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2009 Pre-Preseason Rankings - No. 76 to 100
Posted Jan 24, 2009

The mid-to-low level teams, these are the ones that could either go bowling or go in the tank. There are some great QBs in this group including Baylor's Robert Griffin, UW's Jake Locker and IU's Kellen Lewis. Check out the very, very early look at the teams going into the off-season with the CFN Pre-Preseason ranking from No. 76 to 100.

CFN 2009 Pre-Preseason Rankings

No. 76 to 100

- 2009 No. 1 to 10 | No. 11 to 25 | No. 26 to 50
No. 51 to 75 | No. 101 to 120
- 2007 CFN Pre-Preseason Rankings
- 2008 CFN Pre-Preseason Rankings

These are the mid-level teams that'll either be the major players in the non-BCS league races or the lightweights in the BCS. Each of these teams has the potential to go to a bowl with a few good breaks, but they'll all have to fight.
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.

76. Louisville  2008 Record: 5-7   2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 94
There’s just enough turnover to be really annoying. The defensive line that wasn’t so great last year now needs to come up with major replacements. Who’ll quarterback the offense now that Hunter Cantwell is gone? Who are the playmakers going to be? The team should be better, but there are question marks all across the board.

77. Texas A&M  2008 Record: 4-8   2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 99   
Losing RB Mike Goodson a year early to the NFL is a huge hit, but Jerrod Johnson is a good looking quarterback and the receiving corps should quietly be among the best in the Big 12. Only five starters return on defense, but the D could use an influx of new blood.

78. Kansas State  2008 Record: 5-7   2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 83  
Meet the new boss … Bill Snyder will try to turnaround a program that wasn’t in that much trouble under former head man Ron Prince, but he’ll need to get steady quarterback play now that Josh Freeman is off to the NFL. The defense that was so good in Snyder’s first go-round will count on a slew of Prince’s JUCO transfers to come through.

79. Baylor   2008 Record: 4-8   2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 92
For all the good things Baylor did in the first year under Art Briles, it’s easy to forget that the team didn’t really beat anyone with a pulse. Whatever … with QB Robert Griffin leading the way on offense, and with eight starters back on defense, this will be a fun team to watch out for.

80. Washington   2008 Record: 0-12   2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 119 
Yeah, UW had the only winless team of last year, but the potential is there for a huge immediate improvement with new head coach Steve Sarkisian getting QB Jake Locker back and ready to go. Eight starters are back on offense and nine are back on defense. The talent level might not be there, but there should be a flirtation with a bowl bid.

81. UTEP  2008 Record: 5-7    2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 89
QB Trevor Vittatoe leads an offense that gets ten starters back on offense, but the real test will be on a defense that always struggles in the clutch. There’s no reason for the Miners to not go bowling as long as Vittatoe has a good year … even if the defense doesn’t stop anyone.

82. Iowa State  2008 Record: 2-10   2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 110
Is it a step forward after taking a few steps back by losing Gene Chizik to Auburn? The Cyclones’ new head coach,
Paul Rhoads, will have to come up with one thing the team can do well right away. The defense should be far better, while the offense has to prove it can keep up with some of the strong conference offenses.

83. Purdue  2008 Record: 4-8   2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 85
New head coach Danny Hope needs to replace seven starters on offense and has to hope Justin Siler can be the type of quarterback who can carry the team in tight games. Defensively, the Boilermakers lose LB Anthony Heygood, but get eight starters back including the entire secondary.

84. Hawaii
  2008 Record: 7-7   2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 59
Compared to last year’s rebuilding job, this year’s issues should be nothing. QB Greg Alexander is back after taking over the job late last year, but he’ll need to work behind three new linemen up front. The big issues are on defense losing nine starters including LBs Solomon Elimimian and Adam Leonard.

85. Indiana   2008 Record: 3-9    2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 105
While the Hoosiers should be better after a disastrous 2008, it might take a little bit of luck to avoid the Big Ten basement. Jammie Kirlew and Greg Middleton are great pass rushers who have to lead the way to a much better year from the D line, while QB Kellen Lewis has to be healthy and more consistent for an offense that gets ten starters back.

86. Middle Tennessee  2008 Record: 5-7    2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 70
Even with program penalties and the lack of depth, Middle Tennessee came up with a decent 2009. Now the team has the potential to be the best in the Sun Belt with all 11 starters back on offense, if you count QB Dwight Dasher in place of QB Joe Craddock, and with enough talent back on defense to hope for a big year.

