2017 Final CFN Rankings No. 1-130: Who Had The Best Seasons?

2017 Final CFN Rankings No. 1-130: Who Had The Best Seasons?

American Athletic

2017 Final CFN Rankings No. 1-130: Who Had The Best Seasons?


What are the 2017 Final CFN Season Rankings from No. 1 to 130? How did all the teams stack up now that the season is over? 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. That’s what the CFN Opinion Rankings are for.

This is about the season from start to finish, putting an emphasis on the big wins against the top teams, and punishing the losses.

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 wins, losses, and the raw numbers.

Again, this is about who had the best season based on who they played, and not on how good we thought the teams were – that’s coming. This takes the eye test out of it completely.

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

Contact CFN @ColFootballNews

130 UTEP (0-12)

2017 Season Score: -16.25
CFN Preseason Ranking:
116
2016 Final Season Ranking: 116 (4-8)
Key Season Score Element: The Miners scored a nation-low 141 points.
Best Win: None
Worst Loss: Rice 31-14

129 Kansas (1-11)

2017 Season Score: -14.39
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
87
2016 Final Season Ranking: 123 (2-10)
Key Season Score Element: The 297 point differential was the third-biggest.
Best Win: SE Missouri State 38-16
Worst Loss: Baylor 38-9

128 San Jose State (2-10)

2017 Season Score: -13.21
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
115
2016 Final Season Ranking: 110 (4-8)
Key Season Score Element: The win over Wyoming saved the Spartans from having the second-worst season.
Best Win: Wyoming 20-17
Worst Loss: at Nevada 59-14

127 Oregon State (1-11)

2017 Season Score: -12.85
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
64
2016 Final Season Ranking: 95 (4-8)
Key Season Score Element: The 516 points allowed were the fourth-most.
Best Win: Portland State 35-32
Worst Loss: Minnesota 48-14

126 Baylor (1-11)

2017 Season Score: -12.81
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
40
2016 Final Season Ranking: 56 (7-6)
Key Season Score Element: The only win came over Kansas, who only came up with one win.
Best Win: at Kansas 38-9
Worst Loss: Liberty 48-45

125 Charlotte (1-11)

2017 Season Score: -12.65
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
127
2016 Final Season Ranking: 107 (4-8)
Key Season Score Element: The lone win over UAB was also a Quality Win. If the 49ers lost, they would’ve finished next-to-last.
Best Win: UAB 25-24
Worst Loss: North Carolina A&T 35-31

124 Rice (1-11)

2017 Season Score: -12.51
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
124
2016 Final Season Ranking: 121 (3-9)
Key Season Score Element: The Owls only managed one win – over winless UTEP.
Best Win: UTEP 31-14
Worst Loss: at Old Dominion 24-21

123 Kent State (2-10)

2017 Season Score: -12.01
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
125
2016 Final Season Ranking: 117 (4-8)
Key Season Score Element: The 153 points were the second-fewest in the country.
Best Win: Miami University 17-14
Worst Loss: Bowling Green 44-16

122 Georgia Southern (2-10)

2017 Season Score: -11.44
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
106
2016 Final Season Ranking: 93 (5-7)
Key Season Score Element: The 2.5 Bad Loss score dragged down the entire season.
Best Win: South Alabama 52-0
Worst Loss: New Hampshire 22-12

121 Bowling Green (2-10)

2017 Season Score: -11.10
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
107
2016 Final Season Ranking: 105 (4-8)
Key Season Score Element: 8 of the 9 losses to FBS teams were by double-digits.
Best Win: Miami University 37-29
Worst Loss: South Dakota 35-27

120 Tulsa (2-10)

2017 Season Score: -10.06
CFN Preseason Ranking:
69
2016 Final Season Ranking: 40 (10-3)
Key Season Score Element: The 2.5 Bad Loss score dragged down the overall score. Both losses – UConn and New Mexico -were two of the team’s worst offensive games of the year.
Best Win: Houston 45-17
Worst Loss: New Mexico 16-13

119 Texas State (2-10)

2017 Season Score: -10.04
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
128
2016 Final Season Ranking: 128 (2-10)
Key Season Score Element: Both wins – Houston Baptist and Coastal Carolina – were Bad Wins.
Best Win: at Coastal Carolina 27-7
Worst Loss: ULM 45-27

118 Coastal Carolina (3-9)

2017 Season Score: -9.99
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
129
2016 Final Season Ranking: Not Available
Key Season Score Element: The Bad Loss score – losing at home to Texas State and Western Illinois – was the worst in college football.
Best Win: Georgia Southern 28-17
Worst Loss: Western Illinois 52-10

117 Ball State (2-10)

2017 Season Score: -9.81
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
108
2016 Final Season Ranking: 97 (4-8)
Key Season Score Element: The win over UAB saved Ball State from finishing from the bottom five.
Best Win: UAB 51-31
Worst Loss: at Illinois 24-21

116 East Carolina (3-9)

2017 Season Score: -9.41
CFN Preseason Ranking:
89
2016 Final Season Ranking: 101 (3-9)
Key Season Score Element: The loss to James Madison really should’ve be a Bad Loss – it played for the FCS national title – but it dragged down the ECU score.
Best Win: Cincinnati 48-20
Worst Loss: James Madison 34-14

115 Illinois (2-10)

2017 Season Score: -9.26
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
65
2016 Final Season Ranking: 122 (3-9)
Key Season Score Element: The 185 points were the fewest scored by any Power Five team.
Best Win: WKU 20-7
Worst Loss: Rutgers 35-24

114 Hawaii (3-9)

2017 Season Score: -8.59
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
104
2016 Final Season Ranking: 74 (7-7)
Key Season Score Element: Two of the three wins – Western Carolina and San Jose State – were Bad Wins.
Best Win: at UMass 38-35
Worst Loss: at Nevada 35-21

