2012 CFN Post-Spring Rankings - No. 81 to 90

Posted May 6, 2012

Based on where we think the teams are going to end up, here are the CFN post-spring rankings - No. 81 to 90

CFN 2012 Post-Spring Rankings

No. 81 to No. 90

2012 CFN Post-Spring Rankings
(where the teams will end up)
- Top Ten | Rankings 11-20 | Rankings 21-30
- Rankings 31-40 | Rankings 41-50 | Rankings 51-60
- Rankings 61-70 | Rankings 71-80 | Rankings 81-90
- Rankings 91-100 | Rankings 101-112 | The Bottom 12

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Which teams looked great this spring? Which ones reloaded, rebuilt, and looked surprisingly sharp? Which ones struggled a bit and need more time and more practice time? These are the CFN Post-Spring Rankings based on where we think the teams are going to finish up when all is said and done. Part of the rankings are based on talent and potential, and part of them are based on schedules and what the teams might do. Coming later this summer are the CFN 2012 Rankings based on how good the teams are.
90. Duke
(2011 Record: 3-9, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 4-8)

The team might be better under David Cutcliffe, but it'll still be hard to show it with a tough ACC schedule facing Virginia, at Virginia Tech, North Carolina, at Florida State, Clemson, at Georgia Tech, and Miami over the final seven games of the year. Even with a date at Stanford early on the first part of the season isn't too bad, and with that back half anything less than a 4-1 start will all but end any dreams of a winning season. The ground game that was so ineffective last year has to be far better, while QB Sean Renfree needs to improve after a disappointing season. Nine starters return to a defense that might not be night-and-day better, but it'll be experience and should improve. 

89. Hawaii
(2011 Record: 6-7, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 6-6)

Can Norm Chow be enough to get the Warriors back to a bowl game? Once a starting quarterback emerges - David Graves appears to be the main man - and the rest of the offense should be good enough to get by. If the defense can be merely competent, six wins shouldn't be an issue with home games against Lamar, New Mexico, UNLV, and South Alabama forming a nice base of wins. It'll take a few upsets to go along with a couple of humbling experiences against USC and Boise State, but the O should be back to Hawaii standards. For this year, that should be good enough.

88. Arkansas State
(2011 Record: 10-3, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 7-5)

Gus Malzahn has work to do, and it's a near-lock that he won't get Auburn transfer running back Michael Dyer to until next year. The team could've used him to balance out a good offense, but the big concern is on the other side with eight starters gone off the defense. The O will be more than fine with quarterback Ryan Aplin bombing away to Josh Jarboe and Taylor Stockemer, but will that be enough to get through the improved Sun Belt? There are enough layups against teams like Memphis, Alcorn State, and South Alabama at home to expect another winning season, but winning another Sun Belt title will be tough with three road games in four dates and with critical showdowns against FIU, Louisiana-Lafayette, and Troy on the road.

87. Kentucky
(2011 Record: 5-7, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 4-8)

Welcome to the new world of the SEC with even more nasty games. The Wildcats not only have to deal with Missouri, they have to go to Columbia. Outside of the home game against Vanderbilt, where are the possible conference wins? Mississippi State at home? An upset over Tennessee on the road? There can't be any slips against WKU or Kent State at home, and pulling off a few shockers will be a must to have any hope of getting in the hunt for a bowl game. The team was so young last year that it'll be far more experienced on offense and should be a bit more consistent going into the season, but will it be better? The defensive front should be fine, but the secondary needs a ton of help. Fortunately, there aren't any dangerous passing teams on the slate until Arkansas comes up in mid-October.

86. East Carolina
(2011 Record: 5-7, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 6-6)

Will the Pirates finally have any consistency on defense? With all the key parts returning on the line and with leading tackler Jeremy Grove returning, maybe. However, the secondary that turned out to be a strength has to replace three starters. Gunslinging QB Dominique Davis is gone, but there's enough talent at running back to hope for a more balanced attack. Will the Ruffin McNeill be able to get the team to a bowl? With three September road games and with a date at UCF in the first week of October the record won't look all that hot, but the back half eases up in a big way with winnable games against Memphis, Tulane, and UAB to count on.

