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2007 Preseason Rankings - No. 30 to 39
Posted Aug 3, 2007

Preview 2007 CFN Preseason Rankings No. 30 to 39 ... Fringe Top 25 Teams

2007 Preseason Rankings

On the Fringe - No. 30 to No. 39

With the right breaks, these teams could be in the the top 25

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.

30. Georgia
- Georgia Preview
| Offense | Defense | Depth Chart
The ranking is too low because ... this will be one of the nation's 20 best teams as the season goes on and everything gets into place. The offense that was so lousy last year should be appreciably better with QB Matthew Stafford over his true freshman year, a good backfield to carry the attack at times, and Sean Bailey back as the number one receiver. The line appeared to be a glaring problem going into the off-season, but quickly turned into a major positive. The defense has plenty of speed and athleticism.
The ranking is too high because ... there could be problems over the first month of the season with Oklahoma State, South Carolina and Alabama on the schedule in the first four games. While there's plenty of talent, the defense is painfully short of veteran stars and will need time before it lives up to its potential. Hurting most is a secondary that lost the one player it couldn't, corner Paul Oliver, because he didn't go to class. While there's hope for a better year from the offense, it still has to prove it can produce on a consistent basis.
Relative Strengths: Running Back, Special Teams
Relative Weaknesses:
Wide Receiver, Secondary

31. Arizona State
 Arizona State Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart  
The ranking is too low because ... Dennis Erickson should finish off what Dirk Koetter started. The offense never quite exploded, and the team never quite played, as expected, but Erickson is a Pac 10 veteran who should be able to tweak things enough to get more production. QB Rudy Carpenter appears to be far more relaxed than last year when he pressed way too much. The offensive line should be a strength, paving the way for underappreciated back Ryan Torian.
The ranking is too high because ... it should be more of the same from the ASU defense. There's plenty of speed, athleticism and potential, but there will still be problems against the better Pac 10 offenses. Justin Tryon will be a starting corner in the NFL, but the second corner has to emerge and will get picked apart early and often if there isn't consistent safety help. The linebackers have a world of upside, but not enough experience.
Relative Strengths: Running Back, Quarterback
Relative Weaknesses:
Linebacker, Secondary

32. Arkansas
- Arkansas Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart  
The ranking is too low because ... Darren McFadden and Felix Jones are still in the backfield. These two can score from anywhere on the field, and can be even more effective that a passing team that pushes the ball deep. The defensive back seven has SEC-level speed and athleticism, and it should grow into a strength as long as everyone stays healthy.
The ranking is too high because ... this isn't last year's team. You don't get better by losing Jamaal Anderson, Keith Jackson, Chris Houston and Sam Olajubutu off the defense, and the O line has to replace three starters. Marcus Monk might be one of the SEC's best receivers, but he needs someone to throw him the ball. Casey Dick isn't a good enough passer to win with if the running game breaks down.
Relative Strengths: Running Back, Linebacker
Relative Weaknesses:
Quarterback, Special Teams

33. South Florida
- South Florida Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart
The ranking is too low because ... this is the sleeper Big East team everyone is secretly worrying about. While there doesn't appear to be enough in the bag to win the conference title, the Bulls will shatter plenty of dreams. The receiving corps is deep and potentially explosive, while rising QB Matt Grothe should do a little of everything to spread things around. The defensive back seven could be the best in the league, led by a pair of NFL caliber corners in Trae Williams and Mike Jenkins.
The ranking is too high because ... if Mike Ford doesn't live up to the hype, there won't be much of a running game outside of Grothe. The average O line won't make the ground game better. Grothe is a running quarterback who'll take some big shots, and he can't afford to get hurt or the offense might go into the tank. The special teams are just mediocre enough to be a problem against the top Big East teams.
Relative Strengths: Secondary, Linebacker
Relative Weaknesses:
Running Back, Offensive Line

34. Oregon
 Oregon Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart
The ranking is too low because ... the offense should be better after the loss of offensive coordinator Gary Crowton. As crazy as that might sound, considering he went to LSU, things ended up bogging down as the season went on. New Hampshire's Chip Kelly should provide a nice spark, utilizing the talent better with more no huddle and a better tempo. QB Dennis Dixon, RB Jonathan Stewart and WR Jaison Williams form one of the league's best trio of skill players.
The ranking is too high because ... for all the excitement about the offense, it still has to prove that last year's collapse was a fluke. The talent has to shine through and be consistent. The defense was lousy against the run last season, and it should be a problem again. The front seven not only has to be far better against the run, but it has to figure out a way to consistently get into the backfield.
Relative Strengths: Running Back, Quarterback
Relative Weaknesses:
Linebacker, Defensive Line

