CFN 2009 Final Rankings - No. 51 to No. 75
Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen
Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen
Posted Jan 10, 2010

Which teams had the best seasons and who deserves to be ranked where? Forgetting the opinion side of the equation, here's our annual ranking of the teams based on the CFN Season Ranking Formula. Tomorrow, the Top 50, and next week comes the 2010 Pre-Preseason Rankings.

CFN 2009 Final Rankings

No. 51 to No. 75

CFN 2009 Final Rankings
- The Top Ten | No. 11 to 25 | No. 26 to 50
- No. 51 to 75 | No. 76 to 100 | No. 101 to 120
- CFN 2008 Final Rankings

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 new wrinkle was added this year. 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.

51. Nevada (8-5)
2009 CFN Score: 10.63 CFN Preseason Rank: 61
Key Stat: Nevada led the nation in rushing and was 119th in pass defense.
2008 Score: 8.48 2008 Ranking: 62

The record-setting rushing attack was a thing of beauty … until the Hawaii Bowl. The Wolf Pack needed a few games to warm up, starting 0-3, but won eight games in a row before battling Boise State in a loss. The offense fell flat without two of the team's three 1,000-yard rushers, backs Vai Taua and Luke Lippincott in a 45-10 loss to SMU to end the year with a clang.

52. South Carolina (7-6)
2009 CFN Score: 10.57 CFN Preseason Rank: 46
Key Stat: The Gamecocks were 102nd in the nation in scoring.
2008 Score: 8.50 2008 Ranking: 61

The Gamecock offense simply didn't produce. The running game was shut down for too many stretches, the offensive line gave up too many sacks, and the points were tough to come by. The defense did what it could, finishing 15th in the nation, and it was great against Clemson in a big rivalry win, but after a 6-2 start, losing four of the last five games wasn't good for Steve Spurrier's standing.

53. UCF (8-5)
2009 CFN Score: 10.34 CFN Preseason Rank: 106
Key Stat: UCF finished fourth in the nation against the run.
2008 Score: 3.18 2008 Ranking: 98

It wasn't a stellar season, and it ended with a resounding thud losing to Rutgers 45-24 in the St. Petersburg Bowl, but the run defense was fantastic and a three-game winning streak, helped by a win over Houston, was part of a stretch of five wins in the final six regular season games. There's no shame in the five losses being at Southern Miss, at East Carolina, Miami, at Texas, and Rutgers.

54. Fresno State (8-5)
2009 CFN Score: 9.83 CFN Preseason Rank: 64
Key Stat: Fresno State was second-to-last in the nation in sacks.
2008 Score: 7.60 2008 Ranking: 65
The Bulldogs got a phenomenal year out of running back Ryan Mathews, but another year without a pass rush, no run defense, and disappointing play in big games, losing the five big games on the schedule against Wisconsin, Cincinnati, Boise State, Nevada and Wyoming (and now, the thrilling win over Illinois doesn't count), showed just how far the program is from being the killer that Pat Hill wants it to be.

55. Kentucky (7-6)
2009 CFN Score: 9.73 CFN Preseason Rank: 55
Key Stat: UK was 21st in the nation in rushing and 114th in passing.
2008 Score: 8.94 2008 Ranking: 57

Rich Brooks did a brilliant job considering the team was banged up and had quarterback issues throughout. Unfortunately, the team's most notable moment was giving Tim Tebow a concussion, but it deserved to be known for more than that with a nice stretch of five wins in six games highlighted by a 34-27 win over Georgia. But with a chance for a good bowl, the Cats lost to Tennessee in overtime before going off to the Music City Bowl to loss to Clemson.

