CFN 2009 Pre-Preseason Rankings
No. 51 to 75
No. 1 to 10 |
No. 11 to 25 |
No. 26 to 50
No. 76 to 100 |
No. 101 to 120
- 2007 CFN Pre-Preseason Rankings
- 2008 CFN Pre-Preseason Rankings
These are the teams that have to come into the season thinking bowl
game. There might not be enough in the back to win a conference title,
but the post-season is a must for teams this good.
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
Teams that should be better than last year,
teams that should be worse,
team that should be about the same.
51. East Carolina 2008 Record:
9-5 2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 34
Conference USA champions get to keep their head coach, Skip Holtz, for
at least one more year along with starting quarterback Patrick Pinkney,
who was given a sixth year of eligibility. Only three starters are gone
off the offense, and just three need to be replaced on defense, too, but
the attack has to be more explosive.
52. Tulsa 2008 Record:
11-3 2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 17
Head coach Todd Graham signed a long-term extension, but he lost
offensive coordinator Gus Mahlzan to Auburn. Is Jacob Bower ready to run
the offense? He’ll have to shine from day one with RB Tarrion Adams not
around to help carry the load. The defense might have stunk, but eight
starters return with the only issue early on at defensive tackle.
53. Air Force 2008 Record: 8-5 2008 Final CFN Season
Troy Calhoun has worked wonders with the Falcons, and now he should reap
all the rewards with seven starters coming back on offense. However,
three starters are gone off a defensive front from a team that can
ill-afford to lose dependable talent up front.
54. Connecticut 2008 Record: 8-5 2008 Final CFN
Season Rank: 48
The defense that carried the team for yet another year gets seven
starters back, but it loses CB Darius Butler and pass-rusher
extraordinaire, Cody Brown. The offense that was so bad needs someone to
carry the workload now that Donald Brown is gone a year early. Zach
Frazer will have the inside line on the starting quarterback job.
55. Louisiana Tech 2008 Record:
8-5 2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 63
This could be one of the “it” teams of 2009. Head coach Derek Dooley is
a high-riser who might only be around one more year if his team is as
good as expected. Star WR Philip Beck is gone, but Phillip Rivas
returns. It’s the defense that should really shine with a strong
defensive front returning intact to go along with a good safety tandem
of Antonio Baker and Deon Young.
2008 Record: 5-7 2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 58
Virginia was one of only two ACC teams to not go bowling last year and
it’ll have some rebuilding to do. The offense wasn’t exactly a
juggernaut, and now it losses WR Kevin Ogletree to the NFL a year early,
RB Cedric Peerman, and OT Eugene Monroe. The defense has bigger problems
with five starters gone including LB Clint Simtim.
57. Michigan 2008 Record:
3-9 2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 97
As bad as things were last year, they can’t get any worse offensively.
Four games were lost by a touchdown or less, including the opening day
defeat to Utah. For good or bad, ten starters are back on offense, but
the defense takes a huge hit with Tim Jamison, Terrence Taylor, and Will
Johnson gone off the line. Three starters are gone off the back seven,
but star punter Zoltan Mesko is back.
58. Colorado 2008 Record: 5-7 2008 Final CFN Season
This will finally be the year Colorado finally starts to turn the corner
under head coach Dan Hawkins … maybe. The offense that was so bad last
year will at least be more experienced with nine starters returning, led
by QB Cody Hawkins. The defense loses all-star tackle George Hypolite
and two other starters up front, but five starters return in the back
59. Wake Forest 2008 Record:
8-5 2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 32
Yeah, this might be too low for a program that continues to defy all
expectations and logic, but there really should be a bit of a dip this
year with Butkus Award winner Aaron Curry, and the ACC’s all-time
pick-off artist, Alphonso Smith, just two of the six starters gone off
the defensive back seven. QB Riley Skinner returns, but the top
receivers have to be replaced. However, the entire offensive line
60. Northwestern 2008 Record: 9-4 2008 Final CFN
Season Rank: 49
Last year’s team that was so good at winning the close ones, with five
of the nine wins by eight points or fewer, has just enough big holes to
fill to take a step back. The offense has to hope QB Mike Kafka can
throw a bit, and not be just a runner despite the loss to Tyrell Sutton.
The defense that made such great strides last year should do even more
if end Corey Wootton returns healthy from a knee injury suffered in the
61. Colorado State 2008 Record: 7-6 2008 Final CFN
Season Rank: 55
Can the Rams build off a strong end of the season? Second year head man,
Steve Fairchild, has wonted to be a power running team, but he’ll have
to go on without backs Gartrell Johnson and Kyle Bell, and without three
starting offensive linemen. This isn’t a Mountain West title team, but
it’ll be even more competitive.
62. Maryland 2008 Record: 8-5 2008 Final CFN Season
The Terps were one of the bigger surprises of last year, but it’ll need
a big season out of RB Da’Rel Scott and QB Chris Turner to repeat the
success. Three starters are gone off the O line, while big-time deep
threat Darrius Heyward-Bey left a year early, as expected. The defense
needs to replace four starters on the front seven and SS Jeff Allen.
