NCF Nation: Final-2010-power-rankings

Final 2010 Big 12 Power Rankings

January, 11, 2011
Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC | Non-AQ

It's been a fun year with a fun finale last night, but here's how the Big 12 sits to end the 2010 season.

For reference, here's how I ranked the league before the bowl games.

1. Oklahoma (12-2, 6-2, last week: 1) For all the bumps that 2010 brought the Sooners, they did what everyone picked them to do: Win the Big 12. They did the same in the Fiesta Bowl: Beat Connecticut handily.

2. Oklahoma State (11-2, 6-2, LW: 3) The way Texas A&M, Missouri and Nebraska played in the postseason, there's no doubt that Oklahoma State was playing the second-best football of anyone in the conference to close the year.

3. Texas A&M (9-4, 6-2, LW: 2) The Aggies played by far the best team of anyone in the Big 12 in their bowl game, and didn't play well on offense or defense, but Missouri and Nebraska don't warrant a jump after losing to unranked teams.

4. Missouri (10-3, 6-2, LW: 4) Missouri had the closest loss among the Big 12's top tier of teams in the league's weak bowl showing, but outside of Blaine Gabbert's inexplicable late interception, the Tigers played pretty well in the second half.

5. Nebraska (10-4, 6-2, LW: 5) Not many positives to the Huskers' flat showing in San Diego. Something to learn from, but Nebraska can't afford to get out-muscled up front in the Big Ten like they were against Washington.

6. Texas Tech (8-5, 3-5, LW: 6) The Red Raiders were one of just three Big 12 bowl winners, and got nice days out of long-time friends and teammates Lyle Leong and Taylor Potts to do it. Nice job to hold off an impressive Northwestern comeback, too.

7. Kansas State (7-6, 3-5, LW: 8) The Wildcats got robbed on a call, but there's nothing saying they would have won. K-State still needed a two-point conversion and would have had to stop Syracuse in overtime. The Orange racked up almost 500 yards of offense, and Syracuse running back Delone Carter had 198 rushing yards. Not a good recipe for a win, bad call or otherwise.

8. Baylor (7-6, 4-4, LW: 7) Baylor flopped in its return to a bowl, losing 38-14 to Illinois. But look for the Bears in the postseason again in 2011 and to turn in a better performance on a big stage. Bears didn't respond well to big games this year.

9. Colorado (5-7, 2-6, LW: 9) Not many common threads for Colorado from 2010 to 2011. New coaching staff, new league. Should be an interesting future.

10. Texas (5-7, 2-6, LW: 10) Texas has four of its five coaching vacancies filled. Know any good offensive line coaches? Longhorns new look should be fun to watch through the spring and into next season.

11. Iowa State (5-7, 3-5, LW: 11) Iowa State missed a pair of opportunities -- on the road against Colorado and at home against Missouri -- to qualify for a bowl, but Year 3 is perhaps the most important under Paul Rhoads and certainly the most telling of where this program is headed.

12. Kansas (3-9, 1-7, LW: 12) The Jayhawks managed a nice recruiting class in the middle of the Big 12, and snatched early-enrolling quarterback Brock Berglund from Colorado. A nice start for Turner Gill on the recruiting trail in his first full year.

Final 2010 Big East power rankings

January, 11, 2011
Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC | Non-AQ

Now that bowl season is complete and the 2010 campaign is officially over, it's time to rank the Big East teams for the final occasion. A parity-filled season didn't gain much more clarity from the bowls; four teams finished with identical 8-5 records, and none will make any of the final top 25s.

The top six teams could all beat each other and really could be placed in any number of different orders. But here is my best attempt to judge the league based on overall body of work, taking into account how each team performed down the stretch:

1. Connecticut (8-5): The Huskies were blown out in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl as many predicted. Still, they won the league fair and square and thus deserve the top spot.

2. West Virginia (9-4): A disappointing finish for the Mountaineers, who lost to NC State 23-7 in the Champs Sports Bowl, ruining their chances of a 10-win season and a Top 25 final ranking. You have to believe the coaching turmoil, the injury to Brandon Hogan and the suspension of starting center Joe Madsen all played big roles in the bowl defeat, but West Virginia still should have played better than that.