35. Iowa
- Iowa Preview | Offense | Iowa Defense | Depth Chart 
The ranking is too low because ... the defensive line should be devastating. With the healthy return of Ken Iwebema, getting into the backfield won't be too much of a problem. The running backs are in place to ease new starting quarterback Jake Christensen into the job, while Dominique Douglas, Andy Brodell, and a few good prospects are causing some to call this the best receiving corps yet in the Kirk Ferentz era.
The ranking is too high because ... the offensive line could be a problem. Injuries were the issue last season, and now everyone has to show they can form a consistent unit. Iowa always seems to give up plenty of passing yards, and this year likely won't be any different with a secondary that'll be merely average. Overall, the defense needs to force more turnovers.
Relative Strengths: Defensive Line, Running Back
Relative Weaknesses:
Offensive Line, Secondary

36. Arizona
-  Arizona Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart  
The ranking is too low because ... this is the year it should finally, finally start to come together in the Mike Stoops era. Ten starters return to a defense that'll be as stingy as any in the Pac 10, at least outside of the Los Angeles area, while the offense can't help but be better with a new attack that'll start putting the ball in the air more. As long as QB Willie Tuitama is healthy, he'll be one of the league's elite weapons. However ...
The ranking is too high because ... the team can't rely on Tuitama for a full season. He's just talented enough to get everyone excited about the possibilities, but as soon as things start to seem to turn, he has injury issues. The rest of the skill players aren't anywhere near the level of the top league teams. The O line might be experienced, but it's not that great. The defense will be terrific, but it need to find a pass rush.
Relative Strengths: Secondary, Linebacker
Relative Weaknesses:
Running Back, Wide Receiver

37. Alabama
- Alabama Preview
| Offense  | Defense | Depth Chart
The ranking is too low because ... this isn't your daddy's Alabama offense. New offensive coordinator Major Applewhite has a nice passing game to work with as long as QB John Parker Wilson continues to progress. The 1-2 receiving punch of D.J. Hall and Keith Brown could grow into the best in the SEC. While the running backs might not be there, the line, led by future top ten draft pick Andre Smith, will make them look good. The defensive back eight in the 3-4 should be excellent.
The ranking is too high because ... the D line looks the part, but doesn't play like it. The move to the three man front will help the rotation and should generate more of a pass rush from the outside linebackers. While the defense should be solid under new coordinator Kevin Steele, there has to be more all-around production. Offensively, Nick Saban would like to establish the run, but he doesn't have the backs to do it.
Relative Strengths: Wide Receiver, Secondary
Relative Weaknesses:
Running Back, Defensive Line

38. South Carolina
- South Carolina Preview
| Offense | Defense | Depth Chart
The ranking is too low because ... the offense finally appears to be in place the way Gamecock fans were hoping it'd be when Steve Spurrier was hired a few years ago. While QB Blake Mitchell and the passing game will get most of the attention, the ground game, thanks to Cory Boyd and Mike Davis, should be every bit as strong. The linebacking corps, led by Jasper Brinkley, will be one of the SEC's best.
The ranking is too high because ... the offensive line could keep the offense from realizing its potential. It'll take a while to break in three new starters, but there won't be a lot of time to jell with September road trips to Georgia and LSU. Kenny McKinley has the potential to be a good number one target, but the receiving corps will be an X factor if the line doesn't give Mitchell time to work.
Relative Strengths: Linebacker, Quarterback
Relative Weaknesses:
Offensive Line, Wide Receiver

39. Texas Tech
- Texas Tech | Offense Preview | Defense
| Depth Chart
The ranking is too low because ... it's Texas Tech; the passing game will be there. Yeah, there's a big concern about the receiver experience, but the production will be there. Graham Harrell should take another step in his development now that he's a veteran triggerman with a nice résumé of being able to lead the team to clutch comeback wins. The secondary might be the best unsung unit in the Big 12 thanks to the safety tandem of Darcel McBath and Joe Garcia along with corner Chris Parker.
The ranking is too high because ... there's bound to be a period of adjustment in the receiving corps with almost all the top pass catchers gone. The O line loses four starters, and there's the continued drama around RB Shannon Woods and the question of effort, at least in the eyes of the coaching staff. The defensive front seven, with only one starter returning up front and no depth whatsoever, will give up rushing yards in chunks.
Relative Strengths: Quarterback, Secondary
Relative Weaknesses:
Defensive Line, Linebacker


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