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2012 CFN First Look Rankings - No. 76 to 100
Army QB Trent Steelman
Army QB Trent Steelman
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jan 19, 2012


The first look at the rankings for the 2012 college football season. ... No. 76 to 100

CFN 2012 First Look Rankings

No. 76 to No. 100

 
2011 CFN First Look Rankings
The Top 10 | Rankings 11-25 | Rankings 26-50
- Rankings 51-75 | Rankings 76-100The Bottom 20

2011 CFN Final Season Rankings
The Top 10 | Rankings 11-25 | Rankings 26-50
- Rankings 51-75 | Rankings 76-100The Bottom 20

- CFN 2011 FINAL Rankings, Top  25

2012 CFN First Look Rankings
The Top 10 | Rankings 11-25 | Rankings 26-50
- Rankings 51-75 | Rankings 76-100The Bottom 24

- Follow us on Twitter ... ColFootballNews

It might seem way too early, but considering the returning starters and the teams coming back, before Signing Day and spring ball, where does everyone stand? Here's CFN's first look at all the teams for 2012. The First Look Ranking is based on how good the teams appear to be at the moment.

100. Hawaii (6-7)

New head coach Norm Chow should make Hawaii into Hawaii again offensively once he chooses a quarterback. David Graves is the front-runner, and he’ll have some nice pieces to work with led by powerful running back Joey Iosefa and Jeremiah Ostrowski and Billy Ray Stutzmann to throw to. Three blockers are gone off the line including both starters on the left side. The defense wasn’t exactly a rock, and now it has to replace three starters on the line and loses linebackers Aaron Brown and Corey Paredes.

99. 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.

98. Temple (9-4)

Head coach Steve Addazio was able to come up with one of the best years in school history, but he has work to do in 2012 with four starters gone from the offensive line and star running back Bernard Pierce taking off early for the NFL. It’ll be up to the smallish Matt Brown to carry the rushing load, while QB Chris Coyer has to build off his strong bowl performance and be a steady leader. The defensive interior is back, but ends Adrian Robinson and Morkeith Brown are gone. Tahir Whitehead and four starters from the back seven are done.

97. Western Kentucky (7-5)

With one of the biggest improvements of 2011, WKU showed that it’s on the verge of being a special Sun Belt program on a yearly basis. Gone is the offense with Bobby Rainey off to the next level, meaning bruising power back Keshawn Simpson needs to shine right away for the ground game. Can QB Kawaun Jakes become a more efficient and more effective playmaker? He’ll have to be, but he should improve with all his receivers back including TE Jack Doyle. LT Wes Jeffries is done, but that’s it off the line. Nine starters return on the offense that started six underclassmen. The defense that was so strong in Sun Belt play gets eight starters back including top pass rusher Quanterus Smith and leading tackler Andrew Jackson, who’ll legitimately deserve preseason All-America consideration.

96. Toledo (9-4)

New head coach Matt Campbell has some key replacements to make. Star receiver and returner Eric Page left early for the NFL, and top running back Adonis Thomas is done. Three starters are gone from the O line, but the quarterback combination of Terrance Owens and Austin Dantin return. The defense that was hit-or-miss loses three starters up front and three in the secondary. Dan Molls is a good middle linebacker, and he’s going to have to do it all.

95. Kent State (5-7)

Darrell Hazell’s first season was solid, and 2012 could be sensational with one of the MAC’s best defenses getting back pass rushing terror Roosevelt Nix and a slew of good players. However, five starters are gone from the D. The offense gets the backfield back including QB Spencer Keith, and Tyshon Goode could be among the MAC’s top targets. Four starters are back up front.

94. Fresno State (4-9)

New head coach Tim DeRuyter will try to put the bark back in a defense that fell off the map last year. Losing tackle Logan Harrell won’t help the cause, but eight starters are back including leading tackler Travis Brown. The offense will work around underappreciated running back Robbie Rouse, who should be a threat to put up huge numbers behind a decent-looking line with three starters back. QB Derek Carr needs to come into his own even though leading receiver Devon Wylie is gone.

93. Louisiana-Lafayette (9-4)

One of the biggest surprises of 2011, the Ragin’ Cajuns should come back even stronger. Star pass catching tight end Ladarius Green is done, but QB Blaine Gautier, top back Alonzo Harris, terrific WR Javone Lawson, and nine starters overall are back to the Sun Belt’s No. 2 scoring attack. The defense has a ton of work to do losing three starters up front and five in the back eight. New Orleans Bowl star Brett Baer is back as both the punter and kicker – and should rock at both spots.

