CFN 2012 Final Season Rankings - C-USA
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

Conference USA 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.

The number next to the team is the overall rank.

25. Tulsa (8-5)  2012 CFN Score: 15.34

2012 CFN Preseason Ranking: 75
2011 Final Season Ranking: 39
2011 CFN Final Score: 11.62
2010 Final Season Ranking: 28
2010 CFN Score: 14.71
2009 Final Season Ranking: 54
2009 Final Score: 4.65
2008 Final Season Ranking: 17
2008 Final Score: 16.49
Key Stat: Tulsa was third in the nation in sacks and fifth in tackles for loss.

Once again, Tulsa came up with a strong season that failed to get much national attention. The Golden Hurricane started out the season with a loss at Iowa State, and lost to a bad Arkansas team, but despite a loss to SMU, they managed to beat UCF in overtime to win the league title and got revenge against the Cyclones in a convincing bowl victory. The defense was good and the offense occasionally great on the way to 11 wins.

31. UCF (10-4) 2012 CFN Score: 6.22

2012 CFN Preseason Ranking: 80
2011 Final Season Ranking: 14.58
2011 CFN Final Score: 6.22
2010 Final Season Ranking: 32
2010 CFN Score: 13.13
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 85
2009 Final Season Ranking: 53
2009 Final Score: 10.34
2008 Final Season Ranking: 98
2008 Final Score: 3.18
Key Stat: UCF finished 16th in the nation in turnover margin.

The Knights got through a rocky season with the NCAA to be eligible for both the Conference USA title and a bowl game, and while they lost the first to Tulsa, they won the second against Ball State for a solid ten-win campaign. It took two overtimes to beat a Southern Miss team that went winless, but close losses to Ohio State and Missouri along with the two losses to the Golden Hurricane were all acceptable. However, there were way too many wins over bad teams.

65. Rice (7-6) 2012 CFN Score: 8.78

2012 CFN Preseason Ranking: 113
2011 Final Season Ranking: 91
2011 CFN Final Score: 4.13
2010 Final Season Ranking: 94
2010 CFN Score: 2.90
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 111
2009 Final Season Ranking: 118
2009 Final Score: -2.56
2008 Final Season Ranking: 31
2008 Final Score: 14.31
Key Stat: Rice second in Conference USA in rushing.

Very quietly, Rice came up with nice season. Left for dead after a 1-5 start - with the lone victory coming against Kansas - and needing to win out to go bowling, the Owls rolled up four straight wins to get to the post-season, and then made the most of it by destroying Air Force 33-14. The offense was solid, but the defense struggled a bit too much early on. Even so, three of the losses came by a total of 11 points including a double overtime thriller to Marshall.

66. SMU (7-6)  2012 CFN Score: 8.67

2012 CFN Preseason Ranking: 77
2011 Final Season Ranking: 37
2011 CFN Final Score: 12.23
2010 Final Season Ranking: 61
2010 CFN Score: 8.51
2009 Final Season Ranking: 61
2009 Final Score: 9.33
2008 Final Season Ranking: 114
2008 Final Score: -1.69
Key Stat: SMU was tenth in the nation in turnover margin after finishing dead last in 2011.

Even though it seemed like a disappointing season after being considered one of the favorites to win the Conference USA title, everything finished up strong with a win over eventual league champion Tulsa and a thumping of Fresno State in the Hawaii Bowl. The offense didn't exactly work like it was supposed to, even with a 72-point explosion against Houston, but the defense was the beat in the league against the run.

71. East Carolina (8-5) 2012 CFN Score: 7.60

2012 CFN Preseason Ranking: 98
2011 Final Season Ranking: 87
2011 CFN Final Score: 4.70
2010 Final Season Ranking: 62
2010 CFN Score: 8.27
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 99
2009 Final Season Ranking: 29
2009 Final Score: 13.85
2008 Final Season Ranking: 34
2008 Final Score: 13.72
Key Stat: The Pirates finished last in the nation in punting and 119th in turnover margin two years ago, and was 55th in punting and 58th in turnover margin this year.

The Pirates weren't expected to do too much after a rocky 2011, but the managed to piece together eight wins in the regular season helped by a nice three-game run to close things out. A bowl loss to Louisiana-Lafayette soured the fun, but overall the team was better, even though it was inconsistent. ECU didn't just lose their five games, it got blasted by double digits in each one including an inexplicable gaffe against Navy.

83. Houston (5-7)  2011 CFN Score: 5.24

2012 CFN Preseason Ranking: 62
2011 Final Season Ranking: 6
2011 CFN Final Score: 22.10
2010 Final Season Ranking: 81
2010 CFN Score: 5.58 
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 11th in the nation in total offense.

