Each loss counts as 0.25.
7. Point Differential - Points for minus points against divided by 100. 
8. Winning Percentage - To take losses into account, winning percentage is in the mix. Total wins is the tie-breaker followed by winning percentage.

NOTE: This is based on who had the best season. This isn't a ranking of who the best teams were.

10. Arkansas (11-2)
2011 CFN Score: 20.24

2011 Preseason Ranking: 10
2010 Final Season Ranking: 17
2010 CFN Score: 17.47
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 19
2009 Final Season Ranking: 28
2009 Final Score. 14.04
2008 Final Season Ranking: 72
2008 Final Score: 6.56
Key Stat: The Hogs were 29th in the nation and led the SEC in total offense. Only two other teams – Alabama and Georgia – were in the top 70.

Wins: 11 – Missouri State, New Mexico, Troy, Texas A&M, Auburn, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi State, Kansas State (Cotton Bowl)
Losses: 2 - at Alabama, at LSU
Quality Wins: 5 - Texas A&M, Auburn, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Kansas State (Cotton Bowl)
Elite Wins: 2 – South Carolina, Kansas State (Cotton Bowl)
Bad Losses: None
Bad Wins: 4 - Missouri State, New Mexico, Troy, Ole Miss
Elite Losses: 2 - at Alabama, at LSU
Point Differential: +189
Winning Percentage: 85%

The Hogs lost to the LSU and Alabama on the road – no shame in that – and rolled through the rest of their schedule. Oddly enough, only Ole Miss and Vandy came within double digits in any of the wins, but Arkansas still came up with the victories. Beating South Carolina and winning the Cotton Bowl turned a great season special, but next year, coming up with a win over LSU and or Alabama and getting back to the BCS is the next step.

9. TCU (11-2) 
2011 CFN Score: 20.87

2011 Preseason Ranking: 15
2010 Final Season Ranking: 2
2010 CFN Score: 24.60
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 7
2009 Final Season Ranking: 5
2009 Final Score. 22.99
2008 Final Season Ranking: 8
2008 Final Score: 19.50
Key Stat: TCU was ninth in the nation in total offense.

Wins: 11 – at Air Force, ULM, Portland State, at San Diego State, New Mexico, BYU, at Wyoming, at Boise State, Colorado State, UNLV, Louisiana Tech (Poinsettia Bowl)
Losses: 2 - at Baylor, SMU
Quality Wins: 6 - at Air Force, at San Diego State, BYU, at Wyoming, at Boise State, Louisiana Tech (Poinsettia Bowl)
Elite Wins: 1.5 – at Boise State
Bad Losses: None
Bad Wins: 4 - Portland State, New Mexico, Colorado State, UNLV
Elite Losses: None
Point Differential: +252
Winning Percentage: 85%

The Horned Frogs might not have won the Rose Bowl, and the defense wasn’t up to its normal snuff, but they managed to beat Boise State in Boise State, win the Mountain West, get picked by the Big 12, and got on to finish with yet another top ten season. This might have been head coach Gary Patterson’s best job yet. This was supposed to be a rebuilding year and there were more dogfights than normal. Even with all the drama and all the issues, it was the program’s six 11-plus win season in seven years.

8. Oklahoma (10-3)  
2011 CFN Score: 21.04
2011 Final Season Ranking: 8
2011 Preseason Ranking: 2
2010 Final Season Ranking: 4
2010 CFN Score: 23.52
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 5
2009 Final Season Ranking: 35
2009 Final Score. 13.02
2008 Final Season Ranking: 2
2008 Final Score: 25.59
Key Stat: OU finished fifth in the nation in total offense.