87. Arkansas State  2008 Record: 6-6   2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 64  
QB Corey Leonard and RB Reggie Arnold will form the backbone of the best backfield that won’t get any attention. DE Alex Carrington leads what should be a terrific defense that gets most of the key parts back. A bowl game is a must, and the Sun Belt title is a realistic goal.

88. Florida Atlantic   2008 Record: 7-6     2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 68
The offense should be unstoppable in Sun Belt play, but the defense should have enough issues to prevent a second conference title in three years. QB Rusty Smith leads the team and should be the Sun Belt’s signature star, but he’ll have to be prepared to get rolling in shootouts with eight starters gone off the D.

89. Washington State  2008 Record: 2-11    2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 115
Paul Wulff era, take two. After being considered the Pac 10’s worst team of all-time, at least until the win over Washington, the Cougars should be better (they can’t be any worse). While experience doesn’t always translate into production, eight starters are back on offense while just enough decent prospects are back on defense to hope for a little bit of an improvement.

90. Duke  2008 Record: 4-8   2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 79 
David Cutcliffe should have a far tougher second season with seven starters gone off the defense, including MLB Michael Tauiliili, while the offense will need someone to become the new home run hitter with Eron Riley gone.
91. Temple   2008 Record: 5-7    2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 86
Al Golden’s excellent recruiting classes should finally pay off. Last year’s team couldn’t seem to come up with a close win, but with a team loaded with veterans and depth, this could be this year’s Buffalo. However, losing QB Adam DiMichele and C Alex Derenthal hurts.

92. Memphis  2008 Record: 6-7   2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 78
With RB Curtis Steele and QB Arkelon Hall to revolve around, the Tigers shouldn’t be too awful, but almost the whole O line needs to be replaced while the defense needs a lot of work. Memphis might have been able to make things happen to get to a bowl game in 2008, but it’ll take a lot of work to get back in 2009.
93. Ball State   2008 Record: 12-2   2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 18
This will be a far cry from last year. Stan Parrish knows the team, he recruited most of the returning players, but he loses QB Nate Davis early to the NFL and three key offensive linemen are gone. The defense will have to carry things early on, but RB MiQuale Lewis is a good star to ease in new starting QB Tanner Justice.

94. Bowling Green   2008 Record: 6-6   2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 84
Can new head coach Dave Clawson do more for the Falcons than he did for Tennessee’s offense? He’ll need to with a defense that loses almost all the key players on the defensive front seven. The offense gets back QB Tyler Sheehan, but loses the right side of the line.

95. New Mexico  2008 Record: 4-8    2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 80  
New head coach
Mike Locksley is known for being a master recruiter, but he’ll need time to work his magic to upgrade the talent level. Until then, he’ll need to make due with a young, inexperienced group that needs to find playmakers early on. QB Donovan Porterie has to come back healthy

96. Syracuse   2008 Record: 3-9     2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 104
The O can’t be any worse while the D should be better. Doug Marrone was hired as the new head coach to jump-start the offense, but he’ll have to make Andrew Robinson the type of quarterback who can lead the offense to points. The defense gets most of the starters back with the biggest problem at safety.

97. Wyoming   2008 Record: 4-8    2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 103
Former Missouri offensive coordinator
Dave Christensen will try to make the Wyoming offense work again. Finding a running back to carry things might be tough with Wynel Seldon and Devin Moore gone, but the focus will be on the quarterback situation with someone needing to take the job by the horns. The defense should be better with the line and secondary returning intact.

98. UNLV   2008 Record: 5-7   2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 93
It all starts with the quarterback situation. Is Mike Clausen really going to challenge for the job? Frank “The Tank” Summers isn’t there to carry the running game anymore, and Casey Flair isn’t around to catch passes, but the team won’t be all that bad. Enough talent returns in the defensive back seven to hope for an improvement.

99. UAB  2008 Record: 4-8   2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 100
This is probably way too low for what might be the hot Conference USA team of 2009. UAB might not do what Rice did, but all 11 starters are back on offense, led by star QB Joe Webb, and the entire defensive front returns. The back seven needs a few replacements.

100. UCF  2008 Record: 4-8     2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 98
Will there finally be some semblance of an offense? The team went from C-USA champions to also-rans after losing RB Kevin Smith, but only one player is gone off the offensive two-deep. Now the bigger problem is the loss of all the stars in the secondary.

- 2009 No. 26 to 50 | No. 51 to 75 | No. 101 to 120
- 2007 CFN Pre-Preseason Rankings
- 2008 CFN Pre-Preseason Rankings