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CFN 2011 Final Season Rankings - No. 26-50
Posted Jan 13, 2012

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 26 to 50.

CFN 2011 Season Rankings

No. 26 to No. 50

- 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.

50. Wyoming (8-5)
2011 CFN Score: 9.65

2011 Preseason Ranking: 119
2010 Final Season Ranking: 104
2010 CFN Score: 0.91
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 107
2009 Final Season Ranking: 75
2009 Final Score. 6.37
2008 Final Season Ranking: 103
2008 Final Score: 2.77
Key Stat: The Cowboys were 115th in the nation against the run.

Kansas State might have been the biggest BCS league surprise, but Wyoming might have been the shocker of the 2012 season. Everything appeared to be a mess in Dave Christensen’s third year, but instead, Brett Smith turned into a special quarterback and the wins started to flow on the way to a bowl appearance. It might have been a bit of a mirage with five of the victories coming against teams that finished with three wins or fewer, but there were some good road wins over San Diego State and Air Force to go along with all the layups.

49. San Diego State (8-6)
2011 CFN Score: 9.69

2011 Preseason Ranking: 78
2010 Final Season Ranking: 36
2010 CFN Score: 12.12
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 83
2009 Final Season Ranking: 96
2009 Final Score. 2.97
2008 Final Season Ranking: 111
2008 Final Score: -0.98
Key Stat: The Aztecs were ninth in the nation in turnover margin.

Rocky Long came in and did a terrific job in place of Brady Hoke, guiding the Aztecs back to a bowl game. There was only one quality win – Air Force – and five of the eight victories were bad, but this was still an entertaining team that almost ended the season on a thrilling high note before losing to Louisiana-Lafayette on a bomb of a field goal late in the New Orleans Bowl. The overall consistency might not have been there, but considering the team was 111th in 2008, it was good for Long to keep things going.

48. Louisiana Tech (8-4)
2011 CFN Score: 10.02

2011 Preseason Ranking: 82
2010 Final Season Ranking: 86
2010 CFN Score: 4.70
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 82
2009 Final Season Ranking: 89
2009 Final Score. 4.24
2008 Final Season Ranking: 63
2008 Final Score: 7.99
Key Stat: Tech was eighth in the nation in punting.

The only major disappointment is that no one is taking Tech from the WAC. The league champion, the Bulldogs went on a roll winning seven straight after a rough 1-4 start. The loss to TCU in the Poinsettia might have been frustrating, but it was a close battle. There was only one quality win and four of the wins were bad, but it was a great year that might propel the national profile of head coach Sonny Dykes a bit.

47. Louisville (7-6)
2011 CFN Score: 10.28

2011 Preseason Ranking: 67
2010 Final Season Ranking: 43
2010 CFN Score: 11.20
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 72
2009 Final Season Ranking: 86
2009 Final Score. 4.35
2008 Final Season Ranking: 94
2008 Final Score: 3.80
Key Stat: The Cardinals finished tenth in the nation against the run.

Forgetting the disappointing Belk Bowl loss to NC State, Louisville came up with a good year under head coach Charlie Strong, hanging around in the Big East title chase until the end. With five wins in the final six, the end of the regular season was terrific as young quarterback Teddy Bridgewater grew into the job. The win over West Virginia was the highlight, while beating Rutgers was terrific. Next year, there can’t be misses like there was over Marshall.

46. North Carolina (7-6)
2011 CFN Score: 10.45

2011 Preseason Ranking: 26
2010 Final Season Ranking: 53
2010 CFN Score: 9.64
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 13
2009 Final Season Ranking: 31
2009 Final Score. 13.49
2008 Final Season Ranking: 26
2008 Final Score: 15.22
Key Stat: The Tar Heels were 11th in the nation in passing efficiency.

The program might have been in a holding pattern after the Butch Davis disaster, but the production was still there on the way to a bowl game. However, the team collapsed a bit after a 5-1 start, winning just two of the final seven games. Four of the seven wins were against the weak and the sad, but wins over Rutgers, Virginia, and Louisville helped make up for it.

45. Utah (8-5)
2011 CFN Score: 10.49

2011 Final Season Ranking: 46
2011 Preseason Ranking: 30
2010 Final Season Ranking: 23
2010 CFN Score: 15.68
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 48
2009 Final Season Ranking: 23
2009 Final Score. 14.77
2008 Final Season Ranking: 4
2008 Final Score: 23.56
Key Stat: The Utes were 14th in the nation in turnover margin.

This wasn’t the way Utah wanted to start off its Pac-12 world. With the division title there for the taking, the Utes flat-out gagged at home against Colorado to end the regular season, but beating Georgia Tech in the overtime thriller to close things out will be what everyone remembers. Getting blown away by Washington and Arizona State at home was an early disaster, but winning four in a row late in the year, and blowing out BYU in September, made it an interesting, but uneven, year.