92. Northern Illinois (11-3)

The defending MAC champion has to show it can reload and not need to rebuild. The Huskies lose star quarterback Chandler Harnish and top running back Jasmin Hopkins, but the biggest hit comes up front with four starters gone. Top target Perez Ashford and most of the receiving corps returns. The defense has to do some retooling at linebacker, but the entire secondary returns and three starters are back up front.

91. Wyoming (8-5)

After the shocker of a 2011 season, the pressure will be on to do even more. Everything will start with QB Brett Smith, and while Alvester Alexander took off early to the NFL, the running game should be terrific. Both starting tackles are gone as is top receiver Mazi Ogbonna. The defense was one of the worst in America against the run, and now both starting ends are gone along with top linebacker Brian Hendricks. Three starters return in the secondary.

90. Western Michigan (7-6)

QB Alex Carder is back to lead the high-powered offense, but after six years, top target Jordan White is finally done. Four starters are back on the line, and all the top running backs return to potentially balance out the attack a bit more. The defense that finished 12rh in the MAC won’t have two starters up front, but it gets back six starters in the back seven only losing corner Aaron Winchester.

89. UTEP (5-7)

Another year, another collapse over the second half of the season. The Miners have just enough talent returning to hope to finally come up with a more even season, but it all has to start on stopping the run with even thought the entire starting linebacking corps is gone and five are gone from the front seven. Throw in the loss of two starters in the secondary and the D is going to have some issues. The offense needs more from a line that didn’t do anything in pass protection, but four starters are back. The quarterback situation has to be settled between Nick Lamaison and Carson Meger, and a new runner has to take over with the three top backs gone. Punter Ian Campbell should be among the nation’s best.

88. Rice (4-8)

Rice has to get a better year out of the defense to have any hope of improving. The nation’s 111th- ranked defense loses three starters on the line and WLB Justin Allen. The secondary that was torched time and again has to replace two starters, but top corner Bryce Callahan will be the anchor. Leading tackler Cameron Nwosu is back on the strongside, but the D has to press on without top pass rusher Scott Solomon. The offense will work around QB Taylor McHargue and running backs Turner Peterson and Sam McGuffie, but four starters are gone off the line. Leading receiver Vance McDonald is back along with solid TE Luke Willson.

87. Air Force (7-6)

There’s always massive turnover at Air Force and there are always a slew of big needs to be filled, but unlike the last few years, quarterback will be the biggest concern with Tim Jefferson finally done along with backup Connor Dietz. Eight starters are gone off the nation’s third-ranked rushing offense, while the defense that struggled so much loses Jordan Waiwaiole and three starting linebackers. In all, eight starters are gone off the defense. On the plus side, several young defenders saw time throughout last year.

86. Arkansas State (10-3)

Rarely does a program get a rent-a-coach like Hugh Freeze, lose him, and improve with the next hire, but that might be what happens with Gus Malzahn taking over and former Auburn star Michael Dyer – who hasn’t been clear yet for this year - transferring. Malzahn has a star quarterback to work with right away in Ryan Aplin, and the receiving corps is loaded with Josh Jarboe, Taylor Stockemer, and Allen Muse making up for the loss of Dwayne Frampton. Three starters are gone off the line, but the running game should be a bit better. Can the pass rush still be among the best in the nation with Brandon Joiner and three starters gone off the line? Eight starters are gone off the D.

85. San Diego State (8-6)

Can Rocky Long keep the momentum going in a good first year after taking over for head coach Brady Hoke? The top offensive stars – QB Ryan Lindley and RB Ronnie Hillman – are gone, as are three starters on the line. All the top receivers are back, and they’ll have to shine in shootouts with the defense needing three new starting linemen and losing top tackling linebacker Miles Burris in the 3-4. Leon McFadden should be among the Mountain West’s best corners.

84. Navy (5-7)

After a wildly disappointing season, the Midshipmen’s first goal is to dominate with the running game again. It was fourth in the nation, but it didn’t control games like it needed to. Gone is QB Kriss Proctor and in – most likely – will step Trey Miller, a quick runner who should put up huge numbers. Gee Gee Greene is the lone star returning in the backfield with FB Alexander Teich and slotback Aaron Santiago finished. The line wasn’t as consistent as it needed to be, and that should be a problem early on with only two starters returning. The defense was a disaster, especially against the pass, but three starters return in the secondary and the entire starting linebacking corps returns. End Jabaree Tuani will be missed, but there’s size on the inside even with NG Jared Marks finished.

