In the Alabama football world (and given the monster Nick Saban created), not winning a national championship for two full years is inexcusable.
Forgive the sarcasm.
But looking back on a season that was unparalleled in college football, the Crimson Tide once again leads the way in ESPN’s final rankings in 2020. Saban has won six national championships with Alabama, but only two of them are undefeated – his first in 2009 and the one in which the Crimson Tide put an exclamation point on Monday night in Miami.
Texas A&M in fourth place and Georgia in seventh place join Alabama as SEC teams in the top 10, and kudos to the teams not in the Power 5 this season. Cincinnati in eighth, Coastal Carolina in 11th, BYU in 12th, Liberty in 13th and Louisiana in 14th, all in the top fifteen.
Alabama quarterback Mack Jones didn’t hold back after dismantling the Crimson Tide (52-24) in the national championship football playoff game against Ohio State, Jones said: I think we’re the best team that’s ever played. There will always be detractors, but this Alabama team has certainly had one of the most impressive seasons in college football history. They remained undefeated, complied with all SEC rules, took Notre Dame and Ohio State to the playoffs, scored more than 40 points in 11 of 13 games and won all but one game by 17 points or more – all in the midst of the pandemic. Nick Saban’s sixth national championship at Alabama will be long remembered at Capstone.
This year, Ohio State led the Big Ten team to a season, and while the Big Ten rules are indeed a moving target, the Buckeyes still showed they were one of the best teams in the country. They didn’t play for Alabama (who was it this season?) in the national title game and only played eight games. Still, they won their fourth consecutive Big Ten championship, beating Clemson 49-28 in the PCP semifinals thanks to a spectacular and desperate performance by quarterback Justin Fields. The absence of Alabama’s two best defenders and defender Trey Preacher, who was injured in their first possession, was a blow to the Buckeyes, but the tide hasn’t turned yet this season.
Given what Dabo Swinney accomplished at Clemson, it was almost surreal not to see the Tigers in the national championship game this season. They defeated Ohio State 49-28 in the CFP semifinals, marking the second time in six years that the Tigers have not won a national title and played in a national title game. Swinney built a program on Clemson winning 36 consecutive games against CCA opponents before falling to 7th. November’s double overtime loss to Notre Dame (without Trevor Lawrence).
Error! The file name is not specified. Game
Discover the highlights of Trevor Lawrence’s impressive season in Clemson.
The Aggies would like to see an expansion of the college football playoffs this season. Their only loss was to Alabama (52-24) in the second week of the season. Since then, they have come back with eight consecutive wins, seven of them in double figures, but that wasn’t enough to earn them one of the four runners-up spots. Texas A&M improved week after losing to Alabama, finishing the season with a 41-27 victory over North Carolina in the Capital Orange Bowl.
The Fighting Irish, who are competing in the CCA this season, entered the trip with the longest winning streak among FBS teams. They have won 16 straight times since the 2019 season before losing to Clemson in the CCA Championship and Alabama in the PCP semifinals, both by 41 points. Notre Dame beat Clemson again earlier this year, although the Tigers are playing without Trevor Lawrence, but the Irish have done nothing to shake the stigma of busting on the biggest stages of the last decade.
The Sooners won their sixth straight Big 12 championship with a sensational turnaround after a 1-2 start to the season, including a 38-35 loss to Kansas State, where OU took a three-touch lead into the second half. The loss likely prevented the Sooners from qualifying for the college football playoffs for the fifth time in six years, but they ended the season on an eight-game winning streak, including a 55-20 victory over Florida in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.
Yes, the Dawgs lost to the most talented teams they’ve faced this season, Alabama and Florida, but the 24-21 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl win over Cincinnati’s previously unbeaten club. The win over the Bears was all the more impressive because Georgia was short on several key players. Who knows what would have happened if JT Daniels had been Georgia’s starting quarterback all season? The good news for the Dawgs is that he’ll be back in 2021.
