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November 30, 2010

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

Here is the ninth Rivals.com 1-120 ranking of the season.

How do we come up with the rankings? Well, we wait 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.

We update these every Tuesday at 1:20 p.m. Eastern time, so if your team isn't where you think it should be, check back in a week.

And one more thing: 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. Oregon (11-0)
BUZZ: The Ducks are one win away from playing for the first national football championship in school history. To get there, they need to beat their archrival on the road. NEXT: at Oregon State, Saturday
2. Auburn (12-0)
BUZZ: The Tigers are one win away from playing for the national championship. To get there, they need to beat South Carolina for the second time this season. NEXT: vs. South Carolina in Atlanta, Saturday
3. TCU (12-0)
BUZZ: That super-loud cheering you heard early Saturday morning wasn't Nevada fans celebrating the Wolf Pack's upset of Boise State. Nope, that was Horned Frogs fans celebrating the Wolf Pack's upset of Boise State. NEXT: Bowl TBA
4. Stanford (11-1)
BUZZ: QB Andrew Luck has played extremely well of late, and he is a great fit for coach Jim Harbaugh's offense. But you can't blame Cardinal fans for being worried that neither Luck nor Harbaugh will be back next season. NEXT: Bowl TBA
5. Wisconsin (11-1)
BUZZ: The Badgers have averaged 67.0 points in their past three games. That's offensive production that basketball coach Bo Ryan would be proud of. NEXT: Bowl TBA
6. Ohio State (11-1)
BUZZ: Since they surrendered 31 points in a loss at Wisconsin on Oct. 16, the Buckeyes have allowed just 48 total points in their past five outings. NEXT: Bowl TBA
7. Arkansas (10-2)
BUZZ: The Hogs have scored at least 31 points in seven consecutive games and in 10 of 12 this season. Their win over LSU this past weekend likely earned them a BCS bid. NEXT: Bowl TBA
8. Boise State (10-1)
BUZZ: If you're a Boise State player, coach or fan, you have to like the odds when the WAC's leading career scorer lines up to kick a chip-shot field goal. Alas, it wasn't to be. Twice. NEXT: vs. Utah State, Saturday
9. Michigan State (11-1)
BUZZ: The Spartans are sort of the forgotten team in the Big Ten's three-way tie at the top. They have received no love from the BCS computers. NEXT: Bowl TBA
10. Nebraska (10-2)
BUZZ: Nebraska hasn't looked all that good since it dispatched Missouri on Oct. 30, but the Huskers did enough. They will be the Big 12 North representative in the final league championship game. NEXT: vs. Oklahoma in Arlington, Texas, Saturday
11. Missouri (10-2)
BUZZ: Mizzou played two of the three teams that tied for the Big 12 South lead (Oklahoma and Texas A&M) and beat them by a combined 30 points. Alas, in their game against the fifth-place team in the Big 12 South (Texas Tech), the Tigers lost by seven - and that is keeping them out of the league title game. NEXT: Bowl TBA
12. Oklahoma (10-2)
BUZZ: How's this for serendipity: The last Big 12 championship game matches old Big 8 rivals Oklahoma and Nebraska. It's safe to say league officials thought they would have more than two Huskers-Sooners title games. NEXT: vs. Nebraska in Arlington, Texas, Saturday
13. LSU (10-2)
BUZZ: Last week's loss to Arkansas was the Tigers' eighth game this season decided by eight or fewer points. When you live on the edge, sometimes you fall over. NEXT: Bowl TBA
14. Oklahoma State (10-2)
BUZZ: The Cowboys' offense did its part in the "Bedlam Game." Once again, though, the defense was overmatched. NEXT: Bowl TBA
15. Virginia Tech (10-2)
