The top 25 of AP Top 25 facts from the weirdest season in college football history, plus some bonus strangeness:
25. Tennessee finished No. 12, 10 or more spots better than every season since.
24. Rutgers’ No. 10 was its second-highest ranking ever.
23. Kentucky not only cracked the top 10 for the only time since 1977, it went back one week after losing.
22. Hawaii’s No. 10 remains its highest ranking ever.
21. Arkansas, which beat the national champ, was only ranked once after Week 2.
20. Seventeen schools appeared in the top five, one behind 1990 for the most ever. 2007 also had 24 teams reach the top 10, one behind 1984 for the most ever. (Does that mean those seasons were weirder? Lol, keep reading.)
19. Nick Saban's Alabama, which would become the sport’s greatest dynasty ever, was unranked for 11 weeks and lost to ULM.
18. Oklahoma lost as the No. 3 team three times in 10 games.
17. Ohio State lost to Ron Zook’s Illinois and was No. 1 again four weeks later.
16. Miami went entirely unranked after being ranked at some point in every season since 1977. Notre Dame ended an even longer streak, since 1963 (and Charlie Weis would continue being paid for it through 2016).
15. Michigan went from No. 5 to unranked in one week, climbed back to No. 13, left the polls again, and finished No. 18.
14. Cal reached No. 2 and hasn't otherwise done that since 1951. Also, Cal finished 7-6.
13. Missouri’s only reached No. 1 one other time, in 1960.
12. Boston College hit No. 2. BC's only risen that high one other time, in 1942.
11. After each of its losses, LSU fell only to No. 5 and then jumped multiple spots the next week, eventually becoming the first two-loss AP champ since 1960 Minnesota.
10. West Virginia reached No. 2 for the only time ever.
9. The other two WILDEST SEASONS EVER had two (1990) and three (1984) teams visit the top five after not making the top 10 in the prior decade. 2007 had four teams do that (Boston College, Kansas, Missouri, and USF).
8. Kansas reached No. 2 for the only time ever.
7. In the AP Poll’s first 64 years as a 20-plus-team ranking (it’d also only ranked 10 teams in a few years), the record for unranked upsets of top-five teams was eight. 2007 had 13.
6. Appalachian State became the first I-AA/FCS team to ever receive AP votes and tied former No. 2 USF (USF was No. 2) for final No. 34.
5. Boston College, Kansas, Missouri, Oregon, and USF went from unranked to the top two. (KU and Mizzou then played for a title shot. Oregon and USF then played in a sad bowl.)
4. 2007 had three top-10 visitors who hadn't been ranked at all in the previous five years (Kansas, Kentucky, and USF). 1984 and 1990, the other top contenders for WILDEST SEASON EVER, had one combined.
3. Former No. 2 USF. The Bullsreached No. 2 in their eighth FBS season. They wouldn't finish another season ranked until 2016.
2. Since Sept. 1996, the No. 1 and No. 2 teams have lost in the same weekend only four times. Three happened within eight weeks in 2007.
1. Seven times in nine weeks, the team with the No. 2 ranking lost, with more top-two upsets in two months than the 2013-2016 regular seasons combined. 2007 spawned its own "Curse of No. 2" internal logic. Losses by second-ranked teams became the only things that made sense ... and then No. 2 LSU won the national title.
Your eyes do not deceive you.
Those are the USF Bulls at No. 2 in only their 11th year of football existence.
Five of the six computers that made up a third of the BCS rankings had the Bulls at No. 1, and the two human polls had the Bulls No. 2.
Not everyone was convinced, however. Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit of College GameDay weren’t. Corso didn’t even have USF in his top five. By the end, the upstart’s naysayers would be proved correct.
But before that, the Bulls would make the most improbable rise in recent college football history.
And some honorable mentions:
- Arizona State’s 2007 high point of No. 7 is its best since 1996.
- Florida and USC tied at No. 9 in Week 8. USC had lost maybe the biggest upset ever; Florida would lose to the team that lost the other biggest upset ever.
- Illinois reached No. 13, something it's only topped once since 1991.
- Despite LSU winning the 2003 BCS title, the Tigers' 2007 AP No. 1 was their first since 1959.
- Nebraska finished outside the polls in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1968.
- Oregon had only cracked the top four once before 2007, when the Ducks hit No. 2.
- Oregon had lost three ranked games to unranked teams. USF had also lost three ranked games to unranked teams. Then unranked Oregon beat ranked USF in the Sun Bowl.
- No. 6 was South Carolina’s best ranking since 1984 and second best ever at the time.
- Purdue made its only AP appearance between 2005 and [???].
- UConn’s No. 16 remains its highest ranking ever.
- Virginia’s highest ranking since 2004, to this day: No. 16 in 2007.
This post's author and Shutdown Fullback co-hosts Spencer Hall and Ryan Nanni go back and try to rank the 10 dumbest things that happened during the 2007 season: