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2009 Preseason Rankings - No. 111 to 120
North Texas RB Cam Montgomery
North Texas RB Cam Montgomery
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 2, 2009


How do the teams rank from top to bottom going into the season? Here we go with the CFN Preseason Rankings from one to 120, starting out with The Bottom Ten.

Preview 2009 - Preseason Rankings

The Bottom Ten - No. 111 to 120


These teams will have a hard time against just about everyone.

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 120.

CFN 2009 Preseason Rankings

- 2009 Preview
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1 to 10 | 11 to 20 | 21 to 30 | 31 to 40 | 41 to 50 | 51 to 60
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61 to 70 | 71 to 80 | 81 to 90 | 91 to 100 | 101 to 110 | 111 to 120

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2008 Preseason Rankings | 2007 Preseason Rankings

111. North Texas
- Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Relative Strengths: Running Back, Linebacker
Relative Weaknesses: Defensive Line, Secondary
What to watch for on offense: The line. This was one of the few areas that wasn't all that bad last season, and it should be a major strength this year with all five starters returning, along with Kelvin Drake, the team's best lineman who missed all of last season with an ankle problem. It was hardly a brick wall of a line, but it's big, experienced, deep, and good enough to not be the problem if the offense struggles again.
What to watch for on defense: The linebackers. More plays need to be made at the point of attack and in the backfield rather than nine yards down the field, but the Mean Green linebackers weren't the problem last year and they could be special. Tobe Nwigwe will be one of the Sun Belt's leading tacklers. The team's leading tackler of last year will be joined by the second-leading tackler, Craig Robertson, the third leading tackler, Kylie Hill, who'll move from safety to linebacker, and the No. 5 tackler, A.J. Penson.


112. Tulane
- Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Relative Strengths: Running Back, Defensive Line
Relative Weaknesses: Linebacker, Secondary
What to watch for on offense: Is Joe Kemp another average Joe at quarterback? The program needs the sophomore to be ready-made to contribute after he was named the starter following spring. Whenever Bob Toledo has been successful, he’s had the support of a quality triggerman, something he’s been trying to develop since arriving on the Bayou. Kemp has the most exciting blend of talent at the position, combining good arm strength with outstanding quickness outside the pocket. If he’s not intimidated by the pressure of being a first-time starter, he has the physical tools to be program’s best all-around quarterback since J.P Losman graduated a few years ago.
What to watch for on defense
: The play of the defensive line. If Tulane has any hopes of improving on this side of the ball, it’s going to need the front four to dictate the tempo of the game. The Green Wave has enough talent up front to throw a consistent life line to a back seven that’ll need all the help it can get. If Reggie Scott continues to line up at defensive tackle, he’ll combine with ends Logan Kelley and Adam Kwentua to get the program’s three best linemen on the field at the same time. All of them are capable of creating penetration, which will make life a lot easier for the linebackers and defensive backs.

113. SMU
- Preview
| Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Relative Strengths: Wide Receiver, Linebacker
Relative Weaknesses: Running Back, Secondary
What to watch for on offense: A better-oiled machine. No, this is not a finished product, but after breaking in a true freshman quarterback and installing a completely new system, a quantum leap is expected on offense. The Mustangs took a while to get going in the run-and-shoot last year, but gradually showed signs of knowing where they belonged on the field. With all of the skill position players back and a long offseason to digest the system, this attack will look more like a June Jones production than a year ago.
What to watch for on defense: The adoption of the 3-4 defense. Considering the program’s strength at linebacker and problems up front, the shift makes a lot of sense. The Mustangs are still going to get bullied on running downs, but at least they’ll be fielding a more athletic unit that can track down opponents and make more plays behind the line of scrimmage. While SMU is going to give up points and yards, if it can create more turnovers and get to the quarterback, the situation won’t seem so dire.


114. Utah State
- Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart


Relative Strengths: Wide Receiver, Quarterback
Relative Weaknesses: Secondary, Offensive Line
What to watch for on offense: More from the line. This was job one of the new coaching staff: get more from the front five. The pass protection was non-existent at times throughout last year, and the production for the ground game wasn't nearly what it should've been. This is a big, veteran line that should be the best the program has had in a long time, and it's only going to get better with no starters to be found anywhere on the depth chart. It's going to take a little while longer to be great, but this group might take a big step forward this year.
What to watch for on defense: The cornerbacks. They're not going to be totally on their own in the new defense, but they're going to have to be physical and they're going to have to be able to handle themselves more often one-on-one. That's a problem considering the Utah State corners are probably as big as your sister. Chris Randle is 5-10 and 176 pounds, while Kejon Murphy, the team's top cover-corner, is 5-9 and 155. They'll need to hope the more aggressive defensive front gets into the backfield on a regular basis.


115. Army  
- Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart


Relative Strengths: Running Back, Linebacker
Relative Weaknesses: Wide Receiver, Quarterback
What to watch for on offense: Ali Villanueva. Of all the things the new offensive style has to worry about, including the struggling quarterback situation and the lack of experience at running back, the big news since head coach Rich Ellerson took over was his decision to move the biggest player on the team to ... wide receiver?! In one of the most interesting position switches in college football history, 6-10, 283-pound Ali Villanueva, the team's starting left tackle for all 12 games last year, will move to receiver, and it's not a gimmick. With his size, his stunning athleticism, and his hands, he really is going to line up at wide out and will have passes thrown his way. Unstoppable on short passes and around the goal line, he'll get plenty of work. He'll also be used like a tight end and a third tackle for the running game, but don't be shocked if he leads the team in touchdown catches.
What to watch for on defense: The line. The linebackers are going to be terrific by Army's standards, and the secondary should have chances to make more than their share of big plays in the new defense, but it's the line that has stood out the most since the regime changes was made. A not-that-bad group against the run last season, now it'll do more to get into the backfield with end Josh McNary about to blow up as a top-shelf pass rusher. The tackles are undersized, but quick (a theme throughout the defense), while there are nice backup options at all four spots.

116. UAB
- Preview | Offense | Defense
| Depth Chart


Relative Strengths: Quarterback, Wide Receiver
Relative Weaknesses: Linebacker, Secondary
What to watch for on offense: More support from the running backs. Sure, UAB loves having a 1,000-yard rusher at quarterback, but Joe Webb is so valuable to the program, it would be nice if he could get more help on the ground from the backs. The Blazers were 39th nationally on the ground, but the numbers are a little deceiving. After Webb, Rashaud Slaughter and Justin Brooks were the team’s top rushers at 514 and 218 yards, respectively. If UAB wants to keep Webb upright and defenses on their heels, it’s incumbent upon Slaughter, Brooks, and Dexter Barnett to be more visible than they’ve been in the past.
What to watch for on defense: The pass rush. It’s no secret that the Blazers are facing serious issues in the back seven, where just a couple of full-timers are back. One way to ease the pain of the linebackers and defensive backs is to get more of an up field push, which has been missing for years in Birmingham. At one defensive end spot, Bryant Turner is fine, but on the other side, he needs more help from the likes of Anthony Barnes and Derek Slaughter, a JUCO transfer, who hit the ground running in his first spring.

117. ULM
- Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart 
 

Relative Strengths: Linebacker, Running Back
Relative Weaknesses: Defensive Line, Offensive Line
What to watch for on offense: An interesting quarterback battle. Trey Revell should be ready after serving as the understudy to Kinsmon Lancaster, but junior Zach Rhodes is speedy fast and has the upside to become a dangerous playmaker with a little more time to work. Revell can run, too, and he has a live arm who can push the ball deep, but Rhodes might still be too good a prospect to keep on the sidelines. 
What to watch for on defense: A change in alignment. ULM ran a 4-2-5 over the last few years with some semblance of success. Now things will change to a 3-3-5 set, and that’s a big positive considering the Warhawks are thin at tackle and have an abundance of good linebackers. However, the front three will now have to show it can get into the backfield on a regular basis.


118. Idaho
- Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Relative Strengths: Running Back, Secondary
Relative Weaknesses: Offensive Line, Defensive Line
What to watch for on offense: The left side of the line. After allowing 36 sacks, the O line has to get much tighter in a big hurry. It wasn't bad for the running game, but it wasn't able to get into enough of a lather to effectively pound away for a full 60 minutes. this year, the left side of offensive front has the potential to be great, but first, NFL prospect Mike Iupati, a 330-pound guard, has to get healthy. If he's 100%, he's one of the best in the league, while sophomore left tackle Matt Cleveland has the potential to be an anchor on the outside for the next three years. If they're a strength, the offense could quickly become far better.
What to watch for on defense: The knees of the defensive tackles. Oga Faumui and Fono Sekona are two of the team's best tackles, with Jonah Sataraka probably the best of the three, but they have knee injuries to get over. Aaron Lavarias was out of position last year as a small tackle, and now he'll be tried out as a big end. However, he might have to move back inside if health is an overall issue for the line, and that wouldn't be a plus. Idaho gave up 210 rushing yards per game last season and didn't generate any sort of an interior pass rush. Both things have to change.


119. Western Kentucky 
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Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart


Relative Strengths: Running Back, Linebacker
Relative Weaknesses: Defensive Line, Quarterback
What to watch for on offense: The quarterback situation. Brandon Smith struggled in his limited time as a backup, but he has been groomed for this season over the last few years and can provide a little bit of senior leadership along with good mobility. However, redshirt freshmen Marcus Vasquez and Kawaun Jones have excellent speed and the all-around ability to get long looks at the No. 1 spot. And then there's Courtney Dalcourt, the team's top recruit in the Sun Belt's best recruiting class. The line is strong, the receivers aren't bad, and the running backs are experienced and fast. If the quarterback play is better, there could be a night-and-day improvement in an offense that sputtered throughout last season.
What to watch for on defense: TheThe front three. Going into the season, Jared Clendenin and Bo Adebayo should start on the ends and Nick Hartnett will get the first look on the nose. That could change almost immediately with Tevin Holliman and Galatian King two of the Sun Belt's top recruits for the line. Throw in Cole Tischer, who might end up at linebacker, and the Hilltoppers will be relying on a lot of young players to try to hold up. Last year's line stunk and didn't have enough good athletes. This year's line will likely stink early on, but it'll eventually be tough and should be great next year.


120. New Mexico State
- New Mexico State | Offense |
Defense | | Depth Chart


Relative Strengths: Special Teams, Wide Receiver
Relative Weaknesses: Defensive Line, Quarterback
What to watch for on offense: A running game. The ground attack was barely along for the ride under Hal Mumme with just a few carries here and there. That’ll change right away under Dewayne Walker and the new coaching staff with a slew of quick, tough backs ready to work behind a big offensive line that has to learn how to hit someone.
What to watch for on defense: The linebackers. The Aggies have a lot of undersized players across the defensive board with smallish ends, corners just barely around six feet, and linebackers built like safeties. However, they can run. Jason Scott is one of the team’s better players to work around, but he'll need help with star hitter Nick Paden out for the year with a knee problem.