113 Nevada (3-9)

2017 Season Score: -8.44
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
91
2016 Final Season Ranking: 100 (5-7)
Key Season Score Element: The Point Differential – 69 – was among the best among the bottom 30 teams.
Best Win: UNLV 23-16
Worst Loss: Idaho State 30-28

112 Connecticut (3-9)

2017 Season Score: -7.97
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
106
2016 Final Season Ranking: 119 (3-9)
Key Season Score Element: Two of the three wins – Holy Cross and Tulsa – are Bad Wins.
Best Win: at Temple 28-24
Worst Loss: East Carolina 41-38

111 New Mexico (3-9)

2017 Season Score: -7.59
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
86
2016 Final Season Ranking: 51 (9-4)
Key Season Score Element: Two of the three wins – Tulsa and Abilene Christian – were Bad Wins.
Best Win: Air Force 56-38
Worst Loss: UNLV 38-35

110 BYU (4-9)

2017 Season Score: -6.93
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
58
2016 Final Season Ranking: 37 (9-4)
Key Season Score Element: Three of the four wins – Portland State, San Jose State and Hawaii – were Bad Wins.
Best Win: at UNLV 31-21
Worst Loss: at East Carolina 33-17

109 North Carolina (3-9)

2017 Season Score: -6.69
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
44
2016 Final Season Ranking: 31 (8-5)
Key Season Score Element: Two of the three wins – Old Dominion and Pitt – kept those teams from going bowling.
Best Win: at Pitt 34-31
Worst Loss: at Georgia Tech 33-7

108 Cincinnati (4-8)

2017 Season Score: -5.98
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
66
2016 Final Season Ranking: 109 (4-8)
Key Season Score Element: The 131 point differential is one of the biggest of anyone in the top 110.
Best Win: at Tulane 17-16
Worst Loss: at East Carolina 48-20

PLEASE SCROLL DOWN TO THE BOTTOM FOR ALL THE CRITERIA AND HOW THIS IS SCORED

107 Massachusetts (4-8)

2017 Season Score: -5.82
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
126
2016 Final Season Ranking: 118 (2-10)
Key Season Score Element: The 2.5 Bad Loss score crushed the Minutemen – both losses to Hawaii and Coastal Carolina came in the  first two games.
Best Win: Appalachian State 30-27
Worst Loss: at Coastal Carolina 38-28

106 Louisiana (5-7)

2017 Season Score: -5.50
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
122
2016 Final Season Ranking: 80 (6-7)
Key Season Score Element: The two Bad Losses – Tulsa and Georgia Southern – hurt the score, and kept the Ragin’ Cajuns from bowling.
Best Win: New Mexico State 47-34
Worst Loss: Georgia Southern 34-24

105 Idaho (4-8)

2017 Season Ranking: -4.75
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
110
2016 Final Season Ranking: 55 (9-4)
Key Season Score Element: The 58 point differential was among the lowest of anyone in the bottom 30.
Best Win: at South Alabama 29-23
Worst Loss: Coastal Carolina 13-7

104 UNLV (5-7)

2017 Season Score: -4.68
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
94
2016 Final Season Ranking: 91 (4-8)
Key Season Score Element: The loss to Howard to start the season cost UNLV about 20 spots in this, and ended up keeping it out of a bowl game.
Best Win: at Fresno State 26-16
Worst Loss: Howard 43-40

103 Old Dominion (5-7)

2017 Season Score: -4.15
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
109
2016 Final Season Ranking: 41 (10-3)
Key Season Score Element: Three of the five wins – Albany, Charlotte, Rice – were Bad Wins.
Best Win: at FIU 37-30
Worst Loss: North Carolina 53-23

102 ULM (4-8)

2017 Season Score: -4.02
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
113
2016 Final Season Ranking: 108 (4-8)
Key Season Score Element: The one Quality Win over Appalachian Sate kept the Mountaineers from winning the Sun Belt outright.
Best Win: Appalachian State 52-45
Worst Loss: at Idaho 31-23

101 Rutgers (4-8)

2017 Season Score: -3.91
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
75
2016 Final Season Ranking: 126 (2-10)
Key Season Score Element: Two of the four wins – Morgan State, at Illinois – were Bad Wins.
Best Win: Purdue 14-12
Worst Loss: Eastern Michigan 16-13

100 Arkansas (4-8)

2017 Season Ranking: -3.81
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
30
2016 Final Season Ranking: 59 (7-6)
Key Season Score Element: New Mexico State was the only win over a team that finished with a winning record.
Best Win: New Mexico State 42-24
Worst Loss: Missouri 48-45

99 Tennessee (4-8)

2017 Season Score: -3.53
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
28
2016 Final Season Ranking: 10 (9-4)
Key Season Score Element: Tennessee only scored more than 24 points once in the final ten games.
Best Win: Southern Miss 24-10
Worst Loss: Vanderbilt 42-24

98 Maryland (4-8)

2017 Season Score: -3.48
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
48
2016 Final Season Ranking: 85 (6-7)
Key Season Score Element: Four of the eight losses – UCF, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Penn State – were Elite Losses.
Best Win: at Texas 51-41
Worst Loss: Rutgers 31-24

97 Miami University (5-7)

2017 Season Score: -3.48
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
105
2016 Final Season Ranking: 84 (6-7)
Key Season Score Element: The Bad Loss to Bowling Green destroyed the season. It ended up keeping MU from being bowl eligible.
Best Win: at Central Michigan 31-14
Worst Loss: Bowling Green 37-29

96 Nebraska (4-8)

2017 Season Ranking: -2.45
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
41
2016 Final Season Ranking: 32 (9-4)
Key Season Score Element: The Huskers were outscored by 128 points.
Best Win: Purdue 25-24
Worst Loss: at Minnesota 54-21

95 Air Force (5-7)

2017 Season Score: -2.20
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
82
2016 Final Season Ranking: 22 (10-3)
Key Season Score Element: The Bad Loss to New Mexico kept the Falcons out of a bowl game, and down about 20 spots in these rankings.
Best Win: at Colorado State 45-28
Worst Loss: at New Mexico 56-38

