Vanderbilt ranks among best academic schools in FBS

In conjunction with the start of the 2013-14 academic year, U.S. News released its latest college rankings.

Of the top 25 national universities that were ranked, 11 field teams in the FBS. We decided to re-rank them, 11-1, based on their football prowess.

11. Wake Forest

U.S. News rank: 23 (tie)

Briefly: The Demon Deacons have slid on the football field since winning the ACC six years ago, but coach Jim Grobe remains one of the game's most respected minds.

10. Cal

U.S. News rank: 20

Briefly: The Bears are in rebuilding mode under first-year coach Sonny Dykes, but freshman quarterback Jared Goff, the nation's passing leader at 429.7 yards per game, is deserving of a "most likely to succeed" moniker.

9. Rice

U.S. News rank: 18 (tie)

Briefly: At 6,484, the Owls have the smallest enrollment on this list. In Week 1 of the college football season, Rice's offensive scheme confounded Texas A&M for a half and finished with more than 300 rushing yards.

8. Duke

U.S. News rank: 7

Briefly: Helmed by Manning family mentor David Cutcliffe, the Blue Devils have slowly returned to respectability on the football field. Wide receiver and special teams star Jamison Crowder, 13th nationally in all-purpose yards per game, provides a boost.

7. Virginia

U.S. News rank: 23 (tie)

Briefly: The Cavaliers didn't play in a manner befitting their academic status in 2012, but the youthful, talent-rich team seems determined not to repeat that in 2013. When it all clicks for quarterback David Watford, this team should return to its winning ways of the previous 30 years.

6. Vanderbilt

U.S. News rank: 17

Briefly: The Commodores have brought infamy on their school's name this year in the wake of a rape scandal involving now-dismissed team members. It is a terrible turn of events for a team coming off its first back-to-back bowl games in its history.

5. USC

U.S. News rank: 23 (tie)

Briefly: Trojans fans are bragging about their academic credentials more than their footbal credentials lately. But USC's defense, fourth in the nation at 230.5 yards allowed per game, remains a point of pride.

4. Notre Dame

U.S. News rank: 18 (tie)

Briefly: That academic elite Notre Dame was known for its football more than the qualty of its education for decades is a testament to the enormity of its football success. The second-winningest college football program of all-time is a frequent national champion when it comes to graduating its players.

3. Northwestern

U.S. News rank: 12

Briefly: Unlike its men's basketball program, the Wildcats have been a fixture of their sport's postseason since their coach Pat Fitzgerald, was a Wildcats player in the 1990s. Unbeaten Northwestern has a potential milestone at hand on Oct. 5 when it plays host to Ohio State.


U.S. News rank: 23 (tie)

Briefly: The Bruins and their in-town rival Trojans are neck-and-neck football recruiting and academic reputation. This season, however, UCLA has taken a clear step ahead on the football field, where Heisman candidate Brett Hundley has led the Bruins to a 3-0 record and No. 14 ranking.

1. Stanford

U.S. News rank: 5

Briefly: Stanford is one of the best in so many areas, it almost seems unfair that it has rediscovered football excellence the past five years. The Cardinal has reached three consecutive BCS bowls under Jim Harbaugh and then David Shaw and seems up to the task this season, too.


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