63. Central Michigan 2008 Record: 8-5 2008 Final CFN
Season Rank: 56
If this isn’t the best team in the MAC, it’ll be close. QB Dan LeFevour
is back for his final season and he has a tremendous array of weapons
around him including WRs Antonio Brown and Bryan Anderson. The defense
might not be great, but it gets all 11 starters back.
64. Vanderbilt 2008 Record: 7-6 2008 Final CFN
Season Rank: 43
Vandy might have gotten away with having a mediocre offense once, but
it’ll need to find some more pop to get back to another bowl game. While
the entire two-deep on the line returns intact, the top receivers and QB
Chris Nickson are gone. The offense will be all about the running game
with Mackenzi Adams now at the helm. The defense simply can’t replace
stars like CB D.J. Moore and SS Reshard Langford, but the entire front
seven is back.
2008 Record: 7-6 2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 62
The Wolf Pack will have one of the nation’s best running games again
with QB Colin Kaepernick about to become a national star and RB Vai Taua
also returning. Center Dominic Green needs to be replaces, but four
starters return up front. The defense welcomes back eight starters, but
it needs to be night-and-day better for Nevada to have any real shot of
winning the WAC.
66. UCLA 2008 Record: 4-8
2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 101
So year one of the Rick Neuheisel era was a disaster. Year two
should be better as long as QB Kevin Craft can prove he can play.
Oft-injured RB Kahlil Bell and center Micah Reed are gone, but everyone
else comes back. Seven starters are back on defense, but star
coordinator DeWayne Walker has transferred.
67. Troy 2008 Record: 8-5 2008 Final CFN Season Rank:
The star of the Sun Belt first has to replace three starters on the
league’s best offensive line. The passing game gets back breakthrough QB
Levi Brown and do-it-all receiver Jernel Jernigan, but loses Mykeal
Terry and Kennard Burton. Boris Lee and Bear Woods form one of the
nation’s most productive linebacking tandems, but the defense loses both
tackles and three key players, including S Sherrod Martin, in the
68. Mississippi State 2008 Record: 4-8 2008 Final CFN
Season Rank: 91
First, new head coach Dan Mullen has to figure out if he has a
quarterback who can play. Tyson Lee and Wesley Carroll are hardly Tim
Tebow. The woeful attack has to find something it can rely on besides RB
Anthony Dixon. The defense could be a bigger problem losing FS Derek
Pegues and six other starters.
2008 Record: 5-7 2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 73
Can the Cardinal gets over the hump and get into a bowl game under Jim
Harbaugh? The physical team needs more out of a secondary that struggled
throughout last season, but there’s enough talent coming back. RB Toby
Gerhart will spearhead an improved offense.
70. Western Michigan 2008 Record: 9-4 2008 Final CFN
Season Rank: 50
It’s all about QB Tim Hiller and a strong offensive line that gets four
starters back. The loss of top targets Jamarko Simmons, TE Branden
Ledbetter, and Schneider Julien should hurt the passing game, but the
return of RB Brandon West should help pick up the slack. All four
starters, including big-hitting Louis Delmas, are gone.
71. Northern Illinois 2008
Record: 6-7 2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 74
Second-year head coach Jerry Kill will have to press on without star DE
Larry English, but the defense should be fine and the offense far
crisper. Alex Kube is a fantastic linebacker to work around, but the D
will take a step back with so many holes. The offense has to replace the
right side of the line, but there’s hope for an improvement with QB
Chandler Harnish a year more experienced.
72. Fresno State 2008 Record: 7-6 2008 Final CFN
Season Rank: 65
Last year was supposed to be it for Fresno State. It was when the
program was finally going to live up to the Pat Hill dream, but it
didn’t even come close. No one will expect much out of this year’s
squad, but it won’t be all that bad. QB Tom Brandstater and TE Bear
Pascoe are gone, but seven starters return on offense. Ten starters
return on defense, thanks partly to the experience coming from all the
injuries last year.
73. Navy 2008 Record: 8-5 2008 Final CFN Season
Navy showed it could go on and thrive without head coach Paul Johnson,
but there’s a lot of personnel turnover this season. Navy is always able
to reload with players waiting in the wings being groomed to take over,
but it’ll have a hard time replaces RB Shun White and FB Eric Kettani.
The defense got better and better as last year went on, and while it
should be solid, it loses both starting corners.
2008 Record: 4-8 2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 77
Can Marshall finally be a player in the Conference USA race? It had
better be for head coach Mark Snyder’s sake. The defense that was so
awful last year at least gets eight starters back. The offense was never
consistent, but it should be much better even with the loss of its two
top receivers, Emmanuel Spann and Darius Passmore.
75. Rice 2008 Record: 10-3
2008 Final CFN Season Rank: 31
The offensive juggernaut of last year has to try to go on without the
record-setting tandem of QB Chase Clement and WR Jarett Dillard. Losing
TE James Casey to the NFL a year early doesn’t help, either, as only
five starters are back. On the plus side, nine starters return on a
defense that struggled so often last year.