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2008 CFN Preview - Unit Rankings ... OLs
Oklahoma OG Duke Robinson
Oklahoma OG Duke Robinson
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 20, 2008


CFN 2008 Preview Unit Rankings - Offensive Lines Ranked 1 to 119

2008 CFN Unit Rankings

Offensive Lines

CFN 2008 Unit Rankings
2008 Preview | Offenses | Quarterbacks | Running Backs
Receivers
| Defenses | Defensive Lines
Linebackers
| Secondaries | Special Teams
 

1. Oklahoma
The line was going to be good no matter what, and then it was assured of being special (again) with the decision of the left side of the line, tackle Phil Loadholt and guard Duke Robinson, to return for another year. This might not just be the nation's best line; it might be the nation's best line by a wide margin. There are two sure-thing NFL starters in Loadholt and Robinson on the left side, a fringe NFL starter at right guard in Brandon Walker, and an all-star center in Jon Cooper to anchor everything. There's depth to burn, more help on the way from the recruiting class, and talent, talent, talent. Now the expectations will be through the roof for this group to be unbelievable every week, and the potential is to meet them. Now the front five has to act like the best in America. For about ten games, this starting five, in whatever configuration it'll be, will destroy opposing defensive lines, but for those two games when there are problems, and you don't know when those games will come, like against Colorado last year, the machine breaks down. For all the returning talent, this line has to bring it every week.

2. Oklahoma State
The line was great two years ago, and then it took things to another level giving up only 22 sacks, the third fewest in the nation, and paved the way for the nation's eighth best (and Big 12's leading) running game. Now it'll be even better with everyone returning, led by tackles Russell Okung and Brady Bond, depth at every spot, and the potential for another dominant season. And here's the scary part; there are only two seniors on the two deep. Not only do five starters (depending on the lineups you want to go by) return, but there's depth at every spot. From Andrew Mitchell and Trent Perkins at tackle to Jonathan Rush and Noah Franklin at guard, to all the options at center, the second team would be good enough to start for most teams.

3. Penn State
All five starters return to the line with one big twist. The 6-3, 288-pound sophomore Stefen Wisniewski, the nephew of former Penn State star and longtime NFL starter, Steve, saw time as a true freshman and was fantastic when he got the chance. Now he has pushed Mike Lucian out of a job. A.Q. Shipley and Rich Ornberger will earn All-Big Ten honors, and Dennis Landolt and Gerald Cadogan will get their share of looks for the post-season all-star teams, but Wisniewski is about to become the main man and one of the Big Ten's most dominant guards. The line paved the way for 194 rushing yards per game, and if it's Daryll Clark under center, the offense will crank out well over 200 yards per outing behind this group. Pass protection is hardly a problem, even though the tackles are very good, and not next-level superior. This is a talented, smart, experienced line that'll be the reason the Nittany Lions win a few games. Few defensive lines will be able hold their own for a full 60 minutes against this group. The big task will be preparing for next year by getting several new players prepared to take over at key spots.

4. Ohio State
After two very good years, the Buckeye O line should be among the best in the nation again with four starters returning. Alex Boone should be one of the country's premier tackles, while Steve Rehring is an NFL-caliber guard to help form a dominant left side. There's a question about the relatively inexperienced backups, and the Buckeyes can't have the same luck with durability again, so there will be a bit of a panic if there's an injury issue early on. It's been hard to get playing time over the last few years behind the rock-solid starting five, but it's not like several players have stepped up. You were a superstar high school player if you're on the OSU two-deep, but veterans like Kyle Mitchum and Jon Skinner never lived up to their prep hype. Now the hope will be for true freshmen, Mike Adams and Brewster, to be the real deal.

5. LSU
Another year, another great LSU line. With four returning starters and the fifth player, Joseph Barksdale, a good one, the line that allowed a mere 37 sacks in 14 games and was fantastic for the ground game should once again be dominant. The only concern is in the veteran depth, there isn't much, but that's nitpicking. There are more all-stars waiting for their chance to shine. Ciron Black and Herman Johnson are special talents, even for LSU. These two could be first round selections next year and will erase everyone on running plays their way.

6. West Virginia
Everything is lining up for this to be the next in a growing line of really nasty Mountaineers front walls. While not loaded with national star power, the unit is seasoned, deep and an ideal match for the offense. Led by OT Ryan Stanchek, this is a physical, tough group that should be among the nation’s most effective.