Wins: 10 – Tulsa, at Florida State, Missouri, Ball State, Texas, at Kansas, at Kansas State, Texas A&M, Iowa State, Iowa (Insight Bowl)
Losses: 3 – Texas Tech, at Baylor, at Oklahoma State
Quality Wins: 7 - Tulsa, at Florida State, Missouri, Texas, at Kansas State, Texas A&M, Iowa (Insight Bowl)
Elite Wins: 1 – at Kansas State
Bad Losses: None
Bad Wins: 1 - Kansas
Elite Losses: 1 - at Oklahoma State
Point Differential: +227
Winning Percentage: 77%

The nation’s preseason No. 1 pick in both human polls had its chance, blew it, and had another chance and blew it again. OU was 10-0 when allowing fewer than 41 points, and 0-3 when allowing more. More than that, all ten wins were by double digits. The loss to Texas Tech was puzzling; the loss to Baylor was disappointing, and the loss to Oklahoma State was jaw-dropping. But the rest of the time, everything was just fine in a strange and somewhat disappointing year.

7. Michigan (11-2)
2011 CFN Score: 21.67

2011 Preseason Ranking: 25
2010 Final Season Ranking: 50
2010 CFN Score: 10.47
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 47
2009 Final Season Ranking: 82
2009 Final Score. 4.91
2008 Final Season Ranking: 97
2008 Final Score: 3.21
Key Stat: The Wolverines were 115th in the nation in turnover margin in 2009, 109th in 2010, and 25th in 2011.

Wins: 11 – Western Michigan, Notre Dame, Eastern Michigan, San Diego State, Minnesota, at Northwestern, Purdue, at Illinois, Nebraska, Ohio State, Virginia Tech (Sugar Bowl)
Losses: 2 - at Michigan State, at Iowa
Quality Wins: 7 - Western Michigan, Notre Dame, San Diego State, Purdue, at Illinois, Nebraska, Virginia Tech (Sugar Bowl)
Elite Wins: 1 - Virginia Tech (Sugar Bowl)
Bad Losses: None
Bad Wins: 1 - Minnesota
Elite Losses: None
Point Differential: +207
Winning Percentage: 85%

This was supposed to be the year when everything came together in the rebuilding process. Helped by Brady Hoke and a vastly improved defense, it was. The Wolverines might have struggled in a gaffe against Iowa, and the Sugar Bowl win over Virginia Tech was hardly a thing of beauty, but they got back among the elite with six quality wins and just one bad win – Minnesota. The team played a difficult slate, and it took a big step forward to being Michigan again.

6. Houston (13-1)
  2011 CFN Score: 22.10

2011 Preseason Ranking: 65
2010 Final Season Ranking: 81
2010 CFN Score: 5.58
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 57
2009 Final Season Ranking: 18
2009 Final Score. 15.41
2008 Final Season Ranking: 41
2008 Final Score: 12.13
Key Stat: The Cougars were 1st in the nation in total offense, scoring offense, and passing offense.

Wins: 13 – UCLA, at North Texas, at Louisiana Tech, Georgia State, at UTEP, East Carolina, Marshall, Rice, at UAB, at Tulane, SMU, at Tulsa, Penn State (TicketCity Bowl)
Losses: 1 – Southern Miss (Conference USA Championship)
Quality Wins: 5 - at Louisiana Tech, Marshall, SMU, at Tulsa, Penn State (TicketCity Bowl)
Elite Wins: None
Bad Losses: None
Bad Wins: 3 – Georgia State, at UAB, at Tulane
Elite Losses: 1 – Southern Miss (Conference USA Championship)
Point Differential: +276
Winning Percentage: 93%

Yeah, the Cougars went 13-1. Yeah, Case Keenum destroyed the NCAA record book. Yeah, the Cougars blasted Penn State in the bowl game. But for all the good things the program did, the season might be remembered for what might have been, missing out on a BCS game – likely the Sugar Bowl – and a shot at a perfect season by losing to Southern Miss at home in the Conference USA title game. Even so, only LSU came up with as many wins and no one did more offensively.

