Teams & Conferences

2016 Final CFN Rankings No. 1-128: Who Had The Best Seasons?

2016 Final CFN Rankings No. 1-128: CFN Season Formula


How did all the teams stack up now that the season is over? What are the 2016 Final CFN rankings from No. 1 to 128? Check them out based on the CFN Season Formula.


The CFN Season Formula is based on straight numbers, wins, losses, and strengths of schedules to measure just how good a season really was, and NOT necessarily how good the teams were. This is about the season from start to finish, putting an emphasis on the big wins against the top teams, and punishing the losses.

Everyone has opinions, and everyone has their own version of the eye test. But it’s all about how good a season a team really had, and this formula – used to compare seasons on a historical basis, as well as year-by-year – only cares about winning, losing, and the teams played.

Scroll to the bottom for the breakdown of how the CFN Season Formula is calculated.

2016 CFN Final No. 1-128 Rankings – Final, By CFN Season Formula

128. Texas State (2-10)

Season Score: -1.78
2016 Preseason Prediction: 3-9
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 116
Key Season Score Element: 493 points allowed
Best Win: at Ohio, 56-54
Worst Loss: at Georgia State 41-21

127. Fresno State (1-11)

Season Score: -1.76
2016 Preseason Prediction: 4-8
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 99
Key Season Score Element: One win – a college football low
Best Win: Sacramento State 31-3
Worst Loss: at Utah State 38-20

126. Rutgers (2-10)

Season Score: -1.70
2016 Preseason Prediction: 3-9
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 59
Key Season Score Element: Bad Loss Score of 2.5
Best Win: New Mexico 37-28
Worst Loss: at Michigan State 49-0

125. Virginia (2-10)

Season Score: -1.68
2016 Preseason Prediction: 3-9
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 60
Key Season Score Element: Bad Loss Score of 2.5
Best Win: Central Michigan 49-35
Worst Loss: Richmond 37-20

124. Buffalo (2-10)

Season Score: -1.48
2016 Preseason Prediction: 6-6
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 97
Key Season Score Element: Bad Loss Score of 3 – worst in college football
Best Win: Army 23-20
Worst Loss: Albany 22-16

123. Kansas (2-10)

Season Score: -1.13
2016 Preseason Prediction: 2-10
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 90
Key Season Score Element: Point differential of 448 to 243
Best Win: Texas 24-21
Worst Loss: Iowa State 31-24

122. Illinois (3-9)

Season Score: -0.22
2016 Preseason Prediction: 3-9
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 53
Key Season Score Element: Outscored 383 to 236
Best Win: Michigan State 31-27
Worst Loss: Purdue 34-31

121. Rice (3-9)

Season Score: 0.05
2016 Preseason Prediction: 6-6
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 120
Key Season Score Element: Outscored 448 to 303
Best Win: at Charlotte 22-21
Worst Loss: Florida Atlantic 42-25

120. Florida Atlantic (3-9)

Season Score: 0.15
2016 Preseason Prediction: 5-7
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 107
Key Season Score Element: 477 points allowed
Best Win: UTEP 35-31
Worst Loss: at Florida International 33-31

119. Connecticut (3-9)

Season Score: 0.41
2016 Preseason Prediction: 5-7
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 71
Key Season Score Element: 178 points scored
Best Win: Cincinnati 20-9
Worst Loss: Tulane 38-13

118. Massachusetts (2-10)

Season Score: 0.46
2016 Preseason Prediction: 1-11
Key Season Score Element: Highest-ranked two-win team
Best Win: Florida International 21-13
Worst Loss: Tulane 31-24

117. Kent State (4-8)

Season Score: 0.78
2016 Preseason Prediction: 2-10
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 110
Key Season Score Element: Two of the three wins were Bad Wins
Best Win: at Central Michigan 27-24
Worst Loss: North Carolina A&T 39-36

116. UTEP (4-8)

Season Score: 0.80
2016 Preseason Prediction: 7-5
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 117
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 103
Key Season Score Element: Two Bad Losses
Best Win: at UTSA 52-49
Worst Loss: Florida International 35-21

115. Purdue (3-9)

Season Score: 1.11
2016 Preseason Prediction: 3-9
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 77
Key Season Score Element: Two of the three wins were Bad Wins
Best Win: Nevada 24-14
Worst Loss: Cincinnati 38-20

114. FIU (4-8)

Season Score: 1.53
2016 Preseason Prediction: 5-7
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 115
Key Season Score Element: Outscored 418-306
Best Win: at Charlotte 27-26
Worst Loss: at Massachusetts 21-13

113. Michigan State (3-9)

Season Score: 1.56
2016 Preseason Prediction: 9-3
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 12
Key Season Score Element: Two of the three wins were Bad Wins
Best Win: at Notre Dame 36-28
Worst Loss: at Illinois 31-27

