2009 Pre-Preseason Rankings - No. 101 to 120

Posted Jan 23, 2009

While Western Kentucky might be celebrating being the 120th FBS team, it'll have to do a lot more in 2009 to prove it can be far, far better. Check out the very, very early look at the teams going into the off-season with the CFN Pre-Preseason ranking from No. 101 to 120.

CFN 2009 Pre-Preseason Rankings

No. 101 to 120

- 2009 No. 1 to 10 | No. 11 to 25 | No. 26 to 50
No. 51 to 75 | No. 76 to 100
- 2007 CFN Pre-Preseason Rankings
- 2008 CFN Pre-Preseason Rankings

Yeah, Memphis, Louisiana Tech, and Rice were all here last year and all went to bowls, but for the most part, these are the teams that should have major uphill climbs to be a part of the living in 2009. And yes, there are now 120 teams for the 2008 season. The ranking is based on how good the team should be in 2009, while the Final CFN Season Ranking is based on how good a season the team had in 2008.

Teams that should be better than last year, teams that should be worse, team that should be about the same.

101. Buffalo  2008 Record: 8-6   2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 52
Isn’t this way low for the defending MAC champions? After all, head coach Turner Gill is still around as are RB James Starks and WR Naaman Roosevelt, but QB Drew Willy will be tough to replace. It’s almost impossible to ask for all the breaks the 2008 team got, especially when it came to takeaways, for a second year in a row.

102. San Jose State  2008 Record: 6-6   2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 82 
The overall experience will be there with an senior-laded team led by an offense that should be more effective if QB Kyle Reed can progress, but the defense loses its stars. There’s no replacing Jarron Gilbert up front, while the secondary, the team’s biggest strength by far, loses three main playmakers and only gets back safety Devin Newsome.

103. Ohio   2008 Record: 4-8   2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 95
The hard luck Bobcats lost four games by eight points or fewer and lost to Ohio State in a 26-14 battle that was closer than the final score. QB Boo Jackson should be one of the MAC’s biggest stars, while eight starters return on D.

104. Kent State   2008 Record: 4-8   2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 96
QB Julian Edelman is gone, but RB Eugene Jarvis is back to carry the running game while the defense should be loaded. LB Derek Burrell was a great one who won’t be easily replaced, but it’ll be a minor shock if KSU doesn’t have one of the five best defenses in the league.

105. Toledo   2008 Record: 3-9   2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 107
Former Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Tim Beckman takes over the program that was among the MAC’s elite for so long. The defense loses a stud in DB Tyrrell Herbert, but it gets everyone else back. The offense needs to be more consistent, and it should be if QB Aaron Opelt can have a nice season.

106. Akron   2008 Record: 5-7   2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 88
The Zips had one of the nation’s worst defenses when it came to getting into the backfield last year. If the veteran D can generate some semblance of a pass rush, the results should start to come even with the worries on offense. RB Dennis Kennedy carries the attack at times last year, and now it’ll be up to QB Chris Jacquemain to be a star.

107. UL Monroe   2008 Record: 4-8   2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 102
Is this finally the year the perennial Sun Belt disappointment gets over the hump? Nine starters return on defense while the offense should be better even though QB Kinsmon Lancaster is done. Darrell McNeal will be one of the Sun Belt’s premier receivers.

108. Miami University  2008 Record: 2-10   2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 117
Easily one of the nation’s most disappointing teams last year, there will be a little bit of a rebuilding job needing to be done … but things can’t be much worse. The linebacking corps really was good, and now it’ll have to replace all three starters. The offense has some work to do up front, but it gets most of the key skill players back. Now they have to start to produce.

109. San Diego State   2008 Record: 2-10   2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 111
Former Ball State head man Brady Hoke has work to do with the defense before the offense, losing most of the key players in the secondary and Russell Allen from the linebacking corps. Offensively, the one dimensional attack needs to find a running game and needs someone to give QB Ryan Lindley a little bit of help.

