CFN Rankings - Preseason No. 80-89
Colorado State RB Kyle Bell
Posted Aug 26, 2006

Admittedly Underrated ... No argument here if you think some of these teams should be higher

There's one very important distinction in the CFN preseason rankings: these are based on how good the teams are going into the season and NOT how they're going to finish. Some teams have easier schedules than others, some get tougher road games and some will need a little bit of time to jell meaning they might be better than their final record might indicate. Going into the year, these are how good the teams appear to be from No. 1 through 119. The predicted finishes don't take into account possible bowl games or conference championships.

No. 1 to No. 10 | No. 11 to 20 | No. 21 to 29 | No. 30 to 39 | No. 40 to 49
No. 50 to 59 | No. 60 to 69 | No. 70 to 79 | No. 80 to 89 | No. 90 to 99
No. 100 to 109 | No. 110 to 119

89. Duke 
Predicted Finish:
2-10   2005 Predicted Finish: 3-8   2005 Record: 1-10
There are positive pieces in place to build around. The defensive line has the potential to have a huge season if 2005's star recruits Vince Oghobaase and Ayanga Okpokowuruk can use their talent to combine forces with steady veterans Eli Nichols and Casey Camero. John Talley is one of the nation's best cornerbacks, and there are nice receivers and running backs to get excited about. Of course, this is Duke, so the talent level isn't even in the ballpark compared to the rest of the ACC.
Relative Strengths: defensive line, running backs   Relative Weaknesses: offensive line, linebackers

88. UAB    
Predicted Finish:
4-8  2005 Predicted Finish: 8-3   2005 Record: 5-6
In a league where Tulsa and UCF can come from out of the blue to play for the championship, UAB certainly has to have hopes of getting a few big performances when needed and win the East. Only 12 starters return, but there's more than enough experience for the other spots and plenty of decent talent to get the job done if a few key players come through. The defense has a chance to be much better with five good linebackers to work around, an experienced secondary that doesn't need to do too much to improve on last year, and First Team All-Conference USA end Larry McSwain up front to be the focal point.
Relative Strengths: offensive line, running backs    Relative Weaknesses: wide receivers, defensive line

87. Memphis 
Predicted Finish:
6-6  2005 Predicted Finish: 6-5   2005 Record: 7-5
A fourth straight bowl trip is a lock and there's nothing the team can't handle at this point, so that means there are big expectations. Memphis doesn't want to be one of those programs that got hot and then hit a plateau, it needs to show that the team was more than just DeAngelo Williams and show that this is a burgeoning power that's a few steps away from being something special. That step should be taken this year. All the QBs have big arms and are great at throwing the deep ball, so the attack should be more explosive with the tall, fast receiving corps ready to put up bigger numbers. All five starters return to the offensive line that will pave the way for a good season for shifty back Joseph Doss, who'll pick up the slack with Williams gone. The defense won't be a rock, but five starters return to the secondary and there are good athletes up front.
Relative Strengths: offensive line, running backs    Relative Weaknesses: defensive line, linebackers

86. Wyoming 
Predicted Finish:
3-9  2005 Predicted Finish: 5-6   2005 Record: 4-7
The team has an interesting mix of huge strengths and glaring weaknesses. The backfield is loaded with three great running backs, but the receiving corps is average at best and there's a four-way battle going on to figure out who the starting quarterback will be. The defensive line is one of the worst in the Mountain West, but the linebacking corps in the new 3-4 scheme should be excellent. John Wendling is one of the nation's better safeties, but corner will be a big question mark.
Relative Strengths: running backs, offensive line    Relative Weaknesses: defensive line, secondary

85. New Mexico     
Predicted Finish:
6-6  2005 Predicted Finish: 6-5   2005 Record: 6-5
2005 was a transition season replacing several defensive starters and changing the identity a bit on offense after being a one-dimensional ground attack. Things will change again, only this time for the better with the addition of former UCLA head coach Bob Toledo to run the offense and make it more effective and more explosive. Add Toledo's talents with a solid system that's already in place, and New Mexico might finally break through the ceiling and push for the Mountain West title. The defense took a step back last season and could have problems with its consistency early on with new faces up the middle up front and on the corners in the secondary.
Relative Strengths: offensive line, quarterbacks    Relative Weaknesses: defensive line, wide receivers

84. Navy    
Predicted Finish:
7-5  2005 Predicted Finish: 5-6   2005 Record: 8-4
18 starters return including four on an offensive line that should be strong, three in a hard-nosed linebacking corps, four in the secondary, and three in a backfield that should form a breathtaking combination of speed and power. There are a few concerns like replacing quarterback Lamar Owens and getting more production from the defense, but experience and good coaching should overcome most of the problems.
Relative Strengths: running backs, linebackers    Relative Weaknesses: receivers, defensive line

83. Vanderbilt 
Predicted Finish:
2-10  2005 Predicted Finish: 3-8   2005 Record: 5-6
There are several major positives to build around. The starting offensive line, especially tackles Brian Stamper and Chris Williams, should be excellent. Earl Bennett and the receiving corps will be strong, Cassen Jackson-Garrison is a veteran runner who'll have his moments, and the defense should be good up the middle with good tackles and safeties and an All-SEC talent in linebacker Jonathan Goff. Unfortunately, there are questions at starting quarterback, the running game won't be that great, and there's a big-time lack of playmakers on defense. In other words, there are too many holes to fill to have even the most remote of prayers to contend in the improved East.  
Relative Strengths: offensive line, wide receivers    Relative Weaknesses: defensive line, running back

82. Marshall   
Predicted Finish:
5-7  2005 Predicted Finish: 6-5   2005 Record: 4-7
21 starters return with the biggest boost in production likely to be on offense with quarterback Bernie Skinner and Jimmy Morris a year older and wiser after their first seasons in the new system. Four returning starters to the offensive line, the receiving corps is loaded with experience, and all-star back Ahmad Bradshaw will do everything to carry the attack when needed. Top linebacker recruit Josh Johnson and receiver Darius Passmore provide an instant upgrade to the overall talent level. Five road games in the first seven dates will be tough to overcome.
Relative Strengths: running backs, linebackers    Relative Weaknesses: secondary, defensive line

81. UCF   
Predicted Finish:
6-6   2005 Predicted Finish: 1-10   2005 Record: 8-5
UCF isn't a lock to win anything even with 19 starters returning. All the fantastic looking young players in the secondary got torched last year and must prove they can be consistent. All five starters return to the offensive line, but that group couldn't stop anyone's pass rush. And then there's the question of wins; did UCF actually beat anyone of note last year? Who cares? After two straight losing seasons and a wildly disappointing four-year stint in the MAC, there's no arguing against the school's best season since 1998. Now the question becomes whether or not the team hit a ceiling or if the program is about to enter the stratosphere. The coaching, the recruiting base, and the potential is there for a bright future. If last year was any indication, the future might be now.
Relative Strengths: running backs, secondary    Relative Weaknesses: defensive line, receivers

80. Colorado State   
Predicted Finish: 5-7  2005 Predicted Finish: 4-7   2005 Record: 6-6
The backfield has 225 pounders Kyle Bell and Gantrell Johnson to power the ground game behind an experienced offensive line, but it'll be tempting to keep chucking the ball around in the high-octane Mountain West.  The defense has enough experience to be far better if all the past playing time actually turns into production and the kicking game should be one of the best in the league. In other words, the potential is there for a return to the glory days. Note the word potential.
Relative Strengths: running backs, secondary    Relative Weaknesses: defensive line, linebackers