94 Eastern Michigan (5-7)

2017 Season Score: -2.00
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
117
2016 Final Season Ranking: 57 (7-6)
Key Season Score Element: The Eagles are the only team from 77 on down to have a positive point differential.
Best Win: at Miami University 27-24
Worst Loss: Western Michigan 20-17

93 Western Kentucky (6-7)

2017 Season Score: -1.72
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
63
2016 Final Season Ranking: 19 (10-3)
Key Season Score Element: Four of the six wins – Eastern Kentucky, Ball State, UTEP, Charlotte – were Bad Wins.
Best Win: Middle Tennessee 41-38
Worst Loss: at Illinois 20-7

92 Pitt (5-7)

2017 Season Score: -1.65
CFN Preseason Ranking: 39
2016 Final Season Ranking: 35 (8-5)
Key Season Score Element: The Bad Loss to North Carolina ultimately kept the Panthers from going bowling and kept them out of the 60s.
Best Win: Miami 24-14
Worst Loss: North Carolina 34-31

91 Colorado (5-7)

2017 Season Score: -1.54
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
52
2016 Final Season Ranking: 13 (10-4)
Key Season Score Element: Three of the five wins were Bad Wins – Texas State, Northern Colorado, Oregon State.
Best Win: Colorado State 17-3
Worst Loss: UCLA 27-23

90 Syracuse (4-8)

2017 Season Score: -1.49
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
53
2016 Final Season Ranking: 89 (4-8)
Key Season Score Element: Syracuse is the only team in the bottom 40 with an Elite Win (Clemson).
Best Win: Clemson 27-24
Worst Loss: Middle Tennessee 30-23

89 California (5-7)

2017 Season Score: -1.35
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
55
2016 Final Season Ranking: 72 (5-7)
Key Season Score Element: Three of the five wins – North Carolina, Weber State, Oregon State – were Bad Wins.
Best Win: Washington State 37-3
Worst Loss: at Colorado 44-28

88 South Alabama (4-8)

2017 Season Score: -1.22
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
118
2016 Final Season Ranking: 79 (6-7)
Key Season Score Element: The Elite win over Troy on the road was the best victory by anyone ranked below 41.
Best Win: at Troy 19-8
Worst Loss: Georgia Southern 52-0

87 Florida (4-8)

2017 Season Score: -0.96
CFN Preseason Ranking: 13
2016 Final Season Ranking: 24 (9-4)
Key Season Score Element: Two of the four wins – Kentucky, UAB – were Quality Wins.
Best Win: at Kentucky 28-27
Worst Loss: Florida State 38-22

86 Utah State (6-7)

2017 Season Score: -0.87
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
98
2016 Final Season Ranking: 103 (3-9)
Key Season Score Element: Four of the six wins – Idaho State, at San Jose State, Hawaii, New Mexico – were Bad Wins.
Best Win: at UNLV 52-28
Worst Loss: at Air Force 38-35

85 Minnesota (5-7)

2017 Season Score: -0.47
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
37
2016 Final Season Ranking: 30 (9-4)
Key Season Score Element: The Gophers beat only one team – Middle Tennessee – that finished with a winning record.
Best Win: Middle Tennessee 34-3
Worst Loss: Maryland 31-24

84 Indiana (5-7)

2017 Season Score: -0.40
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
43
2016 Final Season Ranking: 81 (6-7)
Key Season Score Element: Three of IU’s losses – Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin – were Elite Losses.
Best Win: at Virginia 34-17
Worst Loss: at Maryland 42-39

83 Georgia State (7-5)

2017 Season Score: -0.20
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
121
2016 Final Season Ranking: 106 (3-8)
Key Season Score Element: The lowest-ranked bowl winner, the Bad Loss to Tennessee State dragged down the score.
Best Win: WKU 27-17
Worst Loss: Tennessee State 17-10

82 Vanderbilt (5-7)

2017 Season Score: -0.14
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
57
2016 Final Season Ranking: 52 (6-7)
Key Season Score Element: The Commodores only scored 295 points.
Best Win: Kansas State 14-7
Worst Loss: at Florida 38-24

81 Tulane (5-7)

2017 Season Score: -0.03
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
102
2016 Final Season Ranking: 99 (4-8)
Key Season Score Element: Three of the five wins – Grambling State, Tulsa and East Carolina – were Bad Wins.
Best Win: Army 21-17
Worst Loss: Cincinnati 17-16

80 Akron (7-7)

2017 Season Score: 0.18
CFN Preseason Ranking:
119
2016 Final Season Ranking: 98 (5-7)
Key Season Score Element: Four of the seven wins – Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Bowling Green, Ball State, Kent State – are Bad Wins.
Best Win: Ohio 37-34
Worst Loss: Miami University 24-14

79 Western Michigan (6-6)

2017 Season Score: 0.34
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
77
2016 Final Season Ranking: 4 (13-1)
Key Season Score Element: The Broncos had the highest positive point differential among the bottom 77 teams.
Best Win: at Buffalo 71-68
Worst Loss: Akron 14-13

78 New Mexico State (7-6)

2017 Season Score: 0.74
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
123
2016 Final Season Ranking: 104 (3-9)
Key Season Score Element: NMSU didn’t beat a team that finished with a winning record.
Best Win: Utah State 26-20
Worst Loss: at Arkansas 42-24

77 Virginia (6-7)

2017 Season Score: 0.95
CFN Preseason Ranking: 71
2016 Final Season Ranking: 125 (2-10)
Key Season Score Element: The -76 point differential is the biggest among the bottom 79 teams.
Best Win: at Boise State 42-23
Worst Loss: Indiana 34-17

76 Colorado State (7-6)

2017 Season Score: 1.27
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
56
2016 Final Season Ranking: 53 (7-6)
Key Season Score Element: Six of the seven wins were Bad Wins (3 wins or fewer). Utah State is the only one that wasn’t.
Best Win: Utah State 27-14
Worst Loss: Air Force 45-28

75 Georgia Tech (5-6)

2017 Season Score: 1.62
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
38
2016 Final Season Ranking: 39 (9-4)
Key Season Score Element: The Yellow Jackets had just two Quality Wins: Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.
Best Win: Virginia Tech 28-22
Worst Loss: Tennessee 42-41

74 UCLA (6-7)

2017 Season Score: 1.67
CFN Preseason Ranking:
32
2016 Final Season Ranking: 90 (4-8)
Key Season Score Element: The 476 points allowed were the third-most by anyone in the top 101.
Best Win: Texas A&M 45-44
Worst Loss: at Utah 48-17

73 Temple (7-6)

2017 Season Score: 1.70
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
81
2016 Final Season Ranking: 23 (10-4)
Key Season Score Element: The Bad Loss to Temple cost the Owls around 20 spots.
Best Win: Navy 34-26
Worst Loss: Connecticut 28-24

72 Buffalo (6-6)

2017 Season Score: 1.94
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
120
2016 Final Season Ranking: 124 (2-10)
Key Season Score Element: Four of the six wins – Colgate, Bowling Green, Ball State and Kent State – were Bad Wins.
Best Win: Florida Atlantic 34-31
Worst Loss: at Miami University 24-14

71 UTSA (6-5)

2017 Season Score: 2.02
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
114
2016 Final Season Ranking: 67 (6-7)
Key Season Score Element: Five of the six wins were Bad Wins – Marshall was the only win over an FBS team that didn’t finish with three wins.
Best Win: Marshall 9-7
Worst Loss: at FIU 14-7

70 Missouri (7-6)

2017 Season Score: 2.03
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
36
2016 Final Season Ranking: 78 (4-8)
Key Season Score Element: The Tigers didn’t beat anyone who finished with a winning record.
Best Win: Tennessee 50-17
Worst Loss: Purdue 35-3

69 Ole Miss (6-6)

2017 Season Score: 2.41
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
49
2016 Final Season Ranking: 64 (5-7)
Key Season Score Element: Only two of the six wins – Kentucky, Mississippi State – were Quality Wins.
Best Win: Mississippi State 31-28
Worst Loss: Arkansas 38-37

68 Texas Tech (6-7)

2017 Season Score: 2.48
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
50
2016 Final Season Ranking: 77 (5-7)
Key Season Score Element: Three of the six wins were Quality Wins, the other three were Bad Wins.
Best Win: at Texas 27-23
Worst Loss: at West Virginia 46-35

67 Texas A&M (7-6)

2017 Season Score: 2.55
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
34
2016 Final Season Ranking: 42 (8-5)
Key Season Score Element: The Aggies only had one Quality Win among the seven vs. …
Best Win: South Carolina 24-17
Worst Loss: at UCLA 45-44

66 Arizona (7-6)

2017 Season Score: 2.69
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
62
2016 Final Season Ranking: 111 (3-9)
Key Season Score Element: The 537 points were the most scored by anyone outside of the top 24.
Best Win: Washington State 58-37
Worst Loss: Houston 19-16

65 Middle Tennessee (7-6)

2017 Season Score: 3.38
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
85
2016 Final Season Ranking: 62 (8-5)
Key Season Score Element: The Blue Raiders won four of their last five games.
Best Win: Arkansas State 35-30
Worst Loss: at Minnesota 34-3

T63 West Virginia (7-6)

2017 Season Score: 3.19
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
29
2016 Final Season Ranking: 28 (10-3)
Key Season Score Element: Four of the seven wins – East Carolina, Delaware State, Kansas, Baylor – were Bad Wins.
Best Win: Iowa State 20-16
Worst Loss: Utah 30-14

T63 SMU (7-6)

2017 Season Score: 3.19
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
101
2016 Final Season Ranking: 87 (5-7)
Key Season Score Element: The 477 points allowed were the second-most allowed by anyone in the top 101.
Best Win: Arkansas State 44-21
Worst Loss: Louisiana Tech 51-10

62 Louisiana Tech (7-6)

2017 Season Score: 3.45
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
74
2016 Final Season Ranking: 43 (9-5)
Key Season Score Element: 102 of the team’s 396 points came in the opener against Northwestern State and the bowl win over SMU.
Best Win: SMU 51-10
Worst Loss: at UAB 23-22

61 Northern Illinois (8-5)

2017 Season Score: 3.53
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
95
2016 Final Season Ranking: 88 (5-7)
Key Season Score Element: NIU is the only team in the top 69 without a win over a team that finished with a winning record.
Best Win: at Nebraska 21-17
Worst Loss: at Central Michigan 31-24

60 Utah (7-6)

2017 Season Score: 3.87
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
33
2016 Final Season Ranking: 46 (9-4)
Key Season Score Element: The Utes only had two Quality Wins: at Arizona and …
Best Win: West Virginia 30-14
Worst Loss: at Oregon 41-20

59 Kentucky (7-6)

2017 Season Score: 4.19
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
42
2016 Final Season Ranking: 60 (7-6)
Key Season Score Element: Kentucky is one of the four teams with a negative Point Differential – 35 points – in the top 75.
Best Win: at South Carolina 23-13
Worst Loss: Florida 28-27

58 Arkansas State (7-5)

2017 Season Score: 4.28
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
99
2016 Final Season Ranking: 66 (8-5)
Key Season Score Element: The 145 Point Differential was the biggest of anyone outside of the top 40.
Best Win: at New Mexico State 37-21
Worst Loss: at South Alabama 24-19

57 Wyoming (8-5)

2017 Season Score: 4.39
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
90
2016 Final Season Ranking: 44 (8-6)
Key Season Score Element: The 228 points allowed were the fewest given up by anyone outside of the top 32.
Best Win: Central Michigan 37-14
Worst Loss: at San Jose State 20-17

