College Football News Rankings 1-127: 2020 Final

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

College Football News Rankings 1-127: 2020 Final

CFN Rankings

College Football News Rankings 1-127: 2020 Final

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CFN Final 2020 College Football Rankings Top 75

75 Tennessee Volunteers (3-7)

CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 28
Best Win: Missouri 35-12
Worst Loss: at Arkansas 24-13

Why Ranked Here? Uuuuuuugh. Tennessee started out 2-0 with winter over South Carolina and Missouri, and all started to look strong even after an acceptable loss to Georgia, but it all fell apart losing seven of the last eight games with the only win coming over Vanderbilt. So why even this high? The team was competitive – sort of – but it kept losing.


74 Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (5-4)

CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 78
Best Win: Nevada 24-21
Worst Loss: at Wyoming 31-7

Why Ranked Here? It was a bit of an uneven year, but the Rainbow Warriors won three of their last four games with the lone defeat coming to San Jose State. Throw in the win over Houston in the Frisco Bowl, and it wasn’t a bad first year for Todd Graham.


73 San Diego State Aztecs (4-4)

CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 61
Best Win: Hawaii 34-10
Worst Loss: at Nevada 26-21

Why Ranked Here? There were four losses, but none of them were all that bad – San Jose State, BYU, Colorado and Nevada. There wasn’t a great win, but beating Hawaii will have to do.


72 Cal Golden Bears (1-3)

CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 38
Best Win: Oregon 21-17
Worst Loss: at Oregon State 31-27

Why Ranked Here? The Bears never had any luck getting their season going. They lost their first three games, but they took down Oregon, lost on a blocked kick against Stanford, and lost on the road by four to Oregon State. The record was bad, but the team wasn’t that awful.


71 Illinois Fighting Illini (2-6)

CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 70
Best Win: at Nebraska 41-23
Worst Loss: Purdue 31-24

Why Ranked Here? Winning at Nebraska was just enough to boost up an Illini team that came up with a massively uneven year. It didn’t play poorly in the loss to Purdue, and it beat Rutgers – which means something this year – but there wasn’t too much to get fired up about.


70 UCF Knights (6-4)

CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 30
Best Win: Tulane 51-34
Worst Loss: at Memphis 50-49

Why Ranked Here? There weren’t any great wins, but there also weren’t any horrible losses – BYU in the bowl, Cincinnati, Tulsa and Memphis. UCF is expecting more now, but considering all the early opt-outs and various issues – especially on defense – beating Georgia Tech, Houston and Tulane wasn’t bad.


69 Louisville Cardinals (4-7)

CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 32
Best Win: Wake Forest 45-21
Worst Loss: at Georgia Tech 46-27

Why Ranked Here? It was a disappointing year, but the Cardinals gave Notre Dame a push and closes out with a strong win over Wake Forest, The loss to Georgia Tech hurts, though.


68 Appalachian State Mountaineers (9-3)

CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 62
Best Win: at Georgia Southern 34-26
Worst Loss: at Marshall 17-7

Why Ranked Here? Coastal Carolina and Louisiana took over Appalachian State’s conference, but as losses go, those aren’t bad. Both teams only lost once, and Marshall was one of the best teams in Conference USA. Beating Georgia Southern, Georgia State, and taking out North Texas in the bowl game was solid.


67 Marshall Thundering Herd (7-3)

CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 90
Best Win: Appalachian State 17-7
Worst Loss: Rice 20-0

Why Ranked Here? Everything was going great. The defense was amazing on the way to a 7-0 start, and then the offense died. The Herd lost to Rice, lost the Conference USA championship to UAB, lost to Buffalo, and then fired Doc Holliday.


66 Army Black Knights (9-3)

CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 99
Best Win: Georgia Southern 28-27
Worst Loss: at Tulane 38-12

Why Ranked Here? The 24-21 bowl loss to West Virginia was the big boost. There were three wins over FCS teams, a win over a winless ULM team, and other victories over bad teams. The Knights gave Cincinnati a few problems and had West Virginia in trouble.


65 Tulane Green Wave (6-6)

CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 79
Best Win: Memphis 35-21
Worst Loss: Navy 27-24

Why Ranked Here? The bad performance in the bowl loss to Nevada hurt the final ranking, but losing to a mediocre Navy team was even worse. It was a six-win season, there was a bowl appearance, and the team on four of its last five games before Nevada.


64 SMU Mustangs (7-3)

CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 88
Best Win: Memphis 30-27
Worst Loss: at East Carolina 52-38

Why Ranked Here? It was a super-strange year. The Mustangs were good enough to start 5-0 with a win over Memphis, but they were blasted by Cincinnati, melted down against Tulsa, and got rolled by a bad East Carolina.


63 Buffalo Bulls (6-1)

CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 83
Best Win: Marshall (Camellia Bowl) 17-10
Worst Loss: Ball State (MAC Champ) 38-28

Why Ranked Here? The Bulls were SO close to having an incredible season. They should’ve beaten Ball State for the MAC title, but didn’t. Getting by Marshall for the bowl win was good, but that was the only decent victory. However, it handed Miami University and Kent State their only defeats.


