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2007 Preseason Rankings - No. 50 to 59
Posted Aug 3, 2007

Preview 2007 CFN Preseason Rankings No. 50 to 59 ... Should Go Bowling

2007 Preseason Rankings

Shooting for a Bowl - No. 50 to No. 59

Some lower-level BCS conference teams and top mid-majors

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 
60 to 69 | 70 to 79 | 80 to 89 | 90 to 99 | 100 to 109 | 110 to 119

50. Wake Forest
- Wake Forest | Offense| Defense | Depth Chart
The ranking is too low because ... last year wasn't the fluke many want to believe it was. The Demon Deacons played good, sound football with a good offensive line, a strong running game, and peerless special teams. The same formula might work again with several good backs, four returning starters up front, and Sam Swank back to handle the kicking duties. The defense should be even better than last year when it finished 12th in the nation in scoring defense.
The ranking is too high because ... lost in all the success was an offense that got by on efficiency and not making mistakes, but it's not like it went anywhere. If QB Riley Skinner isn't flawless again when it comes to ball security, the overall machine might break down. Everyone will take the Demon Deacons seriously now, and everyone will make Skinner win games through the air. He won't be able to do it against the better ACC teams.
Relative Strengths: Offensive Line, Running Back
Relative Weaknesses:
Wide Receiver, Secondary

51. Washington
 Washington Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart
The ranking is too low because ... if Jake Locker is half as good a passer as he's expected to be, the offense should shine. Louis Rankin and J.R. Hasty should form a nasty running combination, while there are good receiver prospects to get excited about. Defensively, the front seven shouldn't be bad as long as the linebacking corps doesn't have to do too much. The front four should control games at times.
The ranking is too high because ... the defensive back seven will be a liability if the linebackers aren't great. The secondary will likely get torched by all the good Pac 10 passing games. While the offense has good looking prospects, there aren't a lot of sure things to rely on, and that'll be a problem on the road in the opener at Syracuse and against a brutal, brutal first half of the year (at Syracuse, Boise State, Ohio State, at UCLA, USC, at Arizona State, Oregon).
Relative Strengths: Running Back, Defensive Line
Relative Weaknesses:
Secondary, Linebacker

52. Illinois
- Illinois Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart
The ranking is too low because ... the program is loaded with exciting young talent that will scare the living bejeebers out of several Big Ten big boys. Juice Williams is one of the league's most dangerous quarterbacks with the running skills to keep everyone on their toes, and now he has an elite target to go to with the expected emergence of star recruit Arrelious Bean. The defense was underappreciated all through last year, and now there's more help from the recruiting ranks to help tackling machine J Leman and top tackle Chris Norwell.
The ranking is too high because ... your completion percentage is probably higher than Juice's. Defensive coordinators will let Williams throw as much as he wants to; that's not a plus for the Illini. There might be a ton of hype, but the team has done absolutely nothing so far under Ron Zook. This is still a very, very young team that'll have to go through some major growing pains before it realizes its potential. .
Relative Strengths: Linebacker, Quarterback
Relative Weaknesses:
Running Back, Defensive Line

53. NC State
NC State | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart  
The ranking is too low because ... the coaching is far, far better. Tom O'Brien and his staff are a significant upgrade over the last few regimes, and the result should eventually be steadier and consistent play. The defense might not be flashy, but it has the potential to be extremely good with a strong line and three senior linebackers. The running back trio of Toney Baker, Andre Brown and Jamelle Eugene will be solid enough to carry the offense.
The ranking is too high because ... the quarterback situation is a major question mark. Daniel Evans, Harrison Beck and Justin Burke are still battling to become the main man, and none of them will throw any sort of a scare into the better ACC defenses. The secondary will be merely average, while the offensive line has to replace both tackles and should struggle for a while.
Relative Strengths:
Running Back, Defensive Line
Relative Weaknesses:
Quarterback, Offensive Line

54. Vanderbilt 
- Vanderbilt Preview
| Offense | Defense | Depth Chart
The ranking is too low because ... this is an experienced, potentially dangerous team with nine returning starters on offense and seven back on defense. Considering this is Vandy, there's surprising star power on both sides of the ball led by WR Earl Bennett and LB Jonathan Goff. There are several legitimate All-SEC candidates to get excited about, and QB Chris Nickson is growing into a dangerous all-around player who'll give the big boys some big-time fits over the next few years.
The ranking is too high because ... there are still issues even with all the returning talent. The corners are hardly elite, while the running game should be average unless Chris Nickson takes off on a regular basis. This is the best Commodore team in several years, but it still has to learn how to win, especially at an SEC level. Few teams will take this game lightly anymore, and despite the promise and potential, the talent isn't there compared to most teams in the league.
Relative Strengths: Offensive Line, Wide Receiver
Relative Weaknesses:
Running Back, Secondary