112.Iowa State (3-9)

Season Score: 1.56
2016 Preseason Prediction: 4-8
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 61
Key Season Score Element: Only outscored 376-332
Best Win: Texas Tech 66-10
Worst Loss: Northern Iowa 25-20

111. Arizona (3-9)

Season Score: 1.62
2016 Preseason Prediction: 7-5
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 51
Key Season Score Element: Outscored 460-297
Best Win: Arizona State 56-35
Worst Loss: at Oregon State 42-17

110. San Jose State (4-8)

Season Score: 1.85
2016 Preseason Prediction: 4-8
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 92
Key Season Score Element: Outscored 416-293
Best Win: Nevada 14-10
Worst Loss: at Iowa State 44-10

109. Cincinnati (4-8)

Season Score: 1.92
2016 Preseason Prediction: 8-4
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 66
Key Season Score Element: Three of the four wins were Bad Wins
Best Win: Miami University 27-20
Worst Loss: at Connecticut 20-9

108. ULM (4-8)

Season Score: 1.94
2016 Preseason Prediction: 3-9
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 125
Key Season Score Element: Three of the four wins were Bad Wins
Best Win: South Alabama 42-35
Worst Loss: at Georgia Southern 23-21

107. Charlotte (4-8)

Season Score: 1.95
2016 Preseason Prediction: 2-10
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 119
Key Season Score Element: Three of the four wins were Bad Wins
Best Win: at Southern Miss 38-27
Worst Loss: Florida International 27-26

106. Georgia State (3-8)

Season Score: 1.97
2016 Preseason Prediction: 4-8
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 111
Key Season Score Element: Two of the three wins were Bad Wins
Best Win: Georgia Southern 30-24
Worst Loss: ULM 37-23

105. Bowling Green (4-8)

Season Score: 2.21
2016 Preseason Prediction: 6-6
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 123
Key Season Score Element: Three of the four wins were Bad Wins
Best Win: at Akron 38-28
Worst Loss: Northern Illinois 45-20

104. New Mexico State (3-9)

Season Score: 2.32
2016 Preseason Prediction: 1-11
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 121
Key Season Score Element: Has one Quality Win – one of two teams in bottom 26 with one
Best Win: New Mexico 32-31
Worst Loss: UTEP 38-22

103. Utah State (3-9)

Season Score: 2.35
2016 Preseason Prediction: 6-6
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 82
Key Season Score Element: Two of the three wins were Bad Wins
Best Win: Arkansas State 34-20
Worst Loss: at Nevada 38-37

102. Marshall (3-9)

Season Score: 2.69
2016 Preseason Prediction: 9-3
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 84
Key Season Score Element: Outscored 423-317
Best Win: Middle Tennessee 42-17
Worst Loss: at Florida International 31-14

101. East Carolina (3-9)

Season Score: 2.91
2016 Preseason Prediction: 6-6
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 78
Key Season Score Element: Two of the three wins were Bad Wins
Best Win: NC State 33-30
Worst Loss: SMU 55-31

100. Nevada (5-7)

Season Score: 2.99
2016 Preseason Prediction: 6-6
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 86
Key Season Score Element: Four of the five wins were Bad Wins
Best Win: at UNLV 45-10
Worst Loss: at Purdue 24-14

99. Tulane (4-8)

Season Score: 3.15
2016 Preseason Prediction: 4-8
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 108
Key Season Score Element: Three of the four wins were Bad Wins
Best Win: Louisiana-Lafayette 41-39
Worst Loss: SMU 35-31

98. Akron (5-7)

Season Score: 3.18
2016 Preseason Prediction: 3-9
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 116
Key Season Score Element: One Bad Loss kept team from going to bowl
Best Win: Miami University 35-13
Worst Loss: at Buffalo 41-20

97. Ball State (4-8)

Season Score: 3.21
2016 Preseason Prediction: 4.8
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 113
Key Season Score Element: All four wins were Bad Wins
Best Win: at Buffalo 31-21
Worst Loss: Akron 35-25

96. Arizona State (5-7)

Season Score: 3.64
2016 Preseason Prediction: 8-4
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 34
Key Season Score Element: 400 points the most scored by anyone ranked 92nd or lower
Best Win: UCLA 23-20
Worst Loss: at Arizona 56-35

95. Oregon State (4-8)

Season Score: 3.81
2016 Preseason Prediction: 3-9
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 63
Key Season Score Element: Outscored 366-314
Best Win: Oregon 34-24
Worst Loss: at UCLA 38-24

94. Duke (4-8)

Season Score: 4.00
2016 Preseason Prediction: 6-6
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 62
Key Season Score Element: 1.5 Bad Loss score
Best Win: North Carolina 28-27
Worst Loss: Virginia 34-20