62 UAB Blazers (6-3)

CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 82
Best Win: Marshall (CUSA Champ) 22-13
Worst Loss: at Louisiana Tech 37-34

Why Ranked Here? The Blazers only suffered one mediocre loss – on the road at Louisiana Tech – and was able to take down Marshall for the Conference USA title. However, that’s about it. They got the bad luck of the bowl game being canceled, and there weren’t any amazing wins.


61 Purdue Boilermakers (2-4)

CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 58
Best Win: Iowa 24-20
Worst Loss: Rutgers 37-30

Why Ranked Here? Just when it looked like Purdue was going to come up with something great – beating Iowa and Illinois to start, there were four straight tough losses with no luck whatsoever. Even so, losing to Minnesota, Rutgers and Nebraska wasn’t okay.


60 Rutgers Scarlet Knights (3-6)

CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 85
Best Win: at Michigan State 38-27
Worst Loss: Illinois 23-20

Why Ranked Here? Three wins might not seem like much, but the team was competitive under Greg Schiano in its first season. The turnover-fest win over Michigan State was a great start, the wins over Purdue and Maryland on the road were good, and the days of the brutally ugly losses on a regular basis seemed to stop.


59 Michigan Wolverines (2-4)

CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 10
Best Win: at Minnesota 49-24
Worst Loss: Michigan State 27-24

Why Ranked Here? It was a disastrous season, but at least there were only six games. The wins over Minnesota was fine, but it took overtime to get past Rutgers. Losing to Michigan State is never okay, the defense wasn’t there, and the offense wasn’t good enough.


58 Kansas State Wildcats (4-6)

CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 41
Best Win: at Oklahoma 38-35
Worst Loss: Arkansas State 35-21

Why Ranked Here? The team just didn’t get it back after injuries hit. The loss to Arkansas State to open the season was awful, the loss to Baylor late was bad, and dropping five straight after starting 4-1 was rough, including getting blown out by Iowa State and Texas.


57 Nevada Wolf Pack (7-2)

CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 95
Best Win: Tulane (Famous Idaho Potato Bowl) 38-27
Worst Loss: at Hawaii 24-21

Why Ranked Here? It was a fantastic year. There might have been a loss to San Jose State, and the loss at Hawaii is forgivable, but where there any amazing wins? Sort of – beating San Diego State was strong and taking out Tulane in the bowl was huge for the program.


56 Penn State Nittany Lions (4-5)

CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 8
Best Win: at Michigan 27-17
Worst Loss: Maryland 35-19

Why Ranked Here? When the best win is probably over Rutgers, there’s a problem. Beating Michigan on the road is bigger no matter what, and give the Nittany Lions credit. After the worst start in the program’s history – starting 0-5 – they won their last five.


55 Nebraska Cornhuskers (3-5)

CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 47
Best Win: Penn State 30-23
Worst Loss: Illinois 41-23

Why Ranked Here? The machine could just never turn on. There were wins over Penn State, Purdue and Rutgers, and there weren’t too many brutal blowouts – even the 52-17 loss to Ohio State was better than the score – but losing at home to Illinois by 18 is never okay.


54 Michigan State Spartans (2-5)

CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 40
Best Win: Northwestern 29-20
Worst Loss: Rutgers 38-27

Why Ranked Here? It didn’t help to start the season with seven turnovers in the loss to Rutgers, but the other four losses were acceptable. The Spartans beat Michigan and were the only team other than Ohio State to beat Northwestern.


53 Minnesota Golden Gophers (3-4)

CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 20
Best Win: at Nebraska 24-17
Worst Loss: at Maryland 45-44

Why Ranked Here? Beating Nebraska was nice, but collapsing against Maryland hurt and for this program, getting rolled by 28 by Iowa and losing to Wisconsin will never sit well.


52 Maryland Terrapins (2-3)

CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 73
Best Win: at Penn State 35-19
Worst Loss: Rutgers 27-24

Why Ranked Here? It was a positive year even with the 2-3 record and 43-3 blasting from Northwestern. The comeback win over Minnesota and victory over Penn State showed a good step forward after a disastrous 2019.


51 Oregon State Beavers (2-5)

CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 54
Best Win: Oregon 41-38
Worst Loss: Washington State 38-28

Why Ranked Here? The Beavers beat Oregon. That’s it. That’s everything. The Beavers were able to get by the eventual Pac-12 champ, and they beat a Cal team that was stronger than the 1-3 record. It was a competitive team against everyone else.

College Football News Rankings 2020 Final
130-101 | 76-100 | 26-50 | 11-25 | Top 10
Final AP Rankings | Final Coaches Poll Rankings
Bowl Grades For Every Team | 2020 Bowl Rankings
2019 CFN Final Rankings

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