Dangerous Sleepers - No. 70 to No. 79
Despite the low ranking, a bowl bid is the expected goal
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.
CFN 2007 Preseason Rankings
1 to 10 |
11 to 20 |
21 to 29 |
30 to 39 |
40 to 49 |
50 to 59
60 to 69 |
80 to 89 |
90 to 99 |
100 to 109 |
110 to 119
The ranking is too low because ... new head coach Jim Harbaugh
has an outstanding receiving corps to make his attack to. Mark Bradford
and Evan Moore are NFL-caliber targets who'll make all the difference
for the offense if they can stay healthy. The defense has a decent
linebacking corps and good potential against the pass if the new
attacking scheme can generate a little bit of pressure.
The ranking is too high because ... there's still a lot of work
to be done to be respectable. A lot. The ground game is all but starting
from scratch with an average group of backs trying to make things happen
behind a mediocre line. Anyone who can run the ball should be able to do
it at will against the Cardinal front.
Relative Strengths: Wide Receiver, Linebacker
Weaknesses: Secondary, Offensive Line
- Iowa State
Offense Preview |
The ranking is too low because ... the coaching change will be
eased with the return of Bret Meyer at quarterback. One of the league's
best all-around signal callers, he should make everyone around him shine
if he gets a little bit of time to work. Todd Blythe is a star receiver
to combine with Meyer to get the Cyclone air attack going on a more
consistent basis. Defensively, having a head coach like Gene Chizik
should make a world of difference.
The ranking is too high because ... the offensive line has to be
far, far better than it was last year for the team to have any hope of
improving. There's no depth whatsoever up front and four new starters
trying to figure out what they're doing. Defensively, the secondary will
be a big problem without a top-flight number one corner to rely on.
Relative Strengths: Quarterback, Special Teams
Weaknesses: Defensive Line, Secondary
Indiana Preview |
The ranking is too low because ... the pieces are in place to get
the offense rolling on a more consistent basis with QB Kellen Lewis and
WR James Hardy among the most dangerous in the Big Ten. The running game
might not be all that strong, but there's plenty of speed to work with
in Marcus Thigpen and Demetrius McCray. The corner tandem of Tracy
Porter and Leslie Majors could be the best in the league.
The ranking is too high because ... the offensive line isn't
there to be a consistent winner in the Big Ten. The defense, while
quick, is extremely small, mostly by design, and will get shoved all
over the place. There's no proven pass rush to count on, meaning the
great corners have to be even better than advertised. Of course, the
loss of head coach Terry Hoeppner will be everything to the program. He
had the program going in the right direction and was the driving force
for the young team.
Relative Strengths: Quarterback, Wide Receiver
Weaknesses: Linebacker, Offensive Line
The ranking is too low because ... everything is in place to
crank out one of the MAC's most devastating defenses, led by the
secondary. On offense, the line has the potential to be dominant, the
quarterback situation is great with the return of Tim Hiller to battle
with Thomas Peregrin, and the solid receiving corps should be better as
the year goes on. The defense that terrorized opposing backfields last
year will continue to blow things up and make big plays.
The ranking is too high because ... the defense, while quick,
isn't all that big and should be pounded on by power running teams.
While the scheme helps make the outside linebackers the stars, losing
Ameer Ismail and Paul Tithof will hurt. If the newcomers to the
receiving corps don't shine right away, there won't be much pop to the
Relative Strengths: Quarterback, Secondary
Weaknesses: Linebacker, Receivers
The ranking is too low because ... the offense is on the verge of
exploding. Running backs Wynel Seldon and Devin Moore form a potentially
devastating 1-2 punch, the receiving corps is full of productive
prospects, and Karsten Sween has the talent to grow into the star the
entire team can build around. First he has to win the job. The defense
might have had problems at the end of the year, but it finished up ninth
in the nation in total D and now welcomes back one of the Mountain
West's best linebacking corps.
The ranking is too high because ... the offense might have the
skill players, but the line isn't anything special and will struggle
against the better Mountain West defensive fronts. Running the ball up
the middle might be a big issue. Defensively, the line has to replace
everyone, including some good reserves, while the secondary needs to
find two new safeties to take over for last year's stars.