93. Georgia Southern (5-7)

Season Score: 4.18
2016 Preseason Prediction: 8-4
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 83
Key Season Score Element: Lowest-ranked team that won point differential (319-318)
Best Win: Troy 28-24
Worst Loss: at Georgia State 30-24

92. Oregon (4-8)

Season Score: 4.36
2016 Preseason Prediction: 10-2
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 9
Key Season Score Element: Outscored 497-425
Best Win: at Utah 30-28
Worst Loss: at Oregon State 34-24

91. UNLV (4-8)

Season Score: 4.46
2016 Preseason Prediction: 5-7
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 98
Key Season Score Element: Outscored 441-379
Best Win: Wyoming 69-66
Worst Loss: at San Jose State 30-24

90. UCLA (4-8)

Season Score: 4.77
2016 Preseason Prediction: 9-3
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 13
Key Season Score Element: Scored just 299 points
Best Win: BYU 17-14
Worst Loss: at California 36-10

89. Syracuse (4-8)

Season Score: 4.78
2016 Preseason Prediction: 6-6
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 69
Key Season Score Element: Outscored 463-308
Best Win: Virginia Tech 31-17
Worst Loss: Notre Dame 50-33

88. Northern Illinois (5-7)

Season Score: 4.94
2016 Preseason Prediction: 5-7
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 72
Key Season Score Element: One of just two teams ranked 86th or lower with positive point differential (366-364)
Best Win: at Eastern Michigan 31-24
Worst Loss: Western Illinois 28-23

87. SMU (5-7)

Season Score: 5.14
2016 Preseason Prediction: 2-10
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 102
Key Season Score Element: Outscored 435-332
Best Win: Houston 38-16
Worst Loss: at Tulsa 43-40

86. Notre Dame (4-8)

Season Score: 5.20
2016 Preseason Prediction: 10-2
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 16
Key Season Score Element: The Irish scored the most points of anyone ranked 84th or lower
Best Win: Miami 30-27
Worst Loss: Michigan State 36-28

85. Maryland (6-7)

Season Score: 5.22
2016 Preseason Prediction: 6-6
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 55
Key Season Score Element:
Best Win:
Worst Loss:

84. Miami University (6-7)

Season Score: 5.34
2016 Preseason Prediction: 1-11
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 126
Key Season Score Element: Lowest-ranked team to make a bowl game
Best Win: at UCF 30-24
Worst Loss: at Indiana 42-36

83. North Texas (5-8)

Season Score: 5.61
2016 Preseason Prediction: 2-10
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 127
Key Season Score Element:
Best Win:
Worst Loss:

82. Texas (5-7)

Season Score: 5.72
2016 Preseason Prediction: 9-3
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 26
Key Season Score Element: Outscored 424-322
Best Win: at Army 35-18
Worst Loss: at UTEP 52-24

81. Indiana (6-7)

Season Score: 5.77
2016 Preseason Prediction: 6-6
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 46
Key Season Score Element:
Best Win:
Worst Loss:

80. Louisiana-Lafayette (6-7)

Season Score: 5.99
2016 Preseason Prediction: 8-4
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 101
Key Season Score Element: Three of the six wins were Bad Wins
Best Win: Maryland 42-36
Worst Loss: Wake Forest 33-28

79. South Alabama (6-7)

Season Score: 6.25
2016 Preseason Prediction: 4-8
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 112
Key Season Score Element: Four of the six wins were Bad Wins
Best Win: San Diego State 42-24
Worst Loss: at ULM 42-35

78. Missouri (4-8)

Season Score: 6.32
2016 Preseason Prediction: 6-6
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 44
Key Season Score Element: Two of the four wins were Quality Wins
Best Win: Vanderbilt 26-17
Worst Loss: Middle Tennessee 51-45

77. Texas Tech (5-7)

Season Score: 6.44
2016 Preseason Prediction: 6-6
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 54
Key Season Score Element: By far Texas Tech scored more than anyone ranked lower than 44th
Best Win: Baylor 54-35
Worst Loss: at Iowa State 66-10

76. Central Michigan (6-7)

Season Score: 6.44
2016 Preseason Prediction: 7-5
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 96
Key Season Score Element: 2.5 Bad Loss Score dropped the Chippewas at least 20 spots
Best Win: at Oklahoma State 30-27
Worst Loss: Kent State 27-24

75. South Carolina (6-7)

Season Score: 6.47
2016 Preseason Prediction: 5-7
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 52
Key Season Score Element: 270 points the fewest ranked in the top 104
Best Win: Tennessee 24-21
Worst Loss: at Mississippi State 27-14