BUZZ: The Hokies have won 10 in a row despite not having their usual stellar defense. They're looking for their fourth BCS appearance in seven seasons. NEXT: vs. Florida State in Charlotte, Saturday
16. Texas A&M (9-3)
BUZZ: When the Aggies were sitting at 3-3 after an ugly loss to Missouri, the vultures were out in force. Now, on the heels of a six-game winning streak, a "good" bowl beckons and A&M looks positioned for a title run next season in the reconfigured Big 12. NEXT: Bowl TBA
17. South Carolina (9-3)
BUZZ: The Gamecocks led Auburn in the first quarter in Jordan-Hare Stadium in September before imploding in the fourth quarter. Can Steve Spurrier come up with a game plan that helps the Gamecocks win a shootout? NEXT: vs. Auburn in Atlanta, Saturday
18. Utah (10-2)
BUZZ: Losing to BYU in the "Holy War" would've left a bad taste in the Utes' mouth. Now they can move to the pac-10 with a smile on their faces. NEXT: Bowl TBA
19. Alabama (9-3)
BUZZ: Raise your hand if you thought the Tide was going to lose three games. The culprit in all three losses was the rebuilt secondary. NEXT: Bowl TBA
20. Florida State (9-3)
BUZZ: Coach Jimbo Fisher's first season has been a success. The Seminoles beat Miami and Florida, won the ACC Atlantic Division title and now get a shot at winning the league crown. NEXT: vs. Virginia Tech in Charlotte, Saturday
21. Nevada (11-1)
BUZZ: The Wolf Pack pulled one of the season's biggest upsets when they stunned Boise State in overtime last Friday. The only loss is by six at Hawaii on Oct. 16. NEXT: at Louisiana Tech, Saturday
22. Air Force (8-4)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 20. NEXT: Bowl TBA
23. Mississippi State (8-4)
BUZZ: All four losses have come to teams in the BCS top 16. And that kind of success means a young coach such as Dan Mullen is going to be noticed by more high-profile programs. NEXT: Bowl TBA
24. West Virginia (8-3)
BUZZ: WVU is playing excellent defense and is the only team in the nation not to allow more than 21 points in a game. But the Mountaineers' Big East fate is out of their hands. NEXT: vs. Rutgers, Saturday
25. Arizona (7-4)
BUZZ: The Wildcats are reeling, having lost three in a row. But they can regain their footing with a victory over their archrival Thursday. NEXT: vs. Arizona State, Thursday
26. N.C. State (8-4)
BUZZ: N.C. State blew a great opportunity when it fell at Maryland to lose out on the ACC Atlantic Division title. Still, this season has been a resounding success for a coaching staff that entered 2010 on the hot seat. NEXT: Bowl TBA
27. San Diego State (8-4)
BUZZ: You want to know why coach Brady Hoke is such a hot commodity? Consider that he took over a reeling program and, in his second season, has the Aztecs going bowling. NEXT: Bowl TBA
28. Northern Illinois (10-2)
BUZZ: The Huskies have won nine in a row and have the nation's No. 7 rushing attack. Why doesn't coach Jerry Kill get more national notice? NEXT: vs. Miami of Ohio in Detroit, Friday
29. Iowa (7-5)
BUZZ: Meet the most disappointing team in the Big Ten. A season that began with legit aspirations of winning the Big Ten instead saw the Hawkeyes go 4-4 in league play. NEXT: Bowl TBA
30. Penn State (7-5)
BUZZ: The rushing attack wasn't as good as expected. Neither was the run defense. But things should be better next season for JoePa. NEXT: Bowl TBA
31. Michigan (7-5)
BUZZ: Will he be back or not? Michigan made progress this season. Is it enough for Rich Rodriguez to keep his job? NEXT: Bowl TBA
32. Navy (8-3)
BUZZ: As good as its record is, Navy had the schedule to be 10-1 or even 11-0 at this point. NEXT: vs. Army in Philadelphia, Dec. 11
33. Notre Dame (7-5)