56 Duke (7-6)

2017 Season Score: 4.60
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
76
2016 Final Season Ranking: 94 (4-8)
Key Season Score Element: Three of the Duke wins were Quality Wins, three were Bad Wins. Georgia Tech was the other.
Best Win: Northwestern 41-17
Worst Loss: Pitt 24-17

55 Florida State (7-6)

2017 Season Score: 4.65
CFN Preseason Ranking: 2
2016 Final Season Ranking: 6 (10-3)
Key Season Score Element: All six wins came against teams that finished with winning records.
Best Win: at Wake Forest 26-19
Worst Loss: Louisville 31-28

54 Central Michigan (8-5)

2017 Season Score: 4.74
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
64
2016 Final Season Ranking: 76 (6-7)
Key Season Score Element: Four of the eight wins – Rhode Island, Kansas, Ball State, Kent State – are Bad Wins.
Best Win: at Ohio 26-23
Worst Loss: Miami University 31-14

53 FIU (7-5)

2017 Season Score: 4.75
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
100
2016 Final Season Ranking: 114 (4-8)
Key Season Score Element: FIU had the worst Point Differential – 37 points – of anyone in the top 73.
Best Win: WKU 41-17
Worst Loss: Old Dominion 37-30

52 UAB (8-5)

2017 Season Score: 4.90
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
130
2016 Final Season Ranking: Not Available
Key Season Score Element: UAB is the only team in the top 103 with two Bad Losses: at Ball State and at Charlotte.
Best Win: at Southern Miss 30-12
Worst Loss: at Charlotte 25-24

51 Oregon (7-6)

2017 Season Score: 4.95
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
25
2016 Final Season Ranking: 92 (4-8)
Key Season Score Element: The 377 points allowed are the fifth-most allowed by anyone in the top 65.
Best Win: Arizona 48-28
Worst Loss: at UCLA 31-14

50 Navy (7-6)

2017 Season Score: 5.08
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
88
2016 Final Season Ranking: 34 (9-5)
Key Season Score Element: Navy is the lowest-ranked team with both an Elite Win and an Elite Loss.
Best Win: at Florida Atlantic 42-19
Worst Loss: at Temple 34-26

49 Boston College (7-6)

2017 Season Score: 5.91
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
59
2016 Final Season Ranking: 65 (7-6)
Key Season Score Element: The first ten games were all against teams that went bowling.
Best Win: at Louisville 45-42
Worst Loss: Iowa 27-20

48 Marshall (8-5)

2017 Season Score: 6.00
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
101
2016 Final Season Ranking: 102 (3-9)
Key Season Score Element: The Herd only had two Quality Wins – Middle Tennessee and Colorado State.
Best Win: Middle Tennessee 38-10
Worst Loss: UTSA 9-7

47 Texas (7-6)

2017 Season Score: 6.11
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
12
2016 Final Season Ranking: 82 (5-7)
Key Season Score Element: Four of the seven wins were Quality Wins, the other three were Bad Wins.
Best Win: Kansas State 40-34
Worst Loss: Maryland 51-41

46 Purdue (7-6)

2017 Season Score: 6.15
CFN Preseason Ranking:
67
2016 Final Season Ranking: 115 (3-9)
Key Season Score Element: Four of the seven wins – Ohio, Missouri, Iowa, Arizona – were Quality Wins.
Best Win: Arizona 38-35
Worst Loss: at Rutgers 14-12

45 Arizona State (7-6)

2017 Season Score: 6.16
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
47
2016 Final Season Ranking: 96 (5-7)
Key Season Score Element: ASU is the only team in the top 52 with a negative Point Differential.
Best Win: Washington 13-7
Worst Loss: at UCLA 44-37

44 Michigan (8-5)

2017 Season Score: 6.20
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
21
2016 Final Season Ranking: 14 (10-3)
Key Season Score Element: Michigan only beat one team that went bowling.
Best Win: at Purdue 28-10
Worst Loss: South Carolina 26-19

43 Southern Miss (9-4)

2017 Season Score: 6.23
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
84
2016 Final Season Ranking: 58 (7-6)
Key Season Score Element: Four of the eight wins – Southern, Rice, Charlotte, UTEP – were Bad Wins.
Best Win: at Marshall 28-27
Worst Loss: Kentucky 24-17

42 Kansas State (8-5)

2017 Season Score: 6.80
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
24
2016 Final Season Ranking: 45 (9-4)
Key Season Score Element: Four of the eight wins – Central Arkansas, Charlotte, Baylor, Kansas – were Bad Wins.
Best Win: at Oklahoma State 45-40
Worst Loss: at Vanderbilt 14-7

41 Houston (7-5)

2017 Season Score: 7.11
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
61
2016 Final Season Ranking: 25 (9-4)
Key Season Score Element: The Cougars would’ve been close to cracking the top 30 if they didn’t lose to Tulsa.
Best Win: at USF 28-24
Worst Loss: at Tulsa 45-17

40 Louisville (8-5)

2017 Season Score: 7.51
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
18
2016 Final Season Ranking: 16 (9-3)
Key Season Score Element: The 495 points scored were the second-most by anyone outside of the top 41.
Best Win: Purdue 35-28
Worst Loss: Boston College 45-42

39 Ohio (9-4)

2017 Season Score: 8.62
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
92
2016 Final Season Ranking: 69 (8-6)
Key Season Score Element: The 193 Point Differential was the largest by anyone outside of the top 20.
Best Win: Toledo 38-10
Worst Loss: at Buffalo 31-24

38 Iowa State (8-5)

2017 Season Score: 8.70
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
68
2016 Final Season Ranking: 112 (3-9)
Key Season Score Element: The win at Oklahoma boosted the Cyclones up by more than 20 spots.
Best Win: at Oklahoma 38-31
Worst Loss: Texas 17-7

37 LSU (9-4)

2017 Season Score: 8.77
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
17
2016 Final Season Ranking: 33 (8-4)
Key Season Score Element: The Tigers only had two Quality Wins – Auburn and Texas A&M.
Best Win: Auburn 27-23
Worst Loss: at Mississippi State 37-7