3. Pittsburgh (8-5): We're ranking teams here, not athletic departments. The Panthers won a share of the Big East title and then somehow dismantled Kentucky in the BBVA Compass Bowl despite all their coaching drama. This team had too much talent to finish just 8-5.

4. South Florida (8-5): I really liked the way this team was playing down the stretch, and the Bulls were blowing Clemson out of the Meineke Car Care Bowl before the Tigers tacked on a couple of late touchdowns. USF went 5-2 in its final seven games, with the two losses coming by a combined 10 points.

5. Syracuse (8-5): It was great to see the Orange win a bowl game in their first postseason trip since 2004, even if it was aided by a controversial call. It was even better to see the Orange offense score 36 points against an admittedly poor Kansas State defense. Doug Marrone led a breakthrough season, and Syracuse looks like a program on the rise.

6. Louisville (7-6): Speaking of on the rise, Charlie Strong has Louisville positioned to be a Big East power once again in a couple of years with the way he's recruiting. The Cardinals maximized their potential this season, beating Southern Miss to clinch an unexpected winning campaign in Strong's first year.

7. Cincinnati (4-8): The Bearcats dropped five of their final six, with the last four losses all coming by at least three touchdowns. That should serve as some motivation to get better in the offseason.

8. Rutgers (4-8): The Scarlet Knights were the one team Cincinnati beat down the stretch, as Rutgers ended the year on a six-game losing streak. The remaking of Greg Schiano's staff has begun, and Tom Savage has left. Things should look different in Piscataway next season.

Final SEC power rankings for 2010

January, 11, 2011
Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC | Non-AQ

Here’s a look at the final SEC power rankings for the 2010 season.

After Monday night’s Tostitos BCS National Championship Game, there’s not much drama at the top spot:

1. Auburn: The Tigers (14-0) completed a perfect season with their first national championship since 1957. Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton was the story for most of the season, both on and off the field, but the Tigers proved in their 22-19 win over Oregon on Monday that they could win even when Newton doesn’t play his best football.

2. LSU: After winning 11 games or more for the fourth time in six seasons under Les Miles, LSU (11-2) must now stave off Michigan’s run at Miles. The Mad Hatter is going to listen to what his alma mater has to say. His Tigers beat four teams that finished in the Top 25 of the final BCS standings this season and were 5-2 against nationally ranked foes. They were extremely impressive in their AT&T Cotton Bowl win over Texas A&M.

3. Alabama: As pleasing as it had to be for Alabama fans to see the Crimson Tide (10-3) destroy Michigan State in the Capital One Bowl, they’re probably wondering where that team was all season long. Nobody in the league was more talented than Alabama, but the Tide didn’t always play that way.

4. Arkansas: If only the Hogs (10-3) could have capitalized in the fourth quarter against Ohio State in the Allstate Sugar Bowl, what was a very good season could have been a great season. Arkansas beat four teams that finished in the Top 25 of the final BCS standings and was 3-3 against nationally ranked teams.

5. Mississippi State: The award for the most-improved team in the league goes to the Bulldogs (9-4). They routed Michigan in the Progressive Gator Bowl and promptly sweetened Dan Mullen’s deal. The downer was that defensive coordinator Manny Diaz got away and went to Texas.

6. South Carolina: Once again, the Gamecocks (9-5) bombed pretty badly at the end. And in doing so, Steve Spurrier finished with his sixth straight season of at least five losses or more at South Carolina. All in all, though, getting to the SEC championship game for the first time was a coup.

7. Florida: The Gators (8-5) made sure Urban Meyer went out a winner by taking care of business in the Outback Bowl against Penn State. Otherwise, this was not a season they will remember fondly in Gainesville. The offense hit rock bottom. The Gators finished 10th in the league in total offense and tried to make a spread quarterback out of pocket passer John Brantley.

8. Georgia: What a pitiful performance by the Bulldogs (6-7) in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. The only reason they’re not ranked even lower is because they routed Tennessee 41-14 head-to-head this season. Mark Richt is down to one last chance to get this program turned around. If the Bulldogs are not back among the SEC’s elite next year, Richt will be gone.