BUZZ: All of a sudden, the Irish have learned how to play defense. Coach Brian Kelly has received solid play from some unexpected sources. NEXT: Bowl TBA
34. USC (7-5)
BUZZ: The Trojans have found the going a bit rough of late. Thing is, it's likely to be this rough for the next two or three seasons, as a lack of depth is going to hurt. NEXT: at UCLA, Saturday
35. UCF (9-3)
BUZZ: The Knights rolled to the C-USA East title and now get a chance to win the league's championship game in their stadium. True freshman QB Jeffrey Godfrey is going to be a big-time player. NEXT: vs. SMU, Saturday
36. Miami (7-5)
BUZZ: Fan apathy plus a so-so record plus some bad losses equals a new coach. NEXT: Bowl TBA
37. Tulsa (9-3)
BUZZ: The offense-minded Golden Hurricane tied for the C-USA West title. The defense remains pitiful, though. NEXT: Bowl TBA
38. North Carolina (7-5)
BUZZ: Numerous player suspensions turned what could've been a great season into a rather mediocre one. NEXT: Bowl TBA
39. Baylor (7-5)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 20. NEXT: Bowl TBA
40. Illinois (6-5)
BUZZ: The Illini have averaged 46.8 points in their past five games. That they have lost two of those contests shows that the defense has some issues. NEXT: at Fresno State, Saturday
41. Kansas State (7-5)
BUZZ: K-State has limped to the finish, losing four of its past six. But RB Daniel Thomas has been steady all season. NEXT: Bowl TBA
42. Florida (7-5)
BUZZ: The Gators were held in single digits three times this season; that had happened three times total from 2000-09. NEXT: Bowl TBA
43. Connecticut (7-4)
BUZZ: UConn has gotten hot in the second half of the season, and a win Saturday means they will get the Big East's BCS bid. NEXT: at USF, Saturday
44. Maryland (8-4)
BUZZ: The Terps overachieved a bit, and Ralph Friedgen looks like he has found a quarterback in Danny O'Brien. NEXT: Bowl TBA
45. Northwestern (7-5)
BUZZ: The Wildcats have lost five of their past seven, and the defense has been absolutely shredded of late. NEXT: Bowl TBA
46. Georgia (6-6)
BUZZ: The SEC East was a shell of its usual self this season, but the Bulldogs couldn't take advantage. Mark Richt likely will return, and next season is going to be huge for his future. NEXT: Bowl TBA
47. Pittsburgh (6-5)
BUZZ: The season began with high expectations, but it conceivably could end with the Panthers going 6-7. That's unlikely, but that the Panthers already have five losses means this season has been a disappointment. NEXT: at Cincinnati, Saturday
48. Texas Tech (7-5)
BUZZ: Tommy Tuberville's first season surely hasn't gone as he planned. The main reason for that? The defense has been mediocre. NEXT: Bowl TBA
49. USF (7-4)
BUZZ: USF beat Florida State last season and upended Miami this season. Might the state's "Big Three" soon become a "Big Four"? NEXT: vs. Connecticut, Saturday
50. Georgia Tech (6-6)
BUZZ: Once QB Joshua Nesbitt was injured, Tech was in trouble. NEXT: Bowl TBA
51. Southern Miss (8-4)
BUZZ: QB Austin Davis has had a big season, but the pass defense was shredded again. NEXT: Bowl TBA
52. Hawaii (9-3)
BUZZ: QB Bryant Moniz has been a great fit in the Warriors' pass-first attack. They should get their 10th victory this weekend. NEXT: vs. UNLV, Saturday
53. Boston College (7-5)
BUZZ: BC won with defense. The Eagles take a five-game winning streak into their bowl game. NEXT: Bowl TBA
54. Syracuse (7-5)
BUZZ: The defense made big strides this season. Next up for coach Doug Marrone is revving up the offense. NEXT: Bowl TBA
55. Clemson (6-6)
BUZZ: The offense was a problem all season. Still, four of the losses came by a combined 17 points, so the Tigers were close to a huge season. NEXT: Bowl TBA
