• The final Power Rankings of the season extends to every team that earned a bid to one of this year's 39 bowl games.
By Scooby Axson
December 04, 2017

In the season’s final Power Rankings, we’ve added to our usual 25 standouts the additional 53 teams that will be playing in the postseason, because why not? You can never have too many bowl games for some reason. Because 81 teams reached the six-win threshold required for postseason eligibility, you won’t be seeing any 5–7 teams below thanks to a Academic Progress Rate, or Ole Miss (obviously). Also missing from the festivities are Western Michigan, UTSA and Buffalo, which had enough wins to make to the postseason but were left out on account of there being only 78 spots.

Now on to the mega-rankings:

1. Oklahoma (12–1, 7–1 Big 12)

Previous ranking: 1
This week: Beat TCU 41–17 in Big 12 Championship
Next game: vs. Georgia in Rose Bowl

The Sooners are the Big 12’s only program to make the playoff in its four years of existence. The defense had been criticized all season, especially after giving up 52 to Oklahoma State and 41 to one-win Baylor. That unit came to play against TCU, giving up 317 total yards in securing Oklahoma’s 11th Big 12 title (no other team has more than three). Baker Mayfield should practice his Heisman speech after throwing for 243 yards and four touchdowns.

2. Clemson (12–1, 7–1 ACC)

Previous ranking: 2
This week: Beat Miami 38–3 in ACC Championship
Next game: vs. Alabama in Sugar Bowl

Clemson’s third consecutive victory in the ACC title game was never in doubt, as Kelly Bryant had two total touchdowns and passed for 252 yards and the defense held Miami to 214 total yards and had four sacks. On this day, Clemson leaned on Bryant and that defense because the running game didn’t show up at all, averaging less than two yards a carry, although Clemson had four rushing touchdowns from short distance.

3. Georgia (12–1, 7–1 SEC)

Previous ranking: 5
This week: Beat Auburn 28–7 in SEC Championship
Next game: vs. Oklahoma in Rose Bowl

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn was correct in his assessment of how Georgia beat his Tigers the second time around: The Bulldogs “flipped the script,” especially in the run game. In the first matchup, Georgia ran for only 46 yards. In this game, Georgia galloped for 238 yards and got an efficient game from quarterback Jake Fromm, who had two touchdowns and 183 yards passing.

4. Alabama (11–1, 7–1 SEC)

Previous ranking: 6
This week: Off
Next game: vs. Clemson in Sugar Bowl

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5. Ohio State (11­–2, 8–1 Big Ten)

Previous ranking: 7
This week: Beat Wisconsin 27–21 in Big Ten Championship
Next game: vs. USC in Cotton Bowl

J.T. Barrett threw for 211 yards and two touchdowns less than a week after undergoing surgery on his right knee. Barrett also ran for a score, but his two turnovers kept Wisconsin in the game and prevented a blowout. Freshman J.K. Dobbins, who was named the game’s MVP, ran for 174 yards, while the talented defense shut down Wisconsin’s running game as the Badgers garnered only 60 yards on 32 carries.

6. Wisconsin (12–1, 9–0 Big Ten)

Previous ranking: 3
This week: Lost 27–21 to Ohio State in Big Ten Championship
Next game: vs. Miami in Orange Bowl

Wisconsin’s formula that had worked all season long was nowhere to found on Saturday as the running game and stout defense failed to carry the Badgers to the Big Ten title. Jonathan Taylor had only 41 yards and Ohio State’s offense repeatedly gashed the slower Badgers for big play after big play. Alex Hornibrook had 229 yards but his untimely turnovers doomed Wisconsin.

7. Central Florida (12–0, 8–0 AAC)

Previous ranking: 8
This week: Beat Memphis 62–55 (2OT) in AAC Championship
Next game: vs. Auburn in Peach Bowl

In a span of three years, Central Florida went from the cellar of college football to undefeated and playing in a major bowl game. McKenzie Milton threw for 494 yards and five touchdowns and the Knights overcame four turnovers to win their third conference title in the last five seasons. The season was a perfect sendoff for coach Scott Frost, who will coach the bowl game before departing for the Nebraska job.

