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December 7, 2010

Ranking them all: Rivals.com 120 at 1:20

Here are the final Rivals.com regular-season rankings. We'll unveil our final rankings of the season on the afternoon of Jan. 11.

How do we come up with the rankings? Well, we waited until after Week 5 to release our first set. And there are numerous variables at play, chief among them who a team has beaten and where. While we have a "what have you done for me lately?" mindset, we also consider the rankings a snapshot of the whole season, not just one game; that's why -- at times -- teams are ranked below a team they may have beaten. In addition, if a tiebreaker is needed, it's who we think would win on a neutral field.

One final thing: For those of you who have asked, the reason there are no FCS teams in here is simple. It's the ranking of the 120 FBS teams.

On to the rankings:

Mike Huguenin's 120 at 1:20
1. Auburn (13-0)
BUZZ: After squeezing past Alabama in the Iron Bowl, the Tigers left no doubt in the SEC championship game, steamrolling South Carolina to advance to the national title game. NEXT: vs. Oregon in BCS national championship game, Jan. 10
2. Oregon (12-0)
BUZZ: After an unsteady first half, the Ducks regained their stride and cruised past their archrival in this season's "Civil War" to set up a date with Auburn for the national title. NEXT: vs. Auburn in BCS national championship game, Jan. 10
3. TCU (12-0)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 27. NEXT: vs. Wisconsin in Rose Bowl, Jan. 1
4. Stanford (11-1)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 27. NEXT: vs. Virginia Tech in Orange Bowl, Jan. 3
5. Wisconsin (11-1)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 27. NEXT: vs. TCU in Rose Bowl, Jan. 1
6. Ohio State (11-1)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 27. NEXT: vs. Arkansas in Sugar Bowl, Jan. 4
7. Arkansas (10-2)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 27. NEXT: vs. Ohio State in Sugar Bowl, Jan. 4
8. Boise State (11-1)
BUZZ: The Broncos bounced back from a devastating home loss to Nevada by toying with Utah State. Next up is another team from the Beehive State. NEXT: vs. Utah in Las Vegas Bowl, Dec. 22
9. Michigan State (11-1)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 27. NEXT: vs. Alabama in Capital One Bowl, Jan. 1
10. Oklahoma (11-2)
BUZZ: Ho hum -- another season, another Big 12 title. This time around, the Sooners probably overachieved a bit. NEXT: vs. Connecticut in Fiesta Bowl, Jan. 1
11. Missouri (10-2)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 27. NEXT: vs. Iowa in Insight Bowl, Dec. 28
12. LSU (10-2)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 27. NEXT: vs. Texas A&M in Cotton Bowl, Jan. 7
13. Oklahoma State (10-2)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 27. NEXT: vs. Arizona in Alamo Bowl, Dec. 29
14. Virginia Tech (11-2)
BUZZ: QB Tyrod Taylor and his offensive mates put on a show in cruising past Florida State in the ACC championship game. But the defense sure better tighten up before the bowl game. NEXT: vs. Stanford in Orange Bowl, Jan. 3
15. Texas A&M (9-3)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 25. NEXT: vs. LSU in Cotton Bowl, Jan. 7
16. Nebraska (10-3)
BUZZ: The Huskers had a solid first half in the Big 12 championship game. But the offense was shut down in the second half, and instead of heading to the BCS -- which was expected at the beginning of the season -- the Huskers will finish life in the Big 12 in the Holiday Bowl, which is way down the pecking order. NEXT: vs. Washington in Holiday Bowl, Dec. 30
17. Utah (10-2)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 27. NEXT: vs. Boise State in Las Vegas Bowl, Dec. 22
18. Alabama (9-3)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 27. NEXT: vs. Michigan State in Capital One Bowl, Jan. 1
19. West Virginia (9-3)
BUZZ: WVU rolled over Rutgers in the regular-season finale and finished as tri-champs of the Big East. The Mountaineers are the only team in the nation not to have allowed more than 21 points in a game this season. NEXT: vs. NC State in Champs Sports Bowl, Dec. 28
20. Florida State (9-4)
