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College Football Top 25 - Final Rankings / End of Season Edition
College Football Top 25 - Final Rankings/End of Season Edition All of the Bowl games have concluded, and the National Champion for the 2018 season has been crowned - the only thing left to do is issue the final top 25 rankings for the 2018 college football season. It sure is difficult to believe that another season is already in the books. It was one to remember as we had another QB from Oklahoma take home the Heisman, the SEC and Alabama rolled to a dominant regular season and four teams finished the regular season undefeated. From Clemson's remarkable demolition of Alabama, to Army's remarkable 11 wins, I've got you covered with the final top 25 for the 2018 NCAA football campaign. There is plenty to cover from bowl season, let's get to it: We start right at the top where Clemson put a shocking beatdown on Alabama in the national title game. No one saw the 44-16 stomping coming, as the Tide suffered their worse loss under Nick Saban. Hats off to Debo Swinney and co. for their incredibly well-executed gameplan. The Tigers finished off the 2018 season in emphatic fashion, crushing #3 Notre Dame 30-3 in the Cotton Bowl (National Semifinal) and then trouncing the #1 Crimson Tide. Clemson finishes the season atop the rankings after their dominant run and are followed by Alabama who finishes #2 after coming up surprisingly well-short in the title game, but none-the-less turned in a remarkable season in their own right. The Ohio State Buckeyes were able to move up 4 spots in the final rankings after getting past Washington in the Rose Bowl, 28-23. The win gave the Buckeyes 13, as they were one of only four teams to finish up with 1 loss (the others being Alabama, Notre Dame, and UCF). In an interesting development, Oklahoma actually moved up a spot to #4 in the final poll, thanks to still finishing with a 12-2 record even after losing in the Orange Bowl to Alabama. The Sooners took advantage of developments in front of and immediately behind them as previously #3 Notre Dame, #4 UCF, #6 Georgia, and #8 Washington all lost. This allowed the Sooners to slide up one spot and finish up at #4. Immediately following Oklahoma, are a pair of solid SEC teams that both made big jumps in the final rankings, thanks to big-time bowl victories. Florida and LSU each moved up 5 spots, from 10 and 11, to #5 and #6, respectively. The Gators absolutely dominated #8 Michigan in the Peach Bowl, handing the Wolverines an impressive 41-15 defeat. Meanwhile, LSU took on #4 UCF in the Fiesta Bowl, and got one heck of a performance out of their offense as QB Joe Burrow went for over 300 yards and 4 TDs in a rare passing-explosion for the Tigers as they put an end to the nation's longest winning-streak by toppling the Knights 40-32. LSU reached the 10-win plateau and finishes #6 after a stellar season. Meanwhile, UCF lost for the first time in 2 years, and dropped 3 spots, coming in at #7 in the final rankings. No self-claimed National Title this year, but the Knights made the CFP debate interesting once again. Behind Central Florida is Notre Dame checking in at #8, they finish behind UCF, because they didn't even show up against Clemson in the Cotton Bowl. The 30-3 beatdown was far worse than the 40-32 defeat that Central Florida suffered without their star QB to a quality LSU squad. Rounding out the top 10 behind the Irish are Washington State at #9, up 3 spots after they squeaked past Iowa State in the Alamo Bowl, 28-26. The Cougars finished off a season to remember with 11 wins. Checking in at #10 are the Texas Longhorns, who managed to get a surprising 28-21 victory over Georgia. The Bulldogs gave Alabama all they could handle in the SEC title game, before falling late, only to take 3 quarters to show up in the Sugar Bowl. By the time Georgia came to, they were down 28-7 and their late rally came up short. Texas finishes up a much-improved season at 10-4, while Georgia slid 5 spots to right behind the Longhorns at 11. They might have had a disappointing conclusion to the year, but UGA still had a quality season and has much to be optimistic about for the future. Fellow SEC-foe Kentucky comes in behind the Bulldogs at 12, up 4 spots after a nice, hard-fought, 27-24 win over Penn State in the Citrus Bowl. What a