2011 College Football Rankings – Final Edition

Surprised by the BCS Championship game turning in one of its worst ratings ever? I guess the public doesn’t like rematches, even between two powerhouses like Alabama and LSU. A playoff seems closer than ever, or anything that is a change of the current system, that seems to alienate more and more fans from Bowl season.

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1. Alabama Crimson Tide, 12-1 (55 first place votes) – Began the season as the #2 on the preseason polls, later on lost to LSU in the game of the century. They didn’t get to play in the SEC Championship game, but the BCS put them just above Oklahoma State in the rankings, and in the title game. They destroyed LSU 21-0 with incredible defense, winning their second BCS national title with Nick Saban on board.

2. LSU Tigers, 13-1 (1) – From talks of one of the greatest teams in college football history, came one of Les Miles’ most disappointing moments in his career. They did win their 14 conference title, their first since 2007.

3. Oklahoma State Cowboys, 12-1 (4) – So, did they deserve a shot at the national title? Probably. They won their first Big-12 championship and their first BCS Bowl, beating Stanford 41-38.

4. Oregon Ducks, 12-2 – Chip Kelly keeps winning Pac-12 titles, and the Ducks finally won a big bowl game, beating Wisconsin in a huge Rose Bowl 45-38. It was their first BCS win since the 2002 Fiesta Bowl and first Rose Bowl victory since 1917. They were #3 in the preseason rankings.

5. Arkansas Razorbacks, 11-2 – Making it 3 SEC West in the top 5, Arkansas were #15 in the preseason rankings. They beat Kansas State 29-16 in the Cotton Bowl.

6. USC Trojans, 10-2 – Didn’t play in a bowl game, but did beat Oregon to ruin their national title hopes and putting themselves in a position as the best team in the Pac-12 going into the 2012 season.

7. Stanford Cardinal, 11-2 – Couldn’t make it two BCS bowl wins in a row, reaching the Fiesta Bowl, losing to Oklahoma State. Blew their national title hopes with a loss to Oregon, as Andrew Luck played his final game before heading into a #1 draft pick.

8. Boise State Broncos, 12-1 – Began the season as #5, with two first place votes. Lost to TCU, and found themselves out of a BCS bowl, instead playing in their second straight MAACO Las Vegas Bowl, beating Arizona State for their third straight bowl victory.

9. South Carolina Gamecocks, 11-2 – Began the season as the #9 team in the nation. Lost games to Auburn and Arkansas in their best season under Steve Spurrier, beating Nebraska 30-13 in the Citrus Bowl, their first bowl win since 2006.

10. Wisconsin Badgers, 10-3 – Won the Big Ten again,  their second straight win. Didn’t help them in their second straight Rose Bowl visit, losing to Oregon 45-38.

11. Michigan State Spartans, 11-3 – Their disappointing end to the Big Ten season, losing to Wisconsin in the conference title game was reversed with a dramatic win over Georgia in the Outback bowl 33-30.

12. Michigan Wolverines, 11-2 – The Brady Hoke era started very well, including their first win over Ohio State in 7 years. They won their first BCS Bowl, beating Virginia Tech 23-20 in the Sugar Bowl, for the first time since 2000.

13. Baylor Bears, 10-3 – Finishing in the top 25 for the first time since 1986, finishing the season with a record breaking bowl game, beating Washington in the Alamo Bowl 67-56 to get their first bowl win since 1992.

14. TCU Horned Frogs, 11-2 – After two consecutive BCS bowl games, TCU had to settle for a Poinsettia bowl win, beating Louisiana Tech 31-24.

15. Kansas State Wildcats, 10-3 – Bill Snyder’s return in 2009 took time to sink through, but eventually the Wildcats are back to their winning ways after disappointing seasons. They still lost their bowl game to Arkansas 29-16.

16. Oklahoma Sooners, 10-3 – Started the season as the majority decision #1, but on the way lost games to Texas Tech, Baylor and Oklahoma State. They did beat Iowa in the Insight Bowl to finish with another 10 win season and got to destory Texas 55-17 in the Red River Rivalry.

17. West Virginia Mountaineers, 10-3 – Said their goodbyes, probably, to the Big East with their third win in a BCS Bowl in six season. They humiliated the Clemson Tigers in record breaking fashion in the Orange Bowl, winning 70-33.

18. Houston Cougars, 13-1 – Were on their way to finish the season undefeated until Southern Miss stunned them in the Conference USA title game. They beat Penn State 30-14 in the TicketCity bowl, Case Keenum finishing his college career as the NCAA’s all time leader in Passing yards, touchdowns and completions.

19. Georgia Bulldogs, 10-4 – Started real bad, then the season started moving on the right tracks and Georgia found themselves in the SEC title game, losing to Michigan State 33-30 eventually in the bowl game after getting pushed around by LSU.

20. Southern Miss Golden Eagles, 12-2 – Stunned Houston in the conference USA title game and finished the season with a Hawai’i bowl win over Nevada, beating the Wolf Pack 24-17. It was their first conference title since 2003.

21. Virginia Tech Hokies, 11-3 – Lost in the big games, meaning the bowl game agaisnt Michigan and the ACC title game to Clemson, but finished with over 10+ wins for the eighth straight season.

22. Clemson Tigers, 10-4 – Won the ACC for the first time since 1991, but got humiliated by West Virginia in the Orange Bowl, losing 70-33.

23. Florida State Seminoles, 9-4 – Began the season as the #6 team in the nation, but a three game losing streak early on killed any hopes of a national title or high BCS hopes. Next year? There’s always next year, coming with its high expectations.

24. Nebraska Cornhuskers, 9-4 – Their first season in the Big Ten went OK, but not more. A school with national titles always expects more, and it all ended with a 30-13 loss to South Carolina in the Capital One Bowl. They were #10 in the preseason rankings.

25. Cincinnati Bearcats, 10-3 – Butch Jones certainly turned things around on his second season at Nippert stadium. Cincy shared the Big East title and went on to beat Vanderbilt 31-24 in the Liberty Bowl.