44. Arizona State (6-7)
2011 CFN Score: 10.55

2011 Preseason Ranking: 29
2010 Final Season Ranking: 55
2010 CFN Score: 9.37
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 54
2009 Final Season Ranking: 90
2009 Final Score. 3.98
2008 Final Season Ranking: 87
2008 Final Score: 4.94
Key Stat: ASU was tenth in the nation in passing.

This was supposed to be the year everything came together for ASU with veterans and talent across the board, and it looked like it might actually happen after starting out the year 5-1 and 6-2. And then came the puzzling collapse, with a loss to UCLA seemingly taking away the team’s will. The Sun Devils were too good to lose their final five games with gaffes against teams like Arizona and Washington State. Dennis Erickson is gone and Todd Graham is settling in.

43. Texas A&M (7-6)
2011 CFN Score: 10.96

2011 Preseason Ranking: 11
2010 Final Season Ranking: 19
2010 CFN Score: 16.90
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 26
2009 Final Score. 7.37
2008 Final Season Ranking: 99
2008 Final Score: 3.09
Key Stat: The Aggies led the nation in sacks.

One of the most disappointing teams of 2011, the Aggies couldn’t seem to come up with a way to close. They should’ve beaten Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas State, and Texas, but couldn’t get the job done late. The only quality wins came against SMU and Baylor, and now, after so many collapses, head coach Mike Sherman is gone and Houston’s Kevin Sumlin will be the one leading the way into the SEC.

42. Louisiana-Lafayette (9-4)
2011 CFN Score: 11.01

2011 Preseason Ranking: 113
2010 Final Season Ranking: 107
2010 CFN Score: -0.01
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 116
2009 Final Season Ranking: 92
2009 Final Score. 3.77
2008 Final Season Ranking: 75
2008 Final Score: 6.18
Key Stat: ULL was 29th in the nation in passing.

Easily the most stunning success of the 2011 season, the Ragin’ Cajuns turned out to be terrific offensively and dominated bad team after bad team on the way to a nine-win season and a bowl win over San Diego State. No, the team wasn’t as good as this ranking, but the season was with quality wins over the Aztecs and FIU leading the way. Four of the wins were bad, but all four of the team’s defeats came on the road.

41. Temple (9-4)
2011 CFN Score: 11.39

2011 Preseason Ranking: 86
2010 Final Season Ranking: 51
2010 CFN Score: 10.13
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 77
2009 Final Season Ranking: 60
2009 Final Score. 9.38
2008 Final Season Ranking: 86
2008 Final Score: 4.96
Key Stat: The Owls were 7th in rushing and 116th in the nation in passing.

Head coach Steve Addazio took what Al Golden started and made it better, leading the way to a dominant season from the ground game on the way to a bowl win over Wyoming. The Owls might have inexcusably lost to Bowling Green, lost to Ohio, and got blown away by Toledo, but they pushed Penn State. Five of the nine wins were bad, and the only quality win came at the end against the Cowboys, but blowing away Maryland and blasting through November showed the program might be here to stay.

40. Georgia Tech (8-5)
2011 CFN Score: 11.44

2011 Preseason Ranking: 51
2010 Final Season Ranking: 78
2010 CFN Score: 5.81
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 40
2009 Final Season Ranking: 13
2009 Final Score. 17.55
2008 Final Season Ranking: 22
2008 Final Score: 15.72
Key Stat: Tech was 112th in the nation in passing and 14th in passing efficiency.

After starting out 6-0, the Yellow Jackets looked like possible ACC champs. While they lost two of their final seven games, they managed to beat Clemson and were strong in losses to Virginia Tech, Georgia, and in the bowl against Utah. However, five of the eight wins were bad and there wasn’t enough coming from a defense that allowed 30 points or more in each of the last four games. It was still a good year after a tough 2010.

39. Tulsa (8-5)
2011 CFN Score: 11.62

2011 Preseason Ranking: 79
2010 Final Season Ranking: 28
2010 CFN Score: 14.71
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 84
2009 Final Season Ranking: 54
2009 Final Score. 4.65
2008 Final Season Ranking: 17
2008 Final Score: 16.49
Key Stat: Tulsa was 117th in the nation in pass defense.

After a hard start dealing with Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Boise State before September was up, the Golden Hurricane went on a run winning seven straight to turn things around to get into a position to win the Conference USA title. A blowout loss to Houston might have been a disappointment, and losing in the final seconds to BYU in the bowl game hurt, but it was still an excellent year that reestablished the program as one of the league’s powerhouses.

