It's a shame that the college football season has come to an end, and worse still that the Orange Bowl was such a dud. Gothamist's final rankings of the 2004 season:

1. USC – Dominating performance by the Men of Troy. If this continues, we may not only be talking about a dynasty, but also ranking Pete Carroll as one of the best coaches in recent college football history. Carroll and offensive guru Norm Chow are unmatched and give the Trojans a huge edge over opponents. If not for a 3-OT loss in 2003 and 2 close losses in 2002, we would be talking about a 40+ game winning streak.

2. Auburn – We’ve ranked Auburn #1 for many weeks now and they are truly a great team, but no way can we rank them over USC after the Orange Bowl. It’s a shame they can’t face each other, but while Auburn would certainly put up more of a fight than Oklahoma we can’t see anyone beating USC right now.

3. Utah – A bit of a surprise pick over Oklahoma perhaps, but this is a great team that destroyed everyone they faced, including a Texas A&M team that gave Texas some trouble. We hope Utah fans enjoyed the ride; the loss of QB Alex Smith and Head Coach Urban Meyer will be tough to overcome.

4. Oklahoma – We really want to drop them farther after that 55-19 debacle, but we still have to keep them above Texas. After back to back postseason flops, it looks like Jason White is a solid but not great QB, and Bob Stoops a very good/great coach but not the unbeatable genius some make him out to be.

5. Texas – Thrilling Rose Bowl victory over Michigan was the coming out party for Vincent Young. However, we will temper our enthusiasm over the Horns for a few reasons. First, they can’t beat an Oklahoma team that obviously was overrated. Secondly, they struggled with Kansas and needed a huge comeback to beat Oklahoma St.

6. Louisville – Great offense, lousy defense. An up and coming program that should win the Big East next year and has a bright future, assuming they can hang on to Head Coach Bob Petrino.

7. California – Yes, they tanked the Holiday Bowl, just like Texas did last year when they were snubbed by the BCS. But we still think this is a great team that would have won the Rose Bowl had they had the opportunity. Don’t forget, this is a team that was one end zone incompletion away from beating USC in LA in October.

8. Virginia Tech – An underrated team that flew under the radar this year but won a tough ACC, beat Miami in Coral Gables, and played USC and Auburn very close.

9. Georgia – A very good team and very good season that probably could and should have been better with the talent on their roster.

10. Iowa – Very impressive season considering the loss of several starters to graduation and having to play their 5th string running back! Kirk Ferentz is the best coach in the Big 10, and this program will be strong as long as he is in charge.

11. Miami (Fl) – If a rebuilding year is 9-3, that’s not too bad. However, the Canes can’t be happy with 2 home losses, including one to lowly Clemson.

12. Boise State – Proved they could play with the big boys by hanging right with Louisville. Need to shore up the defense though.

13. Tennessee – Ravaged by QB injuries, but a very solid season considering they had to play Auburn twice!

14. Florida State – Chris Rix is still awful, but he’ll be throwing his picks in the NFL (Europe?) next year. The Seminoles can run and play D, and if they can get better QB play in 2005 they could have a great year.

15. Michigan – See Louisville and Boise State. Excellent offense, lousy defense. Difference is, the Wolverines shut down the offense when they have a lead, and settling for FGs in the 4th Quarter allowed Texas to comeback. Of course, the real issue is a defense that collapsed at the end of the year and an incompetent defensive coordinator. Those issues have to be fixed for UofM to do any better than their standard 9-3 next season

- Rankings by Justin S.