9. Tennessee: The Vols (6-7) were another one of those Eastern Division teams that finished with a losing record. Four of the six teams in the East had losing seasons. Tennessee didn’t get any help from the officials in its overtime loss to North Carolina in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, but the Vols did win four in a row to get to the postseason.

10. Kentucky: Kentucky (6-7) managed to stink it up even more in its bowl game than Georgia did, if that’s possible. The Wildcats were inept offensively in the 27-10 loss to Pittsburgh without starting quarterback Mike Hartline and weren’t good enough everywhere else to make up the difference. Other than the second-half comeback against South Carolina, it’s a season that fell short of expectations.

11. Ole Miss: About the only thing the Rebels (4-8) won all year was the appeal with the NCAA for quarterback transfer Jeremiah Masoli to be able to play prior to the first week of the season. After that, it was all downhill. The Rebels lost at home to FCS foe Jacksonville State in the opener and also lost by two touchdowns at home to Vanderbilt. Defensive struggles persisted all season long.

12. Vanderbilt: The Commodores (2-10) at least won an SEC game this season after going winless in the league the previous season. Robbie Caldwell was already in a tough spot from the outset, and then the injuries set in. The Commodores struggled at quarterback, couldn’t finish drives and also saw their normally reliable defense suffer. Caldwell stepped down at the end of the season, giving way to former Maryland offensive coordinator James Franklin as Vanderbilt’s head coach.

Final 2010 ACC Power Rankings

January, 11, 2011
Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC | Non-AQ

The 2010 season is officially over, which means it’s time for the last look at how these teams finished. Remember, this is not the first 2011 list -- it’s the last 2010 list, based on the entire body of work and the bowl results. There were a few shakeups, including at the top.

1. Virginia Tech (11-3, 8-0; LR: No. 1) -- Yes, Stanford is really that good, but … the Hokies were outplayed in every phase of game, and it was the first time I can ever remember seeing a Virginia Tech team fold. The Hokies couldn’t run the ball, were beat up front, and the defense hosted a party and treated Stanford like VIPs, letting them right in. Still, they owned the ACC, becoming the first team to go undefeated in conference play since FSU in 2000.

2. Florida State (10-4, 6-2 ACC; Last Ranked: No. 2) -- Yes, the Seminoles lost the ACC championship game to Virginia Tech and the defense played poorly in the process, but in the final game, Florida State forced SEC East champ South Carolina into five turnovers and the Noles won with their backup quarterback.

3. Maryland (9-4, 5-3; LR: No. 3) -- The Terps went all out for former coach Ralph Friedgen in his final game as head coach, hammering East Carolina 51-20 in the Military Bowl. Maryland left no doubt it was the better team, and took all of its frustrations out on the Pirates. It was one of the most impressive turnarounds in college football this year, thanks to the ACC’s rookie and coach of the year.

4. NC State (9-4, 5-3; LR: No. 4) -- The Wolfpack got a quality win with an upset of then-No. 22 West Virginia in the Champs Sports Bowl. The defense allowed just one touchdown, forced five turnovers, and NC State got another MVP performance from quarterback Russell Wilson.

5. North Carolina (8-5, 4-4; LR: No. 6) -- It wasn’t pretty, but the controversial 30-27 double-overtime win over Tennessee still counts. The Tar Heels snapped a three-game bowl losing streak and won in the postseason for the first time since 2001.

6. Miami (7-6, 5-3; LR: No. 5) -- It was as if the Canes didn’t even want to be there. Notre Dame dominated Miami in a 33-17 win, and the Canes lost their third straight bowl game. Miami finished with four turnovers, including three picks by quarterback Jacory Harris.

7. Boston College (7-6, 4-4; LR: No. 7) -- If the rankings were based solely on defense, the Eagles would be right up there with Florida State. But it takes a little bit of O to hang with an offense as efficient as Nevada’s. The Eagles couldn’t get anything going on the ground and didn’t match up well with the Wolf Pack secondary. BC had just 64 rushing yards.

8. Clemson (6-7, 4-4; LR: No. 8) -- The Tigers didn’t fare much better than Miami did, becoming the second ACC team to lose to South Florida. It was too little, too late for Clemson, which converted just 5 of 16 third downs.