The Bearcats are a myth who, despite winning all nine regular season games and the AAC championship, have not received serious attention in the college football playoffs. The last defeat against Georgia (24-21) (on a 53-yard kick) in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl was disappointing, but Cincinnati proved they can play with the big boys. The combination of multidimensional quarterback Desmond Ridder and a stifling defense keeps the Bearcats in the top 10.
After an unfortunate start to the season and a 31-14 home loss to Louisiana, Iowa State bounced back to finish the season as one of the strongest teams in the country. The Cyclones closed out games against Oklahoma and then Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game before defeating Pac-12 champion Oregon State in the Fiesta Bowl. Iowa State fans are looking forward to another dose of the Brock Purdy-Breece Hall combination next season.
What a rebound for Pat Fitzgerald’s Wildcats, who won six Big Ten games and the Big Ten Western Division championship. This year, only one Big Ten game will not be won in 2019. Northwestern won their first five games and attempted a 6-0 win in the Big Ten for the first time since 1995, but were defeated by Michigan State. The Wildcats faced Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game and were defeated 22-10 before making a strong start to the season with a 35-19 victory over Auburn in the Vrbo Citrus Bowl.
The Blackhawks are simply one of the best stories in college football this season. In their fourth season at the FBS level, the Chants were led 37-34 in overtime (at Liberty in the FBS Mortgage Treatment Bowl), despite being undefeated since the start of the season. Jamie Chadwell was named PA National Coach of the Year, while Coastal Carolina has gone from five wins in 2019 to an academic record of 11 wins as an FBS program this season. Chants’ 22-17 win against BYU by a score of 5. December, in a game set up in a few days, was undoubtedly the game of the year.
The Panthers, who had to rebuild their schedule after their Power 5 opponents were league only, earn bonus points by traveling across the country a few days early to play Coastal Carolina. Quarterback Zach Wilson and the BYU team did some monster numbers. The Panthers scored more than 40 points in nine of their 12 games and defeated UCF 49-23 in the Boca Raton Bowl.
In just two seasons, Hugh Freeze has taken Liberty to unprecedented heights. In their second full season at the FBS level, the Flames started the program 8-0 before losing to North Carolina State 15-14 when a last-second field goal attempt was blocked. Quarterback Malik Willis completed a 2,260-yard pass, ran for 944 yards and scored 34 touchdowns after an Auburn pass. The Flames ended their season with a 37-34 overtime loss to previously unbeaten Coastal Carolina in the FBC Mortgage Bowl.
Error! The file name is not specified. Liberty quarterback Malik Willis completed a 2,260-yard pass, ran for 944 yards and scored 34 touchdowns after an Auburn pass. Reinhold Mathai-USA Sport
One of the Cajun Ragin’ Cajuns’ biggest wins has come off the field. They were able to keep coach Billy Napier, who was courted by several Power 5 schools. He led Louisiana to its second straight season of 10 or more wins, including its second straight bowl victory. And remember this: The Cajun Ragin’ Cajuns not only beat Iowa State to open the season, but also beat the Cyclones on their own home turf by 17 points.
Few teams played better the rest of the season than the Hawkeyes, who had won six straight games (all but one double-digit) before their last two games were cancelled due to problems with COWID-19. Michigan had to cancel, then the TransPerfect Music City Bowl game with Missouri was also cancelled. Although the season ended earlier than the Hawks would have liked, they gave it their best shot after opening the season with back-to-back losses to Purdue and Northwestern by a total of five points.
There is no doubt that Tom Allen has done a job in Indiana ending long losing streaks against Michigan, Penn State and Wisconsin this season. The Hoosiers’ only loss in the regular season was a 42-35 loss to Ohio State, a decision that required Indiana to overcome a 35-7 deficit to win a game. The season ended on a negative note as two games against Purdue were cancelled and Indiana then lost 26-20 to Ole Miss in the Outback Bowl.