36 North Texas (9-5)

2017 Season Score: 9.21
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
112
2016 Final Season Ranking: 83 (5-8)
Key Season Score Element: Why this high? Five Quality Wins: UAB, Southern Miss, UTSA, Louisiana Tech, and …
Best Win: Army 52-49
Worst Loss: at SMU 54-32

35 Wake Forest (8-5)

2017 Season Score: 9.53
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
70
2016 Final Season Ranking: 68 (7-6)
Key Season Score Element: Ten of the 13 games were against teams that went bowling.
Best Win: at Appalachian State 20-19
Worst Loss: at Georgia Tech 38-24

34 Appalachian State (9-4)

2017 Season Score: 9.66
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
78
2016 Final Season Ranking: 26 (10-3)
Key Season Score Element: The Mountaineers outscored opponents by 172 points.
Best Win: Toledo 34-0
Worst Loss: at UMass 30-27

33 Virginia Tech (9-4)

2017 Season Score: 9.93
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
23
2016 Final Season Ranking: 12 (10-4)
Key Season Score Element: The 192 points allowed were the fewest given up by anyone in the top 70 outside of Alabama.
Best Win: West Virginia 31-24
Worst Loss: at Georgia Tech 28-22

32 USF (10-2)

2017 Season Score: 10.35
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
60
2016 Final Season Ranking: 29 (11-2)
Key Season Score Element: The ten wins were the most by anyone outside of the top 28.
Best Win: Texas Tech 38-34
Worst Loss: Houston 28-24

31 South Carolina (9-4)

 2017 Season Score: 10.40
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
45
2016 Final Season Ranking: 75 (6-7)
Key Season Score Element: The 315 points scored were the fewer by anyone in the top 56.
Best Win: NC State 35-28
Worst Loss: Kentucky 23-13

30 Stanford (9-5)

2017 Season Score: 10.49
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
14
2016 Final Season Ranking: 27 (10-3)
Key Season Score Element: 11 of the 14 games were against teams that went bowling.
Best Win: Notre Dame 38-20
Worst Loss: at Washington State 24-21

29 Washington State (9-4)

2017 Season Score: 10.53
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
26
2016 Final Season Ranking: 47 (8-5)
Key Season Score Element: Five of the nine wins were Quality Wins, three were Bad Wins. Colorado was the other win in-between.
Best Win: USC 30-27
Worst Loss: at California 37-3

28 San Diego State (10-3)

2017 Season Score: 10.89
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
57
2016 Final Season Ranking: 21 (11-3)
Key Season Score Element: Five of the ten wins – UC Davis, Hawaii, San Jose State, Nevada, New Mexico – were Bad Wins.
Best Win: Stanford 20-17
Worst Loss: Army 42-35

27 Iowa (8-5)

2017 Season Score: 10.95
CFN Preseason Ranking:
22
2016 Final Season Ranking: 54 (8-5)
Key Season Score Element: The win over Ohio State made this the highest-ranked team with fewer than nine wins by 11 spots.
Best Win: Ohio State 55-24
Worst Loss: Purdue 24-15

26 Toledo (11-3)

2017 Season Score: 10.96
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
73
2016 Final Season Ranking: 36 (9-4)
Key Season Score Element: Five of the 11 wins – Elon, Nevada, Tulsa, Ball State, Bowling Green – were bad wins. Toledo is the only team with 11 wins outside of the top 15.
Best Win: Northern Illinois 27-17
Worst Loss: Ohio 38-10

2017 CFN Top 25: Season Formula

25 NC State (9-4)

2017 Season Score: 11.35
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
20
2016 Final Season Ranking: 61 (7-6)
Key Season Score Element: NC State is one of just two teams – Mississippi State the other – with fewer than ten wins in the top 26.
Best Win: Arizona State 52-31
Worst Loss: South Carolina 35-28

It was a bit of an uneven season that was almost a whole lot better. Five of the nine wins were Quality Wins with nine games against teams that went bowling.

24 Memphis (10-3)

2017 Season Score: 11.97
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
72
2016 Final Season Ranking: 48 (8-5)
Key Season Score Element: The 592 points scored were the most by anyone outside of the top four.
Best Win: Navy 30-27
Worst Loss: Iowa State 21-20

The Tigers suffered from UCF. They lost two games to the Knights, and couldn’t get going in the bowl against Iowa State. There might not be a whole slew of splashy wins, but MU beat UCLA and Navy. However, the three Quality Wins are the fewest among the top 25.

23 Fresno State (10-4)

2017 Season Score: 12.00
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
103
2016 Final Season Ranking: 127 (1-11)
Key Season Score Element: The five Bad Wins – Incarnate Word, Nevada, San Jose State, New Mexico, Hawaii – were the most by anyone in the top 25.
Best Win: Boise State 28-17
Worst Loss: UNLV 26-16

The biggest shocker of the season outside of UCF, the Bulldogs got to ten wins with one of the toughest defenses in the country. A bulk of the wins were Bad Wins, and outside of the loss to UNLV, the other three defeats came against top 16 teams – Alabama, Boise State, Washington.

22 Mississippi State (9-4)

2017 Season Score: 12.38
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
46
2016 Final Season Ranking: 71 (6-7)
Key Season Score Element: The only team with fewer than ten wins to finish in the top 24.
Best Win: LSU 37-7
Worst Loss: Ole Miss 31-28

The Bulldogs had a sneaky-great season with wins over LSU, Texas A&M and Louisville along the way. Five of the wins were Quality Wins, and despite the struggles against the SEC Elite outside of the Ole Miss loss, they came up with the fourth-best SEC season.

21 Northwestern (10-3)

2017 Season Score: 12.71
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
35
2016 Final Season Ranking: 63 (7-6)
Key Season Score Element: The 380 points scored were among the fewest of anyone in the top 25.
Best Win: Michigan State 39-31
Worst Loss: at Duke 41-17

The Wildcats didn’t score enough, and the 119 Point Differential isn’t all that great for a top team, but closing out with eight straight wins to close things out put their season among the elite.

