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CFN 2012 Final Season Rankings

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jan 15, 2013


Which teams had the best seasons? Here's CFN's final ranking based on who earned it on the field.


CFN 2012 Season Rankings

The Top Ten


CFN FINAL SEASON RANKINGS
2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011

2012 CFN Final Season Rankings
The Top 10 | Rankings 11-29 | Rankings 30-48 | Rankings 49-67
- Rankings 68-86Rankings 87-105The Bottom 19 
- ACC | Big East | Big Ten | Big 12 | C-USA | Ind
- MAC | Mountain West | Pac-12 | SEC | Sun Belt | WAC

- Based On Opinion ... CFN 2012 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. Ohio State (12-0)  2012 CFN Score: 19.97

2012 CFN Preseason Ranking: 18
2011 Final Season Ranking: 53
2011 CFN Final Score: 9.41
2010 CFN Score: 23.85
2009 Final Season Ranking: 7
2009 Final Score: 21.99
2008 Final Season Ranking: 12
2008 Final Score: 17.80
Key Stat: The Buckeyes finished tenth in the nation in rushing.

Wins: 12 – Miami University, UCF, Cal, UAB, at Michigan State, Nebraska, at Indiana, Purdue, at Penn State, Illinois, at Wisconsin, Michigan
Quality Wins: 6 - UCF, at Michigan State, Nebraska, at Penn State, at Wisconsin, Michigan
Elite Win Score: 0
Bad Losses: None
Bad Wins: 3 - Cal, UAB, Illinois
Elite Losses: None
Point Differential: +172
Winning Percentage: 100%

Here's the problem: the Big Ten wasn't very good. Ohio State might have gone unbeaten, and many Buckeye fans think their team would've belonged in the BCS championship if it was eligible, but the really, really good win came against ... Michigan? Wisconsin? Nebraska? There were some nice victories, but OSU didn't exactly have to navigate its way through the SEC East. Even so, it was a terrific first season under Urban Meyer to set the tone for what looks like a blinding-bright future.

9. South Carolina (11-2) 2012 CFN Score: 20.56

2012 CFN Preseason Ranking: 15
2011 Final Season Ranking: 17
2011 CFN Final Score: 17.37
2010 Final Season Ranking: 27
2010 CFN Score: 14.73 
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.

Wins: 11 – at Vanderbilt, East Carolina, UAB, Missouri, at Kentucky, Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Wofford, at Clemson, Michigan (Outback Bowl)
Quality Wins: 5 - at Vanderbilt, East Carolina, Georgia, at Clemson, Michigan (Outback Bowl)
Elite Win Score: 2.5 – Georgia, at Clemson
Bad Losses: None
Bad Wins: 3 - UAB, at Kentucky, Wofford
Elite Losses: 1 - at Florida
Point Differential: +173
Winning Percentage: 85%

The greatest era in South Carolina football history kept on rolling. A two-game losing stretch in the middle of a brutal midseason - dropping a tight game to LSU before getting blown away by Florida - were the only blips. Beating Clemson by double digits in Death Valley was impressive, and closing out with a last-second touchdown pass to beat Michigan will set the tone for the offseason.

8. Florida State (9-4) 2012 CFN Score: 21.55

2012 CFN Preseason Ranking: 6
2011 Final Season Ranking: 33
2011 CFN Final Score: 12.96
2010 Final Season Ranking: 31
2010 CFN Score: 18.10 
2009 Final Season Ranking: 44
2009 Final Score: 11.80
2008 Final Season Ranking: 20
2008 Final Score: 16.16
Key Stat: FSU led the nation in pass efficiency defense.

