November 30, 2009

Ranking them all: 120 at 1:20

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for
He can be heard on Rivals Radio every Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. ET and can be reached at
At 1:20 p.m. ET each Monday, releases the 120 at 1:20, Mike Huguenin's ranking of every major college football team in the nation.

The SEC has the top two teams in the land in our 1-120 rankings. They meet Saturday in what has become the most eagerly anticipated SEC championship game ever.

At the other end of the spectrum, No. 120 Western Kentucky is one of just two winless teams in the nation. But while No. 119 Eastern Michigan's season is over, the Hilltoppers have one more chance for that elusive first victory - and it comes Thursday night against a three-win Arkansas State team.

On to the rankings.

Mike Huguenin's 120 at 1:20
1. Alabama (12-0)
BUZZ: Greg McElroy stamped himself in Alabama lore by leading the Tide to a fourth-quarter comeback at Auburn. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Florida in SEC championship game in Atlanta.
2. Florida (12-0)
BUZZ: The Gators toyed with Florida State, to the point of taking a knee in the final minute at the end of the first half. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Alabama in SEC championship game in Atlanta.
3. Texas (12-0)
BUZZ: Texas A&M exposed some defensive issues. But Colt McCoy and the rest of the offense was clicking. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Nebraska in Big 12 championship game in Arlington, Texas.
4. TCU (12-0)
BUZZ: The Horned Frogs finished a perfect regular season by hammering woeful New Mexico. NEXT: BCS bowl, TBA.
5. Cincinnati (11-0)
BUZZ: QB Tony Pike sure looked sharp in tossing six TD passes. Yes, the opponent was Illinois, but Pike still looked sharp. NEXT: Saturday, at Pittsburgh.
6. Boise State (12-0)
BUZZ: The Broncos are trying for another perfect regular season; they're also trying for another BCS bid. NEXT: Saturday, vs. New Mexico State.
7. Oregon (9-2)
BUZZ: This week, it's "The Civil War" to end all Civil Wars, with the winner getting a bouquet of roses. NEXT: Thursday, vs. Oregon State.
8. Ohio State (10-2)
BUZZ: Regular season over. NEXT: Jan. 1, Rose Bowl vs. TBA.
9. Iowa (10-2)
BUZZ: Regular season over. NEXT: Bowl game, TBA.
10. Georgia Tech (10-2)
BUZZ: Man, Tech's run defense sure looked pitiful against Georgia. Do the Yellow Jackets not know how to tackle? NEXT: Saturday, vs. Clemson in ACC championship game in Tampa, Fla.
11. Oregon State (8-3)
BUZZ: With a Rose Bowl berth on the line last season, the Beavers were crushed by their archrivals. Will it be different this season? NEXT: Thursday, at Oregon.
12. Pittsburgh (9-2)
BUZZ: Sure, the loss in the "Backyard Brawl" stings. But all that can be erased with a win Saturday in the de facto Big East title game. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Cincinnati.
13. LSU (9-3)
BUZZ: This week, the Tigers worked the clock well and came away with a victory. NEXT: Bowl game, TBA.
14. Stanford (8-4)
BUZZ: Toby Gerhart has had a monster season, and you'd think he has done enough to merit at least an invitation to the Heisman Trophy ceremonies. NEXT: Bowl game, TBA.
15. BYU (10-2)
BUZZ: Winning in overtime is great enough. But beating your archrival in OT? That's what dreams are made of. NEXT: Bowl game, TBA.
16. Utah (9-3)
BUZZ: Losing in overtime is bad enough. But losing to your archrival in OT? That's the stuff of nightmares. NEXT: Bowl game, TBA.
17. Miami (9-3)
BUZZ: A young Hurricanes team staked claim to being No. 2 in the state of Florida. And that's not a bad place to be. NEXT: Bowl game, TBA.
18. Virginia Tech (9-3)
BUZZ: While things didn't go as expected, the Hokies still had a solid regular season. NEXT: Bowl game, TBA.
19. USC (8-3)
BUZZ: If the Trojans can beat the Wildcats, they could finish in a tie for second in the Pac-10. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Arizona.
20. Penn State (10-2)
BUZZ: Regular season over. NEXT: Bowl game, TBA.
21. California (8-3)
BUZZ: The season has been a mild disappointment. Still, 10 wins is a reachable goal. NEXT: Saturday, at Washington.