74. Hawaii (7-7)

Season Score: 6.74
2016 Preseason Prediction: 4-9
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 100
Key Season Score Element: Outscored 522-396
Best Win: at Air Force 34-27
Worst Loss: at Arizona 47-28

73. UCF (6-7)

Season Score: 6.75
2016 Preseason Prediction: 6-6
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 106
Key Season Score Element: Three of the six wins were Bad Wins
Best Win: Cincinnati 24-3
Worst Loss: Arkansas State 31-13

72. California (5-7)

Season Score: 7.01
2016 Preseason Prediction: 2-10
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 58
Key Season Score Element: No Bad Wins among the five victories
Best Win: Utah 28-23
Worst Loss: at Oregon State 47-44

71. Mississippi State (6-7)

Season Score: 7.03
2016 Preseason Prediction: 6-6
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 39
Key Season Score Element: Just one Quality Win among the six
Best Win: Texas A&M 35-28
Worst Loss: South Alabama 21-20

70. TCU (6-7)

Season Score: 7.60
2016 Preseason Prediction: 8-4
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 17
Key Season Score Element: Only two teams ranked higher had seven losses
Best Win: at Baylor 62-22
Worst Loss: Texas Tech 27-24

69. Ohio (8-6)

Season Score: 7.83
2016 Preseason Prediction: 7-5
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 104
Key Season Score Element: Lowest ranking by anyone with more than seven wins because of the home loss to Texas State
Best Win: Toledo 31-26
Worst Loss: Texas State 56-54

68. Wake Forest (7-6)

Season Score: 8.06
2016 Preseason Prediction: 4-8
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 68
Key Season Score Element: No one ranked higher scored fewer points – 265
Best Win: Temple 34-26
Worst Loss: Army 21-13

67. UTSA (6-7)

Season Score: 8.12
2016 Preseason Prediction: 2-10
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 122
Key Season Score Element: Two Quality Wins boosted ranking into the 60s
Best Win: Middle Tennessee 45-25
Worst Loss: UTEP 52-49

66. Arkansas State (8-5)

Season Score: 8.13
2016 Preseason Prediction: 9-3
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 94
Key Season Score Element: 2.5 Bad Loss score kept Red Wolves out of the 40s
Best Win: UCF 31-13
Worst Loss: Central Arkansas 28-23

65. Boston College (7-6)

Season Score: 8.19
2016 Preseason Prediction: 6-6
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 56
Key Season Score Element: Four of the seven wins were Bad Wins
Best Win: at Wake Forest 17-14
Worst Loss: Syracuse 28-20

64. Ole Miss (5-7)

Season Score: 8.25
2016 Preseason Prediction: 8-4
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 27
Key Season Score Element: The three Quality Wins were the most by anyone ranked this low
Best Win: Texas A&M 29-28
Worst Loss: Mississippi State 55-20

63. Northwestern (7-6)

Season Score: 8.28
2016 Preseason Prediction: 6-6
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 40
Key Season Score Element: The one Bad Win – at home vs. Illinois State – kept the Wildcats out of the 50s
Best Win: Pitt 31-24
Worst Loss: Illinois State 9-7

62. Middle Tennessee (8-5)

Season Score: 8.63
2016 Preseason Prediction: 9-3
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 88
Key Season Score Element: The 516 points were among the most of anyone ranked outside of the top 25
Best Win: Louisiana Tech 38-34
Worst Loss: at Marshall 42-17

61. NC State (7-6)

Season Score: 9.09
2016 Preseason Prediction: 6-6
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 57
Key Season Score Element: The one Bad Loss kept the Wolfpack out of the top 50s
Best Win: at North Carolina 28-21
Worst Loss: at East Carolina 33-30

60. Kentucky (7-6)

Season Score: 9.12
2016 Preseason Prediction: 6-6
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 45
Key Season Score Element: The Wildcats were outscored 407-390
Best Win: at Louisville 41-38
Worst Loss: Southern Miss 44-35

59. Arkansas (7-6)

Season Score: 9.19
2016 Preseason Prediction: 7-5
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 28
Key Season Score Element: The Hogs were outscored 404-394
Best Win: Florida 31-10
Worst Loss: at Missouri 28-24

58. Southern Miss (7-6)

Season Score: 9.22
2016 Preseason Prediction: 10-2
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 87
Key Season Score Element:
Best Win:
Worst Loss:

57. Eastern Michigan (7-6)

Season Score: 9.51
2016 Preseason Prediction: 2-10
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 124
Key Season Score Element: Three of the seven wins were Bad Wins
Best Win: Louisiana Tech 39-24
Worst Loss: Charlotte 38-27

