2010 Pre-Preseason Rankings ... No. 16 to 30
Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert
Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert
Posted Feb 9, 2010

A few weeks before spring ball gets rolling, who are the teams that might be just on the outside of the elite? Blaine Gabbert and Missouri should be good, but there are enough problems to not crack the top 15. Check out the very, very early look at the teams before spring ball kicks in - No. 16 to 30

2010 Pre-Preseason Rankings

Teams Ranked No. 16 to 30

CFN 2010 Pre-Preseason Rankings 
No. 1 to 15 | No. 16 to 30 | No. 31 to 45 | No. 46 to 60 
No. 61 to 75 | No. 76 to 90 | No. 91 to 105 | No. 106 to 120

Pre-Preseason Rankings By Conference
ACC | Big East | Big Ten | Big 12 | C-USA | Ind.
MAC | M-West | Pac 10 | SEC | Sun Belt | WAC

- 2009 CFN Final Rankings
- 2009 CFN Pre-Preseason Rankings
- 2008 CFN Pre-Preseason Rankings
- 2007 CFN Pre-Preseason Rankings
- 2010 CFN Recruiting Rankings  

30. Missouri
2009 Final CFN Ranking: 46
After a strange and partially successful season, Missouri needs to come up with a more consistent season with QB Blaine Gabbert and RB Derrick Washington forming a strong backfield working behind a veteran line with four starters returning. WR Danario Alexander is gone, but there are weapons to work with. Sean Weatherspoon is gone, but the rest of the defensive back seven is back. If the Tigers can beat Illinois in the opener, they’ll be 5-0 going into a four game stretch at Texas A&M, Oklahoma, at Nebraska, and at Texas Tech. Missing Texas and Oklahoma State is a positive.

29. Texas Tech
2009 Final CFN Ranking: 42
Will Tommy Tuberville really make sure the offense rolls like it did under Mike Leach? That’s the plan meaning the early question mark will be at quarterback where Taylor Potts and fan-favorite Steven Sheffield will wage a fantastic offseason battle. There are more than enough veterans back on offense to be explosive, while the defense should be solid if a shutdown corner can emerge to replace Jamar Wall and the holes on the defensive front can be filled in right away. Getting Iowa State and Colorado from the North is a nice break, even if those games are on the road, while the Missouri battle is at home. The toughest road game is at Oklahoma, but the second-toughest road trip is at Colorado.

28. Ole Miss
2009 Final CFN Ranking: 25
Last year was supposed to be when everything came together with the veteran, explosive team and the schedule breaks for a special year. It didn’t happen, and now the piper will be paid. Only three starters return on offense with the loss of QB Jevan Snead, RB Dexter McCluster, and WR Shay Hodge hurting the firepower. The defense doesn’t take as big a hit, but it’s all but starting over in the secondary and needing to build a bit of depth on the front seven. The real problem is the schedule after the squishy-soft first five games. Five of the last seven games are at Alabama, at Arkansas, Auburn, at Tennessee, and at LSU.

27. Clemson
2009 Final CFN Ranking: 24
While there’s no easy way to replace C.J. Spiller, neither Andre Ellington nor Jamie Harper will be slouches in the running game. The offense needs the line to keep progressing and a go-to receiver to emerge in place of TE Michael Palmer and WR Jacoby Ford. The defense will be taking auditions all over, but especially in the back seven. Can someone light a fire under DE Da’Quan Bowers in the offseason? He has too many physical gifts to make just three sacks.

26. Houston
2009 Final CFN Ranking: 18
New year. Similar results. Case Keenum is expected back for one final season, as are most of his favorite weapons at wide receiver and running back. The Cougar offense will be every bit as incendiary as in recent seasons, but the development of the defense holds the key to just how far this team can go in 2010. If it continues to give up chunks of yards on the ground, Houston will be vulnerable in games it’s supposed to win.

25. BYU
2009 Final CFN Ranking: 11
Depending on those who take off on Church missions, this should be another good year. If Riley Nelson can hold off super-recruit Jake Heaps and be a steady leader at quarterback, the offense could be terrific with a strong receiving corps and with four starters returning to the offensive front. The defensive front seven needs an almost wholesale change, but the secondary should be terrific. Playing Washington and at Florida State in non-conference play will give the Cougars a shot to make a big splash, but the Mountain West games against the three other top teams in the league, Air Force, TCU, and Utah, are all on the road.

24. Arkansas
2009 Final CFN Ranking: 28
Last year was the stepping-stone to this year after Ryan Mallett chose to come back for another year. The junior bomber leads a devastating offense that returns ten starters and should be among the most dangerous in America. The defense has nowhere to go but up and should be more consistent with seven starters coming back. However, losing Malcolm Sheppard and Adrian Davis off the line hurts, and MLB Wendel Davis won’t be easily replaced. The Hogs aren’t going to win the West, but they’ll be in the thick of things getting Alabama, LSU and Ole Miss at home and catching a break getting Vanderbilt and South Carolina from the East.

