2010 Preseason Rankings - No. 91 to 100
East Carolina WR Dwayne Harris
East Carolina WR Dwayne Harris
Posted Aug 9, 2010

Preview 2010 CFN Preseason Rankings No. 91 to 100 ... The Rebuilding & Flawed

Preview 2010 - Preseason Rankings

Trying To Rebuild - No. 91 to 100

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

91. Utah State
- 2010 Utah State Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record:: 4-8
Key to the Season:: A pass rush. If the defense is supposed to be based on being quick and aggressive, there has to be more than a few plays made in the backfield. The Aggies were 100th in the nation in sacks and 109th in tackles for loss, and it put a major strain on the back seven. If the linebackers were able to do more than worry about plugging the holes, and the secondary got time to cover someone, the defense would be far more productive.
Relative Strength: Running Back, Quarterback
Relative Weakness: Secondary, Defensive Line
What to watch for on offense: Robert Turbin's knee. The junior cranked out 1,296 yards and 13 touchdowns, with five more receiving scores, in a special season as the focal point of the high-octane attack. He was going to get even more work this year, but he suffered a fluke knee injury in February and underwent ACL surgery. The hope is to get him back by mid-October when the WAC schedule fully kicks in, but in a perfect world he's allowed to sit and give his knee 18 months to be back to normal. That depends on the production of Michael Smith, a lightning fast back with the potential to pull off a big year now that he gets more work. Derrvin Speight and the blazing Kerwynn Williams will also be a regular part of the rotation
What to watch for on defense: A tremendous linebacking corps. Bobby Wagner earned First Team All-WAC honors after doing a little bit of everything for the Utah State defense, but Kyle Gallagher got unnoticed even with a solid 53 tackle season being better than the stats. Junior Keiaho and Jerome Barbour are two talented strongside prospects who'll thrive with Wagner and Gallagher cleaning everything else up.
Fun Stat: Interceptions thrown: Opponents 12 – Utah State 4

92. Toledo
- 2010 Toledo Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record:: 5-7
Key to the Season::Third down defense. The defense isn't going to be a rock, but it has to be better on third downs. Of the bottom 17 teams in America in third down defense, only one, Idaho, made a bowl game. Toledo was 110th in the country allowing teams to convert 46% of the time, and the D was a disaster in the red zone allowing teams to score 89% of the time inside the 20.
Relative Strength: Running Back, Offensive Line
Relative Weakness: Defensive Line, Secondary
What to watch for on offense: An ongoing shuffling in the running game. With four terrific options in Morgan Williams, Adonis Thomas, Jake Walker, and Darius Reeves, the Rockets should have more of a ground game than it did last season. The offense had to abandon the run at times because the passing attack had to try to keep up in shootouts, but now the goal will be to control the clock and the game a little more by pounding away behind a fantastic offensive line.
What to watch for on defense: Shuffling in the secondary. Three starters return to the five-man alignment, but that's not going to mean much. Beckman isn't afraid to put in newcomers, and his recruiting class was heavy on defensive backs including Taikwon Page, a JUCO transfer who would've been an Auburn Tiger if he had figured out how to get to class. Throw in the new guys with true sophomore corners Byron Best and Daxton Swanson, along with sophomore free safety Jermaine Robinson, and Toledo is making a big push to upgrade the secondary for the next few seasons.
Fun Stat: Fourth down conversions: Toledo 16-of-20 (80%) – Opponents 6-of-14 (43%)

93. Buffalo
- 2010 Buffalo Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart 

Predicted Record:: 5-7
Key to the Season:: Turnover margin. Buffalo lost five games by seven points or fewer and three by three points or fewer. UB was 103rd in the nation in turnover margin giving it up 25 times and taking it away just 18 times. Why did the team win the MAC title the year before? It finished third in the nation in turnover margin with a whopping 33 takeaways and a mere 14 turnovers.
Relative Strength: Running Back, Defensive Line
Relative Weakness: Linebacker, Receiver
What to watch for on offense: Everything sped up. New head coach Jeff Quinn wants UB's offense to be like the Central Michigan spread attack, only faster. He wants the O to establish a rhythm right away with balance, quickness, and precision to keep opposing defenses on their toes. However, this might take some time as the quarterback situation and the receiving corps are the team's two biggest X factors.
What to watch for on defense: The plucky linebacking corps. Buffalo's linebackers would've been the best in the MAC and it wouldn't have been close had Scott Pettigrew not torn up his knee this offseason and if Darius Willis, the greatest prospect to ever choose UB, hadn't followed Turner Gill to Kansas. The return of Justin Winters on the outside it a big help; he'll clean up a lot of messes and should be one of the MAC's top tacklers. Now it's up to Raphael Akobundu, a solid veteran who has seen enough time to know what he's doing, and John Syty, a try-hard walk-on, to pick up the slack. If those two are good, Buffalo's defense should be terrific.
Fun Stat: Penalties: Opponents 84 for 734 yards – Buffalo 63 for 651 yards