56. Baylor (7-6)

Season Score: 9.52
2016 Preseason Prediction: 9-3
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 22
Key Season Score Element: Four of the seven wins were Bad Wins
Best Win: Boise State 31-12
Worst Loss: at Texas Tech 54-35

55. Idaho (9-4)

Season Score: 9.87
2016 Preseason Prediction: 6-6
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 118
Key Season Score Element: Nine wins are the most by anyone ranked this low
Best Win: Colorado State 61-50
Worst Loss: at Washington State 56-6

54. Iowa (8-5)

Season Score: 9.91
2016 Preseason Prediction: 9-3
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 24
Key Season Score Element: Yeah, North Dakota State is technically a Bad Loss. It killed the Iowa score
Best Win: Michigan 14-13
Worst Loss: North Dakota State 23-21

53. Colorado State (7-6)

Season Score: 10.68
2016 Preseason Prediction: 8-4
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 76
Key Season Score Element: The Elite Win over San Diego State boosted the Rams into the 50s
Best Win: at San Diego State 63-31
Worst Loss: Idaho 61-50

52. Vanderbilt (6-7)

Season Score: 11.08
2016 Preseason Prediction: 3-9
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 47
Key Season Score Element: Four of the six wins were Quality Wins
Best Win: Tennessee 45-34
Worst Loss: at Missouri 26-17

51. New Mexico (9-4)

Season Score: 11.12
2016 Preseason Prediction: 6-6
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 91
Key Season Score Element: The Bad Loss to Rutgers sunk the ranking – the Lobos would’ve been in the low 30s
Best Win: Wyoming 56-35
Worst Loss: at Rutgers 37-28

50. Army (8-5)

Season Score: 11.18
2016 Preseason Prediction: 4-8
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 105
Key Season Score Element: The Knights outscored teams 389-258
Best Win: at Temple 28-13
Worst Loss: at Buffalo 23-20

49. Georgia (8-5)

Season Score: 11.44
2016 Preseason Prediction: 10-2
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 19
Key Season Score Element: Only one team ranked higher – Florida – scored fewer points than Georgia’s 319
Best Win: North Carolina 33-24
Worst Loss: at Ole Miss 45-14

48. Memphis (8-5)

Season Score: 11.67
2016 Preseason Prediction: 7-5
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 75
Key Season Score Element: The Tigers outscored teams 505-375
Best Win: Temple 34-27
Worst Loss: at Ole Miss 48-28

47. Washington State (8-5)

Season Score: 11.90
2016 Preseason Prediction: 5-7
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 42
Key Season Score Element: The Bad Loss to open the season kept the Cougars out of the 30s
Best Win: at Stanford 42-16
Worst Loss: Eastern Washington 45-42

46. Utah (9-4)

Season Score: 12.21
2016 Preseason Prediction: 7-5
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 37
Key Season Score Element: Only two of the nine wins were Quality Wins
Best Win: USC 31-27
Worst Loss: at California 28-23

45. Kansas State (9-4)

Season Score: 12.23
2016 Preseason Prediction: 6-6
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 38
Key Season Score Element: The Wildcats allowed just 290 points
Best Win: Texas A&M
Worst Loss: at Stanford 26-13

44. Wyoming (8-6)

Season Score: 12.33
2016 Preseason Prediction: 4-8
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 95
Key Season Score Element: The 477 points allowed were the most by anyone in the top 73
Best Win: San Diego State 34-33
Worst Loss: at UNLV 69-66

43. Louisiana Tech (9-5)

Season Score: 12.39
2016 Preseason Prediction: 7-5
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 93
Key Season Score Element: The 620 points were the most by anyone in college football
Best Win: Western Kentucky 55-52
Worst Loss: at Texas Tech 59-45

42. Texas A&M (8-5)

Season Score: 12.71
2016 Preseason Prediction: 6-6
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 35
Key Season Score Element: Texas A&M lost five of its last seven games
Best Win: at Auburn 29-16
Worst Loss: Ole Miss 29-28

41. Old Dominion (10-3)

Season Score: 12.79
2016 Preseason Prediction: 4-8
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 109
Key Season Score Element: The Monarchs are the lowest-ranked ten-win team
Best Win: Southern Miss 51-35
Worst Loss: at NC State 49-22

40. Tulsa (10-3)

Season Score: 12.91
2016 Preseason Prediction: 4-8
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 79
Key Season Score Element: Just one of Tulsa’s ten wins was a Quality Win
Best Win: at Memphis 59-30
Worst Loss: at Houston 38-31

39. Georgia Tech (9-4)

Season Score: 12.93
2016 Preseason Prediction: 7-5
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 64
Key Season Score Element: Georgia Tech missed Florida State and Louisville
Best Win: at Virginia Tech 30-20
Worst Loss: at Pitt 37-34

