2007 Preseason Rankings - No. 70 to 79

Posted Aug 3, 2007

Preview 2007 CFN Preseason Rankings No. 70 to 79 ... Dangerous Sleepers

2007 Preseason Rankings

Dangerous Sleepers - No. 70 to No. 79

Despite the low ranking, a bowl bid is the expected goal

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. 

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

70. Stanford 
 Stanford Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

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
Relative Weaknesses:
Secondary, Offensive Line

71. Iowa State 
- Iowa State | Offense Preview
| Defense | Depth Chart
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
Relative Weaknesses:
Defensive Line, Secondary

72. Indiana 
- Indiana Preview | Offense | Indiana Defense | Depth Chart
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
Relative Weaknesses:
Linebacker, Offensive Line

73. Western Michigan 
- Western Michigan Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart
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 offense.
Relative Strengths: Quarterback, Secondary
Relative Weaknesses:
Linebacker, Receivers

74. Wyoming 
- Wyoming Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart
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
Relative Weaknesses:
Offensive Line, Secondary

75. Fresno State  
- Fresno State Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart
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
Relative Weaknesses:
Secondary, Wide Receiver

76. North Carolina  
- North Carolina | Offense Preview |Defense | Depth Chart
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
Relative Weaknesses:
Linebacker, Secondary

77. Connecticut 
- Connecticut Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

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
Relative Weaknesses:
Wide Receiver, Offensive Line

78. Baylor 
- Baylor | Offense Preview | Defense | Depth Chart
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 as expected.
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 rush.
Relative Strengths: Linebacker, Wide Receiver
Relative Weaknesses:
Running Back, Defensive Line

79. Duke 

- Duke | Offense Preview | Defense | Depth Chart
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
Relative Weaknesses:
Linebacker, Secondary


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