CFN 2013 Final Rankings - No. 26 to 50
Posted Jan 13, 2014

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

CFN 2013 Final Rankings

No. 26 to No. 50

CFN 2013 Final Season Rankings | The Top Ten
11 to 25 | 26 to 50 | 51 to 75 | 76 to 100 | Bottom 25

2013 Rankings By Conference AAC | ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten
C-USA | Independents | MAC | M-West | Pac-12 | SEC | Sun Belt

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.

Remember, these rankings are based on how good the seasons were overall, and NOT based on how good the team might have been.

50. Houston (8-5)
2013 CFN Season Score: 11.60
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 66
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 83

The Cougars did a decent job of finding a niche in their new, upgraded conference, starting out 5-0 and 7-1 before hanging on for dear life once the schedule got tougher. Losing to UCF and Louisville is nothing to be ashamed of, but getting blown out by Vanderbilt in the BBVA Compass Bowl was a bad way to end things. Even so, overall, it was a good rally after a bad 2012.

49. Minnesota (8-5)
2013 CFN Season Score: 11.82
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 54
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 78

The team was supposed to be better, but considering the Jerry Kill problems, it turned into a whale of a season with a four-game winning streak after two blowout losses to Iowa and Michigan. The win over Nebraska was the crowning achievement, and blasting Penn State was nice, but the O hit a wall late against Wisconsin and Michigan State, and the dud of a bowl performance against Syracuse soured an otherwise breakthrough year. The Gophers could've beaten mediocre Orange and Michigan teams, but it they still overachieved a bit.

48. Navy (9-4)
2013 CFN Season Score: 11.88
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 88
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 54

With a five-game winning streak to close out the season, and with dominant performances against Army and Middle Tennessee, Navy overcame a few interesting losses to rip through the soft finishing kick to make this a great year – any year Navy beats Army it's a great year. Losing to a mediocre WKU team hurt, and in hindsight, losing to Duke wasn't a big deal. The thrilling win over San Jose State and shootout victory over Indiana were offset by losses to Toledo and Notre Dame that could've gone either way.

47. Louisiana-Lafayette (9-4)
2013 CFN Season Score: 11.89
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 101
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 44

The opening day blowout loss to Arkansas dragged down the overall ranking a bit, but the Ragin' Cajuns made up for it by rolling through the first part of the Sun Belt schedule with dominant wins over Texas State, WJU and Arkansas State on the way to the New Orleans Bowl. The season could've ended with a thud after losing to ULM and getting blown away by South Alabama, but the bowl win over Tulane made it a third straight 9-4 season and showed staying power for the program.

46. Vanderbilt (9-4)
2013 CFN Season Score: 11.90
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 32
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 39

Before going off to Penn State, James Franklin left Vanderbilt with a terrific nine-win season and a bowl win over Houston, ripping through the Cougars in the BBVA Compass Bowl 41-24. The Commodores won their final five games and six of the last seven, with the four losses coming in a thrilling opening night shootout over Ole Miss, South Carolina, Missouri and at Texas A&M – that's not bad. However, there were only two quality wins – Georgia and Houston – and a horrible non-conference schedule – Austin Peay, UMass, UAB – kept the final ranking from being higher.

45. Pitt (7-6)
2013 CFN Season Score: 12.18
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 65
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 69

Pitt 28, Notre Dame 21. That was the key to the inconsistent season, breaking up a rough stretch with losses to Navy, Georgia Tech and North Carolina. The Panthers needed a win over Miami to get to a bowl game, and beating MAC champion Bowling Green in the Little Caesars Bowl ended things on a high note. But with six losses, how is the ranking so high? Five of the seven wins were quality wins, including a win over Duke, with the only bad wins coming against New Mexico and Virginia Tech.

44. Ball State (10-3)
2013 CFN Season Score: 12.32
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 96
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 43

With a high-powered offense that destroyed most MAC teams, Ball State's ranking finished in the high 40s for yet another year. Six of the eight wins were bad, beating five teams that finished with three losses or fewer along with a victory over Illinois State – and Toledo was the only quality victory, but the big problem was a loss to Arkansas State in the GoDaddy Bowl – the program still has yet win a bowl game. Fortunately, ten wins and that offense were enough to make it a strong season.

43. Iowa (8-5)
2013 CFN Season Score: 12.33
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 45
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 76

The team turned in a nice year with an improved offense and a strong defense led by a terrific linebacking corps. The Hawkeyes lost all the games they were supposed to – with the five defeats coming to Northern Illinois, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin and LSU – with the exception of the regular-season finale against Nebraska. The 38-17 was the highlight, along with a dominant performance at Minnesota. The Hawkeyes beat the Gophers, Huskers, Michigan and Iowa State in the same year – that's not bad for a program coming off a 4-8 2012.