BUZZ: The defense got overrun in an ACC title game loss to Virginia Tech. But backup QB E.J. Manuel did a nice job leading the offense. NEXT: vs. South Carolina in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, Dec. 31.
21. South Carolina (9-4)
BUZZ: The Gamecocks' defense didn't come close to keeping Cam Newton under control. The result was a 39-point loss in the SEC title game. NEXT: vs. Florida State in the Chick-fil-a Bowl, Dec. 31
22. Nevada (12-1)
BUZZ: There was no letdown for the Wolf Pack. They followed up their huge win over Boise State by winning at Louisiana Tech and keeping the Bulldogs from becoming bowl eligible. NEXT: vs. Boston College in Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, Jan. 9
23. Air Force (8-4)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 18. NEXT: vs. Georgia Tech in Independence Bowl, Dec. 27
24. Mississippi State (8-4)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 27. NEXT: vs. Michigan in Gator Bowl, Jan. 1
25. UCF (10-3)
BUZZ: The Knights' defense came through again, stifling SMU in the C-USA championship game. Beating an SEC team in a bowl would put a cherry on top of a big season. NEXT: vs. Georgia in Liberty Bowl, Dec. 31
26. San Diego State (8-4)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 27. NEXT: vs. Navy in Poinsettia Bowl, Dec. 23
27. N.C. State (8-4)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 27. NEXT: vs. West Virginia in Champs Sports Bowl, Dec. 28
28. Arizona (7-5)
BUZZ: The Wildcats fell apart at the end of the season. Can they regroup for their bowl appearance? NEXT: vs. Oklahoma State in Alamo Bowl, Dec. 29
29. Northern Illinois (10-3)
BUZZ: The Huskies lost a heartbreaker to Miami in the MAC title game. Then, even worse, they lost their coach to Minnesota. NEXT: vs. Fresno State in Humanitarian Bowl, Dec. 18
30. Iowa (7-5)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 27. NEXT: vs. Missouri in Insight Bowl, Dec. 28
31. Notre Dame (7-5)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 27. NEXT: vs. Miami in Sun Bowl, Dec. 31
32. USC (8-5)
BUZZ: The Trojans ended their season with a solid performance against UCLA. But given the NCAA sanctions they face, eight wins might be the best they'll do for a while. NEXT: Season over
33. Connecticut (8-4)
BUZZ: UConn is in the BCS. Think about that for a second, then nod and say to yourself, "You know, Randy Edsall is a darned good coach." NEXT: vs. Oklahoma in Fiesta Bowl, Jan. 1
34. Maryland (8-4)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 27. NEXT: vs. East Carolina in Military Bowl, Dec. 29
35. Penn State (7-5)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 27. NEXT: vs. Florida in Outback Bowl, Jan. 1
36. Michigan (7-5)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 27. NEXT: vs. Mississippi State in Gator Bowl, Jan. 1
37. Navy (8-3)
BUZZ: The Midshipmen will be playing San Diego State in the Poinsettia Bowl. First, though, is the matter of their annual game against their archrival. NEXT: vs. Army in Philadelphia, Saturday
38. Miami (7-5)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 27. NEXT: vs. Notre Dame in Sun Bowl, Dec. 31
39. Tulsa (9-3)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 26. NEXT: vs. Hawaii in Hawaii Bowl, Dec. 24
40. North Carolina (7-5)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 27. NEXT: vs. Tennessee in Music City Bowl, Dec. 30
41. Baylor (7-5)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 20. NEXT: vs. Illinois in Texas Bowl, Dec. 29
42. Kansas State (7-5)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 27. NEXT: vs. Syracuse in Pinstripe Bowl, Dec. 30
43. Florida (7-5)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 27. NEXT: vs. Penn State in Outback Bowl, Jan. 1
44. Pittsburgh (7-5)
BUZZ: The Panthers were a tri-champ in the Big East, but they still are the league's biggest disappointment. Their inconsistency was maddening. Still, they have a great shot at finishing with eight wins. NEXT: vs. Kentucky in BBVA Compass Bowl, Jan. 8
45. Hawaii (10-3)
BUZZ: The Warriors lead the nation in passing offense and rank second in turnover margin at plus-16. NEXT: vs. Tulsa in Hawaii Bowl, Dec. 24
46. Northwestern (7-5)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 27. NEXT: vs. Texas Tech in TicketCity Bowl, Jan. 1
47. Georgia (6-6)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 27. NEXT: vs. UCF in Liberty Bowl, Dec. 31
