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CFN All-Time Season Rankings - No. 11-25

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jan 14, 2014


The CFN All-Time Season Rankings - Ranking the greatest campaigns in college football history.

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, in a neutral site 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.

- The Greatest Seasons of All-Time – The Top Ten

11. 2006 Florida SEC (13-1)
2006 CFN Season Score: 27.20

There was a time when the SEC didn’t rule the world. Florida had a good team, but it lost by ten to a fantastic Auburn squad and needed a blocked field goal to slip by South Carolina. Meanwhile, Ohio State and Michigan were on a crash course to the greatest showdown in the history of the rivalry, with the winner to all but be crowned the national champion – playing in the BCS championship was a mere formality. Florida got to the SEC championship and got past Arkansas 38-28, but it was hardly impressive. The Buckeyes’ Ted Ginn Jr. kicked off the BCS title game with a return for a score, and the rout appeared to be on. Instead, Urban Meyer’s defense embarrassed Heisman-winner Troy Smith in a 41-14 win and the first national championship in a run of seven for the SEC. Nine of the 13 wins came against teams that finished with winning records, thanks to a defense that allowed 14 points or fewer in nine games.

Wins: Southern Miss, UCF, at Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, LSU, Georgia, at Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Western Carolina, at Florida State, Arkansas (SEC championship), Ohio State (BCS championship)
Losses: at Auburn
Quality Wins: Southern Miss, at Tennessee, Kentucky, LSU, Georgia, South Carolina, at Florida State, Arkansas (SEC championship), Ohio State (BCS championship)
Elite Wins: LSU, Ohio State (BCS championship)
Bad Wins: Western Carolina
Elite Losses: at Auburn
Point Differential Score: 2.27

12. 2010 Auburn SEC (14-0)
2010 CFN Season Score: 27.15

In every way, the season was all about Cam Newton, from the scandal, to the Heisman, to one of the greatest individual years in college football history. There were problems early on with three point wins over Mississippi State, Clemson and Kentucky, and it took a fight to get by LSU, but the offense found its groove over the second half of the year and started to roll. The Tigers had to hang on for dear life against Alabama, but they came up with the win before destroying South Carolina in the SEC championship and kicking past Oregon for the national title. It was a dream season with plenty of big wins, but it wasn’t quite a dominant one like many high up in the season rankings enjoyed. All that really matters, though, is the national title.

Wins: Arkansas State, at Mississippi State, Clemson, South Carolina, ULM, at Kentucky, Arkansas, LSU, at Ole Miss, Tennessee-Chattanooga, Georgia, at Alabama, South Carolina (SEC championship), Oregon (BCS championship)
Losses: None
Quality Wins: at Mississippi State, South Carolina, Arkansas, LSU, at Alabama, South Carolina (SEC championship), Oregon (BCS championship)
Elite Wins: LSU, at Alabama, Oregon (BCS championship)
Bad Wins: Tennessee-Chattanooga
Elite Losses: None
Point Differential Score: 2.40

13. 1993 Florida State ACC (12-1)
1993 CFN Season Score: 26.99

FSU was unbelievable over the first half of the season, allowing 14 points over the first five games and holding seven teams on the year to seven points or fewer, but it was the finishing kick that everyone will remember. The Seminoles might have won the national title with a thriller over Nebraska in the Orange Bowl, and they came up with a huge win over Florida in Gainesville to keep the championship hopes alive, but the season will always be remembered for Notre Dame. The 31-24 loss in South Bend was epic, and it led to a whopper of a controversy with the Seminoles getting the shot at an 11-0 Nebraska and the Irish going off to the Cotton Bowl beating Texas A&M.

Wins: Kansas, at Duke, Clemson, at North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Miami, Virginia, Wake Forest, at Maryland, NC State, at Florida, Nebraska (Orange Bowl)
Losses: at Notre Dame
Quality Wins: Clemson, at North Carolina, Miami, Virginia, NC State, at Florida, Nebraska (Orange Bowl)
Elite Wins: at North Carolina, at Florida, Nebraska (Orange Bowl)
Bad Wins: at Duke, Wake Forest, at Maryland
Elite Losses: at Notre Dame
Point Differential Score: 4.07

14. 2009 Florida SEC (13-1)
2009 CFN Season Score: 26.71

It wasn’t a fun season. Florida was everyone’s No. 1 to start the year with Tim Tebow coming back for his final season as part of a loaded – LOADED – team coming off a dominant national championship win over Ohio State. But it was a joyless ride, with week after week the team having to deal with the idea of making history, and with a cloud cast over the campaign with Tebow suffering a concussion against Kentucky early on. Even so, the team was fantastic, rolling through the year winning every regular season battle by double digits, except for a 23-20 win over Arkansas, and then came Alabama. The Tide avenged the previous year’s SEC championship loss with a dominant 32-13 victory that made Tebow cry and caused Urban Meyer to eventually go to the hospital. Tebow bounced back to destroy an unbeaten Cincinnati team in the Sugar Bowl.