7. Illinois
Everything came together last year as the line had one of the most productive seasons of any in the nation, and even with the loss of two starters, there's no reason this can't be a dominant front five again. OT Xavier Fulton and C Ryan McDonald are terrific, while the new starters will be more than good enough to keep the offense rolling. The line did everything well last season as it paved the way for the Big Ten's best, and the nation's fifth leading running game, and it only allowed 16 sacks. Yes, the scheme had a lot to do with the running numbers and having mobile quarterbacks to block for certainly helped the sack total, but this really was a good line that gets three top starters back. However, no way, no how does a team get the same injury luck two years in a row. Last year Illinois enjoyed the luxury of having all five starters play every game. The continuity was there, and unless Zook has several hundred lucky rabbit's feet in his desk, it's not going to happen again.

8. Tennessee
A monster disappointment over the last several years, the Vol front five was fantastic last season in pass protection and was decent, but not great, for the ground attack. Now the line should be phenomenal with five returning starters and a few good backups ready to step in and start when needed. This is an extremely versatile, very good line that'll give the skill guys all the time they want to operate. With all the size and all the veterans returning, led by All-American Anthony Parker, there's no reason the running game should average just 4.2 yards again. Making the overall rushing production even more mediocre was the pass protection. Usually teams that finish around 73rd in the nation in rushing has problems with sack totals bringing things down. That's hardly the case here. Spring ball did nothing to show that this group can pound on anyone.

9. Wisconsin
Wisconsin's lines are always big, and this one follows suit with the projected starting five averaging over 310 pounds per man. This group will simply steamroll over most defensive fronts. The pass protection might be an issue, but this will be one of the nation's best run blocking lines with a massive group of veteran bulldozers and even more talent waiting in the wings. Four starters return and the one opening, center, will be fine once John Moffitt gets his feet wet. Gabe Carimi will be an all-star at left tackle and Kraig Urbik is a rock at right guard, but the big-upside player is tackle Oglesby, and he's just a second teamer.

10. Georgia
What was a huge, glaring concern and a possible Achilles heel going into last year turned into, arguably, the team's biggest strength. Sometimes learning on the fly, the green line that was supposed to need a ton of time but ended up allowing a mere 15 sacks in 365 pass attempts while paving the way for a killer running game that dominated over the second half of the year. OT Trinton Sturdivant is special and will be sorely missed after tearing up his knee, but Chris Davis and Clint Boling are going to be all-stars, and there's more than enough good talent waiting in the wings just looking for a chance to play. While everyone will expect big things out of this group, merely being as good as last year would suffice.

11 Texas Tech
12 Auburn
13 California
14 Oregon
15 Texas
16 Arkansas
17 Florida
18 Missouri
19 BYU
20 Utah  
21 Virginia Tech
22 Nebraska
23 Kansas State
24 Fresno State
25 Alabama
26 USC
27 South Florida
28 Louisville 
29 Boston College
30 Baylor
31 Kansas
32 Purdue
33 Arizona
34 Minnesota
35 Washington  
36 UCLA 
37 Wake Forest
38 Colorado  
39 Ole Miss
40 Miami  
41 Virginia  
42 Oregon State
43 Maryland 
44 TCU
45 South Carolina
46 Mississippi State
47 Iowa State
48 Cincinnati
49 Texas A&M
50 Northwestern
51 Michigan State
52 Rutgers 
53 Connecticut
54 Florida State
55 Nevada
56 Tulsa
57 Iowa
58 Houston
59 Hawaii
60 Georgia Tech
61 Kentucky
62 Washington State
63 Michigan
64 Wyoming
65 Vanderbilt
66 Troy
67 Idaho
68 Clemson
69 Arizona State
70 Central Michigan
71 Ball State
72 Indiana 
73 Pitt
74 New Mexico  
75 Boise State
76 North Carolina
77 Toledo
78 Colorado State
79 Northern Illinois
80 Air Force
81 Stanford
82 East Carolina
83 NC State
84 UNLV
85 Memphis
86 Southern Miss
87 Akron
88 Tulane
89 Navy
90 Florida Atlantic
91 Notre Dame
92 Duke
93 UTEP
94 Louisiana Tech
95 Miami Univ.
96 Western Michigan
97 UCF
98 Ohio  
99 UL Monroe
100 New Mexico State
101 Arkansas State
102 Bowling Green
103 Syracuse
104 Buffalo
105 Eastern Michigan
106 San Diego State
107 San Jose State
108 UAB
109 Marshall
110 UL Lafayette
111 Army
112 FIU
113 Rice
114 SMU
115 Kent State
116 North Texas
117 Temple
118 Utah State
119 Middle Tennessee