42. Georgia Tech (7-6)
2013 CFN Season Score: 12.63
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 42
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 108

After losing three of the last four games and finishing with six defeats overall, how is the ranking so high? Blowout wins over Elon, Syracuse and Alabama A&M – winning those three by a combined score of 192-7 – helped the overall ranking, and bating Duke, North Carolina and Pitt helped. All of the losses came to teams that finished with winning records, and while it would've been nice to have come out on the right side of seven point losses to Virginia Tech, Georgia and Ole Miss, but the blowups by the offense were enough make it a decent overall year.

41. Texas (8-5)
2013 CFN Season Score: 12.82
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 5
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 24

The Longhorns might have turned the ship around midseason, and they might have had a shot at the Big 12 title in the final week, and they might have rocked Oklahoma, but they were supposed to be far, far better, and weren't. They lost three of their last four games in ugly fashion, getting blown away by Oklahoma State, Baylor and Oregon. While those three teams might be great, Texas is Texas – it wasn't even competitive in those losses. All five defeats were by 19 points or more, and outside of the win over OU, the Texas Tech and Kansas State victories were the only positive moments.

40. Nebraska (9-4)
2013 CFN Season Score: 13.11
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 23
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 16

It was a wild up-and-down season with head coach Bo Pelini on a never-ending hot seat and under constant scrutiny, and losses to Minnesota and Iowa were puzzling, but considering star QB Taylor Martinez was injured midway through the season, coming up with a Hail Mary win over Northwestern, thrillers over Michigan and Penn State, and finishing up with a Gator Bowl win over Georgia made it an okay year overall. It wasn't great, but nine wins and a victory over an SEC team wasn't bad. However, it's not enough for a program that expects to win championships.

39. Rice (10-4)
2013 CFN Season Score: 13.19
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 92
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 65

The Owls won the Conference USA championship – the season was a wild success. That was all that really mattered. They might have been embarrassed in the Liberty Bowl loss to Mississippi State, and they might have struggled in losses to Texas A&M and North Texas, but the 41-24 win over Marshall is all that matters. Five of the wins came against bad teams that finished with three wins or fewer, but Rice did what was needed to get the opportunity, and it made the most of it against the Herd.

38. North Carolina (7-6)
2013 CFN Season Score: 13.36
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 30
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 32

Everything turned out okay, but it was dark for a while after starting out the year 1-5 with a four-game losing streak including clunkers against East Carolina and Virginia Tech. A win over Boston College changed everything as the Tar Heels ripped off five straight wins once the schedule eased up. The loss to Duke might have hurt the fans in the rivalry, but blowing away Cincinnati in the Belk Bowl ended things on a high note with a fifth quality win on the year. The 80-20 blasting of Old Dominion turned out to boost things up a wee bit in the point differential component.

37. Miami (9-4)
2013 CFN Season Score: 13.36
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 39
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 57

The Hurricanes were rolling along with a 7-0 start, a win over Florida, and strong victories over Georgia Tech and North Carolina, and then Florida State happened. The Seminoles blew away Miami 41-14, sparking a three-game losing streak for The U with blowout losses to Virginia Tech and Duke to follow. Beating Virginia and Pitt made the record look better, but Teddy Bridgewater put the Canes right back into place with a 36-9 Louisville win in the Russell Athletic Bowl.

36. Ole Miss (8-5)
2013 CFN Season Score: 13.44
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 22
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 64

Give the Rebels credit for surviving and thriving against a brutal five half schedule, having to start out on the road at Vanderbilt, Texas, Alabama and Auburn in the first five games, and following that up with Texas A&M and LSU at home. Yes, they took advantage of the easier second half schedule, and yes, they lost to Mississippi State and Missouri, but they came up with wins over Texas and Vandy, and they close out strong with a Music City win over Georgia Tech. The highlight of the year, though, was getting by LSU in the middle of the season 27-24. That not only stopped a three-game losing streak, but it showed how good the Rebels really were despite the brutal slate.

35. Arizona (8-5)
2013 CFN Season Score: 14.32
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 44
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 33

Rich Rodriguez continues to build up something potentially special in Tucson with a special offense good enough to come up with stunning performances like the 42-16 walloping of Oregon. However, it's a RichRod team so the defense is also capable of giving up 58 the week after to Arizona State. There were clunkers against Washington and Washington State, and the ASU game was a disaster, but with a 42-19 blasting of Boston College in the AdvoCare V100 Bowl, the Wildcats closes out strong. Consistency will be the key going forward, but that will only come with an improved D.

