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2008 Preseason Rankings - No. 60 to 69
NC State RB Andre Brown
NC State RB Andre Brown
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 6, 2008


Preview 2008 CFN Preseason Rankings No. 60 to 69 ... Shooting for a Bowl

Preview 2008 Preseason Rankings

Shooting for a Bowl - No. 60 to No. 69

Some lower-level BCS conference teams and some 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 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

60. Washington State
- 2008 Washington Stat
e Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart
What to watch for on offense: Opposing defenses to put everyone one and the waterboy on WR Brandon Gibson. Is there a No. 2 receiver to help Gibson out? It might be an overstatement to suggest that Michael Willis will be the most important player in the offense, but the former defensive back has to make teams pay for worrying so much about Gibson. If this spring was any indication, it might happen.       
What to watch for on defense
: The ditching of the 3-4 to affect other areas. Now that the defense doesn’t need four starting linebackers, the coaching staff can move around some of the players to boost the pass rush and the secondary. There will be some ongoing tinkering, but the hope will be for a more consistent producing group of linebackers.

Relative Strengths: Linebacker, Wide Receiver
Relative Weaknesses:
Special Teams, Secondary

61. Indiana
- 2008 Indiana Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart
What to watch for on offense: Can Kellen Lewis run the offense? The idea of the new no-huddle attack is to get the ball out of the quarterback's hands and dink and dunk the ball down the field. While Lewis is hardly a bomber, this isn't exactly the offense for him. His game is about improvisation, running, and connecting on the plays there are there. He's not a pocket passer, and the coaching staff might not ask him to be, but he'll have to do more of it if the offense is going to run the way it's supposed to.
What to watch for on defense: The second cornerback spot. Losing WR James Hardy from the offense was the team's biggest hit, but a close second was the loss of starting corners Tracy Porter and Leslie Majors. Chris Phillips will get burned, but he's a more physical corner than Porter and Majors and he should be fine. Now the question is whether or not there's a second corner who can step up. The pass defense wasn't great last year even with one of the nation's best pass rushes to help out, and it should be worse unless someone like Donnell Jones or Adrian Burks can be a new star.

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

62. Notre Dame 
- 2008 Notre Dame Preview
| Offense | Defense | Depth Chart
What to watch for on offense: The new, improved Jimmy Clausen. He has receivers who know what they're doing. He has a good trio of backs behind him. He has a line that, well, he has a line that can't be any worse than last year when it allowed 58 sacks. Clausen, unlike last year when he was coming off surgery, is healthier, throwing the ball with more zip, and after closing last year strong, has the potential to be the player everyone has been waiting for.
What to watch for on defense: Jon Tenuta. The former Georgia Tech defensive coordinator will help out Corwin Brown mold an experienced defense that did far more last season. The problem was generating pressure ... the Irish couldn't do it. While the 3-4 scheme will stick for now, Tenuta will try to bring the noise and bring the funk from all areas with more blitzing, more pressure, and more more sacks. the outside linebackers like Brian Smith, Kerry Neal and John Ryan could blossom into statistical stars.

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

63. Kentucky
- 2008 Kentucky Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

What to watch for on offense: The quarterback situation. Curtis Pulley was supposed to be the next big thing. A star recruit who was considered to be a more athletic Tim Couch, he was a challenger for the starting job from day one until Woodson took over and became special. Pulley moved to receiver for a time and redshirted last year, and then he was supposed take the job by the horns this spring when ... zzzzzz. It's not like he's been bad, and he's certainly good enough to start, but with all his skills and all his time in the program, he's supposed to come out roaring. That Mike Hartline, a tall, promising sophomore bomber with a good arm is still making this a race shows how unsettled things still are.
What to watch for on defense: The NFL scouts to set up shop in Lexington. By the time the draftniks and their lists start to kick in, assuming everyone is leaving early, DT Myron Pryor, a senior, and juniors DE Jeremy Jarmon, ILB Micah Johnson, CB Trevard Lindley and FS Marcus McClinton will all be considered among the top 15 prospects at their respective positions. It's possible  DE/DT Ventrell Jenkins will also enter that group. For a defense that ranked last in the SEC in points allowed, those six form a good base to start.

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

64. Vanderbilt   
- 2008 Vanderbilt Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart
What to watch for on offense: Will the quarterback situation ever be completely settled? Vandy has two nice talents in Mackenzi Adams and Chris Nickson who can lead the offense, but neither one seems able to give the coaching staff exactly what it's looking for. Adams is a decent veteran, but he's not consistent enough to overcome Nickson's upside. Either way, the offense will have to live through the mistakes, and the starter will have to keep looking over his shoulder.
What to watch for on defense: One of the best secondaries in America. This isn't just a "good by Vanderbilt standards" secondary; it's the real deal. D.J. Moore is a pick-off artist at corner, taking away six last year, while SS Reshard Langford is a tough veteran who has seen it all, lived through his early mistakes, and has come through as a star. Corner Myron Lewis and FS Ryan Hamilton are solid, while Darlron Spread, who's back after a knee injury, is good enough to fill in anywhere.

