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2008 Pre-Preseason Rankings - No. 51 to 75
Indiana QB Kellen Lewis
Indiana QB Kellen Lewis
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jan 17, 2008


The very, very early look at the teams going into the off-season - No. 51 to 75

  

CFN 2008 Pre-Preseason Rankings

No. 51 to 75

- 2008 Top 25 | No. 26 to 50 | No. 76 to 100 | No. 101 to 119
- 2007 CFN Pre-Preseason Rankings

51. Arizona  2007 Record: 5-7  
It's the make-or-break year for Mike Stoops, and he has the returning talent to finally turn the corner with QB Willie Tuitama back along with top receivers Mike Thomas and Terrell Turner. Four starters return on the offensive line, but the entire starting defensive line is gone along with tackling machine LB Spencer Larsen. There's no replacing CB Antoine Cason.

52. Indiana  2007 Record: 7-6
Last year might have been just the beginning with eight starters back on defense and QB Kellen Lewis leading a potentially strong offense with seven starters back. Replacing WR James Hardy will be next to impossible, but the running game should be better with Marcus Thigpen getting more involved. PK Austin Starr will be among the nation's best.

53. Maryland  2007 Record: 6-7
Considering the overall athleticism, the program has been a disappointment lately. That has to change with QB Chris Turner needing to grow into the starting role. Having a burner in Darrius Heyward-Bey to throw to will help, and getting four offensive linemen back should make the ground game go no matter who's running it. The defense will be a problem early on losing six starters including LB Erin Henderson.

54. Washington State  2007 Record: 5-7
Paul Wulff has to replace QB Alex Brink, hoping big Gary Rogers is ready for prime time, but four starters are back on the offensive line and WR Brandon Gibson chose to put off the NFL draft for another year. The defense gets just enough key players back to hope for a big improvement.

55. East Carolina  2007 Record: 8-5
After closing out 2007 with a huge Hawaii Bowl win over Boise State, the expectations will be through the roof with nine defensive starters and seven offensive starters coming back. The defensive line should be special, while the secondary should be better led by a decent-looking group of safeties. Now a quarterback has to step up and become more of a playmaker to make up for the loss of do-it-all RB Chris Johnson.

56. Purdue  2007 Record: 8-5 
Some of the skill position stars are gone, but QB Curtis Painter should still lead one of the Big Ten's best offenses in Joe Tiller's final season before passing the torch to Danny Hope for 2009. The defense suffers some big losses and will once again be an issue, so it'll take winning shootout after shootout to come up with a better year.

57. Kansas State  2007 Record: 5-7
After the second-half collapse, the heat will be on, somewhat, for head coach Ron Prince in year three. QB Josh Freeman has two years of starting experience, but he won't have Jordy Nelson to throw to anymore. Four starters are back on the offensive line, and while there are some major losses on defense, LB/DE Ian Campbell is back to lead a decent group.

58. Ole Miss  2007 Record: 3-9  
Houston Nutt will benefit from the groundwork set by Ed Orgeron. If Jerrell Powe can finally get on the field and end Greg Hardy can continue to progress, the defensive line has the potential to be the best in the SEC. Texas transfer Jevan Snead should finally settle the Rebel quarterback situation, while Michael Oher and the O line should be better for UCLA transfer Jeremy McGee and pounder Cordera Eason to run behind.

59. Louisville  2007 Record: 6-6
The pressure is on Steve Kragthorpe to make Louisville a star again despite losing QB Brian Brohm and WRs Harry Douglas, Mario Urrutia and Scott Long. The offense starts with RB Anthony Allen while QB Hunter Cantwell is a veteran backup who'll step into the spotlight. The much-maligned defense loses LB Lamar Myles early to the NFL along with four seniors. Generating a pass rush from somewhere is a must.

60. North Carolina  2007 Record: 4-8
The first season under Butch Davis was about getting everyone's feet wet, and now the hope is to come out roaring with ten starters returning on offense, led by promising QB T.J. Yates, while the freshman-laden secondary should grow into a strength. Top tackling LB Durrell Mapp needs to be replaced, as does PK Connor Barth.

61. Boise State  2007 Record: 10-3  
The defensive front will undergo a bit of an overhaul, but the offense could be impressive if the line can retool in a hurry. QB Michael Coughlin will likely be the new man at the helm, but Bush Hamdan and Nick Lomax will battle for the right to hand off to Ian Johnson.

62. NC State  2007 Record: 5-7
Tom O'Brien's team got better and better as the season went on. Can QB Daniel Evans be consistent? Does he have anyone to throw to? Will the running backs play up to their potential? Losing versatile S DaJuan Morgan early to the NFL is a problem, as is losing run-stuffing DT DeMario Pressley.

63. Iowa State  2007 Record: 3-9
The team played hard all year and got better as the Gene Chizik's first season went on. Longtime QB Bret Meyer might be gone, but QB Austin Arnaud and RB Alexander Robinson are two of the Big 12's most exciting young players. Everyone is back on the offensive line and in the secondary, but losing tackling machine LB Alvin Bowen and running mate Jon Banks will be tough. DE Kurtis Taylor will be one of the Big 12's top pass rushers.