34. BYU (8-5)
2013 CFN Season Score: 14.42
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 38
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 38

The Cougars had a strange year, starting out with a loss against a Virginia team that turned out to be miserable, and following it up with a jaw-dropping blowout of Texas. They were good enough to destroy Middle Tennessee, Utah State and Georgia Tech, and they were able to blow away Boise State to close out a five-game midseason win streak, but they couldn't hold up against Wisconsin and Notre Dame, and they got ripped up by Washington in the Fight Hunger Bowl. This was a good season, but not an elite one, and the ranking reflect it.

33. North Texas (9-4)
2013 CFN Season Score: 14.52
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 109
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 89

Very quietly, Dan McCarney came up with one of the best and most stunning years of anyone in college football, taking his program to Conference USA and leading it to a nine-win campaign and a Heart of Dallas Bowl win over UNLV. There might have been a slew of bad wins, and the 2-3 start was a bit rocky, but the Mean Green beat a ten-win Ball State team along the way and went on a run of five straight wins and closed out taking seven of the last eight. While there was a strange home loss to UTSA to break up the fun, UNT also took down eventual Conference USA champ Rice 28-16. The point differential turned out to be a big, big deal, beating everyone but Ball State by double digits.

32. Duke (10-4)
2013 CFN Season Score: 14.82
2013 CFN Preview Preseason: 62
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 74

The Blue Devils couldn't have asked for much more. Yes, they got walloped in the ACC championship, but just getting there was a win, and they hung with the eventual national champions for a while. Yes, they couldn't hold a lead and helped add to the legend of Johnny Manziel, but it was a 52-48 shootout and they showed that they could play. An impressive eight-game winning streak after an 0-2 ACC start was terrific, helped by wins over Virginia Tech, Miami and North Carolina, for one of the best seasons in school history. It would've been nice to have come away with a Chick-fil-A Bowl win, but there's no real complaint.

31. Wisconsin (9-4)
2013 CFN Season Score: 14.85
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking:18
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 42

The problem is that the Badgers didn't actually beat anyone with a pulse. It's not fair that they got tagged with the loss to Arizona State loss, but they didn't win. They lost to Ohio State, came up with a horrible game against Penn State, and lost to South Carolina – the best win of note came against Iowa. All the blowouts against miserable teams helped the ranking, but the program came up with a mediocre year considering it was considered to be in the mix for an at-large BCS berth.

30. Georgia (8-5)
2013 CFN Season Score: 14.87
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 7
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 11

Injuries, injuries and more injuries. The story of the season was a beaten up team that tried its best, but didn't have the personnel in losses to Missouri, Vanderbilt and Auburn. The Dawgs came within a miraculous pass against the Tigers of changing up the course of the college football season, but they still ended up with a decent season for almost anyone else. For a team with national title aspirations, though, losing the Gator Bowl to Nebraska wasn't the way the plan was supposed to go.

29. Marshall (10-4)
2013 CFN Season Score: 14.90
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 83
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 84

How could the Herd be so high with a Conference USA title loss? Margin of victory, outscoring teams by total of 590 to 321 scoring 45 points or more eight times. There weren't many outstanding victories, and six of the ten wins were bad, but a 59-28 blasting of East Carolina and a 31-20 win over Maryland in the Military Bowl helped the cause. Chalk up the 41-24 loss to Rice to a bad day at the worst time.

28. Utah State (9-5)
2013 CFN Season Score: 14.95
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 78
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 12

After a phenomenal 2012, 2013 wasn't quite as good under Matt Wells in his first season, but considering he lost star QB Chuckie Keeton to a knee injury, winning five straight over the second half of the season on the way to the Mountain West title game, and beating Northern Illinois in the Poinsettia Bowl made it a great, great year. The Aggies lost to Utah, USC and Fresno State by seven points or fewer, and they overcame blowouts against BYU and Boise State by taking advantage of the easy part of the slate. Beating the Huskies turned out to be the crowning achievement, and just getting to the MW title game was terrific.

27. Washington (9-4)
2013 CFN Season Score: 15.40
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 29
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 62

Remember, there was a moment when Steve Sarkisian was on a hot seat; not the guy for the USC gig. The Huskies started out 4-0, and then came the big tests and the Dawgs didn't pass, losing to Stanford, Oregon and Arizona State in an ugly three week span. The schedule got easier, and the wins came back, but with a loss to UCLA, the team was 0-4 against the really good teams on the slate. However, beating BYU in the Fight Hunger Bowl – and without Sarkisian – and with an Apple Cup win over Washington State and a 69-27 win over Oregon State, it was a good end to the season.

26. East Carolina (10-3)
2013 CFN Season Score: 15.52
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 89
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 71

The Pirates did everything right but actually win something big. They didn't even play for the Conference USA title, much less win it, but the offense exploded and a Beef ‘O' Brady's Bowl win over Ohio helped the cause. The best win was a 55-31 beatdown of North Carolina, and the 59-28 loss to Marshall ruined the title hopes, but it was still a great season thanks to an attack that put up 52 points or more five times.