8. USC (11–2, 8–1 Pac–12)

Previous ranking: 10
This week: Beat Stanford 31–28 in Pac–12 Championship
Next game: vs. Ohio State in Cotton Bowl

The Trojans used a 99-yard drive in the fourth quarter to hold off Stanford and bring home their first conference title in almost a decade. Sam Darnold threw for 325 yards and two touchdowns in what could be his final game in college, and Ronald Jones ran for 140 yards and two scores as part of USC’s 501-yard offensive effort. Bryce Love had 125 yards rushing for Stanford on a badly injured ankle, but it was not enough.

9. Auburn (10–3, 7–1 SEC)

Previous ranking: 4
This week: Lost to Auburn 28–7 in SEC Championship
Next game: vs. UCF in Peach Bowl

After scoring on the opening drive, Auburn’s hopes for a playoff berth and SEC title went down the drain thanks to an avalanche of penalties, special team miscues, two big turnovers and an inability to stop any Georgia running back. Kerryon Johnson came in with a shoulder injury and was ineffective, rushing for 40 yards on 13 carries as Auburn was held to 259 yards, its lowest output since a Week 2 loss at Clemson.

10. Penn State (10–2, 7–2 Big Ten)

Previous ranking: 11
Last week: Off
Next game: vs. Washington in Fiesta Bowl

11. Washington (10–2, 7–2 Pac–12)

Previous ranking: 13
This week: Off
Next game: vs. Penn State in Fiesta Bowl

12. TCU (10–3, 7-2 Big 12)

Previous ranking: 12
This week: Lost to Oklahoma 41–17 in Big 12 Championship
Next game: vs. Stanford in Alamo Bowl

TCU ran into the same problem it did when it faced the Sooners three weeks ago: The defense had no answer for Baker Mayfield and the Oklahoma running game. The Horned Frogs also ran into a surprisingly salty Sooners defense, which gave up less than 100 yards and no points in the second half.

13. Miami, FL (10–2, 7–1 ACC)

Previous ranking: 9
This week: Lost 38–3 to Clemson in ACC Championship
Next game: vs. Wisconsin in Orange Bowl

For all of Miami’s magic through the first 10 games this season, it’s now clear that the Hurricanes were not prepared to run with the elites. Miami was outclassed by Clemson and did not help matters by turning the ball over three times. Malik Rosier threw for only 110 yards and was picked off twice as Miami fell behind early and was unable to sustain an offense to get back in the game.

14. Stanford (9–4, 7–2 Pac-12)

Previous ranking: 15
This week: Lost to USC 31–28 in Pac-12 Championship
Next game: vs. TCU in Alamo Bowl

Bryce Love did everything he could to carry Stanford to the Pac-12 title, rushing for 125 yards and a touchdown on an injured ankle. Will he be close to 100% by the bowl game (if he doesn’t choose to skip it)?

15. Notre Dame (9–3)

Previous ranking: 16
This week: Off
Next game: vs. LSU in Citrus Bowl

16. Memphis (10–2, 7–1 AAC)

Previous ranking: 14
This week: Lost 62–55 (2OT) to Central Florida in AAC Championship
Next game: vs. Iowa State in Liberty Bowl

In a game that featured 117 points and almost 1,500 yards, Memphis rallied twice from two-touchdown deficits to push UCF to overtime. Riley Ferguson had 471 yards and four touchdowns and the Tigers rolled up 753 yards of offense. The Tigers were done in by 14 penalties and two costly turnovers, despite holding the ball more than twice the time that Central Florida had it.

17. LSU (9-3, 6–2 SEC)

Previous ranking: 17
This week: Off
Next game: vs. Notre Dame in Citrus Bowl

18. Virginia Tech (9–3, 5–3 ACC)

Previous ranking: 18
This week: Off
Next game: vs. Oklahoma State in Camping World Bowl

19. Oklahoma State (9–3, 6–3 Big 12)

Previous ranking: 19
Last week: Off
Next game: vs. Virginia Tech in Camping World Bowl

20. Michigan State (9–3, 7–2 Big Ten)

Previous ranking: 20
Last week: Off
Next game: vs. Washington State in Holiday Bowl

21. Northwestern (9–3, 7–2 Big Ten)

Previous ranking: 21
This week: Off
Next game: vs. Kentucky in Music City Bowl

Northwestern might be the biggest surprise in college football. Say what you want about its schedule, but winning nine games is hard no matter who is on the slate. Fans should get one last look at Justin Jackson, who might be the best Power 5 running back you haven’t heard of.