85. Indiana
(2011 Record: 1-11, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 3-9)

The first year under Kevin Wilson didn't exactly go well without a win over an FBS team and with way too many gaffes. Job One will be to get more out of the offense starting with promising quarterback Tre Roberson, who needs to be a rock with Edward Wright-Baker and Dusty Kiel transferring. The defense that was so soft gets all the key parts back on the line and in the secondary, but there has to be a night-and-day improvement for any big steps forward in the record. Getting Indiana and UMass early should double the 2011 win total before the first week of September is over, and there should be enough overall improvement for two more wins, but it'll take a major shocker to be close to getting to six wins. 

84. Ole Miss
(2011 Record: 2-10, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 4-8)

The first year under Hugh Freeze should be far, far stronger than the final season under Houston Nutt. The Rebels couldn't score and were the worst in the SEC in total defense and scoring defense, and now there's a lot of work to do. The underachieving defensive front has to be stronger with several young players needing to step up and shine. All four starters return to the secondary while there are plenty of promising talents up front to work around. Consistent offensive playmakers have to be found, and the line needs help, but Freeze should have the team just strong enough to beat Central Arkansas, UTEP, and Tulane in September, but the SEC schedule is a bear and the other non-conference game is against Texas. Even so, with Vanderbilt and Mississippi State at home, six wins isn't a crazy goal.

83. Utah State
(2011 Record: 7-6, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 7-5)

If 2011 was a stunner for a program that hasn't seen much success for a long, long time, then this season should show a little bit of staying power. The problem will be the key losses with running back Robert Turbin and Michael Smith, along with tackling machine Bobby Wagner, gone. However, there's still speed in the backfield to go along with a good quarterback situation working behind center Tyler Larsen and a good line.  The WAC is awful, but the Aggies still have to go to Louisiana Tech late in the year and never get two home games in a row after facing Southern Utah and Utah in the first two weeks. With road trips to Wisconsin and BYU, there will be plenty of chances to make a statement, but it'll be more important to be spotless in conference play before dealing with the Bulldogs on November 17th. Fortunately, the Aggies get two weeks off before the showdown that should determine the WAC title.

82. San Diego State
(2011 Record: 8-5, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 8-4)

The Aztecs should need retooling under Rocky Long after losing QB Ryan Lindley and star RB Ronnie Hillman to the NFL. The passing game will be fine, but the defense needs a ton of work up front in the 3-4. Even so, the schedule is good enough to shoot for at least eight wins again without having to face two road games in a row. Forget about the final season in the Mountain West ending with a title thanks to road games at Fresno State, Nevada, and Boise State to go along with the regular season finale at Wyoming. The home slate is a breeze before finishing up with Air Force - SDSU should be good enough to beat Army, North Dakota, San Jose State, Hawaii, Colorado State, and UNLV.  

81. Navy
(2011 Record: 5-7, 2012 Roughly Projected Record: 8-4)

The Midshipmen should be able to get back on track and back to a bowl game with a manageable slate and with the call going out from coach Ken Niumatalolo to be far more physical and for the running game to be dominant again. The backfield has to undergo a bit of an overhaul, but the line should be nastier and tougher and the defense gets almost everyone back in the linebacking corps and secondary. The schedule is interesting with a trip to Ireland early to play Notre Dame followed up by a date at Penn State. Even with an 0-2 start there won't be any reason for panic with only one game the rest of the way against a team that went bowling in 2011.

2012 CFN Post-Spring Rankings
(where the teams will end up)
- Top Ten | Rankings 11-20 | Rankings 21-30
- Rankings 31-40 | Rankings 41-50 | Rankings 51-60
- Rankings 61-70 | Rankings 71-80 | Rankings 81-90
- Rankings 91-100 | Rankings 101-112 | The Bottom 12