9. Georgia Tech (6-7, 4-4; LR: No. 9) -- Kansas? Air Force? The Jackets accounted for two of the ACC’s most inexplicable losses this season. Against Air Force, the Jackets had four turnovers, and have now lost six straight bowl games. It was Georgia Tech’s first losing season since 1996.

10. Wake Forest (3-9, 1-7; LR: No. 10) -- The only benefit to not playing in a bowl game is the extra time that can be spent on recruiting. The Deacs finished the season 3-9, but were at least able to pull out a road win against a downtrodden Vanderbilt team, and every win against the SEC counts.

11. Duke (3-9, 1-7; LR: No. 11) -- The Blue Devils also finished 3-9, but lost the head-to-head competition against Wake Forest. Duke made progress defensively and still was one of the worst in the country with the No. 109-ranked scoring defense. Duke's inability to run the ball and stop the run was a costly combination.

12. Virginia (4-8, 1-7; LR: No. 12) -- The Hoos finished with four wins, but two of them came against FCS teams. Not that wins against FCS teams are a given (See: William & Mary vs. UVA, Duke vs. Richmond, Virginia Tech vs. James Madison). Recruiting is going well for Mike London, but those efforts weren’t able to help him in 2010.

Final Pac-10 power rankings

January, 11, 2011
Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC | Non-AQ

If you don't like where you are in the power rankings, play better.

Next year. (You can see the power rankings from the end of the regular season here).

1. Oregon: The Ducks lost the national title game, but they were unbeaten in Pac-10 play.

2. Stanford: Stanford was dominant in the Discover Orange Bowl, looking like a team no one would want to play right now.

3. Washington: Huskies only finished 7-6, but they won their bowl game over a ranked Nebraska team after finishing 5-4 in conference play.

4. USC: The Trojans would have given the Pac-10 a fifth bowl team if not for NCAA sanctions.

5. Arizona State: The Sun Devils finished strong and look like the favorite in the first season of the Pac-12 South next fall.

6. Oregon State: The Beavers get the nod over Arizona because: 1. They won at Arizona; 2. They had the same conference record; 3. Arizona laid an egg in its bowl game against Oklahoma State.

7. Arizona: See above. The Wildcats were once a top-10 team.

8. California: This is not where Jeff Tedford wants his program to be, but losing four of your final five games leaves you here.

9. UCLA: UCLA regressed in 2010, and that leaves coach Rick Neuheisel on the hot seat.

10. Washington State: While the Cougars were significantly improved from the previous two seasons -- absolute disasters -- they will need to take a big step forward in 2011 for Paul Wulff to remain head coach.

Final 2010 Big Ten power rankings

January, 11, 2011
Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC | Non-AQ

The 2010 college football season is over, and the interminable wait for 2011 now begins.

Before taking a peek ahead at next fall, here's the final installment of the 2010 Big Ten power rankings.

1. Ohio State (12-1): The Buckeyes once again sit atop the rankings after holding on to beat Arkansas in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Although the circumstances surrounding the game sparked a lot of controversy, Ohio State showed tremendous focus and executed well on both sides of the ball against a good SEC opponent.

2. Wisconsin (11-2): There's no shame in losing to a team like TCU, but Wisconsin left Pasadena especially disappointed after veering ever so slightly off course in the Rose Bowl. If the Badgers had fully committed to between-the-tackles running, they likely would have celebrated another Rose Bowl championship. Still a great season for Bret Bielema's crew.

3. Michigan State (11-2): I'm reluctant to put the Spartans here after a non-competitive performance against 9-3 Alabama in the Capital One Bowl, but they still had three more wins than any other Big Ten squad below. Michigan State had a special season with a sorry ending, but the program is undoubtedly on the rise under coach Mark Dantonio.

4. Iowa (8-5): We saw a little bit of everything from Iowa in the Insight Bowl, but Micah Hyde's electrifying pick-six ensured a third consecutive bowl win and dulled the disappointment from the regular season. Returning players like Hyde and running back Marcus Coker fueled Iowa's win, and the Hawkeyes should be right at home under the radar entering 2011.