94. Arkansas State
- 2010 Arkansas State Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record:: 6-6
Key to the Season:: Third down conversions. ASU's was miserable at keeping the chains moving on key downs converting a disastrous 33% of its third down chances. Everyone sold out to stop the run and the quarterbacks didn't do enough to make defenses pay. This year, QB Ryan Aplin or Phillip Butterfield must connect on more downfield throws just to show that they can, and they have to be cool under fire and use the veteran tight end Kedric Murry and the good young receivers so everyone can stay on the field.
Relative Strength: Running Back, Linebacker
Relative Weakness: Offensive Line, Receiver
What to watch for on offense: The no-huddle. ASU has owned one of the most devastating running games in the Sun Belt over the last few seasons, but there wasn't enough pop down the field in the passing game last year and the ground game was stopped cold way too often. The run will hardly be scrapped, but this year the offense will rely on more up-tempo play and a faster pace in order to try to exploit the mismatches and generate more big plays.
What to watch for on defense: The rotation on the defensive front. Three starters are gone including all-star end Alex Carrington, but ASU rotates its players so much that the turnover shouldn't hurt that badly. Most of the players who need to play bigger roles have more than enough time logged to know what they're doing, but the key to the D, and the season, should be the ability to generate a consistent pass rush again from the outside. The coaching staff will rotate eight players with regularity to try to find the right combination.
Fun Stat: Interception return average: ASU 27.9 yards – Opponents 7.9 yards

95. Marshall
- 2010 Marshall Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record:: 7-5
Key to the Season:: Red zone efficiency. Generally, when the Herd was falling short in 2009, it was having problems finishing drives. Marshall averaged a mere 21 points a game, 16 in its six losses, which is not going to cut it in a league built on offensive firepower. While the program doesn't have to be Houston in order to improve, it does have to do a better job of reaching the end zone and closing out games when the opportunity exists to do so.
Relative Strength: Linebacker, Quarterback
Relative Weakness: Secondary, Special Teams
What to watch for on offense: The emergence of Martin Ward as the feature back. Sure, it would be nice to have Darius Marshall back for one more season, but don't be shocked if he winds up being better than his predecessor. When Marshall went down late last year, Ward stepped in as a redshirt freshman and ran with authority and confidence. Now that he's been installed as the go-to guy out of the backfield, he'll have an opportunity to showcase his myriad skills and make a legitimate run at a 1,000-yard season.
What to watch for on defense: The pass rush. In light of the expected secondary problems, the Herd simply has to do a better job of pressuring the pocket without turning loose linebackers and safeties. On one side, fast rising junior Vinny Curry is expected to do his part after getting all-league honorable mention recognition. However, he can't be alone in this pursuit, meaning it's up to DeMetrius Thompson, John Youboty, and James Rouse to provide a spark and prevent double-teams.
Fun Stat: Time of possession: Marshall 32:22 - Opponents 27:38

96. Central Michigan
- 2010 Central Michigan Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record:: 7-5
Key to the Season:: Forgetting about Dan LeFevour. Ryan Radcliff, Derek Rifenbury, and A.J. Westendorp aren't going to be LeFevour, but they're all decent quarterback prospects who should be solid if they're allowed time to grow into their jobs and roles. It would be a huge help if the offense started to use the tight end more to give the new starter more help, and Enos and offensive coordinator Mike Cummings will do just that with David Blackburn getting more passes thrown his way.
Relative Strength: Offensive Line, Quarterback
Relative Weakness: Defensive Line, Secondary
What to watch for on offense: A snap taken from under center. The shotgun will still be in place and there will still be plenty of running from the quarterback, but Enos will look to run a conventional attack with more downfield passing, more work for the running backs, and a bit more of a pro look. There's enough speed at receiver to push the ball down the field, and there's enough experience and talent on the line to allow all the new starters time to operate.
What to watch for on defense: More of a push to get to the quarterback. The defense was terrific last season, but it was a read-and-react attitude more than a cream the QB attack. That's going to change on the outside with the dogs being turned loose to hit the passer around. While the Chippewas aren't going to do anything crazy, the hope will be to use the overall speed and quickness to wreak more havoc.
Fun Stat: Score after three quarters: Central Michigan 379 – Opponents 174

97. Idaho
- 2010 Idaho Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record:: 3-10
Key to the Season:: A third down stop. Opponents converted on third down a whopping 53% of the time (only Colorado State's defense was worse), and of the bottom 17 teams in the nation in third down conversion percentage defense, Idaho was the only team to make a bowl game. Again, the line has to generate pressure to keep quarterbacks from having the time needed to keep the chains moving.
Relative Strength: Quarterback, Receiver
Relative Weakness: Defensive Line, Secondary
What to watch for on offense: The offensive line. With Mike Iupati off to the NFL and three other starters gone off a line that barreled the way for a big year from the running game, the line will be the team's biggest focus. The skill players are in place with two good, shifty backs in Princeton McCarty and Deonte Jackson, and the receiving corps has a great combination of speed and upside, but none of it will matter if Nathan Enderle is getting beaten up. The line is huge … HUGE … but the JUCO transfers have to be ready to shine from the opening snap and the pass protection has to be solid.
What to watch for on defense: The pass rush. Idaho hasn't gotten to the quarterback in years, and that's a problem against the better passing WAC teams. In a trickle-down effect, the inability to get into the backfield has killed the secondary. The defensive backs have speed and athleticism, but they've been sitting ducks against quarterbacks that get 15 days to throw. With six starters back on the front seven (and the seventh guy a veteran in the middle, Tre'Shawn Robinson), everyone knows what they're doing. However, the Vandals generated just 15 sacks and 54 tackles for loss. That has to change and now the defense will take more chances to make more things happen.
Fun Stat: Sacks: Opponents 25 for 147 yards – Idaho 15 for 82 yards