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

65. Minnesota
- 2008 Minnesota Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart
What to watch for on offense: The emergence of QB Adam Weber. MarQueis Gray and JUCO transfer David Pittman were big-time recruits. They were so big that the coach's son, Clint Brewster, a top recruit last year, chose to transfer. Even after throwing for 2,895 yards and leading the team with 617 rushing yards, the job was hardly Weber's going into spring ball, and then he showed he was a sharper passer with a better command of the offense. He was already the star of the show, and now he's on the verge of being a special spread quarterback.
What to watch for on defense: JUCO, JUCO, JUCO. For the nation's worst defense, it's possible that at least five instant starters are coming in to upgrade things right away. Junior Tramaine Brock got off the bus and instantly made himself the tone-setting leader of the secondary at free safety. Simoni Lawrence is a top option at strong safety, while Traye Simmons has star potential at corner. Tim McGee will be starting sooner than later at tackle, while 6-5, 250-pound Cedric McKinley will join him on the line.

Relative Strengths: Quarterback, Offensive Line
Relative Weaknesses:
Defensive Line, S
econdary

66. NC State
- 2008 NC State Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart 
What to look for on offense: How quickly rookie Mike Glennon can get up to speed. He’s only a freshman, but he’s also the eventual savior for an offense that’s been pining for a big-time quarterback since Philip Rivers graduated. Does he take over in 2009, or can he actually overcome a huge disadvantage in experience to surpass four middling veterans? While it’s unlikely Tom O’Brien will give him the ball for the opener at South Carolina, don’t be shocked if the Glennon era begins at some point early on.  
What to look for on defense: The front four. To make progress on defense, State needs to keep as many plays as possible from reaching a suspect back seven. Fortunately, the defensive line has enough quality to help out its brethren at linebacker and in the secondary. On the outside, Willie Young has emerged as one of the ACC’s fiercest pass rushers. On the inside, Alan-Michael Cash is a disruptive run defender who gets penetration. End Markus Kuhn and tackle Antoine Holmes are solid supporters, giving the Wolfpack a defensive line capable of generating a push and limiting the time quarterbacks have to throw.

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

67. Iowa State
- 2008 Iowa State Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart
What to look for on offense: An interesting quarterback situation. In a league that turned out to be loaded with great quarterbacks, Bret Meyer was supposed to be a weapon and a major plus for the Cyclones. He wasn't. Now he's gone, and exciting playmakers Austen Arnaud and Phillip Bates will rotate in what should be one of the tougher quarterback rotations to get a handle on. They can both move, but Bates, a wide receiver, is also a dangerous runner. The coaching staff will go with the right quarterback for the right situation.     
What to look for on defense: Much better pass defense numbers early on. Be prepared for stories in early October about how last year's secondary that allowed 254 yards per game is night-and-day better. Don't be fooled. Yes, ISU gets all four starters back and the pass rush should be more helpful, but the biggest plus will be playing South Dakota State, Kent State, Iowa, and UNLV before getting an off-week. And then come the games against Kansas and Baylor, and things will change in a big hurry.

Relative Strengths: Running Back, Offensive Line
Relative Weaknesses:
Special Teams, Linebacker

68. New Mexico
- 2008 New Mexic
o Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart
What to watch for on offense: The backfield. The receiving corps loses its stars, but it'll be fine with a little bit of time. The line has to replace four starters, but JUCO transfers will make up for the concerns and there are good talents to get excited about. The difference between another good, bowl season and a possible sleeper run to the Mountain West title lies in the backfield where Donovan Porterie appears ready to become a special playmaker. Rodney Ferguson, is a sure-thing for 1,000 yards if his academics are in order, while Paul Baker is ready to bust out. The Lobos have the skill players to put up some big numbers. 
What to watch for on defense: The secondary to be among the best in America. The corner tandem of DeAndre Wright and Glover Quinn will be special, while the three safeties in the 3-3-5 formation, Ian Clark, Blake Ligon and Clint McPeek, are all solid veterans. the pass defense was 20th in the nation even though there wasn't much of a pass rush, and now it should be even better. Few will be able to consistently throw on this group.

Relative Strengths: Running Back, Secondary
Relative Weaknesses:
Wide Receiver, Linebacker

69. Southern Miss  
- 2008 Southern Miss Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart
What to watch for on offense: With new head coach Larry Fedora comes a fancy no-huddle offense that aims to spread the field out and attack without provocation.  In other words, the new system will bear little resemblance to the one Jeff Bower employed for almost two decades. Although Fedora needs more parts to make the engine purr, he’s getting there, attracting players, like blue-chip receivers DeAndre Brown and Freddie Parham, who never would have considered Hattiesburg before he arrived.  While nothing has been made official, second-year freshman Austin Davis showed enough in the spring to inch ahead of Martevious Young in the battle at quarterback. Just because Southern Miss will air it out a little more than usual doesn’t mean that balance goes out the window. Don’t forget that Fedora’s Oklahoma State offense averaged exactly 243.15 yards a game on the ground and through the air in 2007. 
What to watch for on defense: You can call the Southern Miss D the Nasty Bunch, but the moniker hasn’t really fit for a few years. New coordinator Todd Bradford hopes to change that by installing an aggressive, in-your-face defense aimed at making the quarterback uncomfortable.  While it sounds good in theory, it won’t be easy to deliver when the front four will be starting four new players. If they can’t get penetration, expect plenty of blitzes from an undersized and athletic back seven. Hey, at least the Golden Eagles can count on LB Gerald McRath, a man among boys and a candidate to leave a year early for the NFL Draft.  

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

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