56. Idaho (8-5)
2009 CFN Score: 9.69 CFN Preseason Rank: 118
Key Stat: Idaho finished ninth in the nation in total offense and 114th in scoring D.
2008 Score: -2.86 2008 Ranking: 118

Robb Akey's team might not have been great, but it sure was a whole bunch of fun. After the season-opening win over New Mexico State, every game had lots of points, every game had fireworks, and after losing four of their last five games, the Vandals came up with, arguably, the game of the bowl season beating Bowling Green 43-42 in the Humanitarian Bowl. The offense was great, the defense was non-existent, and yes, Idaho, that Idaho, had a good year.

57. Marshall (7-6)
2009 CFN Score: 9.46 CFN Preseason Rank: 94
Key Stat: MU was 102nd in the nation in both punting and kickoff returns
2008 Score: 5.72 2008 Ranking: 77

The Herd finally broke through with a bowl season, and head coach Mark Snyder was done before the Little Caesars Bowl game against Ohio. There was nothing special about the Herd with only one decent win, the 34-31 shootout over SMU, but the team wasn't bad outside of a strange 52-21 loss at UTEP. There wasn't much offense to count on, the defense was good against the run but couldn't stop the pass, and there were close losses to East Carolina, UCF, and Southern Miss.

58. Southern Miss (7-6)
2009 CFN Score: 9.46 CFN Preseason Rank: 70
Key Stat: USM was 31st in the nation in total offense but 109th in pass defense.
2008 Score: 10.39 2008 Ranking: 51
The season wasn't exactly a rousing success considering the losses to Houston, East Carolina, and Middle Tennessee in the second half to ruin what might have been a promising campaign. The offense was terrific throughout, except for a puzzling performance against a bad UAB D, but the defense was miserable for USM. The secondary struggled all year long.

59. UCLA (7-6)
2009 CFN Score: 9.39 CFN Preseason Rank: 56
Key Stat: The Bruins were fifth in the nation, and led the Pac 10, in tackles for loss.
2008 Score: 2.97 2008 Ranking: 101

Call it a baby step. The Bruins had to wait for Army to lose to Navy just to get a bowl bid, and then it took too much work to get by Temple. The offense struggled through injuries and a general lack of firepower, but the defense was able to pick of the slack by trying to take everything away. A five-game losing streak was wiped away by wins in four of the last five games, but it helped to play Washington, Washington State and Arizona State; the three Pac 10 teams that didn't go bowling.

60. Temple (9-4)
2009 CFN Score: 9.38 CFN Preseason Rank: 107
Key Stat: The Owls led the MAC in rushing defense.
2008 Score: 4.96 2008 Ranking: 86

This wasn't a fluke. With a strong defense, led by the MAC's best line, and the running of freshman sensation Bernard Scott, Temple came up with a brilliant breakthrough season under Al Golden, but an opening day loss to Villanova and tough losses in the final two games put a damper on things. A nine-game winning streak put the Owls within a game of the MAC Championship showdown against Central Michigan, but they surprisingly stunk in a 35-17 loss to Ohio.

61. SMU (8-5)
2009 CFN Score: 9.33 CFN Preseason Rank: 113
Key Stat: SMU led Conference USA in pass efficiency defense.
2008 Score: -1.69 2008 Ranking: 114

The June Jones offense didn't exactly work like it did at Hawaii, but it was good enough to lead the way to five wins in the final six games including a brilliant 45-10 domination of Nevada in the Hawaii Bowl. The program appears to be just scratching the surface with an improving passing game and a not-that-bad defense to go along with it. Two of the losses came in overtime, but one was an inexcusable gaffe against Washington State.

62. Mississippi State (5-7)
2009 CFN Score: 9.28 CFN Preseason Rank: 62
Key Stat: The Bulldogs were ninth in the nation in rushing and 113th in passing.
2008 Score: 4.20 2008 Ranking: 91

Dan Mullen's first season was a nice step forward and closed out with a great 41-27 rivalry win over Ole Miss. The Bulldogs ran well, thanks to Anthony Dixon, but the passing game was non-existent and there were major problems against the rough schedule. All seven losses came to bowl teams including losses to Alabama and Florida.

