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
1. Georgia Tech (8-5)
The second half of the season might have been a major disappointment after a 6-0 start – finishing 2-5 – but the team returns loaded and ready to do even more after finishing second in the nation in rushing. QB Tevin Washington is the near-perfect option playmaker, but he needs even more help from the backs with David Sims and Orwin Smith returning. The passing game was among the nation's most efficient, with Washington hitting on the deep plays when needed, but he's losing WR Stephen Hill a year early to the NFL. The line will be the best in the Paul Johnson era with all five starters returning. The defense that had a strong year gets eight starters back led by linebacker Julian Burnette and outside defender Jeremiah Attochu.
2. Virginia Tech (11-3)
The Hokies have to do some reloading, but that's never been a problem for Frank Beamer. The biggest issue is an offensive line that loses four starters, while slippery-quick running back David Wilson is off early to the NFL. Also gone is Sugar Bowl star Danny Coale and fellow starting receiver Jarrett Boykin, but huge junior-to-be Logan Thomas is coming into his own as a quarterback and should be good enough to make everyone around him better. The defense is another story with no concerns with experience or returning starters. Pickoff artist Jayron Hosley is leaving early, leaving a void at one corner, but nine other starters are back from a very, very young group that finished tenth in the nation in total D. The line that started four underclassmen is loaded, while the linebacking corps should be special with a little bit of time.
3. Virginia (8-5)
The excitement is building under Mike London with a breakthrough season and a few good recruiting classes to work around. QB Michael Rocco and RB Perry Jones provide the offensive leadership working behind a terrific line that gets three starters back. WR Kris Burrd is done, but the other top receivers and TE Colter Phillips return. The defense has some retooling to do up front, and three starters are gone in the secondary, but unlike previous seasons, the depth should shine through with several good young players waiting in the wings. The kicking game wasn't special, but it still needs to find replacements for PK Robert Randolph and P Jimmy Howell.
4. North Carolina (7-6)
New head coach Larry Fedora doesn't have the jaw-dropping talent to work with across the board the program has enjoyed for the last few years, but he has a few great players to start with. QB Bryn Renner and RB Giovani Bernard are terrific, and they should get time to work behind a good-looking line with four starters returning. Top receiver Dwight Jones is gone, but Eric Highsmith is ready to be a No. 1. Star end Quinton Coples is gone off the line, as is tackle Tydreke Powell and leading tackler Zach Brown, but there's a nice base of six good starters to build around. T.J. Thorpe should be one of the nation's top kickoff returners.
5. Miami (6-6)
What's going to happen over the next few years after the Nevin Shapiro findings kick in? There was a mass exit of juniors to the NFL, but head coach Al Golden has a loaded recruiting class coming in with the promise that all the top prospects will get a shot to start right away. QB Stephen Morris
shouldn't have to look over his shoulder, but he won't have Lamar Miller to hand off to or Tommy Streeter to throw to. Only two starters are back up front and there aren't any proven players to get the attack rolling. The defense that was shockingly mediocre at everything but allowing points loses end Olivier Vernon and MLB Sean Spence. Two starters are back in the secondary and four starter return to the front seven, but it's going to be a work in progress.
6. Duke (3-9)
Will the offense finally start to work like it's supposed to under head coach David Cutliffe? It finished 115th in the nation in rushing but gets top rushers Desmond Scott and Juwan Thompson back to work behind a line that was painfully young last year but now gets four starters back. The line was solid in pass protection, and QB Sean Renfree has to take advantage after a disappointing year. Conner Vernon should be among the ACC's best receivers, and Brandon Braxton has to step up as a No. 2. The defense that was among the worst in the conference gets nine starters back, losing safety Matt Daniels and NG Charlie Hatcher.