38. Auburn (8-5)

Season Score: 12.96
2016 Preseason Prediction: 6-6
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 31
Key Season Score Element: The Tigers’ three Elite Losses – Clemson, Alabama, Oklahoma – were the most by any in college football
Best Win: LSU 18-13
Worst Loss: Georgia 13-7

37. BYU (9-4)

Season Score: 12.99
2016 Preseason Prediction: 5-7
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 50
Key Season Score Element: Five of the nine wins were Bad Wins
Best Win: Wyoming 24-21
Worst Loss: UCLA 17-14

36. Toledo (9-4)

Season Score: 13.04
2016 Preseason Prediction: 8-4
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 70
Key Season Score Element: Had the Rockets beaten Appalachian State in the bowl game, they’d have been in the top 20
Best Win: at Eastern Michigan 35-20
Worst Loss: Ohio 31-26

35. Pitt (8-5)

Season Score: 13.11
2016 Preseason Prediction: 7-5
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 32
Key Season Score Element: Pitt and USC are the only teams to beat two Power 5 champions (Clemson and Penn State).
Best Win: Clemson 43-42
Worst Loss: Northwestern 31-24

34. Navy (9-5)

Season Score: 13.11
2016 Preseason Prediction: 7-5
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 89
Key Season Score Element: The Midshipmen finishes with three straight losses. Had they won those three – Temple, Army, Louisiana Tech – they’d have finished in the top ten
Best Win: Houston 46-40
Worst Loss: Army 21-17

33. LSU (8-4)

Season Score: 13.18
2016 Preseason Prediction: 11-1
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 1
Key Season Score Element: LSU only played 12 games. One extra win would’ve put the Tigers in the top 25
Best Win: Louisville 29-9
Worst Loss: at Auburn 18-13

32. Nebraska (9-4)

Season Score: 13.18
2016 Preseason Prediction: 8-4
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 41
Key Season Score Element: The 34-point differential is the lowest of anyone in the top 44
Best Win: Minnesota 24-17
Worst Loss: at Iowa 40-10

31. North Carolina (8-5)

Season Score: 13.58
2016 Preseason Prediction: 8-4
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 30
Key Season Score Element: The eight wins are the lowest by anyone ranked in the top 31
Best Win: at Florida State 37-35
Worst Loss: at Duke 28-27

30. Minnesota (9-4)

Season Score: 13.63
2016 Preseason Prediction: 7-5
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 48
Key Season Score Element: Four of the nine wins were Bad Wins
Best Win: Northwestern 29-12
Worst Loss: at Nebraska 24-17

29. South Florida (11-2)

Season Score: 13.93
2016 Preseason Prediction: 8-4
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 67
Key Season Score Element: USF is the lowest-ranked 11-win team
Best Win: Navy 52-45
Worst Loss: at Temple 46-30

28. West Virginia (10-3)

Season Score: 14.20
2016 Preseason Prediction: 7-5
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 29
Key Season Score Element: The blowout bowl loss to Miami kept the Mountaineers out of the top 20
Best Win: Kansas State 17-16
Worst Loss: Miami 31-14

27. Stanford (10-3)

Season Score: 14.29
2016 Preseason Prediction: 8-4
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 18
Key Season Score Element: The 77-point differential is the smallest by anyone in the top 30
Best Win: USC 27-10
Worst Loss: Washington State 42-16

26. Appalachian State (10-3)

Season Score: 14.50
2016 Preseason Prediction: 8-4
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 81
Key Season Score Element: All three teams ASU lost to – Tennessee, Miami, Troy – won their bowl games
Best Win: Toledo 31-28
Worst Loss: at Troy 28-24

2016 CFN Season Ranking Top 25

25. Houston (9-4)

Season Score: 14.55
2016 Preseason Prediction: 11-1
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 49

Oh what might’ve been. The Cougars flopped when the spotlight was on, ruining the fun of a dominant win over Oklahoma early and a blowout crusher over Louisville late. The lack of consistency and just three Quality Wins – Tulsa was the other – couldn’t move the Cougars up.

24. Florida (9-4)

Season Score: 14.62
2016 Preseason Prediction: 8-4
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 15

The Gators had a successful year in so many ways – getting to the SEC Championship, and blowing away Iowa in the Outback Bowl – but the lack of scoring punch mattered in the Season Ranking. This is the highest-ranked team with a point differential of under 100 points. Blowing out bad teams early couldn’t offset the four losses that all came by ten points or more.

23. Temple (10-4)

Season Score: 14.91
2016 Preseason Prediction: 8-4
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 74

The American Athletic Conference champs might have lost to Wake Forest to close things out, but it was a strong ten-win campaign highlighted by the blowout win over Navy. However, that was one of only two Quality Wins – beating South Florida was the other. This is the highest ranking by any team with four losses or more.