98. Western Michigan
- 2010 Western Michigan Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record:: 6-6
Key to the Season:: The offense scores more than 20 points. WMU averaged 24.67 points per game last year and went 5-0 when scoring 20 or more and 0-7 when scoring fewer. The defense is going to be better, but it's not going to be a brick wall and the offense will have to put up some decent numbers to keep up the pace.
Relative Strength: Receiver, Offensive Line
Relative Weakness: Defensive Line, Secondary
What to watch for on offense: The receiving corps. Injuries have been a problem among the talented players, but after coming into last season young and inexperienced, the receivers should be devastating. Throw in excellent pass-catching prospect Blake Hammond and Clark Mussman at tight end, and the passing game should become fantastic with a little time for QB Alex Carder to mature.
What to watch for on defense: Defensive coordinator Dave Cohen to release the hounds. The WMU defense was among the best in the nation a few years ago when it came to hitting quarterbacks, but it stunk it up over the last few years and didn't generate enough pressure. Out goes Steve Morrison and in comes Cohen who promises to get more aggressive to utilize the speed and athleticism on the outside. That will work with more size on the inside, and JUCO transfer John Rice and 322-pound freshman Travonte Boles will help the cause.
Fun Stat: Attendance at Michigan on Sept. 4 – 109,019 – Attendance at Eastern Michigan Nov. 14 – 3,281

99. East Carolina
- 2010 East Carolina Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record:: 6-6
Key to the Season:: The offense catches opponents by surprise this year. The Pirates best chance of exceeding expectations this season will be to get the passing game up and running faster than anyone anticipated. Since the defense and special teams won't be nearly as reliable as they've been in the past, it might be up to the new-fangled attack to bail the team out.
Relative Strength: Offensive Line, Secondary
Relative Weakness: Linebacker, Quarterback
What to watch for on offense: The transformation. The conservative, mistake-averse East Carolina attack is about to undergo an overhaul. With the arrival of a staff that cut its teeth at Texas Tech comes an "Air Raid" offense that wants to spread the field and pepper defenses with short passes.
What to watch for on defense: The edge rush. East Carolina has gotten used to having one of the league's best defensive lines, but not anymore. Like everywhere else, the Pirates are starting from scratch after losing all four starters, three to the NFL. Brian Mitchell will not be shy about blitzing, but would prefer not to do it out of necessity.
Fun Stat: Sacks: East Carolina 28 – Opponents 12

100. Troy
- 2010 Troy Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record:: 7-5
Key to the Season:: Not facing top passers. Troy lost four games last year. How's this for a foursome of signal callers to deal with? Bowling Green's Tyler Sheehan (who finished fifth in the nation in total offense leading the nation's No. 6 passing game), Central Michigan's Dan LeFevour (arguably the MAC's greatest player of all-time), Arkansas' Ryan Mallett (probably the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft), and some Tebow guy. This year, the best quarterback the Trojans are likely to face will be Middle Tennessee's Dwight Dasher or South Carolina's Stephen Garcia; they're not the bombers that destroyed last year's defense.
Relative Strength: Receiver, Running Back
Relative Weakness: Defensive Line, Secondary
What to watch for on offense: The quarterback situation. Levi Brown was taken early in the seventh round by Buffalo and will be given a long, hard look at the job right away. He took over for Omar Haugabook, who supposedly wasn't replaceable, and finished his career with 6,284 passing yards and 38 touchdowns with 12 interceptions. Now it'll be a battle with Jamie Hampton back in the hunt after winning the starting job in 2008 and leaving early with a torn ACL. Corey Robinson is a dangerous redshirt freshman who set all sorts of Kentucky high school records. While they need to do something special to be in the chase, speedy Dantavious Parker and dual-threat JUCO transfer Greg Jenkins will get their chances.
What to watch for on defense: A major concern in the middle of the line. The secondary that was so porous last year will end up being fine with several options and plenty of prospects. The pass rush, even without Cameron Sheffield and Brandon Lang, will be fantastic; it always is. The linebacking corps won't be nearly as good without Boris Lee and Bear Woods, but it'll be quick and it'll put up big stats. The problem is at tackle where 280-pound Riley Flowers is one of the only bulky players to use inside, while the other projected starting tackle, Tony Davis, is just 242 pounds. Troy utilizes a 4-3 scheme, but it's so small up front that it might have to go to a 3-4.
Fun Stat: First Quarter Scoring: Troy 103 – Opponents 41

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