Wins: Charleston Southern, Troy, Tennessee, at Kentucky, at LSU, Arkansas, at Mississippi State, Georgia, Vanderbilt, at South Carolina, FIU, Florida State, Cincinnati (Sugar Bowl)
Losses: Alabama (SEC championship)
Quality Wins: Troy, Tennessee, at Kentucky, at LSU, Arkansas, Georgia, at South Carolina, Florida State, Cincinnati (Sugar Bowl)
Elite Wins: Cincinnati (Sugar Bowl)
Bad Wins: Charleston Southern, Vanderbilt, FIU
Elite Losses: Alabama (SEC championship)
Point Differential Score: 3.28

15. 1930 Notre Dame Independent (10-0)
1930 CFN Season Score: 26.66

Notre Dame 27, Indiana 0. That was the only win over a team that didn’t finish with a winning record, as Knute Rockne’s team kept on rolling after going 9-0 in 1929. Starting with an opening day win over SMU to christen the new Notre Dame Stadium, the Irish defense allowed more than seven points just three times and gave up just 13 points over the final four games highlighted by a 7-6 win over Army in Chicago and a 27-0 win in Los Angeles against a phenomenal USC team. Notre Dame gave Northwestern its only loss, tagged Army with its only defeat, and came up with statement after statement thanks to its veteran squad

Wins: SMU, Navy, Carnegie Tech, at Pitt, Indiana, at Penn, Drake, at Northwestern, Army, at USC
Losses: None
Quality Wins: SMU, Navy, Carnegie Tech, at Pitt, at Penn, Drake, at Northwestern, Army, at USC
Elite Wins: at Pitt, at Northwestern, Army, at USC
Bad Wins: Indiana
Elite Losses: None
Point Differential Score: 1.91

16. 1978 USC Pac-10 (12-1)
1978 CFN Season Score:

Was it a touchdown? Michigan fans will always scream and yell about the Charles White “phantom fumble” in USC’s 17-10 Rose Bowl win, but it counted, and so did nine other wins over teams that finished with a winning record, making it one of the toughest schedules anyone has ever had to deal with. The loss at Arizona State to a great Sun Devil team was a blip, but the Trojans kept on winning in rough battle after rough battle highlighted by handing Alabama its only loss, getting by Notre Dame and pushing past Michigan State thanks to a defense that allowed just 153 points on the year. Only wins over Oregon and Oregon State were against creampuffs.

Wins: Texas Tech, at Oregon, Alabama, Michigan State, Oregon State, California, at Stanford, Washington, at UCLA, Notre Dame, at Hawaii, Michigan (Rose Bowl)
Losses: at Arizona State
Quality Wins: Texas Tech, at Alabama, Michigan State, California, at Stanford, Washington, at UCLA, Notre Dame, at Hawaii, Michigan (Rose Bowl)
Elite Wins: at Alabama, Michigan (Rose Bowl)
Bad Wins: at Oregon, Oregon State
Elite Losses: None
Point Differential Score: 1.65

17. 1900 Yale Independent (12-0)
1900 CFN Season Score: 26.51

One of the most talented teams in the early 1900s, the “Team of the Century” was loaded thanks to tackle James Bloomer and Hall of Fame guard Gordon Brown, who led the way to a steamroll of a year. Yale beat Columbia 12-5, and got by Princeton 29-5, and didn’t allow anyone else to score, handing Harvard its only loss of the year in a 28-0 finale, and shutting down Army 18-0. In all, Yale beat eight teams that finished with a winning record, but it was the Harvard victory that made the year. The Crimson got revenge the year after, going unbeaten and finishing with a 22-0 win.

Wins: Trinity, Amherst, Tufts, Bates, Dartmouth, Bowdoin, Wesleyan, at Columbia, at Army, Carlisle, at Princeton, Harvard
Losses: None
Quality Wins: Trinity, Bowdoin, Wesleyan, at Columbia, at Army, Carlisle, at Princeton, Harvard
Elite Wins: Bowdoin, at Princeton, Harvard
Bad Wins: Tufts, Bates, Dartmouth
Elite Losses: None
Point Differential Score: 3.26

18. 1904 Penn Independent (12-0)
1904 CFN Season Score: 26.43

It wasn’t considered to be among the most talented teams in the East at the time, but that quickly changed as fullback Andy Smith powered a strong offense, and the defense allowed four points to Swarthmore, but that was it. Penn outscored its opponents 222-4, highlighted by an 11-0 win over Harvard and closing out with a 34-0 win over Cornell. It was a big break missing a tremendous Yale team, and not playing Princeton was a plus, but in all, nine of the 12 wins came against teams that finished with winning records.