20 Oklahoma State (10-3)

2017 Season Score: 13.30
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
16
2016 Final Season Ranking: 18 (10-3)
Key Season Score Element: The Cowboys scored 585 points and had the highest Point Differential – 203 points – by anyone outside of the top 16.
Best Win: Virginia Tech 30-21
Worst Loss: Kansas State 45-40

The offense bludgeoned just about everyone to come up with one of the top 20 seasons, but there weren’t any Elite Wins. That loss to Kansas State kept them out of the top 15.

19 Michigan State (9-3)

2017 Season Score: 13.36
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
31
2016 Final Season Ranking: 113 (3-9)
Key Season Score Element: The win over Penn State moved the Spartans into the top 20.
Best Win: Penn State 27-24
Worst Loss: at Northwestern 39-31

The Spartans weren’t always scintillating, but their season got here with the win over Penn State and without any major screwups. The 59 Point Differential was the lowest by anyone in the top 40.

18 Army (10-3)

2017 Season Score: 13.40
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
96
2016 Final Season Ranking: 50 (8-5)
Key Season Score Element: The bowl win over San Diego State moved Army’s season up around 20 spots.
Best Win: San Diego State 42-35
Worst Loss: Tulane 21-17

The Knights came up with a slew of really, really nice Quality Wins over Navy and San Diego State to close things out, and with wins over Temple and Duke over the second half of the season to get into the top 18.

17 Miami (10-3)

2017 Season Score: 13.82
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
11
2016 Final Season Ranking: 11 (9-4)
Key Season Score Element: The Hurricanes came up with five Quality Wins: Toledo, Duke, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame.
Best Win: Notre Dame 41-8
Worst Loss: Pitt 24-14

The Canes came really, really, really to ranking a whole lot higher on the Season Formula. Toledo losing its bowl game took away a possible Elite Win, and Notre Dame losing to Stanford did, too. Even so, it was strong year until the final three games.

16 Washington (10-3)

2017 Season Score: 14.14
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
6
2016 Final Season Ranking: 5 (12-2)
Key Season Score Element: The 262 point differential was the dishes by anyone outside of the top seven.
Best Win: Fresno State 48-16
Worst Loss: at Arizona State 13-7

Washington’s margin of victory was massive – when it won. But as this Season Formula points out, there just weren’t enough giant wins over great teams. The four Quality Wins were the fewest by anyone in the top 17, and there weren’t any Elite Wins to help the cause.

15 Troy (11-2)

2017 Season Score: 15.55
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
79
2016 Final Season Ranking: 20 (10-3)
Key Season Score Element: The 11 wins ties with Toledo for the most by anyone outside of the top 14.
Best Win: st LSU 24-21
Worst Loss: South Alabama 19-8

The Trojans put together a fantastic season with a win over LSU as part of the five Quality Wins to offset the four Bad Wins along the way. The Trojans didn’t destroy teams, but they came up with enough solid victories to get into the high rent district. USF was the only other team outside of the top eight to finish with two losses.

14 USC (11-3)

2017 Season Score: 15.69
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
10
2016 Final Season Ranking: 15 (10-3)
Key Season Score Element: The six Quality Wins – Stanford, Texas, Utah, Arizona State, Arizona, Stanford – were the most by anyone outside of the top 12.
Best Win: Stanford 31-28
Worst Loss: at Washington State 30-27

There were a lot of solid wins, but the Trojans couldn’t get by the top teams on the slate, Notre Dame and Ohio State. That’s the difference this year between being a top five team, and being here – there weren’t any Elite Wins to be had by them in the Pac-12 this season.

13 Auburn (10-4)

2017 Season Score: 16.11
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
15
2016 Final Season Ranking: 38 (8-5)
Key Season Score Element: Auburn played five Elite games – Clemson, Alabama, UCF and Georgia twice – and won two of them.
Best Win: Alabama 26-14
Worst Loss: at LSU 27-23

Auburn screwed up everyone. That loss to UCF in the Peach Bowl threw everything about the Season Formula into a tailspin up top, but don’t forget, the Tigers also lost to LSU along the way. Maryland was the only team with more Elite Losses, but the three were a whole bunch.

12 Florida Atlantic (11-3)

2017 Season Score: 17.04
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
97
2016 Final Season Ranking: 120 (3-9)
Key Season Score Element: The Owls scored 568 points with a 250 Point Differential.
Best Win: North Texas 69-31
Worst Loss: at Buffalo 34-31

How are the Owls here? Lots and lots and lots of blowout wins. Lane Kiffin’s club ended up rolling through Conference USA to get to 11 wins, but the real key were the 568 points and the MASSIVE point differential that helped get them into the top 12.

11 TCU (11-3)

2017 Season Score: 17.58
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
19
2016 Final Season Ranking: 70 (6-7)
Key Season Score Element: The Horned Frogs outscored teams by a total of 204 points.
Best Win: at Oklahoma State 44-31
Worst Loss: at Iowa State 14-7

Oklahoma. That was it. The Horned Frogs might have lost to Iowa State along the way, but the two losses to the Sooners were the difference between a great season and a truly special one. They still managed to come up with six Quality Wins, and got an Elite Win against Oklahoma State to get to the Big 12 Championship.

10 Boise State (11-3)

2017 Season Score: 17.89
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
54
2016 Final Season Ranking: 17 (10-3)
Key Season Score Element: The two Elite Wins over Troy and San Diego State boosted the Broncos into the top ten.
Best Win: at San Diego State 31-14
Worst Loss: Virginia 42-23

There were some shaky moments early on, but the win over San Diego State, the Mountain West title victory over Fresno State, and the bowl win over Oregon boosted the Broncos up to 11 wins with two Elite Wins and a spot in the top ten. There were some whiffs along the way, but it was still a top ten season.

