CFN 2011 Final Season Rankings - No. 11-25
Posted Jan 13, 2012

Who were the teams that finished just outside of the top 10? Which teams had the best seasons? Here are the 2011 final season ranking based on who earned it on the field, using the CFN Historical Formula to rank the teams from 11 to 25.

CFN 2011 Season Rankings

No. 11 to No. 25

- 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.

25. Cincinnati (10-3)
2011 CFN Score: 14.29

2011 Preseason Ranking: 48
2010 Final Season Ranking: 75
2010 CFN Score: 6.22
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 42 
2009 Final Season Ranking: 6
2009 Final Score. 22.44
2008 Final Season Ranking: 21
2008 Final Score: 16.09
Key Stat: UC led the nation in tackles for loss and was second in sacks.

The Bearcats were back after suffering a setback in 2010.The two quality wins were the fewest by anyone in the top 25 – beating NC State and Louisville – but it was still a challenging slate. Starting out 7-1 was great, but a close loss to West Virginia caused a bit of a hangover going into a loss at Rutgers. Even with the loss of starting quarterback Zach Collaros for a stretch, the team managed to keep on fighting.

24. Kansas State (10-3)
2011 CFN Score: 15.02

2011 Preseason Ranking: 56
2010 Final Season Ranking: 60
2010 CFN Score: 8.63
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 65 
2009 Final Season Ranking: 72
2009 Final Score. 6.71
2008 Final Season Ranking: 83
2008 Final Score: 5.06
Key Stat: KSU was ninth in the nation in turnover margin.

The Wildcats came up with one of the nation's most stunning seasons, but surprised are nothing new for Bill Snyder. They started out the year with seven straight wins, including thrillers over Baylor, Miami, and Texas Tech, and the three losses came to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and in the Cotton Bowl against Arkansas – nothing to be ashamed of. Beating Texas A&M and Texas in November changed put a great cap on the year that the loss to the Hogs didn't undo.

23. Northern Illinois (11-3)
2011 CFN Score: 14.29

2011 Preseason Ranking: 69
2010 Final Season Ranking: 25
2010 CFN Score: 14.96
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 76
2009 Final Season Ranking: 68
2009 Final Score. 7.45
2008 Final Season Ranking: 74
2008 Final Score: 6.26
Key Stat: NIU finished 11th in the nation in total offense.

Finally … FINALLY … the Huskies got over the hump and won the MAC title. They overcame inexcusable shootout losses to Kansas Central Michigan, and a blowout loss to Wisconsin, on the way to ripping off nine straight wins with a championship and a dominant bowl win over Arkansas State. There were few more fun offensive teams, scoring 40 points or more in seven of the first nine games.

22. Nebraska (9-4)
2011 CFN Score: 15.19

2011 Preseason Ranking: 24
2010 Final Season Ranking: 16
2010 CFN Score: 17.60
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 38
2009 Final Season Ranking: 17
2009 Final Score. 15.77
2008 Final Season Ranking: 35
2008 Final Score: 13.58
Key Stat: The Huskers were 112th in the nation in tackles for loss.

The first year in the Big Ten wasn't exactly the dominant success hoped for, but it was still a good year with only a blowout loss to Wisconsin on the way to a 7-1 start. The five quality wins were the most of anyone outside of the top 20, but the tough loss to South Carolina in the bowl exposed the lack of a balanced offensive attack.

21. Georgia (10-4)
2011 CFN Score: 15.56

2011 Preseason Ranking: 12
2010 Final Season Ranking: 69
2010 CFN Score: 7.26
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 3
2009 Final Season Ranking: 30
2009 Final Score. 13.76
2008 Final Season Ranking: 14
2008 Final Score: 16.92
Key Stat: The Dawgs finished fifth in the nation in total defense.

Helped by a relatively light SEC schedule, the Dawgs got to the SEC title game and got lit up by LSU. Impressively, the four losses on the year came to elite Boise State, South Carolina, and LSU teams to go along with a respectable defeat to Michigan State. The wins over Auburn and Georgia Tech helped make the second half of the regular season strong.

