CFN 2013 Final Rankings - No. 11 to 25
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. 11 to No. 25

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.

25. Notre Dame (9-4)
2013 CFN Season Score: 15.57
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 19
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 3

It wasn't a BCS championship-level season, but it was still a good one. The Irish hold the distinction of handing Michigan State its only loss, and rolling past Rutgers in the Pinstripe Bowl wasn't bad, but the losses to Michigan and Pitt hurt any chances of getting into the BCS. Beating USC was nice, and there's no shame in losing at Stanford and to Oklahoma. Remember, before last year, Notre Dame didn't get past nine wins or more since 2006 – it was a strong campaign, even if it was a bit of a letdown.

24. Virginia Tech (8-5)
2013 CFN Season Score: 15.79
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 17
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 56

This doesn't seem right. Didn't Virginia Tech sort of stink? Losing 42-12 to UCLA in the Sun Bowl made it seem that way. So how? Quality wins, quality wins, quality wins, beating six teams that finished with a winning record including tight victories over East Carolina – the key to the ranking, beating a three-loss team on the road - Marshall, Georgia Tech and North Carolina. There weren't many dominant performances, but the Hokies quietly came up with a good campaign despite the losses to Maryland and Boston College to go along with losses to Alabama and Duke.

23. Bowling Green (10-4)
2013 CFN Season Score: 16.11
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 82
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 58

The Falcons came into the season as one of the preseason favorites for the MAC title, and they came through ending NIU's BCS dream with a 47-27 stomping in the championship game. There were some strange moments, like a 42-10 loss to Indiana, but they pushed Mississippi State to the brink in a 21-20 road loss. There were lots of bad wins – that's life in the MAC – and losing to Toledo and to Pitt in the Little Caesars Bowl were disappointments, but the conference title made it one of the greatest seasons in school history. Unfortunately, that meant losing head coach Dave Clawson to Wake Forest.

22. Texas A&M (9-4)
2013 CFN Season Score: 16.25
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 6
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 5

Offense & Johnny Manziel: phenomenal. Defense: miserable. The two sort of went hand-in-hand, with the defense playing so poorly that Manziel had to come up with heroics time and again. It all worked out well in the epic Chick-fil-A Bowl win over Duke, and there were some thrilling moments against Ole Miss and Mississippi State, but Manziel got dinged up and A&M didn't have much of a shot late in the regular season. The O ended up scoring 41 points or more in every game but two – LSU and Mizzou – and put up 50 or more six times. The four losses came to all the Tiger teams – Auburn in the mix – and in the classic shootout against Alabama. That's not bad.

21. Northern Illinois (12-2)
2013 CFN Season Score: 16.40
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 76
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 15

It was supposed to be a bit of a rebuilding year after losing to Florida State in the 2013 Orange Bowl, but the Huskies got to the MAC title game unbeaten and with a shot at a second straight BCS appearance right there for the taking. However, the team held on for dear life time and again thanks to the great play of Jordan Lynch and hurt by the shakiness of the defense. It all fell apart late in a 20-point loss to Bowling Green in the championship, and with the season memories hurt by a 21-14 loss to Utah State in the Poinsettia, but Lynch got to New York as a Heisman finalist and with wins over Iowa, Ball State and Toledo, it was still a great year.

20. Fresno State (11-2)
2013 CFN Season Score: 16.55
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 34
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 35

Unfortunately, the season might be remembered more for its failings than its positives. The Bulldogs won the Mountain West title in the league's inaugural championship game, but that came after missing out on the BCS after losing 62-52 to San Jose State. Getting to 11-1 was great – there was a game against Colorado that got cancelled due to the floods in Boulder – but the 45-20 blowout to USC in the Las Vegas Bowl made college football breathe a sigh of relief that there wasn't a BCS bid. Derek Car and the offense were epic, but the defense too often gave it up just as fast. There weren't any great wins, but there were a lot of good ones, and taking home the MW title with a 24-17 win over Utah State was the crowning achievement.

19. LSU (10-3)
2013 CFN Season Score: 17.06
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 4
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 13

The team never quite played up to its talent level, and the team wasn't in the hunt for the national title like it should've been with the improved passing game, but winning ten games and taking the Outback Bowl is still a success. LSU not only beat Auburn, but it won by 14 doing a better job than anyone of keeping the high-powered attack in check. A sleepy start proved costly against Ole Miss, but the only other losses came on the road against a jacked up Alabama and in a wild and fun firefight against Georgia. The Tigers blew away Texas A&M and came up with strong wins over Mississippi State, Florida – when it was still alive – and Iowa, but it wasn't a BCS season.