38. NC State (8-5)
2011 CFN Score: 12.08

2011 Preseason Ranking: 58
2010 Final Season Ranking: 20
2010 CFN Score: 6.57
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 44
2009 Final Season Ranking: 73
2009 Final Score. 6.57
2008 Final Season Ranking: 54
2008 Final Score: 9.84
Key Stat: NC State was 114th in the nation in turnover margin in 2009, 27th in 2010, and sixth in 2011.

It looked like the program was in big trouble and on the verge of going through an overhaul after starting out 2-3 with wins coming against Liberty and South Alabama, but slowly, things began to turn on the way to winning six of the final eight games. Beating Virginia, North Carolina, Clemson and Louisville was impressive, but there were four bad wins to offset the big victories.

37. SMU (8-5)
2011 CFN Score: 12.23

2011 Preseason Ranking: 73
2010 Final Season Ranking: 61
2010 CFN Score: 8.51
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 87
2009 Final Season Ranking: 61
2009 Final Score. 9.33
2008 Final Season Ranking: 114
2008 Final Score: -1.69
Key Stat: SMU was 120th in the nation in turnover margin.

It didn’t seem like a big year with four losses in five weeks over the second half of the year, but beating TCU turned out to be a big deal in the season rankings, and finishing up with a bowl win over a lifeless Pitt made it a great-looking year at the end. Part of the problem late was the loss of star running back Zach Line, but the passing game did just enough to get by.

36. Rutgers (9-4)
2011 CFN Score: 12.24

2011 Preseason Ranking: 70
2010 Final Season Ranking: 73
2010 CFN Score: 6.40
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 37
2009 Final Season Ranking: 32
2009 Final Score. 13.36
2008 Final Season Ranking: 38
2008 Final Score: 12.69
Key Stat: The Scarlet Knights were eighth in the nation in scoring defense.

The Scarlet Knights started out hot going 5-1, and they ended strong winning four of the last five with a bowl win over Iowa State. The midseason losses to Louisville and West Virginia put a damper on things, but it was still a bounceback year that should set the tone for a stronger 2-12. There were only two quality wins – Ohio and Cincinnati – but it was a strong schedule overall after beating NC Central in the opener.

35. Texas (8-5)
2011 CFN Score: 12.43
2011 Preseason Ranking: 18
2010 Final Season Ranking: 65
2010 CFN Score: 7.68
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 10
2009 Final Season Ranking: 4
2009 Final Score. 24.09
2008 Final Season Ranking: 3
2008 Final Score: 25.24
Key Stat: Texas was sixth in the nation against the run.

It wasn’t exactly back to the elite, but it was a step back up the charts after a puzzling 2010. The Longhorns started out fine going 4-0, but there weren’t enough wins over teams with a pulse. Beating Texas A&M in soul-crushing fashion was the highlight, and beating BYU turned out to be even better than it originally looked. Losing five games isn’t what the program is used to, even if it was a good-looking turnaround season before potentially being far better in 2012.

34. Missouri (8-5)
2011 CFN Score: 12.58

2011 Preseason Ranking: 5
2010 Final Season Ranking: 14
2010 CFN Score: 19.06
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 27
2009 Final Season Ranking: 46
2009 Final Score. 11.59
2008 Final Season Ranking: 16
2008 Final Score: 16.81
Key Stat: The Tigers finished 12th in the nation in total offense.

Once again, Missouri had a good season that was close to being a truly great season. The problem was a schedule with great team after great team, and that included an overtime road loss to an Arizona State team that was playing up to its capabilities. The worst win of the year was against Baylor, and even in that the Tigers roared back and almost pulled it off. With a four-game winning streak to close things out, and winning five of the final six games with an overtime victory over Texas A&M, the team saved a little bit of face,

33. Florida State (9-4)
2011 CFN Score: 12.96

2011 Preseason Ranking: 4
2010 Final Season Ranking: 31
2010 CFN Score: 18.10
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 12
2009 Final Season Ranking: 44
2009 Final Score. 11.80
2008 Final Season Ranking: 20
2008 Final Score: 16.16
Key Stat: FSU was fourth in the nation in both total defense and scoring defense.

It was supposed to be a huge year with some calling FSU a fringe national title candidate. That went bye-bye early on with three straight losses, but the defense kicked in and the Noles won five straight before suffering a one-point loss to Virginia. Closing out with wins over Florida and Notre Dame look great even if the Gators and Irish were mediocre. There weren’t enough quality wins, but the Noles could be really close to being great with a bit more of an offensive punch.

32. BYU (10-3)
2011 CFN Score: 12.03

2011 Preseason Ranking: 28
2010 Final Season Ranking: 54
2010 CFN Score: 9.63
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 56
2009 Final Season Ranking: 11
2009 Final Score. 18.16
2008 Final Season Ranking: 33
2008 Final Score: 13.87
Key Stat: The Cougars finished 13th in the nation in total defense.