20. Clemson (10-4)
2011 CFN Score: 16.56

2011 Preseason Ranking: 23
2010 Final Season Ranking: 59
2010 CFN Score: 8.64
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 33
2009 Final Season Ranking: 24
2009 Final Score. 14.64
2008 Final Season Ranking: 45
2008 Final Score: 11.31
Key Stat: Clemson led the ACC in passing.

Forgetting about the disastrous performance against West Virginia in the Orange Bowl, it was still a terrific year winning the ACC title by beating Virginia Tech for a second time. There was a lull late in the year after the Atlantic was wrapped up, losing three of the final four regular season games. Even so, after starting out 8-0, the Tigers showed the upside under head coach Dabo Swinney that playing in big games could be a regular thing.

19. West Virginia (10-3)
2011 CFN Score: 16.93

2011 Preseason Ranking: 35
2010 Final Season Ranking: 19
2010 CFN Score: 14.95
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 24
2009 Final Season Ranking: 21
2009 Final Score. 15.02
2008 Final Season Ranking: 29
2008 Final Score: 14.42
Key Stat: The Mountaineers finished sixth in the nation in passing.

No one does weird like West Virginia, following up a strange 2010 with a crazy 2011. Time and again, the Mountaineers had to mount late comebacks in Big East games, and they were obliterated by a mediocre Syracuse, but they managed to do just enough to get to the Orange Bowl. After the last four games of the regular season were decided by a grand total of eight points … BOOM. The offense destroyed Clemson and now the program is red hot. More quality wins next year – either in the Big East or the Big 12 – would be nice.

18. Michigan State (11-3)
2011 CFN Score: 17.31

2011 Preseason Ranking: 27
2010 Final Season Ranking: 11
2010 CFN Score: 17.56
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 31
2009 Final Season Ranking: 66
2009 Final Score. 8.15
2008 Final Season Ranking: 28
2008 Final Score: 14.83
Key Stat: MSU was sixth in the nation in total defense.

The Spartans were blasted by Notre Dame and didn't get off the bus against Nebraska, but two thrilling games against Wisconsin and a win over Michigan set the tone for a chance at bowl redemption after a miserable loss to Alabama to open up the 2011 calendar year. Beating Georgia to start 2012 made up for the five bad wins and the relatively easy first month.

17. South Carolina (11-2)
2011 CFN Score: 17.37

2011 Preseason Ranking: 9
2010 Final Season Ranking: 27
2010 CFN Score: 14.73
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 39 CFN 2010 Preseason Prediction: 7-5
2009 Final Season Ranking: 52
2009 Final Score. 10.57
2008 Final Season Ranking: 61
2008 Final Score: 8.50
Key Stat: The Gamecocks finished third in the nation in total defense.

Considering all the drama and all the controversy, this might have been the greatest year in the history of the program with just a three point loss to Auburn and a loss at Arkansas. Missing Alabama and LSU was a big help, and there weren't any elite wins, but beating Georgia, arch-rival Clemson, and Nebraska in the bowl made it a year to remember.

16. Baylor (10-3)
2011 CFN Score: 17.57

2011 Preseason Ranking: 52
2010 Final Season Ranking: 58
2010 CFN Score: 8.88
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 66 CFN 2010 Preseason Prediction: 5-7
2009 Final Season Ranking: 85
2009 Final Score. 4.55
2008 Final Season Ranking: 92
2008 Final Score: 4.17
Key Stat: The Bears were 2nd in the nation in total offense.

Has there ever been a better year in Baylor football history? The Bears started off with an elite win over TCU and close out the year with six straight wins including a thriller over Oklahoma, a win over Texas, and the classic Alamo Bowl against Washington. Oh yeah, and there was that Heisman winner who made everything so fun and exciting. The D might not have shown up, but the offense more than made up for it with Robert Griffin getting his chance to shine in shootout after shootout.