23. Utah
2009 Final CFN Ranking: 23
Is Kyle Whittingham going to be able to get his Utes back to the BCS? The Mountain West breaks are there with BYU and TCU coming to Salt Lake City, and any team good enough to think about the BCS has to beat Air Force and Wyoming on the road. There are résumé builders in non-conference play with Pitt, at Iowa State, and at Notre Dame to deal with. QB Jordan Wynn got thrown to the wolves late last season, and it should pay off this year as the leader of an attack that gets back seven starts. The defense has to fill some big holes, but the line should end up being better even without top end Koa Misi. All the linebackers have to be replaced.

22. Florida State
2009 Final CFN Ranking: 44
It’ll be the dawn of a new era in Tallahassee as Bobby Bowden gives way to Jimbo Fisher, who finally has the authority to make key decisions. He needs to find a new defensive coordinator that can fix the mess on that side of the ball. The offense, on the other hand, has far fewer worries. QB Christian Ponder was evolving before suffering a season-ending injury and Jermaine Thomas gets to run behind a line that returns completely intact.

21. West Virginia
2009 Final CFN Ranking: 21
West Virginia recruits about as well as any other Big East school, which will be a boon to head coach Bill Stewart. The competition at quarterback begins with freshman Geno Smith, who benefited most when Jarrett Brown was injured. Obviously, the Mountaineers would’ve loved to have had Noel Devine back, and now the program could be left scrambling for a feature runner. If Stewart can’t bring a title back to Morgantown in his third year, the locals could start getting a little antsy.

20. Georgia
2009 Final CFN Ranking: 30
Last year wasn’t that bad by normal standards, but it’s not what Georgia was hoping for. There are still big questions about an underachieving group of running backs, a quarterback situation that needs Logan Gray or Aaron Murray to be great, not just good, and a defense that was stunningly soft and didn’t make nearly enough big plays. There’s speed and athleticism across the board, and WR A.J. Green, C Ben Jones, and DE Justin Houston bring some playmakers to build around, but there’s still a lot of work to be done. The schedule isn’t all that bad with the toughest road game at Auburn and the second toughest at South Carolina.

19. Auburn
2009 Final CFN Ranking: 33
If last year was a positive step forward, this year could be a major leap if Neil Caudle can produce at quarterback. The tremendous recruiting class should help the overall depth, but there are enough good players in place to expect more consistency with RB Onterio McCalebb leading the dangerous attack that gets back all the top receiving weapons and four starters up front. The defense welcomes back eight starters and should be a brick wall against the run. Yes, the Tigers have to go to Alabama, but they get two weeks off before the showdown and the three other road games (yes, only three) are at Mississippi State, Ole Miss, and Kentucky. Merry Christmas.

18. TCU
2009 Final CFN Ranking: 5
How quickly can the Horned Frogs rebuild and rebound after losing the Fiesta Bowl? It shouldn’t take long with QB Andy Dalton leading a veteran passing game that gets all the receivers back. Ed Wesley and Matthew Tucker form a dangerous 1-2 rushing tandem, while the line should be a rock with four starters back. The defense has to replace end Jerry Hughes and NFL-bound LB Daryl Washington, and losing starting corners Nick Sanders and Rafael Priest isn’t a plus, but it’s TCU; everything is fine. Playing Oregon State in Arlington, Texas in the opener will be a nice test, but there’s no one else on the slate that should provide a huge test away from Fort Worth outside of Utah. BYU and Air Force are home games.

17. Miami
2009 Final CFN Ranking: 20
After a few years of building and assembling deep recruiting classes, Randy Shannon and Miami have been building to this point. There are plenty of returning starters on offense and defense, and depth doesn’t figure to be a concern. Following an up-and-down sophomore season, it’s time for Jacory Harris to turn the corner and reduce the number of his mistakes. Graig Cooper’s serious knee injury and Javarris James’ graduation mean the ‘Canes need to develop a new feature back in the offseason.

16. Georgia Tech
2009 Final CFN Ranking: 13
Two years into this project, Paul Johnson has to like where has the program headed. The systems have been fully installed, the classes reflect those systems, and the kids have bought into the blueprint. Tech won 11 games and an ACC crown with a surprisingly small number of seniors, indicating minimal drop-off heading into 2010 and a realistic shot at repeating.

CFN 2010 Pre-Preseason Rankings 
No. 1 to 15 | No. 16 to 30 | No. 31 to 45 | No. 46 to 60 
No. 61 to 75 | No. 76 to 90 | No. 91 to 105 | No. 106 to 120

Pre-Preseason Rankings By Conference
ACC | Big East | Big Ten | Big 12 | C-USA | Ind.
MAC | M-West | Pac 10 | SEC | Sun Belt | WAC