If looked like it would be a second straight down year after starting 1-2 with a 54-10 blowout loss to archrival Utah, but the first season as an independent took a quick turn with Riley Nelson taking over at quarterback. The Cougars won nine of their final ten games with the lone loss coming to TCU. The offense might not have been explosive, but the defense was among the best in the nation. There win over Tulsa in the bowl and the victory over Utah State were the only two over teams that finished with winning records, but it was a good bounceback year no matter how it happened.

31. Ohio (10-4)
2011 CFN Score: 13.13

2011 Preseason Ranking: 91
2010 Final Season Ranking: 52
2010 CFN Score: 9.85
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 81
2009 Final Season Ranking: 41
2009 Final Score. 12.13
2008 Final Season Ranking: 95
2008 Final Score: 3.45
Key Stat: Ohio were 21st in the nation in passing efficiency.

This was the program’s best season in years. The Bobcats might not have won the MAC title, but they got to the championship game and they pulled out a thrilling bowl win over Utah State. There were quality wins over Marshall, and Temple, and the five game winning streak to close out the regular season was big, but losing to Buffalo and Ball State in the middle of the year was awful.

30. Notre Dame (8-5)
2011 CFN Score: 13.23

2011 Preseason Ranking: 20
2010 Final Season Ranking: 22 2010 CFN Score:15.91
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 38
2009 Final Season Ranking: 64
2009 Final Score. 8.75
2008 Final Season Ranking: 67
2008 Final Score: 6.87
Key Stat: The Irish were 118th in the nation in turnover margin.

It was really, really close to being a great year, but the team couldn’t stop turning the ball over. The Irish would’ve beaten South Florida and Michigan had they been able to keep the turnovers to a minimum, and they probably would’ve beaten Florida State in the bowl had they been tighter with the ball. Even so, it was a move up from last year thanks to wins over Michigan State, Purdue, and Air Force, but it still wasn’t enough of a big year under Brian Kelly. The pressure will be on to do far more in 2012.

29. Auburn (8-5)
2011: CFN Score: 13.70

2011 Preseason Ranking: 32 2010: Final Ranking: 1
2010 CFN Score: 27.15
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 23
2009 Final Season Ranking: 33
2009 Final Score. 13.12
2008 Final Season Ranking: 81
2008 Final Score: 5.34
Key Stat: The Tigers were 100th in the nation in total offense.

It was supposed to be a rebuilding year, and it was with the offense struggling to find a passing game and the running attack not always doing enough to pick up the slack. Even so, the losses were all more than acceptable falling to three teams that played in the BCS – Clemson, LSU, and Alabama – to go along with losses to Arkansas and Georgia. Beating South Carolina on the road was the high point.

28. Penn State (9-4)
2011 CFN Score: 13.77

2011 Preseason Ranking: 31
2010 Final Season Ranking: T48
2010 CFN Score: 10.65
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 18
2009 Final Season Ranking: 15
2009 Final Score. 16.76
2008 Final Season Ranking: 10
2008 Final Score: 19.29
Key Stat: Penn State was 112th in the nation in passing efficiency.

It was one of the worst years in the history of sports. Penn State’s disaster overshadowed the finishing kick on the field after starting out 8-1 with wins over Iowa and Northwestern. Beating Ohio State on the road was the only bright spot from mid-November on, and then the football side of things turned truly ugly getting obliterated by Wisconsin – with the Leaders title on the line – and not showing up in an embarrassing bowl loss to Houston.

27. Toledo (9-4)
2011 CFN Score: 13.81

2011 Preseason Ranking: 87
2010 Final Season Ranking: 68
2010 CFN Score: 7.54
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 92
2009 Final Season Ranking: 91
2009 Final Score. 3.96
2008 Final Season Ranking: 107
2008 Final Score: 1.67
Key Stat: Toledo was eighth in the nation in total offense.

Head coach Tim Beckman might have taken off for Illinois, but that’s partly because the Rockets came up with a great year that was really, really close to being truly special. They got hosed in the overtime loss to Syracuse and came within a whisker of beating both Ohio State and Northern Illinois, but blowing away Temple and beating Western Michigan and Air Force was terrific. The offense scored 42 points or more in seven of the last eight games.

26. Arkansas State (10-3)
2011 CFN Score: 14.04

2011 Preseason Ranking: 102
2010 Final Season Ranking: 101
2010 CFN Score: 3.51
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 94 
2009 Final Season Ranking: 95
2009 Final Score. 3.51
2008 Final Season Ranking: 64
2008 Final Score: 7.64
Key Stat: ASU was eighth in the nation in tackles for loss.

The Sun Belt champion came up with the greatest season in the program’s history ripping off nine straight wins after losing to Illinois and Virginia Tech on the road early on. The defense was terrific and the offense the best in the conference, but five of the ten wins were bad and the best victory of the season came against Louisiana-Lafayette.