22. Air Force (10-3)

Season Score: 14.93
2016 Preseason Prediction: 9-3
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 73

The Falcons didn’t get back to the Mountain West Championship, but the ten wins were impressive with six straight to close out the year. Beating Boise State was big for the Season Ranking, and beating Navy mattered heavily.

21. San Diego State (11-3)

Season Score: 15.14
2016 Preseason Prediction: 11-1
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 43

The Aztecs came up with a second straight Mountain West Championship with a dominant win over Houston in the Las Vegas Bowl, but that – along with the MWC title win over Wyoming – were the only two wins over FBS teams that finished with winning records. There were a whole slew wins over mediocre teams.

20. Troy (10-3)

Season Score: 15.28
2016 Preseason Prediction: 4-8
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 114

One of the biggest surprises of the 2016 season, the Trojans roared to a ten-win campaign, coming really, really close to ending Clemson’s national title season before it could get started with a 30-24 loss in Week 2. The four Quality Wins, and the big year from the offense, meant a shocking top 20 spot.

19. Western Kentucky (10-3)

Season Score: 15.75
2016 Preseason Prediction: 7-5
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 85

Points, points, points. WKU outscored opponents by 273 points, turning out to be the biggest difference to get the Conference USA champs up into the top 20. There weren’t a slew of Quality Wins, but winning a rematch against Louisiana Tech – after losing the earlier season shootout – and taking down Memphis by 20 in the Boca Raton Bowl made it a great year.

18. Oklahoma State (10-3)

Season Score: 15.84
2016 Preseason Prediction: 8-4
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 23

The Cowboys came up with a strong season that came really, really close to being special. The loss to Central Michigan kept them out of the top 15, but they managed to beat the Pitt team that beat both Clemson and Penn State the week after. Thanks to wins over West Virginia and Kansas State, finishing in the top 20 isn’t bad.

17. Boise State (10-3)

Season Score: 15.88
2016 Preseason Prediction: 12-0
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 33

The Broncos might not have won the Mountain West, or even their own division, but they managed to come up with a strong ten-win season – even if it was a disappointing one. So how are the Broncos this high? There was only one Bad Win, and there were just enough good early wins to overcome the rough finish.

16. Louisville (9-3)

Season Score: 16.14
2016 Preseason Prediction: 10-2
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 20

The season might have ended with a thud, but the 544 points on the year and the point differential helped make Louisville the only team that finished with fewer than ten wins into the top 23. Beating Florida State was the highlight, but unfortunately, there weren’t a whole lot of big wins after September 17th.

15. USC (10-3)

Season Score: 16.14
2016 Preseason Prediction: 8-4
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 10

The Trojans started out 1-3, but got on a roll that didn’t stop the rest of the way, highlighted by a dominant performance at Washington and a Rose Bowl win over Penn State. But here’s the problem – that was about it for the good wins. The only other win over a team that finished with a winning record was Colorado. It’s not USC’s fault that Oregon, UCLA and Notre Dame stunk, but that’s the deal when it comes to the formula.

14. Michigan (10-3)

Season Score: 16.68
2016 Preseason Prediction: 9-3
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 8

The Wolverines were only five points away from an unbeaten season, but losses are losses. Outscoring teams by a combined score of 524 to 183 was amazing, but the Season Score is so low because of the lack of Quality Wins. There were just three wins over teams that finished with winning records, but they were big ones: Colorado, Wisconsin and Penn State.

13. Colorado (10-4)

Season Score: 16.77
2016 Preseason Prediction: 5-7
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 65

Really? Colorado got to the Pac-12 title game? It was a special season for the Buffaloes, but there weren’t a whole lot of impressive victories – beating Utah was the most impressive win. Winning ten games, though, was a fantastic step forward under head coach Mike MacIntrye.

12. Virginia Tech (10-4)

Season Score: 16.92
2016 Preseason Prediction: 6-6
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 36

The Hokies got to the ACC championship and pushed Clemson hard in the first year under Justin Fuente, with the Season Ranking finishing in the top 12 helped by a blowout win over North Carolina and Quality Wins over teams like Miami and Pitt.

11. Miami (9-4)

Season Score: 16.99
2016 Preseason Prediction: 9-3
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 25

It was a terrific first step for Mark Richt, closing out with a five-game winning streak with a dominant win over West Virginia in the Russell Athletic Bowl. So how is the Season Score this high? The win at Appalachian State turned out to matter in a big way in the formula – sometimes it’s worthwhile to play an interesting non-conference road game.

