CFN 2013 First Look Rankings
No. 71 to 80
2013 CFN First Look Rankings
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The Bottom 6
Past CFN First Look Rankings
CFN 2013 Pre-Preseason Rankings By Conference
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- Based On Opinion ... CFN 2012
FINAL Rankings, Top 25
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It might seem way too early, but considering the
returning starters and all the other factors before
Signing Day and spring ball, where does everyone
stand? Here's CFN's first look at all the teams for
2013. The First Look Ranking is based on how good
the teams appear to be at the moment.
71. Kentucky (2-10)
An argument could be made that Mark Stoops has the toughest job among all the BCS coaches – at least for this year. It's not like the Wildcats are loaded with talent just waiting to bust out; it's going to take some hole patching and some work to get the right players and the right personnel to be competitive with the big boys, and considering Vanderbilt is rising and the East has resurged, it's going to be tough to bust through the SEC losing streak.
The offense averaged fewer than 18 points per game and did next to nothing in conference action. The nation's 116th ranked scoring attack has to find some passing punch, and that means Stoops needs to settle on a quarterback early on after the team played around with true freshmen Jalen Whitlow and Patrick Towles. Three starters return to a line that wasn't all that bad, but the skill players have to be far stronger and could use more pop from running back Raymond Sanders.
The defense did what it could, allowing just 391 yards per game, and now it'll all start in the middle with defensive tackles Tristian Johnson and Donte Rumph the focal point. All the top linebackers are back, led by big tackler Avery Williamson in the middle, but three starters have to be replaced in the secondary.
72. Kansas (1-11)
Baby steps, baby steps, baby steps. Charlie Weis has a strong recruiting class coming in and just enough young players to build around to hope for a better season – or at least a win over an FBS team. The Jayhawks were painfully close time and again, only to keep coming up short. This season it'll be all about coming up with points for a team that finished last in the conference in yards, scoring and passing.
James Sims will be the hot running back coming into the season after ripping through the Big 12 slate. Michael Cummings took over the reins at quarterback late in the season, and while he showed he could make some noise as a runner, he has a lot to prove as a passer for an attack that finished dead last in the country in efficiency. With three starters gone up front, his mobility will come in handy at times unless Jake Heaps takes over the gig. The former No. 1 recruit for BYU has waited his year, and now he has to show what all the fuss was about. With a year of tutoring under Weis, the sky's the limit.
113th in the nation in total defense and with no pass rush, this spring will be about finding more playmakers up front with ends Toben Opurum and Josh Williams gone. The back seven has potential, but there will be a dogfight for jobs. There will be lots and lots of newcomers itching for playing time right out of the gate.
73. Northern Illinois (12-2)
No, it won't be another BCS season, but there's enough talent returning to expect yet another great year. The Huskies are used to rebuilding – they did it last year on the way to a second straight MAC championship – but now they have to go on with head coach Dave Doeren off to NC State. Rod Carey gets back a loaded offense that led the MAC in scoring and yards thanks to quarterback Jordan Lynch, who'll be a fringe Heisman candidate. All five starters return up front to pave the way for Lynch and running back Akeem Daniels. Depending on the formation, as many as ten starters return. The other side of the ball is a different story with just four starters back. Ends Sean Proger and Alan Baxter will be sorely missed, and the back seven could use some retooling. Top-tackling safety Jimmie Ward is back and the combination of Anthony Wells and Ken Bishop should be solid at tackle.
74. San Jose State (11-2)
How do you possibly top one of the greatest seasons in school history and the loss of miracle worker head coach Mike MacIntyre? Ron Caragher stepped in for Jim Harbaugh at the University of San Diego and did a strong job, and while it's asking for too much to repeat last year's success, the talent is in place to keep on winning. Ultra-accurate quarterback David Fales will go from underground sensation to national storyline, but he loses tight end Ryan Otten and running back De'Leon Eskridge. With four senior starters back up front, Fales should get time to work. The defense has to overcome the loss of pass rushing sensation Travis Johnson, but tackle Travis Raciti should be a factor and linebacker Keith Smith will be one of the best in the conference.
75. Nevada (7-6)
New coach, same Wolf Pack? With Hall of Famer Chris Ault retiring (again), new head man Brian Polian has never been a head coach or even a coordinator, but he gets to try to make the program his with quarterback Cody Fajardo leading a good ground game that should keep on rolling despite the early departure of running back Stefphon Jefferson. The big problem is a line that loses three starters, but with offensive coordinator Nick Rolovich miraculously coming back, the offense should keep on rolling. The defense has to replace five starters but gets back top pass rusher Brock Hekking and three other starters on the line. Losing three starters from the secondary, and not having top corner and star punt returner Khalid Wooten anymore makes it worse.
