The season didn't end the way the Colorado football team wanted, but the Buffaloes certainly made their mark, and landed in a prime spot in the national rankings.

Early Tuesday morning, the final Associated Press poll of the season was released, with the Buffaloes coming in at No. 17. Later on Tuesday, the Buffs were slotted at No. 15 in the Amway Coaches' Poll.

This is CU's best final ranking since finishing the 2001 season at No. 9 in both polls. It's only the third time since 1996 that the Buffs have finished in the top 25 (also in 2002, when finishing at No. 20 in the AP, No. 21 in the Coaches' poll).

The Buffaloes (10-4, 8-1 Pac-12) had a resurgent season after finishing last in the Pac-12 South the previous five years.

This season, CU won the South division, posted the eighth 10-win season in school history and snapped a nine-year bowl drought.

After going 10-2 in the regular season, the year ended on a sour note. The Buffs were routed 41-10 by Washington in the Pac-12 title game on Dec. 2, and then got rolled by Oklahoma State, 38-8, in the Valero Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29.

Despite the ending, the Buffaloes turned around a proud program that used to be a mainstay in the Top 25.

Led by head coach Mike MacIntyre, who has earned seven national coach of the year awards, senior quarterback Sefo Liufau and a dominating defense, the Buffs made the 2016 season a special one in Boulder.

It was special for Clemson, too.


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The Tigers (14-1) defeated Alabama, 35-31, in the College Football Playoff finals on Monday night, and finished the year at No. 1 in the both polls. It's Clemson's first championship since 1981.

Alabama (14-1), which won the title in 2015, finished at No. 2 in both polls.

Rose Bowl champion Southern California (10-3) vaulted to No. 3 in the final AP poll, and No. 5 in the Coaches' poll. The Trojans, who went into the bowl season at No. 9, closed the year with nine consecutive wins, including a thrilling 52-49 victory against Penn State in the Rose Bowl.

Pac-12 champion Washington (12-2) closed the year at No. 4 in both polls, not dropping at all after a 24-7 loss to Alabama in the national semifinals.

Big 12 champion Oklahoma (11-2) finished at No. 5 in the AP and No. 3 in the Coaches' poll. The Sooners won their last 10 games, taking the nation's longest winning streak into next season.

The final Associated Press Top 25:

1. Clemson (14-1)
2. Alabama (14-1)
3. Southern Cal (10-3)
4. Washington (12-2)
5. Oklahoma (11-2)
6. Ohio State (11-2)
7. Penn State (11-3)
8. Florida State (10-3)
9. Wisconsin (11-3)
10. Michigan (10-3)
11. Oklahoma State (10-3)
12. Stanford (10-3)
13. LSU (8-4)
14. Florida (9-4)
15. Western Michigan (13-1)
16. Virginia Tech (10-4)
17. Colorado (10-4)
18. West Virginia (10-3)
19. South Florida (11-2)
20. Miami (9-4)
21. Louisville (9-4)
22. Tennessee (9-4)
23. Utah (9-4)
24. Auburn (8-5)
25. San Diego State (11-3)

The final Amway Coaches' poll Top 25:

1. Clemson (14-1)
2. Alabama (14-1)
3. Oklahoma (11-2)
4. Washington (12-2)
5. Southern Cal (10-3)
6. Ohio State (11-2)
7. Penn State (11-3)
8. Florida State (10-3)
9. Wisconsin (11-3)
10. Michigan (10-3)
11. Oklahoma State (10-3)
12. Stanford (10-3)
13. Florida (9-4)
14. LSU (8-4)
15. Colorado (10-4)
16. Virginia Tech (10-4)
17. West Virginia (10-3)
18. Western Michigan (13-1)
19. South Florida (11-2)
20. Louisville (9-4)
21. Utah (9-4)
22. Auburn (8-5)
23. Miami (9-4)
24. Tennessee (9-4)
25. San Diego State (11-3)

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at howellb@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BrianHowell33.