10. Tennessee (9-4)

Season Score: 17.67
2016 Preseason Prediction: 11-1
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 5

Remember, the Volunteers had a whole slew of strong wins early on, beating Virginia Tech and Florida, and the Music City win over Nebraska helped crank up the score. Only Clemson and Alabama had more Quality Wins – wins over teams that finished with winning records. This might not have been the season Tennessee was hoping for, but considering the schedule, as it turned out, it wasn’t that bad.

9. Penn State (11-3)

Season Score: 18.49
2016 Preseason Prediction: 9-3
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 21

How is the Big Ten champion this low behind two other conference teams? The loss to Pitt was an issue, but if it beat USC in the Rose Bowl, the season would’ve been put into the top four.

8. Oklahoma (11-2)

Season Score: 19.56
2016 Preseason Prediction: 10-2
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 7

The Big 12 champion might have lost two of its first three games, but it didn’t have any problems the rest of the way, going on a ten-game winning streak finishing with a Sugar Bowl win over Auburn. However, the Big 12 was just okay – there weren’t enough chances for truly big wins.

7. Wisconsin (11-3)

Season Score: 19.83
2016 Preseason Prediction: 9-3
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 14

How are the Badgers this high after losing to Penn State and Michigan? They handed Western Michigan its only loss. That, and going on a great run over the second half of the season pushed the Badger season well into the top ten.

6. Florida State (10-3)

Season Score: 20.58
2016 Preseason Prediction: 10-2
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 2

The Seminole win over Michigan was good, but the road win over South Florida turned out to crank up the Season Score into the top six. Only Clemson and Alabama came up with more wins over teams that finished with winning seasons – and this doesn’t even count the victory over Ole Miss.

5. Washington (12-2)

Season Score: 20.73
2016 Preseason Prediction: 9-3
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 11

This is where the schedule hurts. The Huskies have five Quality Wins and didn’t generate an Elite Win – joining Western Michigan as the only teams in the top nine not to get one. Winning the Pac-12 championship turned out to push the Huskies this high – only the top four teams came up with more wins.

4. Western Michigan (13-1)

Season Score: 20.98
2016 Preseason Prediction: 10-2
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 80

What?! How could Western Michigan possibly be this high? Remember, this was one of the two teams that came into the bowl season unbeaten. The 13 wins fell just behind Clemson and Alabama overall, and the five Quality Wins turned out to matter. Yeah, winning the MAC isn’t like winning the Pac-12 or Big 12, but it’s all about winning, and WMU did that in a historic season.

3. Ohio State (11-2)

Season Score: 24.21
2016 Preseason Prediction: 11-1
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 6

How amazing is it that the Buckeyes got this high in the Season Rankings without a Big Ten title and with a Fiesta Bowl loss to Clemson? Beating Oklahoma and Wisconsin on the road was a huge deal in the ranking, and the seven wins over teams that finished with winning records is amazing.

2. Alabama (14-1)

Season Score: 29.55
2016 Preseason Prediction: 10-2
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 4

The Crimson Tide defense was one defensive stop away from coming up with the all-time greatest Season Ranking – it would’ve been a 15-0 season. As is, it was a phenomenal year with ten wins over teams that went bowling including USC, Western Kentucky, and Tennessee. And yeah, winning the SEC championship matters.

1. Clemson (14-1)

Season Score: 31.86
2016 Preseason Prediction: 10-2
2016 CFN Preseason Opinion Ranking: 3

Winning the national title will crank up the Season Ranking just a smidge. The Tigers win 11 games over teams that went bowling, and led the nation with three Elite Wins. How did this season compare to Alabama of last year? It was a little bit below – 2015 Alabama finished with a score of 32.37 – but Clemson fans will worry about that as they’re figuring out which National Champions t-shirts they want to buy.

CFN Historical Formula

1. Wins. Obviously, winning matters. Just win lots of games, and all is fine. 1 point per win.

2. Losses. Don’t lose. -1 point per loss.

3. Ties. Yeah, there used to be those. 0.5 points per tie.

4. Quality Wins. The wins over the good teams. 1 point per win over a team that finished with a winning record.

5. Elite Wins. The wins over the great teams. 1 point per home win over a team that finished with two losses or a road win over a team that finished with three losses. An extra 0.5 added to a road win over a team that finished with two losses.

6. Bad Losses. The soul-crushers. -1 point per loss to a non-FBS/D-I team, or a team that finished with three wins or fewer. An extra 0.5 is added to a home loss to a “bad” team.

7. Bad Wins. The layups. -0.25 for a win over a team that finished with three losses or fewer.

8. Elite Losses. The forgivable defeats. 0.25 added for a loss to a team that finished with two losses of fewer.

9. Point Differential. They keep score for a reason. Points scored minus points against divided by 100.

10. Winning Percentage. A sort of tie-breaker, taking into account how good the season was beyond the raw wins and loss.