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2008 Preseason Rankings - No. 90 to 99
San Jose State CB Christopher Owens
San Jose State CB Christopher Owens
Posted Aug 6, 2008

Preview 2008 CFN Preseason Rankings No. 90 to 99 ... Rebuilding or Has Holes

Preview 2008 Preseason Rankings 

Probably Rebuilding - No. 90 to No. 99

At least two of these teams will finish much higher

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 2008 Preseason Rankings
1 to 10 | 11 to 20 | 21 to 29 | 30 to 39 | 40 to 49 | 50 to 59
60 to 69 | 70 to 79 | 80 to 89 | 90 to 99 | 100 to 109 | 110 to 119

90. East Carolina
- 2008 East Carolina Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart
What to watch for on offense: Who plays quarterback? With RB Chris Johnson out of eligibility, the quarterback is going to have an even greater presence on the offense this season. For a second straight year, the battle comes down to the multi-dimensional Patrick Pinkney and the rocket-armed Rob Kass. Pinkney has a razor edge for his ability to spark the offense, but the ultimate decision could hinge on the play of the line. If it continues to have trouble with speedy defenses, the decision to go with Pinkney becomes that much easier. Although both will play this season, the staff would rather have one definitive starter rather than a revolving door.
What to watch for on defense
: The performance of the secondary. More than any other unit, the defensive backfield holds the key to how far East Carolina will go in 2008. The Pirates return a ton of familiar faces, but until they produce, the memory of last year’s debacle is going to linger. In their five 2007 losses, they yielded nine touchdown passes and picked off just three, a trend the coaching staff is working hard to reverse.

Relative Strengths: Defensive Line, Offensive Line
Relative Weaknesses:
Secondary, Special Teams

91. Bowling Green
- 2008 Bowling Green Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart
What to watch for on offense: Tyler Sheehan battling with Andrew Beam for the starting quarterback gig. Despite throwing for 3,264 yards and 23 touchdowns, and improving his mistakes as the season went on, Sheehan will have to hold off  Beam, a top JUCO transfer, for the right to run the veteran offense. There are four good backs in place to take the heat off, Freddie Barnes and Corey Partridge form a good 1-2 receiving tandem, and the line won't be all that bad with a little time. Now the offense needs a leader to work around.
What to watch for on defense: The emergence of Diyral Briggs. A first-team All-MAC star last year with five sacks 54 tackles, he looked like an even better player coming into this year. He should be an unstoppable pass rushing machine who'll demand the attention of all opposing blocking schemes. The rest of the line has to take advantage.

Relative Strengths: Quarterback, Secondary
Relative Weaknesses:
Offensive Line, Defensive Line

92. Troy
- 2008 Troy Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart
What to watch on offense: More of the same. With offensive coordinator Tony Franklin off to Auburn, and leading rusher, Kenny Cattouse, leading receiver, Gary Banks, and star quarterback Omar Haugabook gone, now would be the time to make a few changes. It's not going to happen. New coordinator Neal Brown worked for years under Franklin and is going to keep the train rolling. With a loaded line to give all the new skill starters time, there might not be much of a drop-off from last year's attack that led the Sun Belt.
What to watch on defense: The corners. Elbert Mack made eight interceptions and 51 tackles on his way to an all-star season. Leodis McKelvin made 60 tackles and two picks with nine broken up passes on his way to becoming the first round draft pick by the Buffalo Bills. Almost every college football team would struggle to find replacements for talents like those two, especially in the Sun Belt, but Troy might turn out to be fine. Projected starters Chris Bowens and Trevor Ford are going to be more than fine, while players like Michael Ricks, a star JUCO transfer, Jorrick Calvin, another JUCO transfer, and DeMarcus Robertson are all able to step in and play. Having safeties like Sherrod Martin, Terence Moore, and Tavares Williams will help the cause.

Relative Strengths: Offensive Line, Defensive Line
Relative Weaknesses:
Wide Receiver, Linebacker

93. Ohio
- 2008 Ohio Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart
What to watch for on offense: A different style of running. Frank Solich's offenses have always been about powering the ball and getting the running game going, and not the I-formation will give way to more and more spread looks to get the mobile quarterbacks moving. Without RB Kalvin McRae, and with four backs who come in around 5-10 and 180 pounds, the idea will be to get the speedy players the ball in space.
What to watch for on defense: More from the linebackers. The line wasn't awful last season and the secondary was good, and will now be terrific, but the Bobcats won't have a chance to win the East title without a strong season from a relatively deep linebacking corps. There aren't any stars, outside of possibly senior Michael Brown, but there are several decent prospects and good options to play around with. Now that they know what they're doing, they'll be better.

Relative Strengths: Secondary, Linebacker
Relative Weaknesses:
Wide Receiver, Offensive Line

94. Kent State
- 2008 Kent State Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart
What to watch for on offense: More comfort with the backups in the backfield. The team didn't go into the tank when QB Julian Edelman got hurt, but it didn't exactly flourish. While the senior will be the starter again this fall, Giorgio Morgan proved that he's more then capable of being the main man if needed, and Anthony Magazu turned into a player all of sudden. Jarvis is a freak of nature who doesn't get banged up, but if he does, Andre Flowers, who had a fantastic off-season, will be ready.
What to watch for on defense: The secondary. One of the bright spots on the team last season with speedster Jack Williams, a top lock-down corner, and safety Fritz Jacques, now there's some work to be done to help top corner Rico Murray. Junior Kirk Belgrave is a decent option at one corner, and he'll get picked on with everyone staying away from Murray. The safety tandem of Dan Hartman and Will Johnson will be the focus of the D early on.