Wins: 12 – Murray State, Savannah State, Wake Forest, Clemson, at South Florida, Boston College, at Mimi, Duke, Virginia Tech, at Maryland, Georgia Tech (ACC championship), Northern Illinois (Orange Bowl)
Quality Wins: 4 - Clemson, at Miami, at Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois (Orange Bowl)
Elite Win Score: 2 – Clemson, Northern Illinois (Orange Bowl)
Bad Losses: None
Bad Wins: 4 - Murray State, Savannah State, at South Florida, Boston College
Elite Losses: 1 – Florida
Point Differential: +344
Winning Percentage: 86%

The Seminoles were supposed to be in the national title chase, and they would've been except for a breakdown in the loss to NC State. A tough home defeat to Florida became a bigger deal than the ACC championship win over Georgia Tech, but the season still finished with an Orange Bowl blowout over Northern Illinois to finish 12-2. The Noles aren't exactly back to their old form, but Jimbo Fisher has the program rolling on the right track.

7. Kansas State (11-2) 2012 CFN Score: 21.77

2012 CFN Preseason Ranking: 32
2011 Final Season Ranking: 24
2011 CFN Final Score: 15.02
2010 Final Season Ranking: 60
2010 CFN Score: 8.63 
2009 Final Season Ranking: 72
2009 Final Score: 6.71
2008 Final Season Ranking: 83
2008 Final Score: 5.06
Key Stat: KSU was first in the nation in kickoff returns and second in punt returns.

Wins: 11 – Missouri State, Miami, North Texas, at Oklahoma, Kansas, at Iowa State, at West Virginia, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, at TCU, Texas
Quality Wins: 7 - Miami, at Oklahoma, at West Virginia, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, at TCU, Texas
Elite Win Score: 1 – at Oklahoma
Bad Losses: None
Bad Wins: 2 - Missouri State, Kansas
Elite Losses: 1 – Oregon (Fiesta Bowl)
Point Differential: +217
Winning Percentage: 85%

There was no way Kansas State could win all the close games again after a phenomenal 2011 season. No, it couldn't - instead it blew just about everyone away. There were some tight battles against Oklahoma and Iowa State, but the Wildcats managed to roll at will against West Virginia, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and others on the way to a 10-0 start before the inexplicable disaster against Baylor. Even with the loss to Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl and despite the gaffe in Waco, winning the Big 12 title and going to the BCS made it one of the greatest seasons in school history.

6. Florida (11-2) 2012 CFN Score: 22.91

2012 CFN Preseason Ranking: 21
2011 Final Season Ranking: 63
2011 CFN Final Score: 8.28
2010 Final Season Ranking: 34
2010 CFN Score: 12.73
2009 Final Season Ranking: 2
2009 Final Score: 26.71
2008 Final Season Ranking: 1
2008 Final Score: 28.98
Key Stat: Florida was fifth in the nation in total defense.

Wins: 11 – Bowling Green, at Texas A&M, at Tennessee, Kentucky, LSU, at Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Missouri, Louisiana-Lafayette, Jacksonville State, at Florida State
Quality Wins: 7 - Bowling Green, at Texas A&M, LSU, at Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Louisiana-Lafayette, at Florida State
Elite Win Score: 2.5 – South Carolina, at Florida State
Bad Losses: None
Bad Wins: 2 - Kentucky, Jacksonville State
Elite Losses: 2 – Georgia (in Jacksonville), Louisville (Sugar Bowl)
Point Differential: +156
Winning Percentage: 85%

After falling off the cliff in the season rankings last year, the Gators rocketed back up the charts thanks to big win over big win, beating Texas A&M, LSU, South Carolina and Florida State on the way to coming really, really close to getting a shot at the BCS championship. The loss to Louisville in the Sugar Bowl was a rough ending, souring all the good things the team did throughout the year, but considering all the great wins over top teams, that seemed like a bit of an aberration. However, going forward, Will Muschamp has to get the offense moving - particularly the SEC's worst passing attack - to go along with its tremendous defense.

5. Texas A&M (11-2) 2012 CFN Score: 23.05

2012 CFN Preseason Ranking: 14
2011 Final Season Ranking: 43
2011 CFN Final Score: 10.96
2010 Final Season Ranking: 19
2010 CFN Score: 16.90
2009 Final Score: 7.37
2008 Final Season Ranking: 99
2008 Final Score: 3.09
Key Stat: The Aggies finished third in the nation in total offense and fourth in scoring offense.

