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2010 Preseason Rankings - No. 111 to 120
Eastern Michigan RB Dwayne Priest
Eastern Michigan RB Dwayne Priest
Posted Aug 9, 2010

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 2010 - Preseason Rankings

The Bottom Ten - No. 111 to 120

2010 CFN Preseason Rankings
- 1 to 5 | 6 to 10 | 11 to 20 | 21 to 30 | 31 to 40 | 41 to 50 | 51 to 60
- 61 to 70 | 71 to 80 | 81 to 90 | 91 to 100 | 101 to 110 | 111 to 120
- CFN Preseason Rankings 2009 | 2008 | 2007

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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

111. Rice
- 2010 Rice Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record:: 6-6
Key to the Season:: Takeaway. The defense isn’t going to stop many opponents this season, but if it can become more aggressive and get the ball backs in the hands of the offense, it’ll at least have some value. The forgotten heroes of the 2008 team were the defenders, who generated 31 takeaways and helped spark a team that was No. 7 nationally in turnover margin. Last year’s squad, however, had only 18 and ranked 107th in the country.
Relative Strength: Running Back, Quarterback
Relative Weakness: Offensive Line, Secondary
What to watch for on offense: The quarterback. The passing game floundered in the first year after Chase Clement’s graduation, ranking 115th nationally in efficiency. In other words, returning starter Nick Fanuzzi has, at best, a loose hold on the starting job. Miami transfer Taylor Cook and redshirt freshman Taylor McHargue both enjoyed positive springs, setting the stage for a competitive and closely-watched race for the top of the depth chart that could linger until just before the opener.
What to watch for on defense: Senior LB Justin Hill. To say that the Owls need more playmakers is a gross understatement after they yielded 43 points a game. Hill has the athleticism and experience to be one of those guys. A former running back, who still needs to play with a little more discipline, he’s poised to finish his career with a flurry and possibly all-star honors. He put down a foundation with 43 tackles as a reserve, and delivered a terrific spring that could be a harbinger of things to come later in the year.
Fun Stat: First quarter scoring: Opponents 152 - Rice 23

112. Florida Atlantic
- 2010 Florida Atlantic Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record:: 5-7
Key to the Season:: More of a pass rush. The entire defense struggled and sputtered over the last few years because the front four was miserable when it came to getting into the backfield coming up with just 12 sacks last year and 25 in the last two seasons. Van Valkenburgh will try to kick his front four in the tail get everyone more aggressive and get them into the backfield. If it all works out, the veteran secondary will thrive and the good linebacking corps can do more to try to clean up against the run.
Relative Strength: Quarterback, Running Back
Relative Weakness: Defensive Line, Offensive Line
What to watch for on offense: The offensive line. The 2009 FAU offensive front wasn’t a brick wall in pass protection, but it was good enough at time help the attack finish 15th in the nation in yards and 18th in passing. It also paved the way for a big year from Alfred Morris and the running game. This year’s line isn’t totally starting from scratch, but it’s close. It’s a smallish, athletic line (as is always the case at FAU), and it’s very, very young with four sophomores and a redshirt freshman as the projected starters. It’ll be among the Sun Belt’s best lines … in 2011.
What to watch for on defense: The talented young linebackers. Seniors Michael Lockley and Malik Eugene will be the veterans the rest of the corps will work around, but the real talent is very, very young. Redshirt freshmen Alex Pattee and Randell Johnson should shine on the weakside, while Yourhighness Morgan will work behind Eugene on the strongside. Throw in the upside of true freshman Michael Copeland and the future is bright at linebacker with tremendous athletes and plenty of skill.
Fun Stat: Sacks: Opponents 21 for 164 yards – Florida Atlantic 12 for 84 yards

113. UAB
- 2010 UAB Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record:: 4-8
Key to the Season:: More stops from the secondary. When UAB has struggled the most in recent years, the pass defense was being riddled on a weekly basis. While no one expects an about-face, they have to get off the mat after allowing more yards a game than any other school in the country. Over the last five games of 2009, they gave up 15 touchdown passes, yet still won three shootouts.
Relative Strength: Wide Receiver, Defensive Line
Relative Weakness: Running Back, Linebacker
What to watch for on offense: The tackles. Yeah, it’s not as sexy a topic as, say, those enormous Blazer receivers, but the program is quietly developing two of the better young pass protectors in the league. On the left side, junior Matt McCants is a 6-7, 295-pounder on the brink of a spot on the All-Conference-USA team. Over on the right, sophomore Chris Hubbard is coming off a terrific offseason that solidified his spot in the lineup. While only 6-4 and 270 pounds, he has the footwork and athleticism to excel in his second season in the rotation.
What to watch for on defense: The development of the pass rush. By its usual standard, UAB is loaded up front this season, but looking deep on paper just isn’t going to cut it. It’s imperative for the entire defense, specifically the secondary, that the Blazers get more of a push than in recent years, disrupting the rhythm of the quarterback. With seven upperclassmen dotting the two-deep, led by DE Bryant Turner and NT Elliott Henigan, they should be able to deliver for a change.
Fun Stat: Fourth down conversions: UAB 0% (0-10) - Opponents 50% (9-18)