22. Houston (10-2)
BUZZ: QB Case Keenum should go over the 5,000-yard plateau for the season this weekend. NEXT: Saturday, at East Carolina in C-USA championship game.
23. Clemson (8-4)
BUZZ: The Tigers were beaten up by South Carolina. But they still can reach a BCS game with a win Saturday. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Georgia Tech in ACC championship game in Tampa, Fla.
24. Oklahoma State (9-3)
BUZZ: The Cowboys' offense was abysmal in a loss to Oklahoma, and their BCS at-large hopes are gone. NEXT: Bowl game, TBA.
25. Texas Tech (8-4)
BUZZ: It wasn't pretty, but the Red Raiders got past Baylor and now look to win nine games again. NEXT: Bowl game, TBA.
26. Nebraska (9-3)
BUZZ: The defense will need to lead the way if the Huskers are to pull the upset in the Big 12 title game. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Texas in Big 12 championship game in Arlington, Texas.
27. Arizona (7-4)
BUZZ: Three weeks ago, the Wildcats had their Pac-10 destiny in their hands. Now, a middle-of-the-pack finish in the Pac-10 looms. NEXT: Saturday, at USC.
28. Ole Miss (8-4)
BUZZ: Evidently, no one told the Rebels that there was a game this past Saturday. Mississippi State beat them up in the Egg Bowl. NEXT: Bowl game, TBA.
29. North Carolina (8-4)
BUZZ: Things were looking up for the Tar Heels. Then came their third consecutive loss to North Carolina State. NEXT: Bowl game, TBA.
30. Arkansas (7-5)
BUZZ: The Hogs have showed a lot of improvement in the second season under Bobby Petrino. NEXT: Bowl game, TBA.
31. West Virginia (8-3)
BUZZ: WVU won back some needed respect by beating Pittsburgh. The Mountaineers now need to win this weekend or that respect will disappear again. NEXT: Saturday, at Rutgers.
32. Wisconsin (8-3)
BUZZ: The Badgers need to take Hawaii seriously and not prepare as if this were an end-of-season vacation. NEXT: Saturday, at Hawaii.
33. Boston College (8-4)
BUZZ: An eight-win regular season considering all that went on in the offseason? We'd say Frank Spaziani deserves some votes for ACC coach of the year. NEXT: Bowl game, TBA.
34. Central Michigan (10-2)
BUZZ: Central Michigan leads the MAC in scoring offense and in scoring defense. NEXT: Friday, vs. Ohio U. in MAC championship game in Detroit.
35. Auburn (7-5)
BUZZ: The Tigers put a big scare into Alabama but couldn't finish the job. NEXT: Bowl game, TBA.
36. Oklahoma (7-5)
BUZZ: The season hasn't gone as planned, but dominating the "Bedlam Game" has to make the Sooners feel good. NEXT: Bowl game, TBA.
37. Tennessee (7-5)
BUZZ: Offensive improvement has been the biggest thing for the Vols this season. Despite a lot of folks saying different, the defense wasn't as good as it was last season. NEXT: Bowl game, TBA.
38. South Carolina (7-5)
BUZZ: The Gamecocks' annual late-season fade had a different ending this time. Beating Clemson will make the offseason a lot better. NEXT: Bowl game, TBA.
39. Northwestern (8-4)
BUZZ: Regular season over. NEXT: Bowl game, TBA.
40. Georgia (7-5)
BUZZ: The Bulldogs' rushing attack came to life in a big way in an upset of Georgia Tech. NEXT: Bowl game, TBA.
41. Missouri (8-4)
BUZZ: A midseason swoon really hurt the Tigers. And explain, again, how this team lost at home to Baylor? NEXT: Bowl game, TBA.
42. USF (7-4)
BUZZ: The Bulls' offense - and defense, too - was overmatched against Miami. Can USF finish strong? NEXT: Saturday, at Connecticut.
43. Connecticut (6-5)
BUZZ: The Huskies have a modest two-game winning streak. But they're also bowl eligible. NEXT: Saturday, vs. USF.
44. Navy (8-4)
BUZZ: The pass defense was torched in a loss at Hawaii. Good news for the Midshipmen is that Army cannot pass. NEXT: Dec. 12, vs. Army in Philadelphia.