5. Boise State (12-1)
   2011 CFN Score: 22.74

2011 Preseason Ranking: 17
2010 Final Season Ranking: 5
2010 CFN Score: 22.62
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 8
2009 Final Season Ranking: 3
2009 Final Score. 24.51
2008 Final Season Ranking: 6
2008 Final Score: 21.42
Key Stat: The Broncos led the nation in fewest sacks allowed.

Wins: 12 – Georgia, at Toledo, Tulsa, Nevada, at Fresno State, at Colorado State, Air Force, at UNLV, at San Diego State, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona State (Maaco Las Vegas Bowl)
Losses: 1 - TCU
Quality Wins: 7 - Georgia, at Toledo, Tulsa, Nevada, Air Force, at San Diego State, Wyoming
Elite Wins: None
Bad Losses: None
Bad Wins: 3 - at Colorado State, at UNLV, New Mexico
Elite Losses: 1 - TCU
Point Differential: +332
Winning Percentage: 92%

It’s a third straight top five finish in the season rankings, but still, no one wants to give the Broncos any respect. They beat Georgia in the opener in Atlanta by two touchdowns, but that was just the beginning with eight wins over bowl teams and a close call against TCU in a devastating home loss. Only LSU and Oklahoma State had more quality wins.

4. Oregon (12-2)  
2011 CFN Score: 23.11

2011 Preseason Ranking: 3
2010 Final Season Ranking: 7
2010 CFN Score: 21.10
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 15
2009 Final Season Ranking: 10
2009 Final Score. 18.62
2008 Final Season Ranking: 24
2008 Final Score: 15.30
Key Stat: The Ducks finished third in the nation in scoring offense.

Wins: 12 – Nevada, Missouri State, at Arizona, California, Arizona State, at Colorado, Washington State, at Washington, at Stanford, Oregon State, UCLA (Pac-12 Championship), Wisconsin (Rose Bowl)
Losses: 2 – LSU, USC
Quality Wins: 5 - Nevada, California, at Washington, at Stanford, Wisconsin (Rose Bowl)
Elite Wins: 2.5 – at Stanford, Wisconsin (Rose Bowl)
Bad Losses: None
Bad Wins: 3 - Missouri State, at Colorado, Oregon State
Elite Losses: 2 – LSU, USC
Point Differential: +300
Winning Percentage: 86%

The Pac-12 champions lost the opener to LSU and couldn’t come back against USC. They lit up everyone offense that hung 34 points or more in every game but the opening day loss, closing out with 49 points against Oregon State, 49 in the conference title win over UCLA, and 45 in the win over Wisconsin. With three straight BCS game appearances, Oregon has officially established itself as a new superpower.

3. Alabama (12-1)
   2011 CFN Score: 24.14
2011 Final Season Ranking: 3
2011 Preseason Ranking: 1
2010 Final Season Ranking: 10
2010 CFN Score: 20.40
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 1
2009 Final Season Ranking: 1
2009 Final Score.29.10
2008 Final Season Ranking: 7
2008 Final Score: 20.08
Key Stat: The Tide No. 1 in the nation in total defense, scoring defense, run defense, pass defense, and pass efficiency defense.

Wins: 12 – Kent State, at Penn State, North Texas, Arkansas, at Florida, Vanderbilt, at Ole Miss, Tennessee, at Miss State, Georgia Southern, at Auburn, LSU (BCS Championship)
Losses: 1 - LSU
Quality Wins: 6 - at Penn State, Arkansas, at Florida, at Miss State, at Auburn, LSU (BCS Championship)
Elite Wins: 1 – LSU (Arkansas, BCS Championship)
Bad Losses: None
Bad Wins: 2 - at Ole Miss, Georgia Southern
Elite Losses: 1 - LSU
Point Differential: +347
Winning Percentage: 92%