Wins: Penn State, Swarthmore, Virginia, Franklin & Marshall, Lehigh, Gettysburg, Brown, Columbia, at Harvard, Lafayette, Carlisle, Cornell
Losses: None
Quality Wins: Penn State, Swarthmore, Virginia, Brown, Columbia, at Harvard, Lafayette, Carlisle, Cornell
Elite Wins: at Harvard, Lafayette, Carlisle
Bad Wins: Franklin & Marshall, Lehigh, Gettysburg
Elite Losses: None
Point Differential Score: 2.18

19. 1998 Tennessee SEC (13-0)
1998 CFN Season Score: 26.42

Tennessee was supposed to take a step back without Peyton Manning at quarterback, but Tee Martin came through with a comeback to beat Donovan McNabb and Syracuse in a thrilling 34-33 opener in the Carrier Dome. It only got crazier from there as the Vols finally beat Florida – something Manning could never do – and took the momentum to an 8-0 start before coming up with a miraculous win over Arkansas to pave the way to the SEC championship win over Mississippi State. Tennessee might have made its own breaks, but it could a huge one in the Fiesta Bowl, facing Florida State backup quarterback Marcus Outzen instead of Chris Weinke to win the first national title in the BCS era.

Wins: at Syracuse, Florida, Houston, at Auburn, at Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, UAB, Arkansas, Kentucky, at Vanderbilt, Mississippi State (SEC championship), Florida State (Fiesta Bowl)
Losses: None
Quality Wins: at Syracuse, Florida, at Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi State (SEC championship), Florida State (Fiesta Bowl)
Elite Wins: Florida, at Georgia, Florida State (Fiesta Bowl)
Bad Wins: Houston, at Auburn, at South Carolina, at Vanderbilt
Elite Losses: None
Point Differential Score: 2.42

20. 1991 Miami Big East (12-0)
1991 CFN Season Score: 26.36

Was Washington or Miami the true national champion in 1991? Unfortunately, the BCS era wasn’t around, but the Hurricanes made their claim with a defense that allowed more than 16 points just once and allowed just 100 points on the year. Penn State gave Miami a run in a 26-20 loss, and an amazing Florida State team lost 17-16 on one of the classic Wide Right games as part of the elite wins that made the season special, closing out with a 22-0 stuffing of Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. The defense allowed two 14 points or fewer in every game but two.

Wins: at Arkansas, Houston, at Tulsa, Oklahoma State, Penn State, Long Beach State, at Arizona, West Virginia, at Florida State, at Boston College, San Diego State, Nebraska (Orange Bowl)
Losses: None
Quality Wins: at Tulsa, Penn State, West Virginia, at Florida State, San Diego State, Nebraska (Orange Bowl)
Elite Wins: at Tulsa, Penn State, at Florida State, Nebraska (Orange Bowl)
Bad Wins: Oklahoma State, Long Beach State
Elite Losses: None
Point Differential Score: 2.86

21. 1996 Florida SEC (12-1)
1996 CFN Season Score: 26.07

Florida backdoored its way into a national championship, benefitting from 1) a late Ohio State drive to beat Arizona State in the Rose Bowl and 2) the pre-BCS era, with the championship likely to have Arizona State vs. Florida State had the season been a few years later. Instead, Heisman–winner Danny Wuerffel survived a beating from the Seminoles in the regular season finale to help the Gators get by Alabama in the SEC championship to earn a rematch against the Seminoles in the Sugar Bowl. Wuerffel and the passing game rocked in a 52-20 win for Steve Spurrier’s lone title. The Gator offense put up 611 points on the year hanging up 50 or more seven times.

Wins: Louisiana-Lafayette, Georgia Southern, at Tennessee, Kentucky, at Arkansas, LSU, Auburn, Georgia (in Jacksonville), at Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Alabama (SEC championship), Florida State (Sugar Bowl)
Losses: at Florida State
Quality Wins: at Tennessee, LSU, Auburn, South Carolina, Alabama (SEC championship), Florida State (Sugar Bowl)
Elite Wins: at Tennessee, LSU, Florida State (Sugar Bowl)
Bad Wins: Georgia Southern, at Vanderbilt
Elite Losses: at Florida State
Point Differential Score: 3.90

22. 1903 Princeton Independents (11-0)
1903 CFN Season Score: 25.78

Do-it-all runner and kicker John DeWitt led the way for a Princeton team that was able to finally get past Yale to go unbeaten with ease, winning the first ten games by a combined score of 248 to 0 with great wins over Carlisle, Dartmouth, Lehigh and Cornell. But there was still one big game to deal with – the road trip to Yale. Princeton slipped by with an 11-6 win against Yale, and the unbeaten season was complete. 9 of the 11 wins came by teams that finished with a winning record, but the classic was the finale. Yale won 12-0 to end the 1904 season, and Princeton didn’t win again in the series until 1911.