76. Houston (5-7)
After a strange and inconsistent season, life in Big East should start out with the bang. The offense should be even stronger after scoring 40 points or more in six games and finishing 11th in the nation in passing and 15th in yards. David Piland is back to take over the starting job after working in a backup role late in the season, and he has a great receiving corps to throw to with all the weapons returning. Not only are all the starters back on offense, but almost all the top backups return, too.
The problem last year was a defense that gave up points and yards faster than the offense could crank them out. The secondary was a particular problem, but at the very least it'll be a more experienced group with all four starters returning. The pass rush should be devastating, even with Phillip Stewart gone at strongside linebacker. Punter Richie Leone should be among the nation's best.
77. Iowa State (6-7)
The Cyclones keep managing to be just good enough to get to bowl games and throw a few scares into the Big 12 big boys, but is this going to be the season when everything jumps up to another level? That might take some work.
Gone is Jared Barnett, who took off to Illinois even though he would've been in a fight for the starting quarterback spot with Steele Jantz gone. That means it's Sam Richardson's show after making some noise over the final three games of the season throwing for 541 yards and eight scores with a pick. A good runner and playmaker, the sophomore has the tools, but he needs weapons to work with. Four starters are back up front to help him out.
Gone are A.J. Klein and Jake Knott from the linebacking corps, but the bigger concern will be up front with three starters needing to be replaced. The special teams should be solid with punter Kirby Van Der Kamp as solid as any in the Big 12.
78. Boston College (2-10)
The Steve Addazio era will get started by trying to fix the defense while hoping the offense starts to quickly come around. Experience needs to translate into production for a team that won just one game against an FBS team – Maryland by three – and struggled way too much to stop anyone with an offense.
The BC attack didn't have a running game, but Andre Williams is back after missing the final three games hurt. The offensive line that didn't generate a push gets back the entire interior, but loses tackles Emmett Cleary and John Wetzel on the outside to protect Chase Rettig, a decent passer who could do far more with a little bit of time to work. Tight end Chris Pantale is gone, but all the key receivers return.
The defense was dead last in the nation in both sacks and tackles for loss needs more out of the sophomores-turned-juniors. Three starters are back up front, but there isn't a sure-thing pass rusher, and now they all have to do even more with top tackler Nick Clancy gone at middle linebacker. Kevin Pierre-Louis is a strong undersized tackler on the outside, and Steele Divitto is a good one to work around on the other. All four starters in the secondary – underclassmen last year – are back, as is Spiffy Evans, who helped BC lead the nation in punt returns.
79. SMU (7-6)
Welcome to the Big East, now keep the momentum rolling. June Jones and the Mustangs close out 2012 with three wins in the final four games, highlighted by a blowout over Fresno State in the Hawaii Bowl. However, the offense didn't work as well as expected for a Jones coached team, but the defense picked up the slack.
Bowl game star Margus Hunt is gone at one end, as are Torlan Pittman and Kevin Grenier off a front three that helped the team finish 15th in the nation against the run. Ja'Gared Davis and Taylor Reed are gone from the strong linebacking corps, but the secondary that struggled – allowing 278 yards per game – gets back all four starters.
The passing game that was so painfully inefficient needs Garrett Gilbert to be better. The former superstar Texas recruit put up yards at times, but he made way too many mistakes. Without Zach Line to carry the ground game, Gilbert needs more out of a receiving corps that loses top target Darius Johnson. Only two starters are back up front from a line that had a nightmare of a time in pass protection.
80. Utah State (11-2)
With Gary Andersen taking his act to Wisconsin, new head coach Matt Wells will be in charge of trying to keep the success going after moving over from the WAC. The defense that was so dominant throughout last season – finishing 14th in the country in yards allowed and seventh in scoring D – welcomes back seven starters including linebackers Jake Doughty and Zach Vigil. Tyler Larsen is one of the nation's best centers, anchoring a veteran line that returns all five starters. Flashy running back Kerwynn Williams is gone, but quarterback Chuckie Keeton is back. He'll need to be sharp with the team's two best receivers – Matt Austin and Chuck Jacobs – moving on. The special teams takes a hit losing punter Tyler Bennett and bunt returner Cameron Webb.