Wins: 11 – at SMU, South Carolina State, Arkansas (in Arlington), at Ole Miss, at Louisiana Tech, at Auburn, at Mississippi State, at Alabama, Sam Houston State, Missouri, Oklahoma (Cotton Bowl)
Quality Wins: 6 - at SMU, at Ole Miss, at Louisiana Tech, at Mississippi State, at Alabama, Oklahoma (Cotton Bowl)
Elite Win Score: 3.5 – at Louisiana Tech, at Alabama, Oklahoma
Bad Losses: None
Bad Wins: 3 - South Carolina State, at Auburn, Sam Houston State
Elite Losses: 1 – at Florida
Point Differential: +295

Winning Percentage: 85% One of the most disappointing teams of 2011, there was no way A&M was going to do much better in 2012, being thrown into the SEC West meat grinder with a new head coach and a shaky quarterback situation after losing Ryan Tannehill early to the NFL. Instead, Kevin Sumlin had his Aggies roaring thanks to Johnny Manziel-Football-Heisman, who put together the greatest statistical season by any quarterback in the history of the SEC. There were fizzles against Florida and LSU in two close losses, but a win at Alabama and a blowout over Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl set the tone for what should be a great future. All of a sudden, Texas A&M is the hot program with recruits, Manziel is already a legend, and Sumlin is being hailed as the it coach of the moment.

4. Stanford (12-2)  2012 CFN Score: 24.35

2012 CFN Preseason Ranking: 22
2011 Final Season Ranking: 13
2011 CFN Final Score: 19.61
2010 Final Season Ranking: 6
2010 CFN Score: 21.40 
2009 Final Season Ranking: 38
2009 Final Score: 12.28
2008 Final Season Ranking: 73
2008 Final Score: 6.28
Key Stat: The Cardinal led the nation in sacks and was second in tackles for loss.

Wins: 12 – San Jose State, Duke, USC, Arizona, at California, Washington State, at Colorado, Oregon State, at Oregon, at UCLA, UCLA (Pac-12 championship), Wisconsin (Rose Bowl)
Quality Wins: 8 - San Jose State, USC, Arizona, Oregon State, at Oregon, at UCLA, UCLA (Pac-12 championship), Wisconsin (Rose Bowl)
Elite Win Score: 2.5 – San Jose State, at Oregon
Bad Losses: None
Bad Wins: 3 - at Cal, Washington State, at Colorado
Elite Losses: 1 – at Notre Dame
Point Differential: +149
Winning Percentage: 86%

In a thrilling season, Stanford managed to change the national title race around with an overtime win at Oregon, got by Arizona in OT, and lost to Notre Dame in a controversial finish. Along the way, came a close call against Oregon State, a fight to get by a strong San Jose State, and in all, eight wins by a touchdown or less and the two losses both came by seven points or fewer. Closing out with eight straight wins, a Pac-12 title and a Rose Bowl took the program to a whole other level - and all without Andrew Luck.

3. Notre Dame (12-1) 2012 CFN Score: 24.61

2012 CFN Preseason Ranking: 26
2011 Final Season Ranking: 30
2011 CFN Final Score: 13.23
2010 Final Season Ranking: 22
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 in 2011 and 27th in 2012.