56. Oregon State (5-6)
BUZZ: This season has not gone as expected. But you know what? Beating their archrival Saturday would make a lot of Beavers say the season was a resounding success. NEXT: vs. Oregon, Saturday
57. Arizona State (5-6)
BUZZ: Backup QB Brock Osweiler had a huge game last week against UCLA. The Sun Devils need another huge passing performance if they're going to beat their archrival. NEXT: at Arizona, Thursday
58. Tennessee (6-6)
BUZZ: The Vols ended the regular season on a four-game winning streak, and freshman QB Tyler Bray looks like a guy the coaches can build around. NEXT: Bowl TBA
59. Kentucky (6-6)
BUZZ: UK suffered just one embarrassing loss (30 points to Florida), but other than a stunner over South Carolina, the Wildcats really didn't beat anyone of note. NEXT: Bowl TBA
60. SMU (7-5)
BUZZ: Coach June Jones' rebuilding project continues to go well. He led the Mustangs to the C-USA West title this season, his third at the school. NEXT: at UCF, Saturday
61. Miami of Ohio (8-4)
BUZZ: Not that many have noticed, but the RedHawks are one of the nation's best stories this season. They went 1-11 last season, coach Mike Haywood's first, but turned it around and won the MAC East crown this season. NEXT: vs. Northern Illinois in Detroit, Friday
62. Ohio U. (8-4)
BUZZ: The Bobcats were shocked by Kent State in the regular-season finale,, which cost them the MAC East title and a spot in the league championship game. NEXT: Bowl TBA
63. Temple (8-4)
BUZZ: Turnovers and an anemic passing attack hurt the Owls this season. Still, an eight-win season at Temple certainly isn't a bad thing. NEXT: Bowl TBA
64. Louisville (6-6)
BUZZ: The program appeared to be in disarray when new coach Charlie Strong arrived. But he has the Cardinals headed to a bowl in his first season. NEXT: Bowl TBA
65. BYU (6-6)
BUZZ: The Cougars had a shot at handing Utah a loss, but fell apart late and lost the Holy War in distressing fashion. NEXT: Bowl TBA
66. Washington (5-6)
BUZZ: This season has been a minor disappointment, but the Huskies will be going bowling if they can win the Apple Cup this weekend. NEXT: at Washington State, Saturday
67. 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
68. Iowa State (5-7)
BUZZ: Season over
69. Texas (5-7)
BUZZ: Talk about a meteoric fall: The Longhorns went from playing in the national title game last season to failing to qualify for a bowl this season. NEXT: Season over
70. Toledo (8-4)
BUZZ: The Rockets finished strong, winning five of their final six. But the one loss was a 35-point setback to Northern Illinois, which is the team Toledo is going to have to beat in the MAC West for the next few seasons. NEXT: Bowl TBA
71. Fresno State (7-4)
BUZZ: The Bulldogs used to be the marquee program in the WAC. Now, they arguably are fourth in line. NEXT: vs. Illinois, Friday
72. Army (6-5)
BUZZ: The Black Knights are bowl-bound for the first time since 1996. First things first, though, and that means continued preparation for the annual showdown with the Midshipmen. NEXT: vs. Navy in Philadelphia, Dec. 11
73. UCLA (4-7)
BUZZ: After earning a minor bowl bid last season, good things were expected this season. Instead, the Bruins took a step back, and you'd have to think Rick Neuheisel will be coaching for his job next season. NEXT: vs. USC, Saturday
74. East Carolina (6-6)
BUZZ: QB Dominique Davis has exceeded expectations. But the defense has been absolutely abysmal. NEXT: Bowl TBA
75. Colorado (5-7)
BUZZ: The Buffs showed some signs of life late in the season, after coach Dan Hawkins was let go. The big question now: Who is going to replace Hawkins? NEXT: Season over.