83. Kansas (2-10)

New head coach Charlie Weis will try to crank up his decided schematic advantage with Dayne Crist trying to pull a Russell Wilson as a free agent quarterback, and with BYU’s Jake Heaps coming in for next year – pushing Jordan Webb out and effectively off the team. Weis is cleaning house, giving the boot to ten players including one-time star running back recruit, Darrian Miller. James Sims will have to carry most of the load, while the attack will mostly focus around the passing game. Crist has a knee problem and isn’t going to move much, meaning the line that struggled so much last year has to be better in a hurry despite losing starting LT Jeff Spikes. The defense eight starters back including great-looking MLB Darius Willis, but there’s a long way to go to be halfway decent after finishing dead last in America in total defense and scoring D.

82. Army (3-9)

This should be the year Rich Ellerson’s program takes a huge step forward. The Knights beat just one FBS team over the final two months of the season, but they have enough talent back to get back to a 2010 level and go bowling. QB Trent Steelman has to stay healthy to lead the nation’s leading rushing attack, and all the parts are back including bruising FB Jared Hassin. The line loses both tackles, but the interior returns intact. The passing game was the worst in America, but it’ll still hurt to lose receivers Austin Barr and Davyd Brooks. The defense only loses two starters – end Andrew Rodriguez and big-hitting rover Steve Enzinger. Geoffrey Bacon and Nate Combs are built like safeties, but they have to do more at linebacker, while 260-poundtackle A.J. Mackey represents the bulk up front.

81. Ohio (10-4)

After a terrific season with an appearance in the MAC title game, Ohio has a lot to be excited about with QB Tyler Tettleton back as one of the league’s top playmakers. Receivers LaVon Brazill and Riley Dunlop are gone, as are the starting tackles, but the interior of the line is back. The defense won’t have linebacker Noah Keller to work around, but the entre secondary and three starters on the line are back.

80. Marshall (7-6)

Can the Herd build off the momentum from a strong finishing kick winning four of the last five games? It might take a little while. QB Rakeem Cato has a year or experience under his belt, and he gets back key targets Aaron Dobson and Antavious Wilson to throw to, RB Tron Martinez and Travon Van form a nice rushing tandem ready to do more, but only two starters are back on the line. The defense has to try to replace pass rushing terror Vinny Curry, but some nice parts to the line return led by end Jeremiah Taylor. Both outside linebackers are gone with Jermaine Holmes needing to do even more in the middle. The secondary has to replace the team’s leading tackler, FS Omar Brown, and the best cover-corner, Rashad Jackson.

79. 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.

78. Indiana (1-11)

The Hoosiers failed to beat an FBS team, but the biggest loss came this offseason when star QB prospect Dusty Kiel ultimately chose Notre Dame after verbally committing to IU. Second-year head coach Kevin Wilson had a really, really young team, and now the hope is for quarterbacks Tre Roberson and Edward Wright-Baker to play like experienced veterans. Stephen Houston and D’Angelo Roberts are promising backs to work the running game around, while Kofi Hughes is a good No. 1 target. The defense was a disaster finishing last in the Big Ten in yards, scoring D, and run defense, but all four starters are back on the line and three starters in the secondary are back. Leading tackler Jeff Thomas is gone from the middle.

77. Ole Miss (2-10)

What kind of a team is Hugh Freeze taking over? The Rebels were 116th in the nation in scoring, 114th in offense, and last in the SEC in total and scoring defense. There’s work to do on the defensive front that underachieved in a huge way, but the experience should pay off after throwing true freshmen C.J. Johnson and Bryon Bennett to the wolves. The defense will work around true sophomore linebacker Serderius Bryant on the weakside and Mike Marry in the middle, while all four starters are back in the secondary. The offense has to settle on a quarterback in yet another offseason derby, and finding a consistent running back to work around would be nice. The offensive tackles that were supposed to be a major strength, and weren’t, are both gone with Bobby Massie taking off early for the NFL, but the interior returns intact.

76. Minnesota (3-9)

Year Two under head coach Jerry Kill should be better and more consistent. QB MarQueis Gray had a rough season, but he’s a big-time talent who needs to shine in his final year. The line has to replace two starters, but it should be better with some of the young talents ready to do more for a ground game that should be solid with Gray and RB Donnell Kirkwood. Top target Da’Jon McKnight is done meaning Malcolm Moulton has to become the No. 1 right away. The defense loses both tackles, MLB Gary Tinsley and leading tackler Kim Royston, but seven starters return, led by Mike Rallis at one outside linebacker spot.
 
2012 CFN First Look Rankings
The Top 10 | Rankings 11-25 | Rankings 26-50
- Rankings 51-75 | Rankings 76-100The Bottom 24

- Follow us on Twitter ... ColFootballNews