5. Illinois (7-6): No Big Ten team delivered a more complete postseason performance than Illinois, which outclassed Baylor and cruised to a 38-14 victory in the Texas Bowl. Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase came of age in the bowl and the defense contained Baylor star Robert Griffin III. Illinois could be dangerous this coming season, but the NFL departures will hurt.

6. Penn State (7-6): Florida gave Penn State every opportunity to build a big lead in the first half, but the Nittany Lions fell victim to too many mistakes. The defense made strides during bowl practice and should be a solid unit in 2011. Penn State's quarterback race will open up this spring, and it'll be interesting to see how much better this team gets during the offseason.

7. Northwestern (7-6): Thanks to Kain Colter, the Wildcats found enough offense to keep pace with Texas Tech despite not having star quarterback Dan Persa. But it's pretty odd that Persa's injury seemed to take any life out of Northwestern's defense, which allowed 163 points in its final three games. Pat Fitzgerald and Mike Hankwitz need to get the D on track for 2011.

8. Michigan (7-6): Speaking of defense, Michigan had none against Mississippi State in the Progressive Gator Bowl. Rich Rodriguez's fate might already have been sealed at the school, but the lack of improvement on defense made the decision pretty easy after the worst bowl loss in team history. Michigan has some pieces in place on offense, but the next coach must address the defensive woes to get the program back on track.

9. Minnesota (4-8): No changes to the bottom three and the Gophers deserve to be here after ending the season with victories against two of the Big Ten's three bowl winners (Illinois and Iowa). I'm excited to see how MarQueis Gray fares in Jerry Kill's offense as he moves back to quarterback from receiver.

10. Indiana (5-7): Despite Brent Pease's about-face, new Indiana coach Kevin Wilson is assembling a solid staff of assistants as he tries to change the culture in Bloomington. The Hoosiers have to figure out a way to compete better on defense in Big Ten play, especially since the offense likely will take a step back as quarterback Ben Chappell departs.

11. Purdue (4-8): Danny Hope's teams have played hard amid adversity, but the results haven't shown up in his two years as head coach. Purdue gets a lot healthier during the offseason and should boast a dynamic offense in 2011. The potential for a big jump forward is here, but Purdue must reduce major mistakes, particularly in the kicking game.

Final 2010 non-AQ power rankings

January, 11, 2011
Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC | Non-AQ

Here are your final 2010 power rankings for the non-AQs:

1. TCU (13-0). The Horned Frogs capped their undefeated season with a win over Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl and a No. 2 final ranking. Still too bad they do not get a chance to play for a national championship, but no question TCU is the class of the non-AQs this season.

2. Nevada (13-1). The Wolf Pack beat Boston College in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl to end the best season in school history. Their win over Boise State was one of the biggest upsets of the season.

3. Boise State (12-1). The Broncos fall a notch below Nevada because they lost the head-to-head battle. The Broncos may have felt they were in a consolation bowl but they did finish ranked in the top 10 for the second straight season. Coach Chris Petersen has lost five games in his five seasons as head coach.

4. UCF (11-3). The Knights had the best season in school history, winning 11 games for the first time, winning a bowl game for the first time and in the process taking down Georgia.

5. Tulsa (10-3). The Golden Hurricane won seven straight to close the season, and their emphatic 62-35 win over Hawaii served to show the power of this offense. Nobody scored more points in the bowl season.

6. Utah (10-3). The Utes had their nine-game bowl winning streak snapped in a loss to Boise State, but they still won 10 games for the third year in a row under coach Kyle Whittingham.

7. San Diego State (9-4). The Aztecs posted their best season since 1996 and had a decisive win over Navy in the Poinsettia Bowl. Now the question is whether Brady Hoke will stay on as head coach.

8. Hawaii (10-4). The Warriors ended their season in disappointing fashion against Tulsa, but they still claimed a share of the WAC championship.

9. Miami (Ohio) (10-4). The RedHawks became the first team in FBS history to go from double-digit losses to double-digit wins in consecutive seasons after winning their bowl game under interim coach Lance Guidry.

10. Northern Illinois (11-3). The RedHawks get the nod over the Huskies because of their MAC championship. But this takes nothing away from the season Northern Illinois had, as it won a school-record 11 games and its first bowl game since 2004.