114. Bowling Green
- 2010 Bowling Green Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart 

Predicted Record:: 4-8
Key to the Season:: The defense needs to show up. It wasn’t just last year for the defensive woes at Bowling Green, and the offense has to come up big for the team to win year after year after year. November 10, 2001. That 17-0 win over Ohio is the last time the Falcons scored fewer than 21 points and won, and in that time, over the last 63 wins, they have only won eight times when scoring under 30 points.
Relative Strength: Running Back, Receiver
Relative Weakness: Defensive Line, Special Teams
What to watch for on offense: The quarterback situation. With four options battling for the starting job, it’s wide open and it’s there for the taking. Matt Schilz is the most talented option, but Kellen Pagel is a great prospect with good size and upside. Caleb Watkins is an X factor who’ll get a long look. With all the options so young with upside, the starter might be the face of the program for the next four years.
What to watch for on defense: The new linebackers. Cody Basler, James Schneider, and Jerrett Sanderson combined to make 250 tackles as the top three stoppers last year. While they weren’t great, they did what they could for a porous run defense. It might be addition by subtraction as Dwayne Woods, the new starter in the middle is more talented than any of last year’s starters, while Eugene Fells and Paul Swan can move on the outside. This is a small, fast corps that should be all over the field.
Fun Stat: Penalties: Opponents 91 for 862 yards – Bowling Green 71 for 641 yards

115. Memphis
- 2010 Memphis Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record:: 1-11
Key to the Season:: Turnover margin. The Tigers had just 17 takeaways, next to last in the league, and were 107th nationally in turnover margin. No team, certainly not this one, has enough talent to overcome those types of numbers and expect to win more than it loses.
Relative Strength: Defensive Line, Secondary
Relative Weakness: Wide Receiver, Offensive Line
What to watch for on offense: The quarterbacks. Coming out of spring, it was a virtual dead heat involving sophomores Cannon Smith and Tyler Bass, and true freshman Ryan Griffin. Smith comes by way of Miami and spent a big chunk of April with the first-team. Bass has the most experience and best overall athleticism. Griffin was the biggest offseason surprise, thrusting himself into the race just months after leaving high school.
What to watch for on defense: The emergence of FS Marcus Ball. He has one more shot to play like a former can’t-miss high school recruit, and plans to make the most of it. The senior is a Florida State-caliber athlete participating in Conference USA and pining for an opportunity to impress NFL scouts. After showing glimpses of his ball skills and intensity out of the secondary, he’s liable to put it all together this fall and give that Tiger secondary some much-needed attitude and intimidation.
Fun Stat: Red zone scores: Opponents 93% - Memphis 77%

116. Louisiana
- 2010 Louisiana Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record:: 2-10
Key to the Season:: A pass rush. This has been a major problem area over the last few years and there isn’t one sure thing to count on going into this season. The return of end Nate Douglas after he missed all of last season with medical issues will help, but he’s not a devastating playmaker in the backfield. Louisiana finished 106th in the nation in sacks and 113th in tackles for loss.
Relative Strength: Quarterback, Special Teams
Relative Weakness: Defensive Line, Wide Receiver
What to watch for on offense: How will the quarterback situation play out? Chris Masson is the starter and the star of the attack with good passing skills and just enough running ability to get by, but the Cajuns like their quarterbacks to be dangerous on the move. Blaine Gautier isn’t going to replace Masson, but he might see 5-to-10 plays a game in a Wildcat formation, while QB-turned-FB Brad McGuire will play a variety of roles and could become a whale of a short yardage, goal line specialist. The idea is to reduce the wear and tear on Masson while adding more pizzazz to the attack at times.
What to watch for on defense: A terrific rotation in the secondary. The Cajuns have the players in place to be far better against the pass with three starters returning including speedy corners Orkeys Auriene and Dwight Bentley, and an influx of talent will help with Lionel Stokes and Le’Marcus Gibson coming in from the JUCO ranks. Throw in nicklelback Melvin White and a solid free safety in Maurice Rolle, and the potential is there for the secondary to be a strength.
Fun Stat: Penalties: Opponents 88 for 718 yards – Louisiana 66 for 590 yards