Wins: Swarthmore, Georgetown, Gettysburg, at Brown, Lehigh, Carlisle, Bucknell, Dartmouth, Cornell, Lafayette, at Yale
Losses: None
Quality Wins: Swarthmore, Georgetown, at Brown, Lehigh, Carlisle, Dartmouth, Cornell, Lafayette, at Yale
Elite Wins: Dartmouth, at Yale
Bad Wins: Gettysburg
Elite Losses: None
Point Differential Score:

23. 2008 Oklahoma Big 12 (12-2)
2008 CFN Season Score: 25.59

Even with two losses, it was one of the most amazing years of all-time with Heisman-winner Sam Bradford leading the way for 716 points – they just needed a little bit more. Until Florida State put up 723 points in its 14-0, 2013 season, Oklahoma set the gold standard with an attack that put on one of the greatest shows of all-time hanging 52 or more on the board in nine of the 11 regular season games including an epic run of six straight games in the second half hitting Kansas State for 58, Nebraska for 62, Texas A&M for 66, Texas Tech for 65, Oklahoma State for 61 and Missouri for 62 in the Big 12 title game. However, the Sooners only scored 35 in the loss to Texas that sparked one of the biggest controversies in the history of the BCS, and they were stuffed for just 14 points in the BCS championship loss to the Florida Tebows.

Wins: Tennessee-Chattanooga, Cincinnati, at Washington, TCU, at Baylor, Kansas, at Kansas State, Nebraska, at Texas A&M, Texas Tech, at Oklahoma State, Missouri (Big 12 championship)
Losses: Texas, Florida (BCS championship)
Quality Wins: Cincinnati, TCU, Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, Texas Tech, at Oklahoma State, Missouri (Big 12 championship)
Elite Wins: TCU, Texas Tech
Bad Wins: Tennessee-Chattanooga, at Washington
Elite Losses: Texas
Point Differential Score: 3.73

24. 2005 USC Pac-10 (12-1)
2005 CFN Season Score: 25.58

It was a simple deal – the winner of the Rose Bowl was going to finish with the greatest season of all-time, at least to that point. Vince Young outdueled Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart, but that Trojan team still finished with one of the best years ever with great wins like the Bush Push classic over Notre Dame, a 66-19 revenge game against UCLA, and a 45-13 destruction of an Oregon team that only lost one other game. The offense put up 42 points or more in nine of the 12 regular season games, but it needed to hit the mark one more time, losing to the Longhorns 41-38.

Wins: at Hawaii, Arkansas, at Oregon, at Arizona State, Arizona, at Notre Dame, at Washington, Washington State, Stanford, at California, Fresno State, UCLA
Losses: Texas (Rose Bowl)
Quality Wins: at Oregon, at Arizona State, at Notre Dame, at California, Fresno State, UCLA
Elite Wins: at Oregon, at Notre Dame, UCLA
Bad Wins: Arizona, at Washington
Elite Losses: Texas (Rose Bowl)
Point Differential Score: 3.41

25. 1991 Washington Pac-10 (12-0)
1991 CFN Season Score: 25.55

There might have been an argument about who the national champion really was – Miami went 12-0, too – but Washington did its part with strong wins over great teams like Stanford, Nebraska and Cal on the road while blowing away Kansas State and just about everyone else at home. With the 34-14 blasting of an outstanding Michigan team in the Rose Bowl, the Huskies closed out the year with six quality wins and with only Cal coming within double digits. The defense allowed just 115 points on the year, never gave up more than 21, and came up with seven games allowing seven points or fewer.

Wins: at Stanford, at Nebraska, Kansas State, Arizona, Toledo, at California, Oregon, Arizona State, at USC, at Oregon State, Washington State, Michigan (Rose Bowl)
Losses: None
Quality Wins: at Stanford, at Nebraska, Kansas State, at California, Arizona State, Michigan (Rose Bowl)
Elite Wins: at Nebraska, at California, Michigan (Rose Bowl)
Bad Wins: Oregon, at USC, at Oregon State
Elite Losses: None
Point Differential Score: 3.80

- The Greatest Seasons of All-Time – The Top Ten