64. Northwestern  2007 Record: 6-6
A 6-6 2007 was a good step, and now the Wildcats should be ready to make a big statement in Pat Fitzgerald's third year with QB C.J. Bacher and RB Tyrell Sutton returning on offense and a good nucleus back on D. The concern is on the offensive line, losing three starters including C Trevor Rees and OT Dylan Thiry, while the defense loses LB Adam Kadela and big-tackling FS Reggie McPherson.

65. Washington  2007 Record: 4-9
Everything revolves around Jake Locker, a much faster, much worse passing Tim Tebow. The big problem early on will be the lack of top targets to work with, but there's hope with a good recruiting class coming in. The O line loses three starters and the D loses eight starters, so it could be the worst of all possible worlds with the team needing to keep building coming off a bad year.

66. Central Michigan  2007 Record: 8-6
Dan LeFevour, who joined Tim Tebow as the only quarterbacks to run and throw for 20 touchdowns in a season, will shoot for a third straight MAC Player of the Year honor while trying to lead the team to a MAC title three-peat. The defense has to be far, far better, and it'll at least be experienced with eight returning starters, but the losses, linebackers Red Keith and Ike Brown along with DT Steven Knight, will hurt. Nine starters are back on the high-powered offense.

67. Houston
  2007 Record: 8-5
New head man Kevin Sumlin starts his Cougar career without star playmakers Anthony Alridge and Donnie Avery, but he has two good quarterbacks in Case Keenum and Blake Joseph and a few good, very young running backs to work around. The defense comes back loaded up front and with just enough talent returning in the back eight to be solid right away.

68. UCF
  2007 Record: 10-4
Kevin Smith expectedly, and wisely, jumped to the NFL early taking away the entire offense with him. Also gone is QB Kyle Israel meaning Michael Greco, a big, strong thrower, will get the first look this off-season. There are enough good returning players on offense to hope the overall production doesn't take a tumble, but it'll be the defense that carries the team early on with everyone of note in the back seven returning. The big loss is on the line with the graduation of end Leger Douzable.

69. Tulsa  2007 Record: 10-4
Is David Johnson good enough to replace Paul Smith under center? That'll be the key concern early on, but the rest of the talent is back on the nation's top ranked offense. Only one starter is gone on the offensive line, and RBs Tarrion Adams and Jamad Williams might carry more of the load early until the passing game gets rolling. The defense stunk last year, and now it loses its star tacklers with the ultra-productive (at least on the stat sheet) trio of Nelson Coleman, Alain Karatepeyan and Chris Chamberlain have to be replaced.

70. Stanford  2007 Record: 4-8  UU
Baby steps. The Cardinal had a few strong moments as the season went on, but the loss of receivers Evan Moore and Mark Bradford will hurt a bit. Tavita Pritchard has to grow into the starting quarterback role, Anthony Kimble has to become a reliable, steady runner, and the defense has replace Udeme Udofia and Chris Horn on the line.

71. TCU  2007 Record:
8-5
This isn't nearly the same defense with the loss of DE Chase Ortiz and safeties Brian Bonner and David Roach, but the offense should be a bit more efficient with QB Andy Dalton more experienced and with a strong backfield to work with. The O line should be solid, but the receiving corps needs to find replacements. Losing PK Chris Manfredini will be a problem.


72. Ball State  2007 Record: 7-6  UU
The offense should explode with everyone coming back, EVERYONE, including QB Nate Davis and top targets Dante Love and Darius Hill. The defense loses a few players here and there, but all the key parts are back. Punter Chris Miller will be on the All-America short list.

73. Vanderbilt  2007 Record: 5-7 
Is this the year the program finally gets over the hump and goes to a bowl game? No. The SEC should be even better, if it's possible, than last year, and Vandy should take a step back losing star receiver Earl Bennett along with all five starters on the offensive line. While the secondary should be fine, the front seven has undergo an overhaul.

74. Minnesota  2007 Record: 1-11
The first year under Tim Brewster can be written off to being young and trying to build for the future. That works once. This was a young, young, young team that now gets eight starters back on offense including QB Adam Weber and rising WR Eric Decker. For good and bad, eight starters return on one of the nation's worst defenses, but the best player, SS Dominique Barber, is gone.

75. Air Force  2007 Record: 9-4  
Air Force has always had to deal with replacements, and it'll have some major turnover to deal with in key places. The offensive line will be the early strength, and TE Travis Dekker is a good, underutilized weapon, but the entire backfield, including QB Shaun Carney and RB Chad Hall, need to be replaced. The bigger problems are on defense with three of the four starting linebackers gone along with three starting defensive backs.

- 2008 Top 25 | No. 26 to 50 | No. 76 to 100 | No. 101 to 119
- 2007 CFN Pre-Preseason Rankings