season it was for the Wildcats as they finish up 10-3. Washington and Michigan occupy the next couple of spots after each dropped 5 slots and out of the top 10 after losses in their respective bowl games. Michigan enjoyed a terrific season for the most part, but suffered a pair of blowout losses to rival Ohio State and Florida to end the season, leaving more questions than answers heading into 2019. Rounding out the top 15 are Syracuse, who jumped 5 spots after their impressive showing against former Big-East foe West Virginia in the Camping World Bowl. The Orange came away with a 34-18 victory and managed to get to 10 wins for the season. Texas A&M finished the season 9-4 after absolutely annihilating N.C. State in the Gator Bowl, 52-13. The impressive victory moved the Aggies up a pair of spots to 16. Fresno State managed to get to 12 wins on the season after dispatching Arizona State 31-20 in the Las Vegas Bowl. The W bumped the Bulldogs up to 17. Army had a remarkable season as the Black Knights won 11 games for the first time in their long, storied history (albeit if much of that history is from the pre-1960s). They set several records in their 70-14 destruction of Houston in the Armed Forces Bowl, including most points scored in a bowl game, largest margin of victory, and rushing yards. Congratulations to Army for all of their well-deserved accolades, and for cracking the top 20 in any poll for the first time since the final AP poll of the 1958 season! The Black Knights are up 3 spots to #18 to close out the season. Penn State settled at 19 after their loss to Kentucky, dropping 6 spots in the process. Utah State moved up 2 spots to 20 after blowing out North Texas 52-13 in the New Mexico Bowl. USU finished up an impressive 11-2. Rounding out the final top 25 are West Virginia, settling in at 21 after their loss to Syracuse. Northwestern is back into the rankings to close out the season and finish at #22 after defeating Pac-12 runner-up, Utah, 31-20 in the Holiday Bowl. Iowa also joined the rankings after rallying to knock-off Mississippi State, 27-22, in the Outback Bowl. The Hawkeyes finish the season at #23. Cincinnati was the final new edition to the rankings as they finished up a very impressive 11-2 following their 35-31 win over Virginia Tech in the Military Bowl. Boise State rounds out the final top 25 of the 2018 college football season as their scheduled bowl-game showdown with Boston College was canceled due to lightning and constant severe weather delays that caused the game to ultimately get called. Boise finishes the season 10-3, certainly good enough to stay at #25 to close out the final rankings of the season. The Final Top 25 for the 2018 College Football Season: 1 Clemson (15-0) # ☆ 🏆 2 Alabama (14-1) # ☆ 3 Ohio St. (13-1) # 4 Oklahoma (12-2) # ☆ 5 Florida (10-3) 6 LSU (10-3) 7 UCF (12-1) # 8 Notre Dame (12-1) ☆ 9 Washington St. (11-2) 10 Texas (10-4) 11 Georgia (11-3) 12 Kentucky (10-3) 13 Washington (10-4) # 14 Michigan (10-3) 15 Syracuse (10-3) 16 Texas A&M (9-4) 17 Fresno St. (12-2) # 18 Army (11-2) 19 Penn St. (9-4) 20 Utah St. (11-2) 21 West Virginia (8-4) 22 Northwestern (9-5) * 23 Iowa (9-4) * 24 Cincinnati (11-2) * 25 Boise St. (10-3) Dropped out: 17 Mississippi St. (8-5), 23 Utah (9-5), 24 Iowa St. (8-5) ☆ - college football playoff participant # - denotes conference champion * - new to the rankings this week The next few teams outside of the top 25 would be Wisconsin (8-5), Mississippi State (8-5), Utah (9-5), Iowa State (8-5), UAB (11-3), Stanford (9-4), Oregon (9-4), and lastly, Appalachian State (11-2). In the end, several schools finished the season with much to be proud about and foundations in place for the future. Looking ahead to 2019, look-out for Washington out of the Pac-12, I like their chances of reaching the CFP. Georgia is a team to watch, as well as the usual Alabama and Clemson. My way-too-early top 5 heading into next season would be (in no particular order): Alabama, Georgia, Washington, LSU, and Clemson. That may change of course before now and the beginning of the 2019 season. That concludes my updated college football top 25 rankings for the 2018 season, I hope you all enjoyed following along as the season progressed. As always I would love to hear your thoughts below and thanks for reading!
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