2007 Preseason Rankings - No. 40 to 49

Posted Aug 3, 2007

Continuing with the CFN Preseason Rankings from one to 119, here are the potential Mid-Level Bowl teams, led by John Carlson and Notre Dame, along with the rest of the teams just outside of the top tier.

2007 Preseason Rankings

The Mid-Level - No. 40 to No. 49

The teams that should finish in the middle of their respective leagues

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.

CFN 2007 Preseason Rankings
1 to 10 | 11 to 20 | 21 to 29 | 30 to 39 | 50 to 59
60 to 69 | 70 to 79 | 80 to 89 | 90 to 99 | 100 to 109 | 110 to 119

40. Purdue
- Purdue Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart
The ranking is too low because ... the offense will likely be among the ten most productive in America, at least in terms of yards. The receiving corps is deep, talented, and extremely dangerous. The running game won't take much of a backseat with Jaycen Taylor and Kory Sheets good enough to take the heat off the passing attack. QB Curtis Painter now has enough experience to make everyone around him better. If nothing else, the defense is experienced with nine returning starters.
The ranking is too high because ... the D will still have a nightmare of a time stopping anyone.
Don't expect a whole bunch of production against the run, while the awful secondary needs to hope experience translates into production. This is the textbook example of a finesse team, even though the offensive line should be good at times. Even with all the potential on offense, it has to start scoring more points. This is the type of team that can beat anyone in the country if everything breaks right, or lose to anyone.
Relative Strengths: Wide Receiver, Quarterback
Relative Weaknesses:
Linebacker, Secondary

41. BYU  
- BYU Preview |
Offense | Defense | Depth Chart  
The ranking is too low because ... the offensive line will be a rock and should give the new skill players plenty of time to operate. The defensive front six is big and talented, with Kelly Poppinga a strong leading linebacker who'll flourish after moving to the middle. The safety tandem of Dustin Gabriel and Quinn Gooch could turn out to be the best in the Mountain West.
The ranking is too high because ... there will be a drop-off in production after losing John Beck, Curtis Brown and Jonny Harline. The receivers will produce just because of the talented coaching staff and the nature of the offense, but this isn't nearly as good a corps as others in the league. This will be one of the league's best teams, but there are just enough big changes on both sides of the ball to prevent a second straight Mountain West title.
Relative Strengths: Offensive Line, Linebacker
Relative Weaknesses:
Wide Receiver, Defensive Line

42. Boise State
- Boise State Preview
| Offense | Defense | Depth Chart 
The ranking is too low because ... this is still Boise State and yes, it did beat Oklahoma. Ryan Clady and the offensive line are good enough to push around anyone in America, and newlywed Ian Johnson is back to carry the running game. To win in the WAC, you need to have a good pass defense, and Boise's secondary should be the best in the league. Fine, so this ranking really might be too low, but remember, the teams are ranked in the preseason on overall talent level more than potential production.
The ranking is too high because ... this isn't the 2006 Boise State team. Losing leader Jared Zabransky at quarterback will hurt more than expected, while the receiving has to replace the top four pass catchers. While the pass defense should be outstanding, stopping the run early on should be an issue with tackle one of the team's biggest question marks.
Relative Strengths: Running Back, Offensive Line
Relative Weaknesses:
Quarterback, Wide Receiver

43. Colorado 
- Colorado | Offense Preview | Defense | Depth Chart
The ranking is too low because ... the defense will once again be excellent. A strong defensive season was swept under the rug thanks to the horrendous offense, and now Jordon Dizon and the linebacking corps, and All-America caliber corner Terrence Washington, will lead the way to a big year. The offense can't, and won't, be any worse. Dan Hawkins is too good a coach to let that happen again. Hugh Charles is a nice running back to carry things until the right quarterback can be found.
The ranking is too high because ... the offensive line isn't up to snuff thanks to injury issues. The receiving corps has the potential to shine, but the new quarterback, Cody Hawkins or Nick Nelson, will have to be consistent without any real experience to fall back on. As good as the defense should be, it needs to find a consistent pass rush.
Relative Strengths: Linebacker, Wide Receiver
Relative Weaknesses:
Offensive Line, Quarterback