76. Cincinnati (4-7)
BUZZ: The Bearcats went from back-to-back BCS appearances to finishing near the bottom of the Big East this season. Welcome to life without Brian Kelly. NEXT: vs. Pittsburgh, Saturday
77. Florida International (6-5)
BUZZ: The Panthers clinched a tie for the Sun Belt title last week. That means they also earned the first bowl bid in school history. NEXT: vs. Middle Tennessee State, Saturday
78. Ole Miss (4-8)
BUZZ: The secondary was a sieve, and any season that starts with a loss to a FCS program is bound to be an uneven one. NEXT: Season over
79. Houston (5-7)
BUZZ: The Cougars dropped four in a row to finish the season. The defense still has a long way to go, especially against the run. NEXT: Season over
80. UTEP (6-6)
BUZZ: Regular season ended Nov. 20. NEXT: Bowl TBA
81. Louisiana Tech (5-6)
BUZZ: The Bulldogs can become bowl-eligible in coach Sonny Dykes' first season by upsetting Nevada this week. The upset hopes depend on RB Lennon Creer having another big game. NEXT: vs. Nevada, Saturday
82. Marshall (5-7)
BUZZ: After scuffling for much of the season, the Herd got hot late and won four of their last five. NEXT: Season over
83. Troy (6-5)
BUZZ: The Trojans' run of four consecutive Sun Belt titles has ended, but they still will be going bowling. A surprisingly poor defense has been the problem. NEXT: at Florida Atlantic, Saturday
84. Indiana (5-7)
BUZZ: The Hoosiers were 4-0 in non-conference play, but their only Big Ten win came in the season finale, when they beat archrival Purdue. That wasn't enough for coach Bill Lynch to keep his job, though. NEXT: Season over
85. Purdue (4-8)
BUZZ: Finishing 4-8 is bad enough. But finishing 4-8 with a loss to archrival Indiana? That's not good. NEXT: Season over
86. Rutgers (4-7)
BUZZ: This has been a brutal season for Greg Schiano's crew. The defense has lacked consistency, and the offense has been nonexistent. NEXT: at West Virginia, Saturday
87. Tulane (4-8)
BUZZ: Bob Toledo's team made some strides this season, and freshman RB Orleans Darkwa looks like a keeper. The defense has to become much tougher, though. NEXT: Season over
88. Virginia (4-8)
BUZZ: There was a win over Miami, which undoubtedly was the most shocking outcome in an ACC league game this season. But that was about it for the season highlights. NEXT: Season over
89. Idaho (5-7)
BUZZ: The Vandals had a shot at winning on the road against Fresno State. But after scoring late to take the lead, they let the Bulldogs score with less than 30 seconds left, which means no bowl. NEXT: vs. San Jose State, Saturday
90. Minnesota (3-9)
BUZZ: The Golden Gophers closed out the season with back-to-back wins over teams that are going bowling. Now, the focus turns to finding a new coach. NEXT: Season over
91. Western Michigan (6-6)
BUZZ: The Broncos might be the only bowl-eligible team not to get a bid. QB Alex Carder has had a strong season. NEXT: Bowl TBD
92. Rice (4-8)
BUZZ: The Owls closed the season with back-to-back wins. The offense did a nice job. The defense? Well, it didn't, and it needs vast improvement next season. NEXT: Season over
93. Kent State (5-7)
BUZZ: Coach Doug Martin stepped down, but he went out with a bang, as the Golden Flashes upset Ohio U. to keep the Bobcats out of the MAC championship game. NEXT: Season over
94. Louisiana-Monroe (5-7)
BUZZ: The Warhawks had a chance for a bowl bid had they beaten two-win Louisiana-Lafayette. Alas, they lost and are left wondering what might have been. NEXT: Season over
95. Washington State (2-9)
BUZZ: The Cougars haven't played since Nov. 13, when they hammered Oregon State. This week, they try to keep their archrival from becoming bowl-eligible. NEXT: vs. Washington, Saturday
96. UAB (4-8)
BUZZ: The offense was potent, and it led to wins over Southern Miss and UTEP and a near-miss at Tennessee. But the defense again struggled, which is why the Blazers lost to Rice and Florida Atlantic. NEXT: Season over
97. Arkansas State (4-8)
BUZZ: The Red Wolves underachieved a bit, and it cost coach Steve Roberts his job. Sophomore QB Ryan Aplin had a big season, though. NEXT: Season over
