CFN 2012 Final Season Rankings - Independents
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

Independent 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.

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.

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.

38. BYU (10-3) 2012 CFN Score: 13.03

2012 CFN Preseason Ranking: 28
2011 Final Season Ranking: 32
2011 CFN Final Score: 12.03
2010 Final Season Ranking: 54
2010 CFN Score: 9.63 
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 third in the nation in total defense.

Life as an independent was better than the 8-5 record might make it appear. Five losses might not seem acceptable, but one came in a strange rivalry date against Utah; one came in a 7-6 loss at Boise State; one came against a good Oregon State team; one came in a 17-14 heartbreaker to Notre Dame; and one came in a 20-14 fight with a terrific San Jose State team. With a win over a great Utah State squad and a dominant bowl victory over San Diego State, the Cougars and their tremendous defense, weren't that bad.

54. Navy (8-5) 2012 CFN Score: 10.28

2012 CFN Preseason Ranking: 93
2011 Final Season Ranking: 70
2011 CFN Final Score: 10.28
2010 Final Season Ranking: 39
2010 CFN Score: 11.77
2009 Final Season Ranking: 26
2009 Final Score: 14.41
2008 Final Season Ranking: 42
2008 Final Score: 11.79
Key Stat: Navy was 114th in the nation in tackles for loss.

The Midshipmen went bowling again after a year off, but they were badly outclassed by Arizona State in an embarrassing 62-28 disaster. Beating Army and Air Force always makes for a good year, and getting by Central Michigan and Esat Carolina were nice wins, but there wasn't anything splashy getting blown away by Notre Dame and Penn State - all five losses were by double-digits.

116. Army (2-10) 2012 CFN Score: -1.66
2012 CFN Preseason Ranking: 108
2011 Final Season Ranking: 98
2011 CFN Final Score: 2.59
2010 Final Season Ranking: 71
2010 CFN Score: 6.84
2010 CFN Preseason Rank: 78
2009 Final Season Ranking: 104
2009 Final Score: 1.88
2008 Final Season Ranking: 1.18
2008 Final Score: 108
Key Stat: Army was first in the nation in rushing and last in the nation in passing for the second year in a row.

This was supposed to be the year when the Knights were going to challenge Navy and get back to being a regular on the bowl circuit. While the battle with Navy happened, coming down to a late fumble in a 17-13 loss, and the wins over Air Force and Boston College were nice, the team didn't play any defense. The service academies were the only FBS programs to be held under 28 points.