22. Washington State (9–3, 6–3 Pac–12)

Previous ranking: 22
Last week: Off
Next game: vs. Michigan State in Holiday Bowl

It would have been fun to see Mike Leach and his Cougars in a major bowl, but Washington State was blown out in three road games, including the season-ending Apple Cup, which could have gotten them a rematch against USC.

23. South Florida (9–2, 6–2 AAC)

Previous ranking: 23
Last week: Off
Next game: vs. Texas Tech in Birmingham Bowl

24. Boise State (10–3, 7–1 MWC)

Previous ranking:
This week: Beat Fresno State 17–14 in Mountain West Championship
Next game: vs. Oregon in Las Vegas Bowl

Boise State came up big in the fourth quarter, driving 90 yards to put the winning score on the board and avenge last week’s loss to Fresno State. Brett Rypien threw for 246 yards and the defense put the clamps on the Bulldogs' offense that shredded them the week before. Boise State has won 10 games for the eighth time in the last 10 years, and won the Mountain West for the second time in the last four.

25. Mississippi State (8–4, 4–4 SEC)

Previous ranking: 24
This week: Off
Next game: vs. Louisville in TaxSlayer Bowl

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Almost Famous

26. Fresno State (9–4)

Next game: vs. Houston in Hawaii Bowl

27. Louisville (8­–4)

Next game: vs. Mississippi State in TaxSlayer Bowl

28. Florida Atlantic (10–3)

Next game: vs. Akron in Boca Raton Bowl

29. San Diego State (10–2)

Next game: vs. Army in Armed Forces Bowl

30. Michigan (8–4)

Next game: vs. South Carolina in Outback Bowl

31. NC State (8–4)

Next game: vs Arizona State in Belk Bowl

32. Toledo (11–2)

Next game: vs. Appalachian State in Armed Forces Bowl

33. Troy (10–2)

Next game: vs. North Texas in New Orleans Bowl

34. Army (8–3)

Next games: vs. Navy on Saturday; vs. San Diego State in Armed Forces Bowl

35. South Carolina (8–4)

Next game: vs. Michigan in Outback Bowl

36. Iowa State (7–5)

Next game: vs. Memphis in Liberty Bowl

37. Appalachian State (10–2)

Next game: vs. Toledo in Armed Forces Bowl

38. West Virginia (7–5)

Next game: vs. Utah in Heart of Dallas Bowl

39. Kansas State (7–5)

Next game: vs. UCLA in Cactus Bowl

Remember when Iowa State was on the fringes on a top-10 ranking? The Cyclones closed the season losing four of their last five games. If Louisville had any sort of semblance of a defense, Lamar Jackson’s second Heisman would have been more than a dream. The passengers on the Lane Train get to stay home in Boca Raton for bowl season, and no one—and I mean no one—thought FAU would win 10 games after looking pitiful in the early part of the season.

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The comeback kids

40. Oregon (7–5)

Next game: vs. Boise State in Las Vegas Bowl

41. Texas A&M (7–5)

Next game: vs. Wake Forest in Belk Bowl

42. SMU (7–5)

Next game: vs. Louisiana Tech in Frisco Bowl

43. Marshall (7–5)

Next game: vs. Colorado State in New Mexico Bowl

44. Central Michigan (8–4)

Next game: vs. Wyoming in Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

45. Arizona State (7–5)

Next game: vs. NC State in Belk Bowl

46. Kentucky (7–5)

Next game: vs. Northwestern in Music City Bowl

47. UAB (8–4)

Next game: vs. Ohio in Bahamas Bowl

48. Northern Illinois (8–4)

Next game: vs. Duke in Quick Lane Bowl

49. Missouri (7–5)

Next game: vs. Texas in Texas Bowl

Oregon spent a majority of the season without its starting quarterback, Justin Herbert, who broke his collarbone. The Ducks are a different team with him under center and the Las Vegas Bowl is a good opportunity to show what could be coming next year in Eugene. In December 2014, UAB shut down its football program, citing financial difficulties. The Blazers came back in a big way, earning bowl eligibility in their first season back. Keep an eye out for UAB’s Spencer Brown, a dynamic freshman who ran for nearly 1,300 yards and 10 touchdowns this season.