Uhhhhh, WHAT? Remember, this is a ranking based on the entire season, and while Alabama might have been the best team – ranked No. 1 in the CFN 2011 FINAL Rankings – it didn’t come up with as many big wins during the year as LSU and Oklahoma State. Part of the point of the season rankings is to spotlight who played the toughest schedules and who had the easier and harder roads to travel, and the Tide had it a bit easier with six quality wins – compared to LSU’s eight and Oklahoma State’s nine – and with an easier non-conference slate. Being the first team since 1936 to not win a conference title yet win the national championship ended up being an issue in the season ranking. The schedule just wasn’t as tough as LSU’s and Oklahoma State’s; Bama wasn’t even close to being in the top two after the regular season, finishing outside of the top ten before the dominant BCS championship win over LSU.

2. Oklahoma State (12-1)
2011 CFN Score: 25.52
2011 Final Season Ranking: 2
2011 Preseason Ranking: 13
2010 Final Season Ranking: 8
2010 CFN Score: 20.67
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 52
2009 Final Season Ranking: 34
2009 Final Score. 13.06
2008 Final Season Ranking: 30
2008 Final Score: 14.34
Key Stat: The Cowboys finished the year second in the nation in passing for the second year in a row.

Wins: 12 – Louisiana-Lafayette, Arizona, at Tulsa, at Texas A&M, Kansas, Kansas, at Texas, at Missouri, Baylor, Kansas State, at Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Stanford (Fiesta Bowl)
Losses: 1 – at Iowa State
Quality Wins: 9 - Louisiana-Lafayette, at Tulsa, at Texas A&M, at Texas, at Missouri, Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Stanford (Fiesta Bowl)
Elite Wins: 1 – Stanford (Fiesta Bowl)
Bad Losses: None
Bad Wins: 1 - Kansas
Elite Losses: None
Point Differential: +285
Winning Percentage: 92%

No one beat more good teams than Oklahoma State with nine quality wins. Not only did the Cowboys play ten bowl teams, they beat six bowl winners and ended up beating four teams – Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma, and Stanford – in the final half of the season that finished with three losses or fewer. Of course, the lone loss to Iowa State in overtime was the big killer for hopes to play for the national title, but in terms of the season rankings, there was no way to get to No. 1 without going 13-0 with a national title.

1. LSU (13-1)
2011 CFN Score: 29.60
2011 Final Season Ranking: 1
2011 Preseason Ranking: 8
2010 Final Season Ranking: 12
2010 CFN Score: 19.09
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 22
2009 Final Season Ranking: 27
2009 Final Score. 14.06
2008 Final Season Ranking: 40
2008 Final Score: 12.25
Key Stat: The Tigers were 107th in the nation in passing in 2010 and 106th in 2011.

Wins: 13 – Oregon, Northwestern State, at Miss State, at West Virginia, Kentucky, Florida, at Tennessee, Auburn, at Alabama, Western Kentucky, at Ole Miss, Arkansas, Georgia (SEC Championship)
Losses: 1 – Alabama (BCS Championship)
Quality Wins: 9 - Oregon, at Miss State, at West Virginia, Florida, Auburn, at Alabama, Western Kentucky, Arkansas, Georgia (SEC Championship)
Elite Wins: 3.5 – Oregon, at Alabama, Arkansas
Bad Losses: None
Bad Wins: 2 – Northwestern State, at Ole Miss
Elite Losses: Alabama (BCS Championship)
Point Differential: +342
Winning Percentage: 93%

LSU might not have won the national title, but the overall season was one of the greatest in college football history. Had the Tigers won the BCS championship, they would’ve had the best year in the history of college football according to the CFN formula, and it wouldn’t have been close. Even with the loss, they still had the best-ranked season by a mile after beating three BCS winners – Alabama, Oregon, and West Virginia – and with a ridiculous seven wins over teams that ended up winning bowls. Even with the loss to Alabama, LSU had the second greatest season ever, ranked only behind 2005 Texas. The difference, of course, is that the Longhorns were holding up a crystal trophy.