Relative Strengths: Running Back, Quarterback
Relative Weaknesses:
Wide Receiver, Offensive Line

95. UNLV
- 2008 UNLV Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart
What to watch for on offense: The running game. With RB Frank Summers a pounder of a back that no one wants to deal with, and an improved, veteran offensive line that's the best head coach Mike Sanford has had by far, the offense will rely more on running it to take the pressure off the quarterbacks. At least that's going to be the plan early on.
What to watch for one defense: Selling out. That was the plan last year and it didn't happen. Defensive coordinator Dennis Therrell is going to bring the house in an attempt to be more disruptive, and while he might not have the linebackers to do it early on, he has a good line to work with and a decent enough secondary to hold its own with the pressure on.

Relative Strengths: Wide Receiver, Running Back
Relative Weaknesses:
Special Teams, Secondary

96. Navy
- 2008 Navy Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart
What to watch to watch for on offense: Jarod Bryant. Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada is the best and most experienced quarterback option, but Bryant isn't far behind, if at all, and could still push for the starting job this fall. Even though he probably won't get it, Bryant is too good to keep off the field with the type of speed and athleticism that could've landed him in the SEC. He'll line up as a slot back, a quarterback, and wherever needed to get him involved.
What to watch to watch for on defense: Improvement in the back eight. The last thing last year's defense needed was a few key injuries early on, and that's exactly what happened when Clint Sovie, arguably the team's most athletic and productive linebacker, got knocked out for the year in game two with a broken ankle. Add to that the loss of tackling-machine safety Jeff Deliz with a foot problem, and a defense that could ill-afford to lose playmakers was without two key ones. Now they're back, and with CB Rashawn King, FS Wyatt Middleton, and decent players everywhere else, the back eight should be far better.

Relative Strengths: Running Back, Quarterback
Relative Weaknesses:
Wide Receiver, Defensive Line

97. San Jose State
- 2008 San Jose State Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart
What to watch for on offense: The wide receivers. The running game should be better, it can't be any worse, but the real excitement is over a receiving corps that might be the best in the WAC, even if the stats don't show it in a league with teams like New Mexico State and Hawaii. Kevin Jurovich is a legitimate No. 1 to build around, David Richmond and Jalal Beachman are talents, and Josh Harrison is a speedster who'll find a role.
What to watch for on defense: The new guys. Senior DE Jeff Schweiger was a good recruit for USC and might be the highest decorated prep player San Jose State has ever had. Senior CB Coye Francies isn't just a replacement for All-WAC star Dwight Lowery, he'll be an upgrade. These two jack up the talent level on an already solid defense.

Relative Strengths: Wide Receiver, Secondary
Relative Weaknesses:
Running Back, Offensive Line

98. San Diego State  
- 2008 San Diego Stat
e Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart
What to watch for on offense: The line to be the key to the season. Even with so much turnover among the skill players, the running backs are strong and the receiving corps, even without Bret Swain and Chaz Schilens, should be excellent. Nothing will work unless the quarterbacks are efficient, and that's not going to happen unless the line shocks the world. The front five was miserable last season and that was with experience. Chuck Long and his staff have been recruiting to upgrade the line, and it still might take a year or three for those prospects to come through.
What to watch for on defense: An emphasis on getting to the quarterback. It's been years since opposing passers have had to worry about getting touched, but this year's Aztec defensive front has good quickness all across the line. For a team that was among the worst in America in making plays in the backfield, it has to start selling out to make things happen. If big plays result from it, so be it. Something has to be done.

Relative Strengths: Running Back, Linebacker
Relative Weaknesses:
Offensive Line, Defensive Line

99. Memphis  
- 2008 Memphis Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart
What to watch for on offense: The Tigers feature a veteran offensive line that believes it can be the most dominant in the West era.  Exactly who the group will be blocking for has yet to be determined. Underappreciated QB Martin Hankins needs to be replaced after throwing 43 touchdowns over the last two seasons.  Since the strength of the team is at wide receiver, the staff must uncover an able distributor. Versatile Matt Malouf brings an interesting blend of run and pass. The wild card, however, is JUCO transfer Arkelon Hall, a former Washington State signee and one of the highest-rated pocket passers of 2005. He's the No. 1 going into the fall. The running game has been ravaged by graduations, defections, and injuries, creating opportunities for transfer Curtis Steele, sophomore Jeremy Longstreet, and redshirt freshman Mike Davis.
What to watch for on defense: The strength of the Tiger defense resides on a line that returns all four starters and is led by all-league candidate Clinton McDonald, a penetrator from the inside.  The unit will need to be extra special to compensate for a back seven that has holes at linebacker and is virtually defenseless versus any passing game with a pulse.  The Tiger defensive backs like to take chances and play aggressively, accepting the occasional blown coverage for takeaways that go the other way. Unfortunately for the defense, the corners get burned regularly, but the momentum-changing plays have been non-existent.  Walton’s lofty goal for Memphis is to maintain that frenetic, high-energy personality, while improving its tackling and fundamentals.   

Relative Strengths: Wide Receiver, Offensive Line
Relative Weaknesses:
Secondary, Running Back