48. Illinois (6-6)
BUZZ: The Illini surprisingly finished tied for fourth in the Big Ten, but they staggered home down the stretch, losing three of their final four regular-season games. The regular-season finale was a disappointing loss at Fresno State. NEXT: vs. Baylor in Texas Bowl, Dec. 29
49. Texas Tech (7-5)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 27. NEXT: vs. Northwestern in TicketCity Bowl, Jan. 1
50. USF (7-5)
BUZZ: USF came up just short against Connecticut in the regular-season finale. The Bulls need to find a few more playmakers on offense. NEXT: vs. Clemson in Meineke Car Care Bowl, Dec. 31
51. Georgia Tech (6-6)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 27. NEXT: vs. Air Force in Independence Bowl, Dec. 27
52. Southern Miss (8-4)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 26. NEXT: vs. Louisville in Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl, Dec. 21
53. Arizona State (6-6)
BUZZ: The Sun Devils were close to a big season, as four of their losses came by a combined nine points. Still, better things will be expected next season from coach Dennis Erickson and his team. NEXT: Season over
54. Miami of Ohio (9-4)
BUZZ: The RedHawks went 1-11 last season, coach Mike Haywood's first. But they sure turned it around this season. The capper: Despite playing with a backup quarterback, they shocked Northern Illinois and won the MAC title game. NEXT: vs. Middle Tennessee in GoDaddy.Com Bowl, Jan. 6
55. Boston College (7-5)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 27. NEXT: vs. Nevada in Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, Jan. 9
56. Syracuse (7-5)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 27. NEXT: vs. Kansas State in Pinstripe Bowl, Dec. 30
57. Clemson (6-6)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 27. NEXT: vs. USF in Meineke Car Care Bowl, Dec. 31
58. Oregon State (5-7)
BUZZ: The Beavers were disappointing this season. The loss of WR James Rodgers really hurt the offense, and the defense lacked consistency. NEXT: Season over
59. Tennessee (6-6)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 27. NEXT: vs. North Carolina in Music City Bowl, Dec. 30
60. Kentucky (6-6)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 27. NEXT: vs. Pittsburgh in BBVA Compass Bowl, Jan. 8
61. SMU (7-6)
BUZZ: The Mustangs struggled in the second half of the season. Still, they won the C-USA West title in coach June Jones' third season. Next up is a bowl on their home field. NEXT: vs. Army in Armed Forces Bowl, Dec. 30
62. Ohio U. (8-4)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 26. NEXT: vs. Troy in New Orleans Bowl, Dec. 18
63. Temple (8-4)
BUZZ: Season over
64. Louisville (6-6)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 26. NEXT: vs. Southern Miss in Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl, Dec. 21
65. BYU (6-6)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 27. NEXT: vs. UTEP in New Mexico Bowl, Dec. 18
66. Washington (6-6)
BUZZ: The Huskies earned a bowl bid by winning the Apple Cup. Still, there's a lot of improvement needed, especially on defense. NEXT: vs. Nebraska in Holiday Bowl, Dec. 30
67. Fresno State (8-4)
BUZZ: The Bulldogs held off Illinois to win their regular-season finale. Next up is a game against another team from the state of Illinois. NEXT: vs. Northern Illinois in the Humanitarian Bowl, Dec. 18
68. California (5-7)
BUZZ: The Golden Bears underachieved this season. Coach Jeff Tedford needs to re-establish himself as a quarterback guru. NEXT: Season over
69. Iowa State (5-7)
BUZZ: Season over
70. Texas (5-7)
BUZZ: Season over
71. Toledo (8-4)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 26. NEXT: vs. Florida International in Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, Dec. 26
72. Army (6-5)
BUZZ: The Black Knights are going bowling for the first time since 1996; they will be playing at SMU in the Armed Forces Bowl on Dec. 30. First, though, is a game with their archrival. NEXT: vs. Navy in Philadelphia, Saturday
73. East Carolina (6-6)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 26. NEXT: vs. Maryland in Military Bowl, Dec. 29
74. UCLA (4-8)