9 Notre Dame (10-3)

2017 Season Score: 18.43
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
27
2016 Final Season Ranking: 86 (4-8)
Key Season Score Element: The ten wins were the fewest of anyone in the top 12.
Best Win: USC 49-14
Worst Loss: at Stanford 38-20

The losses to Miami and Stanford might have been ugly, but the eight Quality Wins were tied for the most by anyone in the country. Beating Michigan State was a big deal in the Season Ranking, but the key was a schedule with 11 games against bowl teams. North Carolina and Miami University were the only teams on the slate that didn’t go bowling.

8 Penn State (11-2)

2017 Season Score: 20.30
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
9
2016 Final Season Ranking: 9 (11-3)
Key Season Score Element: The 320 Point Differential was the biggest by anyone outside of Alabama.
Best Win: Washington 35-28
Worst Loss: at Michigan State 27-24

So, so close to playing for the Big Ten Championship, the Nittany Lions blew out just about everyone with a massive Point Differential to overcome the measly five Quality Wins – the fewest by anyone in the top 12. However, beating Washington in the Fiesta Bowl, and taking down Northwestern on the road boosted the final ranking.

7 Clemson (12-2)

2017 Season Score: 22.37
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
4
2016 Final Season Ranking: 1 (14-1)
Key Season Score Element: The eight Quality Wins tied for the most by anyone this season.
Best Win: Auburn 14-6
Worst Loss: at Syracuse 27-24

Clemson put up eight Quality Wins and won most of its games with ease, but for all the hoo-ha over the great September, the only Elite Win came against Miami in the ACC Championship. In all, though, the Tigers played 11 bowl teams, and they caught a break by not being punished too much for the loss at Syracuse – the worst by and College Football Playoff team in the era.

6 Wisconsin (13-1)

2017 Season Score: 22.71
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
8
2016 Final Season Ranking: 7 (11-3)
Key Season Score Element: The Badgers were one of three teams with fewer than two losses.
Best Win: Miami 34-24
Worst Loss: Ohio State 27-21

For all the talk about not playing anyone this year, the Badgers were still able to get into the top six thanks to the 13 wins – the most by anyone outside of the top three – with six Quality Wins and the one Elite Win in the Orange Bowl.

5 Ohio State (12-2)

2017 Season Score: 22.96
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
3
2016 Final Season Ranking: 3 (11-2)
Key Season Score Element: The Buckeyes outscored teams by 310 points.
Best Win: Wisconsin 27-21
Worst Loss: at Iowa 55-24

The three Elite Wins over Wisconsin, USC and Penn State helped boost up the Buckeyes past Wisconsin into this spot in the Season Rankings. The 576 points were massive, the six Quality Wins were fine, and the overall body of work was great – when they didn’t have to go to Iowa City.

4 Oklahoma (12-2)

2017 Season Score: 22.39
CFN Preseason Ranking: 5
2016 Final Season Ranking: 8 (11-2)
Key Season Score Element: The 3.5 Elite Win score was the best by far. No one else did better than scoring a two.
Best Win: at Ohio State 31-16
Worst Loss: Iowa State 38-31

It was a brilliant season all the way around. Baker Mayfield won the Heisman, the Sooners won a third straight Big 12 title, and it was a thriller of a game against Georgia in the Rose Bowl, even if it came up just short. The wins over Ohio State,

3 Georgia (13-2)

2017 Season Score: 24.72
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
7
2016 Final Season Ranking: 49 (8-5)
Key Season Score Element: The Bulldogs had as many Quality Wins (8) as Alabama and UCF, and won as many overall games (13).
Best Win: at Notre Dame 20-19
Worst Loss: at Auburn 40-17

The Dawgs came an overtime loss in the national title from having the top season by a mile. They played a better overall schedule than UCF did, but those two losses put them third. It was a great year with an SEC Championship and enough Quality Wins to easily be third. The two losses, though, weren’t able to get them up any higher.

2 Alabama (13-1)

2017 Season Score: 26.20
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
1
2016 Final Season Ranking: 2 (14-1)
Key Season Score Element: The only two Elite Wins came in the College Football Playoff.
Best Win: Georgia 26-23 OT
Worst Loss: at Auburn, 26-14

In the CFN Historical Season Formula rankings, the actual national champion didn’t finish first just one other time in the BCS/CFP era – 2011, when Alabama didn’t win the SEC Championship then, either.

And that’s sort of the point of this formula. At the very, very top, if a team didn’t go through that one extra nasty elite showdown in a conference championship, it takes something extraordinary to be on top in the season formula. Even so, the College Football Playoff champion will almost always have had the best season.

Had Georgia won the College Football Playoff National Championship, it’s No. 1 in the Season Formula Rankings with ease.

In the end, as it turned out, Alabama lost to Auburn, UCF did. That one loss was the difference. Alabama didn’t win a conference championship. UCF did. Alabama didn’t go unbeaten. UCF did.

Again, normally, the College Football Playoff National Champion is going to be No. 1 by a mile, but it could’ve been a bigger margin for the Knights had they played and beat Georgia Tech.

1 UCF (13-0)

2017 Season Score: 26.23
CFN Preseason Ranking: 
80
2016 Final Season Ranking: 75 (6-7)
Key Season Score Element: UCF had eight Quality Wins – as many as Alabama. No one else had more.
Best Win: Auburn 34-27
Worst Loss: None

Yup … they won the Season Rankings by 0.03.

UCF gets credit for an Elite Win in the American Athletic Conference championship over Memphis, because that was the second time the Knights beat the Tigers – just like Oklahoma gets credit in the Big 12 Championship for beating a TCU team that finished with three losses for a second time.

The offense that blew up helped the cause, and it had as many wins over teams that finished with winning records as Alabama did. But it was simple. UCF didn’t lose.

Does that mean UCF was a better team than Alabama? Nah – Bama is No. 1 in the final CFP opinion rankings. But in terms of who had the better overall season, UCF went unbeaten and won a conference championship. Alabama didn’t.

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.

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