110. UL Lafayette   2008 Record: 6-6   2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 75
Losing QB Michael Desormeaux and RB Tyrell Fenroy from the nation’s seventh best rushing attack would be a killer if all five starters weren’t returning up front. While most of the key parts are back on defense, LB Antwyne Zanders is gone and top safety Derik Keyes. This is LB Daylon McCoy’s defense now.

111. FIU   2008 Record: 5-7   2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 90
All of a sudden, FIU had an offense. QB Paul McCall turned things around as the Golden Panthers won five of their final nine games, and while the needle is pointed up for Mario Cristobal’s program, it still might take another year to be a consistent star in the Sun Belt race. The defense suffers massive personnel losses both up front and in the secondary.

112. Tulane   2008 Record: 2-10   2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 112
Injuries turned out to ruin the team last year, and now it has the potential to be much, much better with only 14 seniors gone. How much did the program go with a youth movement? 48 freshmen and 64 underclassmen played a part overall. It’ll be interesting to see what happens if the skill players can stay on the field.

113. Utah State  2008 Record: 3-9   2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 106  
New head coach Gary Anderson inherits a program that struggled to get off the ground over the last several years, but had its moments last season. The defense loses just enough key players to be annoying, while the offense will need QB Diondre Borel to take the leadership role by the horns. The kicking game should be solid with Peter Caldwell handling all the duties again. 

114. Eastern Michigan   2008 Record: 3-9   2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 113
New head coach Ron English’s first task is to find something the defense can do well, and he’ll have to do it without LB Daniel Holtzclaw. The offense will hope to build around the record-setting finish from QB Andy Schmitt, but he won’t have Tyler Jones to throw to anymore. The Eagles won their two games over FBS teams by a total of seven points.

115. Army
   2008 Record: 3-9    2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 108
Army wanted to go the Navy route when it came to the offense, and it got the guy who gave the FCS fits. Rich Ellerson of Cal Poly should be able to take what former head man Stan Brock tried to do and make the running game sing. Go-to backs need to be found to help out QB Chip Bowden.

116. SMU  2008 Record: 1-11    2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 114
It was understood that June Jones wasn’t going to be able to make SMU the new Hawaii right away, but the team wasn’t even close last year. Is Bo Levi Mitchell really going to be the answer at quarterback? Can there be more from the receiving corps than just Emmanuel Sanders? Will the defense do anything productive? This was a team that lived on youth last year, and it might have to do it again.

117. New Mexico State   2008 Record: 3-9   2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 109
Help is on the way. Hal Mumme couldn’t get the program over the hump, and former UCLA defensive coordinator, DeWayne Walker, will try to turn things around. Walker should be the head man of a much bigger program, but he’ll need time to put the square pegs in the round holes. He’ll also need to try to coax some production out of a defense that hasn’t done much over the last few years.

118. Idaho  2008 Record: 2-10   2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 118
Year three of the Robb Akey era might be the best yet. This was a young team last year, even with 18 seniors, and now everyone in the defensive back seven is back along with most of the key skill players on offense. But can anyone actually play? The team tries hard for Akey, but it hasn’t mattered much.

119. North Texas   2008 Record: 1-11   2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 116
The Todd Dodge experience isn’t exactly working. Giovanni Vizza, the top quarterback of the last few years, is going to Texas A&M, the worst defense in America doesn’t have too much hope of being immediately better, and star WR Casey Fitzgerald is gone. The passing numbers will be there again, but wins will be hard to come by.

120. Western Kentucky   2008 Record: 2-10   2008 Final CFN Season Rank: NR
Welcome to the show. Western Kentucky was a minor thorn in the Sun Belt’s side in 2007, and then last year the team was abysmal with its two wins coming against Eastern Kentucky and Murray State. Not only were the Hilltoppers 0-10 against FBS teams, they only came within ten points of one team, Florida Atlantic. On the plus side, this was a young team, especially in the secondary, but the offense will have to replace do-it-all QB David Wolke. Losing K.J. Black to Prairie View A&M doesn’t help.