BUZZ: The offense basically was a disaster this season, which almost certainly means Rick Neuheisel will be coaching for his job next season. NEXT: Season over
75. Colorado (5-7)
BUZZ: Season over.
76. Florida International (6-6)
BUZZ: The Panthers finished the regular season with a disappointing loss to Middle Tennessee. But they earned a portion of the Sun Belt title, and they are going to the first bowl in school history. NEXT: vs. Toledo in Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, Dec. 26
77. Cincinnati (4-8)
BUZZ: From back-to-back BCS appearances to finishing seventh in the Big East. Are the Bearcats already back to what they used to be -- a Big East also-ran? NEXT: Season over
78. Ole Miss (4-8)
BUZZ: Season over
79. Houston (5-7)
BUZZ: Season over
80. UTEP (6-6)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 20. NEXT: vs. BYU in New Mexico Bowl, Dec. 18
81. Troy (7-5)
BUZZ: The Trojans' run of Sun Belt titles has ended, but they ended up with the best overall record in the league after beating FAU in the regular-season finale. NEXT: vs. Ohio U. in New Orleans Bowl, Dec. 18
82. Louisiana Tech (5-7)
BUZZ: The Bulldogs fell to Nevada in the finale, meaning they come up just short of becoming bowl eligible. Still, given the offensive makeover under new coach Sonny Dykes, the Bulldogs had a solid season. NEXT: Season over
83. Marshall (5-7)
BUZZ: Season over
84. Indiana (5-7)
BUZZ: Season over
85. Purdue (4-8)
BUZZ: Season over
86. Tulane (4-8)
BUZZ: Season over
87. Rutgers (4-8)
BUZZ: The Scarlet Knights struggled mightily in a season in which the Big East was down -- way down. Rutgers has a find a way to spruce up its offense. NEXT: Season over
88. Virginia (4-8)
BUZZ: Season over
89. Idaho (6-7)
BUZZ: The Vandals held off San Jose State in the finale. Had they held on to beat Fresno on Thanksgiving weekend -- Fresno scored in the final minute -- the Vandals almost certainly would be going bowling. NEXT: Season over
90. Minnesota (3-9)
BUZZ: Season over
91. Middle Tennessee (6-6)
BUZZ: The Blue Raiders became bowl eligible with an upset of FIU. MTSU was the preseason pick to win the Sun Belt, but while the season was disappointing, earning just the third bowl bid in school history is something to build on. NEXT: vs. Miami of Ohio in GoDaddy.Com Bowl, Jan. 6
92. Western Michigan (6-6)
BUZZ: Season over
93. Rice (4-8)
BUZZ: Season over
94. Kent State (5-7)
BUZZ: Season over
95. Louisiana-Monroe (5-7)
BUZZ: NEXT: Season over
96. Washington State (2-10)
BUZZ: Despite another poor season, coach Paul Wulff will be back. As bad as the final record, there is no doubt the Cougars made progress this season, even if it didn't show in the won-lost record. NEXT: Season over
97. UAB (4-8)
BUZZ: Season over
98. Arkansas State (4-8)
BUZZ: Season over
99. Duke (3-9)
BUZZ: Season over
100. Utah State (4-8)
BUZZ: The Aggies got whipped by Boise State in the season finale. NEXT: Season over
101. Kansas (3-9)
BUZZ: Season over
102. Ball State (4-8)
BUZZ: Season over
103. Florida Atlantic (4-8)
BUZZ: This season didn't go as expected. The rushing attack was a big disappointment. The good news is that the Owls open an on-campus stadium next fall. NEXT: Season over
104. Central Michigan (3-9)
BUZZ: Season over
105. Wake Forest (3-9)
BUZZ: Season over
106. Wyoming (3-9)
BUZZ: Season over
107. North Texas (3-9)
BUZZ: Season over
108. Colorado State (3-9)
BUZZ: Season over
109. Louisiana-Lafayette (3-9)
BUZZ: Season over
110. Vanderbilt (2-10)
BUZZ: Season over
111. UNLV (2-11)
BUZZ: The Rebels' final game was a beating at the hands of Hawaii. On the bright side, the game was at Hawaii, so at least the Rebels got a nice trip out of it. NEXT: Season over
112. Bowling Green (2-10)
BUZZ: Season over
113. Western Kentucky (2-10)
BUZZ: Season over
114. New Mexico State (2-10)
BUZZ: Season over
115. Eastern Michigan (2-10)
BUZZ: Season over
116. Akron (1-11)
BUZZ: Season over
117. Buffalo (2-10)
BUZZ: Season over
118. New Mexico (1-11)
BUZZ: Season over
119. Memphis (1-11)
BUZZ: Season over
120. San Jose State (1-12)
BUZZ: The Spartans had a shot at upsetting Idaho in the season finale but fell short. They went 0-11 against FBS schools this season. NEXT: Season over

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at mhuguenin@rivals.com.



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