44. Virginia
- Virginia | Offense Preview | Defense | Depth Chart
The ranking is too low because ... the under-the-radar defense should keep the team in most games. With ten starters returning, including all four linebackers and top linemen Chris Long and Jeffrey Fitzgerald, the experience should combine with the aggressiveness to come up with a bigger year. QB Jameel Sewell is one of the ACC's rising stars and should make everyone around him better as the year goes on.
The ranking is too high because ... there aren't any wide receivers. The loss of Kevin Ogletree to a knee injury is devastating for a passing game that was inconsistent to begin with. While the defense should be good, there's a ceiling on how good it can be. It lacks the top-shelf athleticism to beat the better ACC teams if the Cavalier offense isn't producing.
Relative Strengths: Linebacker, Secondary
Relative Weaknesses:
Wide Receiver, Running Back

45. Notre Dame
Notre Dame Preview | Offense Preview | Defense | Depth Chart 
The ranking is too low because ... it's not like the team is completely devoid of talent after losing all the stars. This is still Notre Dame and Charlie Weis has done a good job of starting to bring in more and more top-flight players. The defense has changed up to a 3-4, which should play to the strength: linebacker. Maurice Crum might be overrated, but he makes a bunch of plays and should be a good leader.
The ranking is too high because ... the secondary problems still don't appear to be fixed, the defensive line is shockingly missing any real playmakers, the offensive line that was so lousy last year likely won't be much better, and the overall offensive production should take a big drop without Brady Quinn, Darius Walker, Jeff Samardzija and Rhema McKnight. There are good prospects to get excited about, but the first half of the season is so rough that no one will have time to get their feet wet.
Relative Strengths: Linebacker, Special Teams
Relative Weaknesses:
Defensive Line, Offensive Line

46. Washington State
 Washington State Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart
The ranking is too low because ... the passing game will be more than up to Pac 10 snuff with QB Alex Brink throwing to potential all-stars Michael Bumpus and Brandon Gibson. There will be high reward, at times, for the defense that'll do whatever's necessary to get to the quarterback and create turnovers. While there could be problems with the D, the front four will be big and athletic.
The ranking is too high because ... the offensive line could get Brink killed. The suspension of rising lineman Andy Roof wasn't a plus. The secondary will get lit up like a Christmas tree by anyone who can throw a forward pass. Various off-season injuries have quickly depleted the defensive depth that wasn't exactly a plus in the first place.
Relative Strengths: Quarterback, Wide Receiver
Relative Weaknesses:
Secondary, Offensive Line

47. Kentucky
- Kentucky Preview
| Offense | Defense | Depth Chart 
The ranking is too low because ... the band is back together. QB Andre Woodson, WR Keenan Burton and RB Rafael Little form one of the nation's most dangerous skill trios. There's more talent at the skill positions to spread things around and keep Woodson's stats lofty. The secondary should be appreciably better with more speed and athleticism. If it's merely average, UK should win its share of shootouts.
The ranking is too high because ... the holes are glaring. While the skill players are terrific, they might not have too much time to operate behind a porous line devoid of SEC talent. The defense was one of the worst in the nation last year, and with no size up front, it won't be all that much better. Rafael Little and Keenan Burton are hardly sure things to get through the season unscathed.
Relative Strengths: Quarterback, Wide Receiver
Relative Weaknesses:
Secondary, Defensive Line

48. Utah 
- Utah Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart
The ranking is too low because ... QB Brian Johnson is back and apparently better than before. The year off recovering from a knee injury allowed him to do more film work and be even more of a student of the game. With a terrific set of receivers and four starters back on the line, the offense should explode. The defense might have some problems for a few games, but the talent is there to potentially dominate most Mountain West offenses. However ...
The ranking is too high because ... there are a lot of ifs on the D. The line needs to get good play out of the untested tackles, the second corner on the other side of Brice McCain will get picked on early and often, and there's no experience whatsoever at strong safety. Offensively, the running game needs a back or two to emerge, and there's no developed depth on the line.
Relative Strengths: Quarterback, Wide Receiver
Relative Weaknesses:
Running Back,
Defensive Line

49. Hawaii
- Hawaii Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart
The ranking is too low because ... no one's going to stop this offense. At least no one on the Warriors' mediocre schedule. Colt Brennan and all his top receivers are back from an attack that averaged 559 yards and close to 47 points per game. Three starters return to a secondary that should turn out to be better under the more conservative defensive scheme.
The ranking is too high because ... the O line will be a concern early on, while the defense, with no experience or sure-thing talent on the line, should get pounded on by anyone who wants to establish the run. While David Farmer is a quick, interesting running back prospect, the attack going to miss the multi-talented power of Nate Ilaoa. There's no physical presence on either side of the ball.
Relative Strengths: Quarterback, Wide Receiver
Relative Weaknesses:
Running Back, Defensive Line


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