63. Washington (5-7)
2009 CFN Score: 9.10 CFN Preseason Rank: 65
Key Stat: The Huskies were second in the Pac 10 in passing.
2008 Score: 119 2008 Ranking: -3.29

A win over USC early on got everyone fried up, but the Huskies clunked with only a win over Arizona, thanks to a miraculous play, was the lone oasis over a seven-game stretch. The offense didn't produce on a consistent basis while the defense couldn't stop anyone's passing game. On the plus side, QB Jake Locker decided to come back for another year.

64. Notre Dame (6-6)
2009 CFN Score: 8.75 CFN Preseason Rank: 17
Key Stat: The Irish were fifth in the nation in passing but 86th in total defense.
2008 Score: 6.87 2008 Ranking: 67

All appeared to be promising with a 6-2 start with an overtime loss to Michigan and a rough close loss to USC, but a loss to Navy, that was far more acceptable than Irish fans allowed, sparked a four-game losing streak to close out the year, the firing of Charlie Weis, and the loss of QB Jimmy Clausen and WR Golden Tate to the NFL. As bad as the 6-6 year might appear, all six losses were by a touchdown or less with four of them coming against bowl winners.

65. Bowling Green (7-6)
2009 CFN Score: 8.42 CFN Preseason Rank: 91
Key Stat: BGSU was 115th in the nation and last in the MAC in tackles for loss.
2008 Score: 5.04 2008 Ranking: 84

Freddie Barnes put up record-setting receiving numbers and it was a thrilling season with six wins in the final seven regular season games, after starting out 1-4, but the heartbreaking loss to Idaho in the Humanitarian Bowl put a damper on what was almost a great first season under Dave Clawson. The Falcons were 1-6 against bowl teams, and 5-0 against everyone else.

66. Michigan State (6-7)
2009 CFN Score: 8.15 CFN Preseason Rank: 26
Key Stat: MSU was last in the Big Ten in pass defense.
2008 Score: 14.83 2008 Ranking: 28

A disappointment considering the expectations were high, the Spartans lost in miraculous fashion to Central Michigan and then brain-cramped away the Notre Dame game. To keep the pain going, MSU had a chance to make a statement against an unbeaten Iowa, but a late scoring drive was wasted in a last second loss. Losing to Texas Tech in the Alamo Bowl wasn't a positive in what was supposed to be a possible Big Ten title contending season.

67. Iowa State (7-6)
2009 CFN Score: 8.12 CFN Preseason Rank: 74
Key Stat: ISU was last in the Big 12 in scoring and last in sacks.
2008 Score: 0.66 2008 Ranking: 110

Gene Chizik bolted, and Paul Rhoads came in and succeeded by coming up with enough wins over bad teams, along with a turnover-fest 9-7 win at Nebraska, to get to a bowl game. That the Cyclones beat another bad team, Minnesota, in the Insight Bowl shouldn't diminish the strides the program made. There wasn't much scoring, the defense was lousy, and the talent level needs an overhaul, but considering how bad ISU has been, there's no arguing with the final record.

68. Northern Illinois (7-6)
2009 CFN Score: 7.45 CFN Preseason Rank: 81
Key Stat: NIU led the MAC in rushing and was first in total defense.
2008 Score: 6.26 2008 Ranking: 74

It was a year of near-misses. Jerry Kill's club lost to Wisconsin, Idaho, Toledo, and Ohio in close battles, and it would've had a chance to play Central Michigan for the MAC West title but lost a 38-31 battle with the Bobcats. It didn't matter as the Huskies got ripped up by the Chippewas, and then closed out the year with a 27-3 clunker against South Florida in the International Bowl.