55. Kansas State
- Kansas State | Offense Preview | Defense | Depth Chart
The ranking is too low because ... there's more than enough experience on defense to come up with a big year. All-American Ian Campbell will be used partly as an outside linebacker and partly as an end in a mixed 3-4, and he should wreak havoc in opposing backfields, while safety Marcus Watts leads a good secondary that should be the team's strength. On offense, the rushing tandem of Leon Patton and James Johnson should be devastating.
The ranking is too high because ... Josh Freeman still isn't ready for primetime. The rising star quarterback still needs a lot of work to do before he's the type of consistent playmaker who'll be counted on game in and game out. While his talent is undeniable, he's not going to make the average receiving corps better, at least over the first half of the season. The offensive line has more than enough depth to come up with a good rotation, but there's not much in the way of talent.
Relative Strengths: Defensive Line, Secondary
Relative Weaknesses:
Wide Receiver, Offensive Line

56. Michigan State
- Michigan State Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart
The ranking is too low because ... the offense should be able to run the ball without much of a problem with Javon Ringer, A.J. Jimmerson and Jehuu Caulcrick forming one of the Big Ten's deepest running back corps, and a big, physical line to work behind. Defensively, the safety tandem of Otis Wiley and Nehemiah Warrick are good pieces of the new puzzle, while the linebacking corps is quick and athletic. It shouldn't take too much tweaking to turn things around.
The ranking is too high because ... the schedule is nasty enough to make this a disappointing season, even if the team is appreciably better. The receiving corps has to replace the top three targets and QB Brian Hoyer is still a bit of an X factor, even though he has a little bit of experience. The defense will need to take some chances for a while to generate some sort of a pass rush, while the corners will have to play big early on.
Relative Strengths: Running Back, Linebacker
Relative Weaknesses:
Wide Receiver, Cornerback

57. New Mexico
- New Mexico Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart
The ranking is too low because ... the Lobos should be back to being the Lobos of recent vintage with a tough defense and a strong, pounding ground game. Rodney Ferguson might be turn out to be the Mountain West's best back, but the passing game won't be ignored with a lethal tandem of Travis Brown and Marcus Smith for rising star quarterback Donovan Porterie to work with. Defensively, the linebacking corps will be stellar, while the corner tandem of DeAndre Wright and Glover Quin is the best in the conference.
The ranking is too high because ... depth is a major, major concern. There's little among the skill players, and even less on the O line. The talent on defense was there last year and it never came together to live up to the potential, so the jury is still out on whether or not everyone will play up to their capabilities.
Relative Strengths: Running Back, Linebacker
Relative Weaknesses:
Offensive Line, Defensive Line

58. Pitt
- Pitt Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart
The ranking is too low because ... the main weakness early on, quarterback, could eventually grow into a positive if Bill Stull is consistent or Pat Bostick plays up to his billing. Everyone around the new starter will shine with a good receiving corps, a nice back in LaRod Stephens-Howling, and decent enough offensive line to win with. The defensive line will be better than last year's group that got shoved all over the place.
The ranking is too high because ... the defense doesn't have the star power of last year, and losing steady, much-improved passer Tyler Palko will take a while to get over. The future of the secondary is bright, but it'll take a while before all the young players start to shine. THe linebacking corps will also need a few games to get its feet wet.
Relative Strengths: Wide Receiver, Secondary
Relative Weaknesses:
Quarterback, Linebacker

59. Central Michigan
- Central Michigan Preview | Offense | Defense |
Depth Chart
The ranking is too low because ... the main pieces from last year's MAC champion offense are back with QB Dan LeFevour leading the way, RB Ontario Sneed doing a little bit of everything, and rising WR Bryan Anderson sure to be even better. Making things even better for the running game is the addition of Notre Dame transfer Justin Hoskins. Defensively, the line should be fine after a few weeks, while the back seven should grow into a strength.
The ranking is too high because ... former head coach Brian Kelly was special, and while new head man Butch Jones should be fine, he's not Kelly. The defensive line has to overcome the loss of Dan Bazuin, while the offensive line has to retool after losing two key starters. The defense won't be among the MAC's best, so if the offense has any issues for any stretch of time, a repeat championship isn't going to happen.
Relative Strengths: Quarterback, Running Back
Relative Weaknesses:
Offensive Line, Defensive Line


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