45. Air Force (7-5)
BUZZ: Regular season over. NEXT: Bowl game, TBA.
46. Kentucky (7-5)
BUZZ: The Wildcats will be going to a bowl for the fourth consecutive season. And that's a big deal at UK. NEXT: Bowl game, TBA.
47. Rutgers (8-3)
BUZZ: The Scarlet Knights bounced back from an embarrassing loss to Syracuse to beat Louisville, which then fired its coach. NEXT: Saturday, vs. West Virginia.
48. East Carolina (8-4)
BUZZ: ECU is 5-1 at home this season, and the Pirates are hoping home-field advantage helps when they play high-powered Houston. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Houston in C-USA championship game.
49. Ohio University (9-3)
BUZZ: Frank Solich's Bobcats have won seven of eight heading into the league title game. A tough defense will be tested. NEXT: Friday, vs. Central Michigan in MAC championship game in Detroit.
50. Florida State (6-6)
BUZZ: The big question about the Seminoles is whether 80-year-old Bobby Bowden will be back as coach next season. NEXT: Bowl game, TBA.
51. Michigan State (6-6)
BUZZ: Regular season over. NEXT: Bowl game, TBA.
52. Notre Dame (6-6)
BUZZ: Offense wasn't the problem this season; the defense was. And it likely will cost Charlie Weis his job. NEXT: Season over.
53. Nevada (8-4)
BUZZ: The Wolf Pack ran for 242 on Boise State - but it wasn't near enough. NEXT: Bowl game, TBA.
54. Fresno State (7-4)
BUZZ: By the time the regular season ends, the Bulldogs will have traveled 23,354 air miles for their away games. NEXT: Saturday, at Illinois.
55. UCLA (6-6)
BUZZ: The Bruins made incremental progress in Rick Neuheisel's second season. Still, progress is progress. NEXT: Bowl game, TBA.
56. Southern Miss (7-5)
BUZZ: The Golden Eagles finished third in the East Division of C-USA, not bad for a team that lost its starting quarterback halfway through the season. NEXT: Bowl game, TBA.
57. Mississippi State (5-7)
BUZZ: Winning the Egg Bowl in dominating fashion sends the Bulldogs into the offseason in a great mood. Now, the coaches just need to find more playmakers. NEXT: Season over.
58. Troy (9-3)
BUZZ: The Trojans won their fourth consecutive Sun Belt title. NEXT: Bowl game, TBA.
59. UCF (8-4)
BUZZ: The defense again was stout, and the offense made great strides. Add it up, and it's a second-place finish in C-USA East. NEXT: Bowl game, TBA.
60. Middle Tennessee State (9-3)
BUZZ: The Blue Raiders won eight games for just the second time in 15 seasons. They take a six-game winning streak into the postseason. NEXT: Bowl game, TBD.
61. Temple (9-3)
BUZZ: Star RB Bernard Pierce missed last week's showdown with Ohio U. with an injury, and that hurt. Still, nine wins at Temple is nothing to feel bad about. NEXT: Bowl game, TBD.
62. Minnesota (6-6)
BUZZ: Regular season over. NEXT: Bowl game, TBA.
63. Kansas State (6-6)
BUZZ: Season over. NEXT: Season over
64. Wake Forest (5-7)
BUZZ: QB Riley Skinner had a great career. But now reality sets in - he's gone. NEXT: Season over.
65. Texas A&M (6-6)
BUZZ: The Aggies' offense came to play against Texas. The defense? Well, those guys tried, but NEXT: Bowl game, TBA.
66. Kansas (5-7)
BUZZ: It appears as if Mark Mangino has coached his last game for the Jayhawks. NEXT: Season over.
67. Arizona State (4-8)
BUZZ: The Sun Devils' coaches need to find some playmakers on offense. NEXT: Season over.
68. Northern Illinois (7-5)
BUZZ: The Huskies had a solid second season under coach Jerry Kill, but they still are a tier below Central Michigan. NEXT: Bowl game, TBD.
69. Iowa State (6-6)
BUZZ: Regular season over. NEXT: Bowl game, TBA.
70. Purdue (5-7)
BUZZ: Season over. NEXT: Season over.
71. SMU (7-5)
BUZZ: June Jones did a nice job in his second season as coach. SMU will be going bowling for the first time since 1984. NEXT: Bowl game, TBA.