117. New Mexico State
- 2010 New Mexico State Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record:: 1-11
Key to the Season:: Win the turnover battle. It’s bad enough to struggle to generate points, but it gets far worse when drive after drive is killed by a turnover. The defense was only able to come up with 18 takeaways while the offense handed over ten fumbles and 18 interceptions.
Relative Strength: Running Back, Special Teams
Relative Weakness: Defensive Line, Linebacker
What to watch for on offense: Attempts to get production from the quarterbacks. How inefficient was the New Mexico State passing game? Florida led the nation with a rating of 167.31, while Vanderbilt was second-to-last with a rating of 90.15 throwing six touchdown passes with ten interceptions. NMSU’s rating? 79.01. The drop-off from the third least efficient passing team, Army, to Vanderbilt was just out four points, and then go down a whopping 21 points more and that’s how bad the Aggie passing attack was with six touchdown passes, 18 interceptions, and 1,141 yards of passing offense. That’s not going to be allowed again, and with new offensive coordinator Mike Dunbar at the helm, things will pick up a bit.
What to watch for on defense: The linebackers. The pieces are in place for a relatively solid defense with a deep and strong secondary and an experienced line with good ends, but the linebacking corps is fresh out of the box. Several of the players have been around the program for years but have done a fat load of jack squat. For a D that was pounded on by the run, getting something out of the fresh rotation of linebackers could be the key to the team’s season.
Fun Stat: Scoring after three quarters: Opponents 341 – New Mexico State 85

118. Western Kentucky
- 2010 WKU Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record:: 1-11
Key to the Season:: The defense desperately needs someone to get to the quarterback coming up with a pathetic ten sacks and 47 tackles for loss. It’s not all the fault of the line for the problems in the secondary, but the trickle-down effect killed the pass defense.
Relative Strength: Running Back, Offensive Line
Relative Weakness: Secondary, Wide Receiver
What to watch for on offense: The West Coast offense. WKU will try to pound away more with RB Bobby Rainey and the running game, and while mobility at quarterback won’t be ignored, the idea will be to get the passing game going with a more pro-style attack. Enter Matt Pelesasa, a ready-made starter from the JUCO ranks who looked the part all offseason and should take over the starting gig from Kawaun Jakes, last year’s top quarterback. Jakes injured his ankle playing basketball, and now he’s at the back of a long line of QB prospects.
What to watch for on defense: The 4-3. Oddly enough, WKU should have enough decent linemen to make the switch without a problem. The 3-4 didn’t generate any pressure whatsoever, and now several linemen will be in more natural spots. With the change, now there are more than enough linebackers to form a solid rotation while giving the coaching staff options to play around with.
Fun Stat: Sacks: Opponents 40 for 286 yards – WKU 10 for 63 yards

119. Tulane
- 2010 Tulane Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record:: 1-11
Key to the Season:: Improving the turnover situation. A team with as many issues as the Green Wave can’t finish 119th in turnover margin again.
Relative Strength: Offensive backfield, Offensive Line
Relative Weakness: Secondary, Defensive Front
What to watch for on offense: The growth of Griffin. Ryan Griffin made considerable strides toward the end of his first season, but must continue to improve in order to spark this offense. More specifically, the staff wants him to become more effective with his touch on downfield passes. The Green Wave wants to take more shots on deep balls to open up the field for the short and mid-range stuff. While Griffin doesn’t have a rifle by any means, he can still get enough air under the ball to put his receivers in a position to make big plays on the outside.
What to watch for on defense: The transfers. In dire need of an influx of talent everywhere, Tulane is getting a break now that DE Dezman Moses and LB Trent Mackey are eligible to play. After beginning their college careers at Iowa and Duke, respectively, both are itching for a chance to get back on the field and start making plays. Moses has the burst and upper body strength to help spark a pass rush that was impotent last season. Mackey, too, is already slated to start, bringing a fresh energy and intensity to the second line of defense.
Fun Stat: Takeaways: Opponents 26 - Tulane 10

120. Eastern Michigan
- 2010 Eastern Michigan Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record:: 0-12
Key to the Season:: The play on both lines has to be significantly stronger. The run defense has to be far better.
Relative Strength: Running Back, Secondary
Relative Weakness: Linebacker, Lines
What to watch for on offense: The emergence of QB Alex Gillett. The 6-1, 203-pound sophomore wasn’t much of a passer in his little bit of time as a true freshman, but he ran for 100 yards in two of the final three games of the season and is the team’s most dangerous weapon out of the backfield. But for EMU to be better, Gillett has to start using the receiving corps more and has to show he can air it out a bit.
What to watch for on defense: The rotation on the front seven. The secondary will have a little bit of depth chart movement, but it should be relatively set. The front seven will be a work in progress after doing next to nothing last year against the run and not generating nearly enough pressure on the quarterback. At times, EMU will go to a 4-2-5 alignment, but that can’t happen unless the nation’s worst run defense is far better.
Fun Stat: First quarter scoring: Opponents 136 – Eastern Michigan 36

2010 CFN Preseason Rankings
- 1 to 5 | 6 to 10 | 11 to 20 | 21 to 30 | 31 to 40 | 41 to 50 | 51 to 60
- 61 to 70 | 71 to 80 | 81 to 90 | 91 to 100 | 101 to 110 | 111 to 120
- CFN Preseason Rankings 2009 | 2008 | 2007