18. UCLA (10-3)
2013 CFN Season Score: 17.31
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 33
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 30

The Bruins might have failed to get to the Pac-12 championship, and the Sun Bowl might not have been the post-season game they were hoping for, but this was a far better team than the one that lost the previous two Pac-12 championships. The three losses came against Stanford, Oregon and Arizona State – there weren't any cheap mistakes – and closing out with blowout wins over USC and in the post-season against Virginia Tech have all the signs pointing up going forward. Beating Nebraska on the road and getting by Arizona, Washington and USC late in the season will make this a fun and positive offseason.

17. Oregon (11-2)
2013 CFN Season Score: 18.35
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 3
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 2

For all the big numbers and all the blowout wins, the problem was the inconsistency. Beating UCLA 42-14 and ripping up Washington was great, but the O was stopped cold by Stanford and in an ugly loss to Arizona. Ripping apart Texas in what was supposed to be an emotional Alamo Bowl was a better win than it got credit for in the glut of bowl games, but there were way too many wins over mediocre teams like Virginia, California and Tennessee. There were only four wins over teams that finished with winning records – no one in the top 18 outside of two AAC teams had that few.

16. USC (10-4)
2013 CFN Season Score: 18.40
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 12
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 49

For all the drama, all the failed early expectations, and the massive coaching switch, it was still a tremendous bounceback year from a disappointing 2012. The Trojans didn't have a head coach, but they still destroyed Fresno State in the Las Vegas Bowl. They might have lost to UCLA – never okay in Trojan world – and scoring ten points in a loss to Notre Dame was a problem, but a five-game winning streak under Ed Orgeron, highlighted by a win over Stanford, changed the narrative. There were only two bad wins – Hawaii and California – and six of the victories came against teams that finished with winning records.

15. Louisville (12-1)
2013 CFN Season Score: 18.41
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 26
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 21

The Cardinals didn't win the American Athletic title, and they didn't go to the BCS, and they didn't play in the national title, but the only loss came to a UCF that proved itself worthy in its Fiesta Bowl win over Baylor. There were too many close calls against mediocre teams – fighting too hard to get by Houston, Memphis and Cincinnati in November, but with a destruction of Miami in the Russell Athletic Bowl, it was a 12-win season and 23-victory two-year run under now-Texas head coach Charlie Strong. There were only four wins over teams that finished with winning records, and there were a ridiculous seven bad wins, but the season might be remembered mostly for losing 38-35 at home to UCF>

14. Arizona State (10-4)
2013 CFN Season Score: 19.69
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 27
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 50

The hope was there for a good season, and even with the Pac-12 title loss to Stanford and the blowout shocker to Texas Tech in the Holiday Bowl, this was a fascinating campaign with the win – and it was a win – over Wisconsin, a program-changing blasting of USC, and with a nice seven-game winnings streak with wins over Washington, UCLA and Arizona to get a second shot at Stanford. ASU just couldn't get by the Cardinal, and the loss to Notre Dame was a battle, but it was the first ten-win season since 2007.

13. Clemson (11-2)
2013 CFN Season Score: 19.69
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 14
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 17

The season started out great, and ended with a bang. In between there were two badly failed tests, getting destroyed by Florida State in an emotional home loss, and dropping a rivalry game to South Carolina. There weren't any problems against anyone else, rolling through the slate with a high-powered offense that was able to keep up the pace against Georgia in a thrilling opener and against Ohio State in a whale of an Orange Bowl. The offense put up 40 points or more in eight games and hit the 50 mark five times.

12. Oklahoma (11-2)
2013 CFN Season Score: 19.75
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 14
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 17

It's amazing how one game and one drive can change around an entire season. With Baylor, Texas and Oklahoma State all in the hunt for the Big 12 title, Oklahoma was an afterthought in the final weekend, and then Blake Bell struck against the Cowboys and everything changed. One butt-kicking of Alabama later, and the campaign now will be remembered for being something special despite double-digit point losses to Texas and Baylor. Lost in the shuffle were nice wins over Oklahoma and Texas Tech to go along with one of the most fun games of the year against Kansas State, but even though program is used to competing for Big 12 titles, this appears to have been a breakthrough season.

11. Oklahoma State (10-3)
2013 CFN Season Score: 19.79
2013 CFN Preview Preseason Ranking: 16
2012 CFN Season Ranking: 29

Didn't Oklahoma have a better overall year than Oklahoma State? In the end, yeah, but the Cowboys finishes with more quality wins and finished slightly ahead by a razor-thin margin because of point differential. OSU destroyed the same Baylor team that blew out the Sooners, and also crushed the Texas team that won the Red River Rivalry. The West Virginia loss was unacceptable, and OU beat its SEC opponents in a bowl game while OSU lost a thriller to Missouri, but up until the defense failed to come up with a stop against Blake Bell in the final moments, this was almost a Big 12 championship season.