Finishing the regular season in the FBS Top 25 rankings is always an achievement.
Here is quick look at how teams No. 25 through 19 fared in 2016.
Of all the teams on this list, Navy is the one that will be most frustrated with its final season position. The Mids were 9-2 with wins over No. 6 Houston, Notre Dame, and free scoring Tulsa when they suited up for the American Athletic Conference Championship game against Temple. A non-competitive loss, and an injury to star quarterback Will Worth later, and Navy lost to Army for the first time since 2001 as a prelude to their bowl game against Louisiana Tech.
Beating Navy in the AAC Championship Game completed a remarkable turnaround on the season for Temple after they opened with a 28-13 loss at home to Army. The Owls were 3-3 after six games, before rattling off seven straight wins. Temple goes into its bowl game without head coach Matt Rhule who was hired by Baylor after an impressive season.
The Panthers are one of those teams that always seems to be ranked around this position without making a whole lot of noise during the season. By far the biggest note on the resume was a 42-39 win over Big Ten Champions Penn State. Pitt was also victorious in a 76-61 game against Syracuse that had to be seen to be believed on the final day of the regular season.
22. Virginia Tech
The Hokies will go into their bowl game against Arkansas on the back of a 9-4 season where they lost the ACC Championship game to College Football Playoff-bound Clemson. It was a solid first year for former Memphis head coach Justin Fuente, highlighted by wins over Miami (37-16), Notre Dame (34-31), and Pittsburgh (39-36).
A ranking in the low twenties is not exactly what Tennessee fans had hoped for heading into a season that prompted national title talk in Knoxville. Quarterback Josh Dobbs was as good as advertised as he ran and passed his way over and through the SEC, but a trio of mid-season losses to Texas A&M, Alabama, and a poor South Carolina team doomed the Vols to second place in the SEC East. A 38-28 win over Florida in late September showed what this team could do when it played at its full potential.
Another season of frustration in Baton Rouge was secured when Nick Saban again beat the Tigers on his way to leading Alabama to the SEC Championship. Expectations were as high as ever at LSU, and even a final season ranking of 20 was never going to be enough to keep Les Miles employed. The Tigers did see a breakout star in running back Derrius Guice after Leonard Fournette spent much of the season injured or out of form. Big wins for the Tigers in 2016 included a 54-39 blowout of Texas A&M and a mid-season victory over Ole Miss.
Utah rode physical line play on both sides of the line of scrimmage to an 8-4 record and third place in the Pac-12 South. The Utes had an impressive 31-27 win over USC (before the Trojans surged) and ran eventual Pac-12 Champions Washington very close in a 31-24 defeat. Utah also won the Holy War against BYU (20-19) in a quite successful season.