CFN Final 2020 College Football Rankings Top 25
25 Wisconsin Badgers (4-3)
CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 11
Best Win: Wake Forest (Duke’s Mayo Bowl) 42-28
Worst Loss: at Iowa 28-7
Why Ranked Here? The Badgers were amazing in the opener against Illinois and rocked Michigan, but they weren’t right the rest of the way with virus issues and injures becoming crushing as the O went into the tank. Beating Minnesota and winning the bowl over Wake Forest made a massively disappointing season better.
24 USC Trojans (5-1)
CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 13
Best Win: at Utah 33-17
Worst Loss: Oregon (Pac-12 Champ) 31-24
Why Ranked Here? The Trojans struggled way too much to get by Arizona State and Arizona, but the wins over Utah and Washington State showed what the team could be. Everything was there to make a theoretical statement to be in the CFP as an unbeaten Power Five champion, but it clunked at home against Oregon.
23 Indiana Hoosiers (6-2)
CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 49
Best Win: at Wisconsin 14-6
Worst Loss: Ole Miss (Outback Bowl) 26-20
Why Ranked Here? This was a potential top ten team that ended up in a freefall thanks to the loss to Ole Miss in the Outback. Beating Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin in any normal year would be wonderful, and IU played Ohio State better than Clemson did.
22 Ole Miss Rebels (5-5)
CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 48
Best Win: Indiana (Outback Bowl) 26-20
Worst Loss: at Arkansas 33-21
Why Ranked Here? The win over Indiana was a puzzle piece for a whole big part of these rankings. The Rebels won four of their last five games after a 1-4 start, and at least provided a bit of an offensive push against Alabama.
21 Auburn Tigers (6-5)
CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 12
Best Win: at Ole Miss 35-28
Worst Loss: at South Carolina 30-22
Why Ranked Here? This might seem way high for a team that dropped three of its last four games, but there’s no shame in losing to Alabama, Texas A&M and – after losing head coach Gus Malzahn – in the bowl to Northwestern. There were a few massive breaks, but the Tigers got the wins over Arkansas and Ole Miss on the way to a 5-2 start.
20 Miami Hurricanes (8-3)
CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 19
Best Win: at NC State 44-41
Worst Loss: Oklahoma State (Cheez-It Bowl) 37-34
Why Ranked Here? The Hurricanes couldn’t handle Clemson, couldn’t stop the North Carolina running game, and lost star QB D’Eriq King in the bowl loss to Oklahoma State. There weren’t a ton of amazing wins, but there’s a blowout win over eventual Conference USA champ UAB and a strong 8-1 run before the finishing kick.
19 Oklahoma State Cowboys (8-3)
CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 22
Best Win: Iowa State 24-21
Worst Loss: at TCU 29-22
Why Ranked Here? It was a strange year – the team never quite played like it was supposed to. Losing to Texas and Oklahoma was okay, but the 29-22 loss at TCU late in the season stung. The 16-7 opener over Tulsa is a whole lot better than it looked at the time, and closing with a Cheez-It Bowl win over Miami made it a solid run.
18 Texas Longhorns (7-3)
CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 14
Best Win: at Oklahoma State 41-34
Worst Loss: TCU 33-31
Why Ranked Here? Yeah, it took a minor miracle to get by Texas Tech, but the losses to TCU, Oklahoma, and Iowa State all were tight and all could’ve gone either way. The Longhorns rocked Kansas State, closed with a blowout win over Colorado in the Alamo Bowl, and … there’s a new era of Longhorn football coming.
17 Iowa Hawkeyes (6-2)
CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 27
Best Win: at Wisconsin 28-7
Worst Loss: at Purdue 24-20
Why Ranked Here? The Hawkeyes lost to Purdue by four and in a comeback by Northwestern by one. That was it. They dominated most of the games the rest of the way with six straight victories including double-digit victories over Wisconsin, Minnesota and Penn State.
16 Iowa State Cyclones (9-3)
CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 36
Best Win: Oregon (Fiesta Bowl) 34-17
Worst Loss: Louisiana 31-14
Why Ranked Here? The Cyclones beat Oklahoma early on in the season, got past Texas, and beat Pac-12 Champion Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl, and … lost to Louisiana. Iowa State only lost to a one-loss Ragin’ Cajun team, to Oklahoma State, and to an Oklahoma team that was far better by the end of the year.
15 Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (10-1)
CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 81
Best Win: at Iowa State 31-14
Worst Loss: Coastal Carolina 30-27
Why Ranked Here? The Ragin’ Cajuns weren’t always sharp, but they beat Fiesta Bowl champion Iowa State by 17 on the road, beat eventual Conference USA champion UAB on the road, and got by a tough Appalachian State team … on the road. They won a bowl game over UTSA, beat four bowl winners, and the only loss was by three to Coastal Carolina.
14 North Carolina Tar Heels (8-4)
CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 17
Best Win: Miami 62-26
Worst Loss: Florida State 31-28
Why Ranked Here? Yeah there was a loss to Florida State, and there was another to Virginia, but the Tar Heels gave Notre Dame a battle and – despite the absence of several star skill parts – pushed Texas A&M hard in the Orange Bowl. They also rocked Miami along the way.
13 BYU Cougars (11-1)
CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 66
Best Win: UCF (Boca Raton Bowl) 49-23
Worst Loss: at Coastal Carolina 22-17
Why Ranked Here? The Cougars made a statement in the opener against Navy, made a statement in the bowl win over UCF, and made statements almost everywhere in between including a 51-17 rocking of Boise State on the road and beat San Diego State. The only loss was in the final moments on the road against Coastal Carolina in one of the best games of the year.
12 Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (11-1)
CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 120
Best Win: BYU 22-17
Worst Loss: Liberty (Cure Bowl) 37-34
Why Ranked Here? The only misfire was in overtime in the Cure Bowl loss to Liberty. They started out with a win at Kansas, went on the road and gave Louisiana its only loss of the season, blasted Georgia State 51-0, and won a thriller over BYU. The season might have ended with a disappointment, but it was a fantastic year.
11 Liberty Flames (10-1)
CFN Preseason Preview Ranking: 112
Best Win: Coastal Carolina (Cure Bowl) 37-34
Worst Loss: at NC State 15-14
Why Ranked Here? There were a TON of lightweight wins, but the Flames managed to beat Syracuse and Virginia Tech on the road, and it took a blocked kick by NC State in the final seconds to keep it from being a 3-0 sweep of the ACC. They handed Coastal Carolina their only loss of the season in a thriller of a Cure Bowl.
College Football News Rankings 2020 Final
130-101 | 76-100 | 51-75 | 26-50 | Top 10
Final AP Rankings | Final Coaches Poll Rankings
Bowl Grades For Every Team | 2020 Bowl Rankings
2019 CFN Final Rankings