72. Bowling Green (7-5)
BUZZ: The Falcons ended the season on a four-game winning streak, and that could be enough to get them into a bowl. NEXT: Bowl game, TBD.
73. Michigan (5-7)
BUZZ: Season over. NEXT: Season over.
74. N.C. State (5-7)
BUZZ: The Wolfpack started strong, then faded. But they rose up in the finale and shocked rival North Carolina. NEXT: Season over.
75. Duke (5-7)
BUZZ: The Blue Devils showed improvement this season in David Cutcliffe's second season. NEXT: Season over.
76. Washington (4-7)
BUZZ: If the Huskies can upset the Golden Bears, you'd have to consider Steve Sarkisian's first season a big success. And even if they lose, the Huskies have shown improvement from last season. NEXT: Saturday, vs. California.
77. Idaho (7-5)
BUZZ: A hot start (6-1) was mitigated somewhat by a lackluster finish. And to get to a bowl, Idaho may need Hawaii to lose to Wisconsin. NEXT: Bowl game, TBD.
78. Tulsa (5-7)
BUZZ: The Golden Hurricane snapped a six-game losing streak in the season finale, and defensive improvement is a must for next season. NEXT: Season over.
79. Syracuse (4-8)
BUZZ: The Greg Paulus experiment wasn't a total failure. Still, the Orange need to find a high-level quarterback. NEXT: Season over.
80. Virginia (3-9)
BUZZ: The Cavs ended the season on a six-game losing streak, and coach Al Groh lost his job Sunday. NEXT: Season over.
81. Indiana (4-8)
BUZZ: Season over. NEXT: Season over.
82. Marshall (6-6)
BUZZ: Though the Herd will be going bowling, coach Mark Snyder resigned under pressure Sunday. This was the first non-losing season in his five-year tenure. NEXT: Bowl game, TBA.
83. Illinois (3-8)
BUZZ: The Illini went to the Rose Bowl in 2007. They won five games last season and will finish with three or four victories this season. But Ron Zook will return. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Fresno State.
84. Louisiana-Lafayette (6-6)
BUZZ: ULL lost four of its final six to close out the regular season. But there was a nice win over rival Louisiana-Monroe during that stretch. NEXT: Season over.
85. Hawaii (6-6)
BUZZ: It's simple: If the Warriors beat Wisconsin, they'll be in the Hawaii Bowl. If they lose, the season is over. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Wisconsin.
86. Wyoming (6-6)
BUZZ: The Cowboys became bowl eligible with a one-point win over Colorado State on Saturday. NEXT: Bowl game, TBA.
87. Baylor (4-8)
BUZZ: You have to think Art Briles is wondering, "What if Robert Griffin doesn't get hurt?" NEXT: Season over.
88. Louisville (4-8)
BUZZ: When Steve Kragthorpe took over, this was a team that was expected to finish in the top 10. NEXT: Season over.
89. Toledo (5-7)
BUZZ: The top priority for coach Tim Beckman is to find some guys who can play defense. NEXT: Season over.
90. Colorado (3-9)
BUZZ: The Buffs were a huge disappointment this season, but coach Dan Hawkins will return. NEXT: Season over.
91. UNLV (5-7)
BUZZ: Coach Mike Sanford is on his way out, but his players gave him a nice going-away present - they rallied to beat San Diego State in the season finale. NEXT: Season over.
92. UAB (5-7)
BUZZ: QB Joe Webb was a one-man wrecking crew on offense. Two problems: The defense again was bad - and Webb is a senior. NEXT: Season over.
93. Buffalo (5-7)
BUZZ: The Bulls played hard down the stretch, including winning the final two games. You have to figure somebody is going to give coach Turner Gill a call. NEXT: Season over.
94. Louisiana-Monroe (6-6)
BUZZ: Had the Warhawks won one of their final two games, they might be getting ready to accept a bowl bid. Alas, they lost them both. NEXT: Season over.
95. Western Michigan (5-7)
BUZZ: The Broncos might have been the biggest disappointment in the MAC this season. NEXT: Season over.
96. Kent State (5-7)
BUZZ: While their record was the same as Western Michigan's, the Golden Flashes have reasons to be happy with a 5-7 mark. NEXT: Season over.