College football’s Jekyll and Hyde

50. Southern Miss (8–4)

Next game: vs. Florida State in Independence Bowl

51. Iowa (7–5)

Next game: vs. Boston College in Pinstripe Bowl

52. North Texas (9–4)

Next game: vs. New Orleans Bowl

53. Ohio (8–4)

Next game: vs. UAB in Bahamas Bowl

54. Arizona (7–5)

Next game: vs. Purdue in Foster Farms Bowl

55. Wake Forest (7–5)

Next game: vs. Texas A&M in Belk Bowl

56. Akron (7–6)

Next game: vs. FAU in Boca Raton Bowl

57. Colorado State (7–5)

Next game: vs. Marshall in New Mexico Bowl

58. Navy (6–5)

Next game: vs. Army on Saturday; vs. Virginia in Military Bowl

59. Florida International (8–4)

Next game: vs. Temple in Gasparilla Bowl

Iowa is the biggest enigma in college football: thrashing Ohio State by 31 points at home, then losing to Purdue in the same stadium two weeks later. On the bright side, the Hawkeyes did beat four teams that made it to bowls this season. North Texas, which lacks much notable football tradition outside of Mean Joe Greene, won nine games under the outstanding leadership of second-year coach Seth Littrell—another season like this and programs that have vacancies next winter will come calling. For those who didn’t stay up late to watch this season of Pac-12 After Dark, Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate is must-see TV. He is known to break off a long run (or five) during the game and could have a 250-yard game against Purdue’s defense.

On the upswing

60. Texas (6–6)

Next game: vs. Missouri in Texas Bowl

61. Arkansas State (7­–4)

Next game: vs. Middle Tennessee in Camellia Bowl

62. Boston College (7–5)

Next game: vs. Iowa in Independence Bowl

63. Western Kentucky (6–6)

Next game: vs. Georgia State in Cure Bowl

64. Utah (6–6)

Next game: vs. West Virginia in Heart of Dallas Bowl

65. Houston (7–4)

Next game: vs. Fresno State in Hawaii Bowl

66. Wyoming (7–5)

Next game: vs. Central Michigan in Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

67. UCLA (6–6)

Next game: vs. Kansas State in Cactus Bowl

68. Utah State (6–6)

Next game: vs. New Mexico State in Arizona Bowl

69. Florida State (6–6)

Next game: vs. Southern Mississippi in Independence Bowl

The pixie dust worked about as well as Tom Herman warned us it would this season for Texas, which hung with Oklahoma, USC and Oklahoma State, but somehow lost to Maryland and Texas Tech. Better days are ahead in Austin. UCLA, another team that has talent and failed to capitalized, fell to rock bottom after a thrilling comeback in the opener against Texas A&M. That slide got Jim Mora fired and led to the hiring of Chip Kelly. The Bruins should thrive again under Kelly in a hurry.

The worst of the best

70. Purdue (6–6)

Next game: vs. Arizona in Foster Farms Bowl

71. Duke (6–6)

Next game: vs. Northern Illinois in Quick Lane Bowl

72. Louisiana Tech (6–6)

Next game: vs. SMU in Frisco Bowl

73. Virginia (6–6)

Next game: vs. Navy in Military Bowl

74. Temple (6–6)

Next game: vs. FIU in Gasparilla Bowl

75. Middle Tennessee State (6­–6)

Next game: vs. Arkansas State in Camellia Bowl

76. Texas Tech (6–6)

Next game: vs. South Florida in Birmingham Bowl

77. Georgia State (6–5)

Next game: vs. Western Kentucky in Cure Bowl

These teams aren’t necessarily bad (all of them won at least six games), but at times, watching them play was tough on the eyes. Purdue showed remarkable improvement under first-year coach Jeff Brohm, and with a few more years of this, he won’t be at Purdue much longer. Texas Tech amazingly still has a coach after its roller-coaster year. The Red Raiders again could move the ball on offense but got thrashed in just about every game on defense. Look for a plethora of points when they meet South Florida in Birmingham.

Because someone had to be last

78. New Mexico State (6–6)

Next game: vs. Utah State in Arizona Bowl

Congrats to the Aggies, who are bowl eligible for the first time since the end of the Eisenhower administration. They won their final two games and can finally enjoy some national exposure and long awaited bowl swag.

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