15. Virginia Tech (11-3)
2011 CFN Score: 17.73

2011 Preseason Ranking: 19
2010 Final Season Ranking: 18
2010 CFN Score: 17.15
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 9
2009 Final Season Ranking: 9
2009 Final Score. 18.63
2008 Final Season Ranking: 11
2008 Final Score: 17.96
Key Stat: Tech was seventh in the nation in scoring D.

The Hokies lost twice to Clemson and in a controversial Sugar Bowl to Michigan. That's it. They didn't play a slew of killers, but the five quality wins and the 11 victories were enough to get this high up. The year might have ended with a thud after starting out 11-1, but the defense was great, the running game was strong, and getting the BCS at-large nod showed the brand name is improving.

14. USC (10-2)
2011 CFN Score: 18.54

2011 Preseason Ranking: 22
2010 Final Season Ranking: 44
2010 CFN Score: 11.18
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 16
2009 Final Season Ranking: 16
2009 Final Score. 16.55
2008 Final Season Ranking: 5
2008 Final Score: 23.13
Key Stat: USC was sixth in the nation in passing efficiency.

There might not have been anything to play for, but the Trojans still had a wonderful year with a win over Oregon the highlight. The 43-22 loss to Arizona State was far better than the final score looked, while the three overtime loss to Stanford could've gone either way. Even so, it would've been nice to have gotten another shot against the Ducks in the Pac-12 title game.

13. Stanford (11-2)
2011 CFN Score: 19.61

2011 Preseason Ranking: 7
2010 Final Season Ranking: 6
2010 CFN Score: 21.40
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 29 CFN 2010 Preseason Prediction: 7-5
2009 Final Season Ranking: 38
2009 Final Score. 12.28
2008 Final Season Ranking: 73
2008 Final Score: 6.28
Key Stat: The Cardinal was fourth in the nation in run defense.

It might not have been the Pac-12 title-winning season Cardinal fans were hoping for, but getting a second straight BCS bowl bid and beating USC in L.A. made the year a blast. Getting blown out by Oregon was a lull, and the gag in the Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma State left a sour taste, but it was still a year when Stanford football was on the front-burner. The four quality wins – Washington, USC, Cal, and Oklahoma State – were the fewest of anyone in the top 16.

12. Wisconsin (11-3)
2011 CFN Score: 20.04

2011 Preseason Ranking: 6
2010 Final Season Ranking: 13
2010 CFN Score: 19.07
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 6
2009 Final Season Ranking: 19
2009 Final Score. 15.32
2008 Final Season Ranking: 60
2008 Final Score: 8.66
Key Stat: The Badgers were second in the nation in passing efficiency.

A Hail Mary against Michigan State, a defensive breakdown against Ohio State, and a quick clock against Oregon. Wisconsin suffered three of the most heartbreaking losses imaginable, but it won the inaugural Big Ten championship game and still came up with a thrilling year. So why aren't the Badgers in the top ten? They didn't really beat anyone before the title game other than Nebraska. The five bad wins were the most by anyone in the top 15.

11. Southern Miss (12-2)
2011 CFN Score: 20.11

2011 Preseason Ranking: 75
2010 Final Season Ranking: T46
2010 CFN Score: 10.82
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 73
2009 Final Season Ranking: 58
2009 Final Score. 9.46
2008 Final Season Ranking: 51
2008 Final Score: 10.39
Key Stat: USM was seventh in the nation in pass efficiency defense. 

Before bolting to North Carolina, head coach Larry Fedora boasted that his team deserved a BCS game, he might have been right after shocking an unbeaten Houston at home in the Conference USA title game and with an impressive season. Beating Virginia is the lone big win over a BCS squad, the loss to UAB was puzzling, and beating Nevada in the bowl game might not seem like that big a deal, but the Golden Eagles still had a good enough season to crack the top ten.