98. Duke (3-9)
BUZZ: The Blue Devils had their moments this season, and Sean Renfree has a chance to be one of the better quarterbacks in the ACC. NEXT: Season over
99. Utah State (4-7)
BUZZ: The season seems sure to end with a loss. But the high point was an upset of in-state foe BYU. NEXT: at Boise State, Saturday
100. Middle Tennessee (5-6)
BUZZ: The Blue Raiders still can become bowl-eligible if they win Saturday. But winning Saturday means beating Sun Belt champ FIU on the road. NEXT: at Florida International, Saturday
101. Kansas (3-9)
BUZZ: The high point of the season came in Game 2, when the Jayhawks shocked Georgia Tech, which still is one of the biggest head-scratchers of the season. Coach Turner Gill's first season definitely was a rocky one. NEXT: Season over
102. Ball State (4-8)
BUZZ: Season over
103. Florida Atlantic (4-7)
BUZZ: The rushing attack has been a disaster for the Owls. The run defense hasn't been much, either. NEXT: vs. Troy, Saturday
104. Central Michigan (3-9)
BUZZ: New coach Dan Enos and his Chippewas lost a lot of close games, which bodes well for the future. QB Ryan Radcliff is a nice building block. NEXT: Season over
105. Wake Forest (3-9)
BUZZ: The season was a nightmare for the Demon Deacons, who started 2-0, then lost nine in a row before finishing up with a win over Vanderbilt. Wake played a lot of youngsters this season, and that could pay off in 2011 or '12. NEXT: Season over
106. Wyoming (3-9)
BUZZ: Season over
107. North Texas (3-9)
BUZZ: The Mean Green played solid football after coach Todd Dodge was fired. The new coach is Dan McCarney, the former Iowa State coach who spent the past few seasons as Florida's defensive line coach. NEXT: Season over
108. Colorado State (3-9)
BUZZ: Season over
109. Louisiana-Lafayette (3-9)
BUZZ: ULL closed the season by upsetting rival Louisiana-Monroe, which kept ULM out of a bowl. Coach Rickey Bustle was fired Monday, which surprised no one. NEXT: Season over
110. Vanderbilt (2-10)
BUZZ: The season got off to a weird start when coach Bobby Johnson unexpectedly retired in July. Thing went downhill from there. NEXT: Season over
111. UNLV (2-10)
BUZZ: Bobby Hauck came to Vegas from Montana. With the Grizzlies, he was a big fish in a small pond. With the Rebels, he is a small fish in a big pond. NEXT: at Hawaii, Saturday
112. Bowling Green (2-10)
BUZZ: Dave Clawson took the Falcons to a bowl last season, his first as coach. But a rebuilt team fell apart this season. NEXT: Season over
113. Western Kentucky (2-10)
BUZZ: RB Bobby Rainey was a bright spot in coach Willie Taggart's first season. Rainey is third in the nation in rushing at 137.4 yards per game. NEXT: Season over
114. New Mexico State (2-10)
BUZZ: The Aggies showed some offensive improvement late in the season, but the defense still needs a lot of work. NEXT: Season over
115. Eastern Michigan (2-10)
BUZZ: The Eagles doubled their win total from last season, but they still need to show more improvement next season under coach Ron English. NEXT: Season over
116. Akron (1-11)
BUZZ: The Zips waited until their last game to get their first win. They actually played solid football in November. NEXT: Season over
117. Buffalo (2-10)
BUZZ: The Bulls collapsed late in the season. They lost their final seven, including back-to-back losses to Eastern Michigan and Akron to close it out. NEXT: Season over
118. New Mexico (1-11)
BUZZ: Mike Locksley has won two games in two seasons, but it appears he will be back. If he does return, you have to think he'd better win more than one game next season. NEXT: Season over
119. Memphis (1-11)
BUZZ: Larry Porter's first season as coach was a disaster. The defense was horrendous, even by Conference USA standards. NEXT: Season over
120. San Jose State (1-11)
BUZZ: The Spartans are the only FBS team without a win over another FBS team. SJSU's lone win came over FCS program Southern Utah. NEXT: at Idaho, Saturday

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



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