In a college football season that was weird because of COVID-19 across the sport, it was especially weird for the Gators. They were super explosive on offense, scoring over 30 points in 11 of 12 games. They beat Georgia and played Alabama to the final minutes of the SEC championship game, but struggled to stop teams on defense all season and lost their last three games, including 55-20 at Oklahoma at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic. The Gators had most of their key offensive playmakers sitting in a ballgame.
In a season that ended with the suspension of head coach Tom Herman, the truth is that Texas was a lot closer to playing for a title than you might think. The Longhorns’ three defeats returned 13 points, including a 53-45 loss to Oklahoma by a margin of four. Texas has won five of its last six games, including a 55-23 victory over Colorado in the Valero Alamo Bowl, but that wasn’t enough to save Herman’s position after four seasons in Austin.
Error! The file name is not specified. Bijan Robinson made 10 carries for 183 yards and a touchdown in the Valero Alamo Bowl for Texas. Tim Warner/Getty Images .
The Cowboys started the season 4-0, beating Iowa State on the road. But then things got worse, as they lost three of their next five games. Oklahoma State has improved defensively for much of the season compared to previous years. The Cowboys held six opponents to 21 points or less, but gave up 41 points in each of the losses to Oklahoma and Texas. Oklahoma State finished the season with two straight wins thanks to two 300-yard passes from Spencer Sanders, who threw four touchdowns in a 37-34 victory over Miami in the Cheez-It Bowl.
The Cardinals, in Mike Noe’s fifth season, were one of the hottest teams in the country at the end of the year. They won seven straight after losing their first season in Miami, Ohio. All they had to do was beat Buffalo, previously undefeated, to win their first Mid-American Conference championship since 1996, and then beat San Jose State, previously undefeated, the Mountain West Conference champion, at the Sacrifice Trail Arizona Bowl.
The Tar Heels had one of the strongest games in the country this season, with the dynamic duo of Michael Carter and Javonte Williams at over 1,000 yards. But both were eliminated in the Orange Capital Bowl, which they lost 41-27 to Texas A&M. With Sam Howell at quarterback, the future looks bright for a talented UNC team. But it’s hard to put the Tar Heels in a better position this season because of their four losses and wins due to a lack of quality.
Junior running back Jaret Patterson has been sensational for the Bulls this season with 1,072 yards and 19 touchdowns in just six games. But Buffalo showed they are more than just a team after their 38-28 loss to Ball State in the Mid-American Conference championship game. The Bulls defeated Marshall 17-10 in the Camellia Bowl without Patterson, who had come out with a knee injury.
The ending was not what San Jose State had hoped for, but it was still a historic season for the Spartans, who won the first Mountain West Conference championship in program history. Ball State’s loss in the Arizona Bowl was minor. The Spartans, who would finish last in the conference, were the epitome of perseverance. They had to travel several hundred miles to Humboldt State to prepare for the season due to local VIDOC-19 restrictions and move to Las Vegas later in the year due to other VIDOC-19 restrictions.
The Trojans are the only representative of the Pac-12 in the final standings, and their approach to the season is a bit hollow. After winning all five regular season games, USC lost 31-24 to Oregon in the Pac-12 championship game. Oregon’s team hasn’t won a game in nearly a month and could only make it to the Pac-12 title game because Washington had to drop out due to KOVID-19 issues.
Two years ago, it was an offense that Miami couldn’t handle, and the Hurricanes seem to have had that quarterback D’Eriq King had a big year this season. But after an 8-1 start, their only loss coming to Clemson, the Hurricanes lost their last two games, losing by 99 points. Oklahoma State’s 37-34 loss against Cheese–it was compounded by the fact that King tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. King said he plans to return to Miami next season.
college football power rankings 2020, college football rankings 2021, ncaa football rankings 2020, 2020 college football rankings projections, 2020 college football preseason rankings, college football rankings: top 100 2020, ap college football rankings 2020, ap college football rankings 2019