97. UTEP (4-8)
BUZZ: The Miners crushed Marshall in the season finale. Coach Mike Price will be on the hot seat entering next season. NEXT: Season over.
98. Army (5-6)
BUZZ: The Black Knights have had a good season under first-year coach Rich Ellerson. It will get even better if they can upset Navy. NEXT: Dec. 12, vs. Navy in Philadelphia.
99. San Diego State (4-8)
BUZZ: The Aztecs showed some signs of life this season under new coach Brady Hoke. Can they get into the top half of the Mountain West next season? NEXT: Season over.
100. Utah State (4-8)
BUZZ: QB Diondre Borel and RB Robert Turbin led a darned good offense. The defense, on the other hand, was pretty darned bad. NEXT: Season over.
101. Maryland (2-10)
BUZZ: This was a miserable season for the Terps. Will coach Ralph Friedgen be back? NEXT: Season over.
102. Vanderbilt (2-10)
BUZZ: Season over. NEXT: Season over.
103. Louisiana Tech (3-8)
BUZZ: The Bulldogs have lost five in a row, but the good news is that none of the losses was a blowout - and Boise State and LSU were in that stretch. NEXT: Saturday, vs. San Jose State.
104. Colorado State (3-9)
BUZZ: The Rams looked good when they got off to a 3-0 start. After that, though, it was all downhill. NEXT: Season over.
105. Florida International (3-8)
BUZZ: The young Golden Panthers will be able to feel good about themselves if they can go into the offseason with a victory over their rival. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Florida Atlantic.
106. Florida Atlantic (4-7)
BUZZ: Last season's game with FIU was one of the season's most entertaining, with FAU winning 57-50 in overtime. NEXT: Saturday, at Florida International.
107. Rice (2-10)
BUZZ: The Owls won 10 games last season. Needless to say, this season wasn't nearly as good. Crosstown rival Houston hammered them Saturday. NEXT: Season over.
108. Tulane (3-9)
BUZZ: The Green Wave lost seven of their final eight, and a case can be made that they are losing their two best offensive players (TB Andre Anderson and WR Jeremy Williams). NEXT: Season over.
109. Memphis (2-10)
BUZZ: LSU running back coach Larry Porter, a Memphis alum, is the new coach. He is considered a good recruiter, and that trait needs to be put to good use for the Tigers. NEXT: Season over.
110. Akron (3-9)
BUZZ: Akron opened a new stadium this season, and the Zips will have a new coach next season. J.D. Brookhart was fired over the weekend. NEXT: Season over.
111. Ball State (2-10)
BUZZ: At least the Cardinals went out on a high note, upsetting Western Michigan in the season finale. NEXT: Season over.
112. Arkansas State (3-8)
BUZZ: The Red Wolves were supposed to contend for the Sun Belt title. Suffice it to say, things did not go as planned. NEXT: Thursday, at Western Kentucky.
113. Washington State (1-11)
BUZZ: Mercifully, another long season has come to an end. The Cougars have a long way to go to become competitive again in the Pac-10. NEXT: Season over.
114. New Mexico State (3-9)
BUZZ: The Aggies have struggled mightily all season. The reward? A season finale against a Boise State team that will be out to make a point. NEXT: Saturday, at Boise State.
115. North Texas (2-10)
BUZZ: The Mean Green did a nice job against the MAC, beating Ball State and losing by one in double-overtime to MAC East titlist Ohio. NEXT: Season over.
116. San Jose State (2-9)
BUZZ: Coach Dick Tomey, 71, already has announced his retirement. Can his players muster enough to give him a nice parting gift, i.e., an upset of Louisiana Tech? NEXT: Saturday, at Louisiana Tech.
117. New Mexico (1-11)
BUZZ: We're betting first-year coach Mike Locksley's thoughts are something along the lines of, "Whew. The nightmare is over." NEXT: Season over.
118. Miami University (1-11)
BUZZ: Season over. NEXT: Season over.
119. Eastern Michigan (0-12)
BUZZ: First-year coach Ron English and his program can't go anywhere but up in Year Two of his regime. NEXT: Season over.
120. Western Kentucky (0-11)
BUZZ: Thursday night's game will be the final one for coach David Elson, who already has been fired. And to make matters even weirder, his replacement already has been hired. NEXT: Thursday, vs. Arkansas State.

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for He can be reached at

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