Relative Strengths: Linebacker, Quarterback
Weaknesses: Offensive Line, Secondary
The ranking is too low because ... many of the problems of last
year should become strengths. The receiving corps might be a problem for
the first few games, but there's a ton of speed and potential. Tom
Brandstater is a talented quarterback who should star with a little bit
of tweaking. The linebacking corps is among the fastest and most
athletic in the WAC, while the size and quickness of the defensive front
four should allow everyone else to shine.
The ranking is too high because ... there are just enough
concerns and issues to keep the Bulldogs from getting back to a lofty
WAC status. The secondary was lousy last year and should struggle
against the pass-happy conference teams. The passing game has the talent
and the potential, and now the numbers and production have to come.
Essentially, the program has been full of Tarzans who play like Janes.
That has to quickly change.
Relative Strengths: Offensive Line, Defensive Line
Weaknesses: Secondary, Wide Receiver
North Carolina |
The ranking is too low because ... the talent is slowly getting
into place to make UNC an ACC player again. Butch Davis had a nice first
recruiting class, upgrading the talent at several positions to work with
a slew of established veterans. Most notably, the defensive line has a
lot to get excited about with several top newcomers ready to shine right
away. The running backs should be good in time, while Hakeem Nicks is a
good number one receiver to become the go-to guy.
The ranking is too high because ... the best players aren't ready
for primetime. There will be some major lumps taken before all the new
players will be consistent. They'll have their moments, but from the new
quarterback to the defensive line to the running backs, there are a lot
of unsettled areas that will be far better next year at this time than
they are now. The defense was so bad last year that it'll take some
major changed to become merely average.
Relative Strengths: Wide Receiver, Special Teams
Weaknesses: Linebacker, Secondary
Connecticut Preview |
The ranking is too low because ... the running game appears to be
back to UConn snuff with the emergence of Donald Brown. He'll be a
steady force to carry the offense until the passing game comes around.
Defensively, the Huskies should be decent enough at linebacker to hope
for a bit more production against the run while pass rush should be
better with the return of ends Cody Brown and Lindsey Witten.
The ranking is too high because ... the quarterback situation is
still a concern with an on-going battle that likely won't be fully
settled even after a full-time starter is named. The offensive line
isn't nearly good enough to win with consistently in the Big East, while
the defensive front should struggle after losing the starting tackles.
Relative Strengths: Running Back, Linebacker
Wide Receiver, Offensive Line
Offense Preview |
The ranking is too low because ... the wide-open, Texas
Tech-like passing game has had a year to work, and it has a good
bomber in Michael Machen, the leader in the quarterback derby to
replace Shawn Bell. The offensive line won't be all that bad and
should give the new starting quarterback time to operate, while the
defense should be a little bit better if the linebacking corps plays
The ranking is too high because ... this is probably the
worst team in the Big 12 and it might not even be close. Despite
talk of adding some semblance of a running game, the backs just
aren't there, while the defense that was so awful last season won't
be appreciably better up front and won't generate much of a pass
Relative Strengths: Linebacker, Wide Receiver
Weaknesses: Running Back, Defensive Line
Offense Preview |
The ranking is too low because ... eleven starters return on
offense and there's tremendous potential on the defense, especially
on the line, with big-time prospects Vince Oghobaase and Ayanga
Okpokowuruk ready to break out. This is easily the most solid
top-to-bottom Blue Devil team in several years, and it has a leader
in QB Thaddeus Lewis to work around for the next few years.
The ranking is too high because ... the experience probably
won't mean all that many wins. It'll be a shock if the Blue Devils
are favored in any game this year, and despite all the promise, this
is still a young team that doesn't have nearly enough talent to beat
most ACC teams unless everything breaks right. The offensive line is
mediocre at best, while the outside on the defensive back seven will
struggle against the quicker offenses.
Relative Strengths: Defensive Line, Quarterback
Weaknesses: Linebacker, Secondary