The Cougars went from rocking and rolling with head coach Kevin Sumlin and quarterback Case Keenum, to struggling out of the gate defensively and failing to do enough offensively. Starting out with a loss to Texas State was a problem, and even though there was a nice streak of four wins in five games, everything fell apart in losses to East Carolina, Tulsa and Marshall to ruin any bowl hopes.

84. Marshall (7-6) 2012 CFN Score: 4.91

2012 CFN Preseason Ranking: 92
2011 Final Season Ranking: 54
2011 CFN Final Score: 9.41
2010 Final Season Ranking: 87
2010 CFN Score: 4.47 
2009 Final Season Ranking: 57
2009 Final Score: 9.46
2008 Final Season Ranking: 77
2008 Final Score: 5.72
Key Stat: Marshall led the nation in passing.

Doc Holliday’s team went from having a problem offensively in 2011 to finishing first in the nation in passing and sixth in total offense. Rakeem Cato bombed away for a fun, high-octane attack, but the defense didn't hold up, finishing second-to-last in the nation in points allowed. there were a few nice wins, but not enough of them, failing to put together two victories in a row and only coming up with one win over a bowl bound team - Rice.

99. Memphis (2-10) 2012 CFN Score: 2.38

2012 CFN Preseason Ranking: 121
2011 Final Season Ranking: 115
2011 CFN Final Score: -2.59
2010 Final Season Ranking: 115
2010 CFN Score: 0.36
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 115
2009 Final Season Ranking: 108
2009 Final Score: 2-10
2008 Final Season Ranking: 78
2008 Final Score: 5.71
Key Stat: The Tigers were 110th in the nation in total offense.

Justin Fuente turned in one of the nice surprises of the 2012 season, and while 4-8 is hardly special, closing out with three straight wins after a 1-8 start - with the lone win coming against a Rice team that went on to win a bowl game - showed what he could potentially do. The defense improved by leaps and bounds, but the offense, especially the passing attack, was wildly inconsistent.

106. UTEP (3-9) 2012 CFN Score: 1.47

2012 CFN Preseason Ranking: 97
2011 Final Season Ranking: 86
2011 CFN Final Score: 4.72
2010 Final Season Ranking: 84
2010 CFN Score: 5.27
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 80
2009 Final Season Ranking: 103
2009 Final Score: 1.89
2008 Final Season Ranking: 89
2008 Final Score: 4.43
Key Stat: The Miners were 11th in punting.

It's up to Sean Kugler now to try to make UTEP relevant again after several disappointing seasons under Mike Price. 2012 started with a good fight against Oklahoma and a battle against Ole Miss, but the only three wins over the season came against some of the most horrendous teams in the nation - NMSU, Tulane and Southern Miss. The offense couldn't score, but the defense was among the strongest in the Mike Price era.

107. UAB (3-9) 2012 CFN Score: 1.14
2012 CFN Preseason Ranking: 115
2011 Final Season Ranking: 112
2011 CFN Final Score: -0.24
2010 Final Season Ranking: 83
2010 CFN Score: 5.45
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 113
2009 Final Season Ranking: 80
2009 Final Score: 4.96
2008 Final Season Ranking: 100
2008 Final Score: 3.06
Key Stat: The Blazers were 109th in the nation in rushing and 19th in passing.

New head coach Garrick McGee had a hard time getting the offense going, and the defense wasn't able to pick up the slack when the O was able to produce. The offensive line had a rough season giving up way too many sacks and not doing anything for the ground game. The win over Marshall was the only one of note, beating SE Louisiana and a winless Southern Miss. Getting blown away by Memphis late in the season ruined a two-game winning streak.

113. Tulane (2-10)  2012 CFN Score: -0.12

2012 CFN Preseason Ranking: 99
2011 Final Season Ranking: 119
2011 CFN Final Score: -4.73
2010 Final Season Ranking: 95
2010 CFN Score: 2.61
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 119
2009 Final Season Ranking: 111
2009 Final Score. -0.22
2008 Final Season Ranking: 112
2008 Final Score: -1.22
Key Stat: The Green Wave finished second-to-last in the nation in rushing and 114th in total defense.

124. Southern Miss (0-12) 2012 CFN Score: -4.681

2012 CFN Preseason Ranking: 76
2011 Final Season Ranking: 11
2011 CFN Final Score: 20.11
2010 Final Season Ranking: T46
2010 CFN Score: 10.82
2009 Final Season Ranking: 58
2009 Final Score: 9.46
2008 Final Season Ranking: 51
2008 Final Score: 10.39
Key Stat: USM was 115th in turnover margin. 

What was that?! The Golden Eagles were supposed to have a rough rebuilding year, but no one thought they could end up 0-12 as the only team without a win. Head coach Ellis Johnson was launched, even though his team came really, really close to beating Louisville, UCF and UTEP. However, blowout losses to Memphis, Rice and Western Kentucky were puzzling - the team couldn't seem to do anything right. Now it'll be up to Todd Monken to restore the glory.