CFN 2012 First Look Rankings
2011 CFN Pre-Preseason First Look Rankings
Top 10 |
Rankings 76-100 | The
2011 CFN Final Season Rankings
Top 10 |
11-25 | Rankings
Rankings 76-100 | The
- CFN 2011
It might seem way too early, but considering the returning starters and the teams coming back,
where does everyone stand before Signing Day and spring ball? Here's CFN's first look at all the teams for 2012 based on how good
they appear to be at the moment.
1. Louisiana Tech (8-4)
After winning the WAC – and no one noticing – the Bulldogs should be even stronger with QB Nick Isham more experienced and ready to do more behind a line that gets four starters back. RB Lennon Creer is done, but the receiving corps is loaded to finally make the passing game rock like it's supposed to under Sonny Dykes. The WAC's top run defense loses both ends, but the biggest problem will be replacing linebacker Adrien Cole in the middle. The secondary should be among the best in the WAC with three good starters returning.
2. Utah State (7-6)
The Aggies lose star running back Robert Turbin to the NFL a year early and won't have Michael Smith to pick up the slack. Speedy Kerwynn Williams has to be the new star of the running game. Adam Kennedy is back at quarterback after starting late in the season, but Chuckie Keeton it the team's most dangerous playmaker in the backfield. Both starting guards are gone, but Tyler Larsen is one of the WAC's best centers. The defense that made tremendous strides last year loses heart-and-soul tackling linebackers Bobby Wagner and Kyle Gallagher, and end Levi Koskan and Quinn Garner are gone off the 3-4. Free safety Alfred Bowden is the only starter gone in the secondary.
3. San Jose State (5-7)
The 2011 team might not have beaten anyone, but under head coach Mike MacIntryre things are moving forward. QB Matt Faulkner and RB Brandon Rutley were the offense, but now they're gone as are three starters from a line that was great in pass protection. Noel Grigsby finished 12th in the nation in catches and will be the centerpiece of the attack early on, while big passers Dasmen Stewart and Blake Jurich will fight it out for the starting quarterback job. Keith Smith returns as one of the nation's top-tackling linebackers, but four starters are gone off the front seven and safety Duke Ihenacho might be irreplaceable.
4. Idaho (2-10)
Can head coach Robb Ikey get the program back to bowl form after a disastrous 2011? The offense has to be far better in all phases, and it starts with QB Taylor Davis needing to grow into the job. Three starters are gone off a line that didn't do anything for the running game that needs former JUCO transfer Ryan Bass to produce. The defense that finished 101st in the nation has to replace six starters including leading tackler, MLB Tre'Shawn Robinson.
5. New Mexico State (4-9)
The Aggies are slowly starting to improve under head coach DeWayne Walker, but it's going to be tough to break through with most of the star programs leaving the WAC. QB Travaugh Colwell has to prove he's ready, and he'll get a ton of help from Kenny Turner, a likely all-conference performer. Three starters are gone from the line as are targets Taveon Rogers and Todd Lee. The defense didn't make any major strides, and now it has to replace three starters up front and the entire secondary.
6. Texas State (6-6)
The Bobcats and head coach Dennis Franchione were solid last season, but they got obliterated by Texas Tech and Wyoming in the two games against FBS teams. The offense revolves around the ground game, but three starters are gone off the line. The backfield is back including top rushers Terrence Franks and Marcus Curry, while mobile quarterback Shaun Rutherford should make TSU one of the WAC's top rushing teams. The defense only loses three starters, but two of them are linebackers Josh Minde and Bryan Iwuji.
7. Texas-San Antonio (4-6)
Led by former Miami head coach Larry Coker, the Roadrunners jump into FBS play with a decent-looking run defense and a terrific pass rush. However, the team that lost to McMurray and McNeese State while beating up on Minot State and Bacone will be a punching bag for a while. Ten starters return to a 4-2-5 defense that'll sell out to get into the backfield led by end Marlon Smith. The offense was really, really young last season, starting seven freshmen at times, but the payoff should come with only one starter – left guard Mike Sanchez – needing to be replaced.