69. Texas A&M (6-7)
2009 CFN Score: 7.37 CFN Preseason Rank: 71
Key Stat: The Aggies were fifth in the nation in total offense and 105th in total defense.
2008 Score: 3.09 2008 Ranking: 99

The offense worked, but the defense didn't join the ride. In the schizophrenic season, the Aggies got blasted by Kansas State 62-10, but came back the next week to beat Texas Tech 52-30. Over the last five games, the Aggies beat Baylor 38-3 for the one win. In the four losses, they allowed 35 to Colorado, 65 to Oklahoma, 49 to Texas and 44 to Georgia.

70. Minnesota (6-7)
2009 CFN Score: 7.09 CFN Preseason Rank: 60
Key Stat: The Gophers finished last in the Big Ten if total offense, scoring, and rushing.
2008 Score: 6.59 2008 Ranking: 71

For the second straight year, the Gophers were solid over the first half and appeared to be on the verge of turning a big corner. For the second straight year, they lost star WR Eric Decker and then went into the tank. The new stadium was the big star, but even the shiny new digs couldn't overcome the miserable performances over the final seven games with the wins coming in a strange shootout with Michigan State and a defensive slugfest against South Dakota State.

71. Purdue (5-7)
2009 CFN Score: 7.02 CFN Preseason Rank: 63
Key Stat: Purdue was 106th in the nation in net punting.
2008 Score: 5.03 2008 Ranking: 85

Danny Hope's first year taking over the program was entertaining, even if it didn't finish with a bowl appearance. The team managed to lose in just about every way possible with a disappointing misfire late against Oregon, close losses to NIU, Notre Dame and Northwestern, and a blowout loss to Wisconsin. On the plus side, Hope did this with little talent to work with.

72. Kansas State (6-6)
2009 CFN Score: 6.71 CFN Preseason Rank: 66
Key Stat: KSU averaged 180 rushing yards per game and 169 passing yards.
2008 Score: 5.06 2008 Ranking: 83

Let this be a lesson to all of those who schedule cupcakes. Bill Snyder's first year back at the helm had its moments, highlighted by a 62-14 win over Texas A&M, but a loss at Louisiana-Lafayette and two wins over FCS teams, UMass and Tennessee Tech, prevented a bowl trip. The Wildcats lost three of their last four games to miss out on a 13th game, but they beat Kansas and showed promise for the future .

73. NC State (5-7)
2009 CFN Score: 6.57 CFN Preseason Rank: 36
Key Stat: NC State was 114th in the nation in turnover margin.
2008 Score: 9.84 2008 Ranking: 54

This wasn't supposed to be how the Tom O'Brien era was supposed to be at this point. When you lose to Duke by 21, it's not going to be a great year. After a 3-1 start, with a nice win over Pitt, the Wolfpack managed just two wins the rest of the way with one of the victories coming over a horrendous Maryland squad and the other an inspired one-point win over North Carolina.

74. Kansas (5-7)
2009 CFN Score: 6.54 CFN Preseason Rank: 30
Key Stat: KU was 101st in the nation in sacks allowed.
2008 Score: 12.46 2008 Ranking: 39

On October 10th, everything was perfect. KU was 5-0 and considered a favorite to win the murky Big 12 North. And then the defense went bye-bye. A painful loss to a miserable Colorado team kicked off a seven-game losing streak to close out the season. The offense that was supposed to be so potent struggled with its consistency, head coach Mark Mangino verbally abused a few players, and now it's Turner Gill's mess to clean up.

75. Wyoming (7-6)
2009 CFN Score: 6.37 CFN Preseason Rank: 80
Key Stat: The Cowboys finished last in the Mountain West and 109th in the nation in total offense.
2008 Score: 2.77 2008 Ranking: 103

Dave Christensen's first year was an unquestioned success with a winning campaign and a bowl victory. The offense didn't do much, scoring a grand total of 20 points against TCU, BYU, Utah, and Air Force, but the team found ways to win every close game against the mediocre teams on the slate with six of the seven wins coming by a touchdown or less. There was only one win over a bowl team, and that was against Fresno State in the New Mexico Bowl.