CFN Final 2020 College Football Rankings Top 50
50 Memphis Tigers (8-3)
CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 60
Best Win: UCF 50-49
Worst Loss: at Tulane 35-21
Why Ranked Here? The Tigers were able to get through 11 games including a bowl victory over Florida Atlantic. It would’ve been nice to have beaten SMU and Tulane, but getting by UCF and Houston was good.
49 Boise State Broncos (5-2)
CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 43
Best Win: at Hawaii 52-21
Worst Loss: BYU 51-17
Why Ranked Here? Boise State is supposed to win the Mountain West championship and be one of the Group of Five’s biggest stars, but it was gutted in the offensive backfield in the blowout loss to BYU and lost the MW title game to a strong San Jose State – no shame in either of those. There wasn’t a huge win, though.
48 Boston College Eagles (6-5)
CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 67
Best Win: Pitt 31-30
Worst Loss: at Virginia 43-32
Why Ranked Here? It wasn’t a bad first year under head coach Jeff Hafley, starting out with a 3-1 record and with a great push against Clemson. It would’ve been nice to close out with a win over a mediocre Virginia team, but losing to Clemson, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech and North Carolina was okay.
47 San Jose State Spartans (7-1)
CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 100
Best Win: Boise State (MWC Champ) 34-20
Worst Loss: Ball State (Arizona Bowl) 34-13
Why Ranked Here? It’s a shame the Spartans were so ravaged for the bowl game against Ball State, but it was still a dominant Mountain West season with all seven victories by double-digits including the conference championship win over Boise State.
46 Ball State Cardinals (7-1)
CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 92
Best Win: San Jose State (Arizona Bowl) 34-13
Worst Loss: at Miami Univ. 38-31
Why Ranked Here? The program was on a run of six straight losing seasons and started out with a loss to Miami University. And then everything kicked in with seven straight wins including a MAC Championship over Buffalo and a bowl game domination over a fantastic – but completed – San Jose State.
45 Virginia Cavaliers (5-5)
CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 31
Best Win: North Carolina 44-41
Worst Loss: at Wake Forest 40-23
Why Ranked Here? It was a strange season that started with a 1-4 start before going on a run of four straight wins to save the campaign. Losing to Virginia Tech stinks, but winter over North Carolina and Boston College were strong.
44 TCU Horned Frogs (6-4)
CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 34
Best Win: at Texas 33-31
Worst Loss: Kansas State 21-14
Why Ranked Here? Very, very, very quietly, TCU was able to overcome a rough first four games to roll for five wins in the final six games including a victory over Oklahoma State. This was a bit better of a team that it got credit for.
43 West Virginia Mountaineers (6-4)
CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 55
Best Win: Army (Liberty Bowl) 24-21
Worst Loss: at Texas Tech 34-27
Why Ranked Here? The Mountaineers could never get a run going with four of the wins followed up by losses, but they survived Army to win a bowl game and were the only team to beat TCU over the second half of the season.
42 Virginia Tech Hokies (5-6)
CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 16
Best Win: NC State 45-24
Worst Loss: at Wake Forest 23-16
Why Ranked Here? The Hokies were always that team that was supposed to be great, but could never quite get the team all together to show what it could do, and then … ugh. A four-game losing streak was helped by a rivalry win over Virginia.
41 Pitt Panthers (6-5)
CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 18
Best Win: Virginia Tech 47-14
Worst Loss: at Boston College 31-19
Why Ranked Here? The Panthers were able to turn it on in the end with three wins in the last four games, but injuries played a role in the middle of the yea. There wasn’t a big-time win over anyone amazing, but coming up with a winning season in the ACC this year was solid.
40 Wake Forest Demon Deacons (4-5)
CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 39
Best Win: Virginia Tech 23-16
Worst Loss: at Louisville 45-21
Why Ranked Here? The Demon Deacons started slow, got hot, and ended with a three-game losing streak as they tried to keep starting and stopping throughout the rough year. They beat Virginia and Virginia Tech, though, and got into a 59-53 fight with North Carolina.
39 Tulsa Golden Hurricane (6-3)
CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 94
Best Win: SMU 28-24
Worst Loss: Mississippi State (Armed Forces Bowl) 28-26
Why Ranked Here? It all ended with an ugly fight against Mississippi State and a walk-off field goal loss to Tulsa, but Tulsa proved it really could hang with the decent teams. All three defeats – including to Oklahoma State – were close – but there wasn’t any sort of a strong win.
38 Mississippi State Bulldogs (4-7)
CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 24
Best Win: Tulsa (Armed Forces Bowl) 28-26
Worst Loss: Arkansas 21-14
Why Ranked Here? There wasn’t anything pretty about it, but beating LSU on the road in the opener was fun, beating Tulsa in the bowl game was interesting – even with the ugly ending, and beating Missouri in the SEC finals helped. There’s a LOT of tweaking to be done, though.
37 NC State Wolfpack (8-4)
CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 44
Best Win: Liberty 15-14
Worst Loss: at Virginia Tech 45-24
Why Ranked Here? The loss to Kentucky in the Gator Bowl ended things with a thud, but the Wolfpack were able to get by Wake Forest, Virginia and Pitt, and they handed Liberty their only loss. Getting rocked by Virginia Tech stunk, but that was way back in Week 2.
36 Kentucky Wildcats (5-6)
CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 25
Best Win: NC State (Gator Bowl) 23-21
Worst Loss: Ole Miss 42-41
Why Ranked Here? It was a losing season, but Kentucky would’ve had a winning run if it played a normal non-conference slate. It was able to get by NC State in the Gator Bowl, but that was about it. All four other losses were against the SEC weaklings, but there wasn’t horrible loss.
35 Arizona State Sun Devils (2-2)
CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 64
Best Win: at Oregon State 46-33
Worst Loss: UCLA 25-18
Why Ranked Here? This is based mostly on how good we think the team was. That’s not quite fair, but the Sun Devils lost a thriller to USC, hit Arizona 70-7 – but who doesn’t? – and the loss to UCLA was a thriller.
34 Arkansas Razorbacks (3-7)
CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 68
Best Win: Ole Miss 33-21
Worst Loss: LSU 27-24
Why Ranked Here? The Hogs were able to come up with a win over Ole Miss, they got jobbed out of the Auburn game, and they managed to hang around in close game after close game against everyone but the superstars. Getting rocked by Alabama, Florida, Texas A&M and Georgia is okay.
33 Missouri Tigers (5-5)
CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 45
Best Win: LSU 45-41
Worst Loss: at Tennessee 35-12
Why Ranked Here? It ended with a thud – not being able to stop Mississippi State hurt – butt the Tigers were able to beat LSU and Arkansas in shootouts on the way to a solid overall first season under Eliah Drinkwitz.
32 UCLA Bruins (3-4)
CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 57
Best Win: at Arizona State 27-18
Worst Loss: Stanford 48-47
Why Ranked Here? It was … fun? There were only three wins, but the four losses were all in competitive fights that could’ve gone either way, the Arizona State win was a blast, and the program started to look like it’s supposed to under Chip Kelly.
31 Stanford Cardinal (4-2)
CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 35
Best Win: at Washington 31-26
Worst Loss: Colorado 35-32
Why Ranked Here? The Cardinal were missing starting quarterback Davis Mills in the opener against Oregon – 35-14 loss – and followed it up with a tough 35-32 battle with Colorado. That was it. They handed Washington its only loss of the year and closed out with four straight wins by a combined ten points.
30 Colorado Buffaloes (4-2)
CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 59
Best Win: at Stanford 35-32
Worst Loss: Utah 38-21
Why Ranked Here? The Buffaloes might have lost to Utah in the Pac-12 finale, and they were outclassed by Texas in the Alamo Bowl, but the four wins to start the season were enough to get the Karl Dorrell era up and rolling.
29 LSU Tigers (5-5)
CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 5
Best Win: at Florida 37-34
Worst Loss: Mississippi State 44-34
Why Ranked Here? It was weird, but considering how many stars were off of the 2019 team, and how many key parts for 2020 were missing, beating Florida and Ole Miss to close out the season was terrific. The finishing kick was enough to push the Tigers up this high.
28 Oregon Ducks (4-3)
CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 9
Best Win: USC (Pac-12 Champ) 31-24
Worst Loss: at Cal 21-17
Why Ranked Here? Oregon is being given way too much love here for beating USC for the Pac-12 Championship. There were plenty of opt-outs and too many missing pieces in a rebuilding year, but the Ducks should’ve been far better than this.
27 Utah Utes (3-2)
CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 26
Best Win: at Colorado 38-21
Worst Loss: at Washington 24-21
Why Ranked Here? Ignored after starting the season in late November and losing its first two games, the Utes won their final three games including handing Colorado its only loss of the regular season. The loss at Washington was a good battle.
26 Washington Huskies (3-1)
CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 21
Best Win: Utah 24-21
Worst Loss: Stanford 31-26
Why Ranked Here? It was only a four game season, but the Huskies were able to beat a solid Utah team and would’ve had a shot to play for the Pac-12 title if they were able. Beating Oregon State and Arizona wasn’t a big deal, but this year 3-1 is a good start for new head man Jimmy Lake.
College Football News Rankings 2020 Final
130-101 | 76-100 | 51-75 | 11-25 | Top 10
Final AP Rankings | Final Coaches Poll Rankings
Bowl Grades For Every Team | 2020 Bowl Rankings
2019 CFN Final Rankings