Wins: 12 – Navy (in Ireland), Purdue, at Michigan State, Michigan, Miami (in Chicago), Stanford, BYU, at Oklahoma, Pitt, at Boston College, Wake Forest, at USC
Quality Wins: 8 - Navy (in Ireland), at Michigan State, Michigan, Miami (in Chicago), Stanford, BYU, at Oklahoma, at USC
Elite Win Score: 2 – Stanford, at Oklahoma
Bad Losses: None
Bad Wins: 1 - at Boston College
Elite Losses: 1 – Alabama (BCS championship)
Point Differential: +169
Winning Percentage: 92%

All of a sudden, the Irish stopped making mistakes, the defense turned into a killer, Everett Golson emerged, and the program went on a special run. Yes, it all ended in a crashing thud, but before the BCS championship debacle against Alabama, the Irish beat ten teams that were good enough to go bowling - including Miami in the mix - including wins over a Stanford team that won the Rose Bowl and an Oklahoma squad that would've been in the Sugar Bowl if NIU didn't crash the party. There were several close calls and lots of fortunate breaks, but the D gave up more than 17 points just once before the Alabama loss and the wins over Michigan State, Michigan and USC helped make this a great year despite the final act.

2. Oregon (12-1)   2012 CFN Score: 24.81

2012 CFN Preseason Ranking: 11
2011 Final Season Ranking: 4
2011 CFN Final Score: 23.11
2010 Final Season Ranking: 7
2010 CFN Score: 21.10 
2009 Final Season Ranking: 10
2009 Final Score: 18.62
2008 Final Season Ranking: 24
2008 Final Score: 15.30
Key Stat: The Ducks led the nation in turnover margin.

Wins: 12 – Arkansas State, Fresno State, Tennessee Tech, Arizona, at Washington State, Washington, at Arizona State, Colorado, at USC, at Cal, at Oregon State, Kansas State (Fiesta Bowl)
Quality Wins: 8 - Arkansas State, Fresno State, Arizona, Washington, at Arizona State, at USC, at Oregon State, Kansas State (Fiesta Bowl)
Elite Win Score: 1 – Kansas State (Fiesta Bowl)
Bad Losses: None
Bad Wins: 4 - Tennessee Tech, at Washington State, Colorado, at California
Elite Losses: 1 – Stanford
Point Differential: +364
Winning Percentage: 92%

The Ducks came achingly close to playing for the whole ball of wax for the second time in three seasons. Instead, with one overtime loss to Stanford, they failed to win their conference, their division and missed out on the BCS championship and even the Rose Bowl. Instead, they ran away from Kansas State in the Fiesta, making it 12 wins all by double digits in one of the most dominant seasons a non-national champion has ever had. The offense was second in scoring, the defense was solid, and the special teams were among the best in the nation. All that was missing was one overtime win from likely getting a shot to face Notre Dame.

1. Alabama (13-1)   2012 CFN Score: 27.57

2012 CFN Preseason Ranking: 3
2011 Final Season Ranking: 3
2011 CFN Final Score: 24.14
2010 Final Season Ranking: 10
2010 CFN Score: 20.40 
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 and run defense.

Wins: 13 – Michigan, WKU, at Arkansas, Florida Atlantic, Ole Miss, at Missouri, at Tennessee, Mississippi State, at LSU, Western Carolina, Auburn, Georgia (SEC championship), Notre Dame (BCS championship)
Losses: 1 – Texas A&M
Quality Wins: 7 - Michigan, WKU, Ole Miss,  Mississippi State, at LSU, Georgia (SEC championship), Notre Dame (BCS championship)
Elite Win Score: 3 – at LSU, Georgia (SEC championship), Notre Dame (BCS championship)
Bad Losses: None
Bad Wins: 2 - Florida Atlantic, Western Carolina
Elite Losses: 1 – Texas A&M
Point Differential: +389
Winning Percentage: 93%

The Tide actually won the SEC West this time around. The team caught a big break with Ohio State being ineligible, and it helped that Oregon and Kansas State both blew it, but the 42-14 blasting of Notre Dame in the BCS championship left no doubt about which team was the best. Even though Bama missed Florida and South Carolina, wins over LSU and Georgia helped boost up the season score, while getting by Michigan, Ole Miss and Mississippi State set a nice foundation of wins in the first half. Overcoming the loss to Texas A&M by beating both Western Carolina and Auburn 49-0 was the perfect response, and even though it was a rocky win over the Bulldogs to get to Miami, everything worked out well with a third national title in four years in one of the greatest runs of all-time.