2010 Preseason Rankings - No. 71 to 80
Minnesota QB Adam Weber
Minnesota QB Adam Weber
Posted Aug 9, 2010

Preview 2010 CFN Preseason Rankings No. 71 to 80 ... Dangerous Sleepers

Preview 2010 - Preseason Rankings

Dangerous Sleepers - No. 71 to 80

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

71. Minnesota
- 2010 Minnesota Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record:: 3-9
Key to the Season:: The offensive line. All five starters return, the backups are strong with several great young, athletic prospects, and enough options to form a good rotation. However, the line has to be night-and-day better for the Big Ten's worst offense to improve after paving the way for under 100 yards per game while finishing 113th in the nation in sacks allowed.
Relative Strength: Quarterback, Secondary
Relative Weakness: Linebacker, Receiver
What to watch for on offense: Simplification and getting physical. New offensive coordinator Jeff Horton is going to try to ease everything up for everyone by making things as simple as possible, and that starts with getting more physical for the running game. With all five starters returning up front, and with massive blockers to pave the way, Horton is determined to change things around for the Big Ten's worst running game.
What to watch for on defense: The linebacker situation. Simoni Lawrence and Nathan Triplett got to work out at the NFL Combine, and leading tackler Lee Campbell is on the Detroit Lions. Now the linebacking corps goes from being the team's biggest strength to a screaming weakness with a potential nightmare in the middle. If the small, inexperienced linebacking corps doesn't surprise, the Gophers will be in trouble.
Fun Stat: Sacks: Opponents 40 for 254 yards – Minnesota 22 for 164 yards

72. Louisville
- 2010 Louisville Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record:: 3-9
Key to the Season:: A better running game. What's the best remedy for a team with issues at quarterback and on defense? A consistent running game that can keep the chains moving and that flimsy D on the sidelines for as long as possible. At some point, offensive coordinator Mike Sanford hopes to unleash his version of the spread, but for now he'd be wise to leverage Victor Anderson, Bilal Powell, and Darius Ashley, getting the Cards out of the Big East basement in rushing.
Relative Strength: Running Back, Linebacker
Relative Weakness: Secondary, Receiver
What to watch for on offense: The quarterback derby. For the second straight year, Louisville will begin the season with uncertainty under center. Three different players started a game in 2009, which is code for a problem. The main contenders will be seniors Adam Froman and Justin Burke, who combined to throw just nine touchdown passes and 10 picks a year ago. Froman is an intriguing athlete, which could give him the upper hand in an offense that favors mobile quarterbacks.
What to watch for on defense: The development of former JUCO recruits. The Cardinals are flush with transfers from the Kragthorpe era, most of whom haven't quite panned out. If the defense has any hope of making a positive step, these imports, many seniors, need to earn those scholarships. Dotted throughout the two-deep will be players, such as NT Tim High, NT Joe Townsend, DE Malcolm Tatum, S Terence Simien, and corners Anthony Conner and Preston Pace, who must deliver in September.
Fun Stat: Louisville scored just 31 first-quarter points in 12 games

73. Southern Miss
- 2010 Southern Miss Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record:: 7-5
Key to the Season:: More from the secondary. It didn't happen last year, which begins to tell the story why the Golden Eagles hovered around the .500 mark. In the six losses, opposing quarterbacks threw 13 touchdown passes and were picked off just three times. Now, this offense is equipped to partake in shootouts, but it would be nice if it didn't have to.
Relative Strength: Quarterback, Linebacker
Relative Weakness: Offensive Line, Secondary
What to watch for on offense: The rebuilt offensive line. The Golden Eagles lose four starters, leaving only C Cameron Zipp from last year's regular lineup. Even worse, not many backups return to Hattiesburg, forcing junior college transfers and defensive imports into positions of prominence. While the first steps toward rebuilding took place in the spring, this is an on-going process that might be fluid right through the fall.
What to watch for on defense: The linebackers to combine for more than 400 tackles this season. Among the non-BCS programs, there may not be a better collection of linebackers than the one in Hattiesburg. Led by All-American candidate Korey Williams, last year's top three tacklers return to roam the field and make their presence felt in opposing backfields and secondaries. Ronnie Thornton and Martez Smith are playmakers, and Jamie Collins and Hendrick Leverette are solid off the bench, giving the Eagles a virtual fortress on the second line of defense for other teams to try and navigate.
Fun Stat: Punt return average: Southern Miss 11.5 – Opponents 3.8

74. Navy
- 2010 Navy Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record:: 9-3
Key to the Season:: Winning all the games the Midshipmen are supposed to. The difference between a good, bowl-bound season and a great year will be for Navy to beat everyone its own size. Navy might have a great system and it plays at another level effort-wise, but it doesn't have the depth or the talent to take anyone lightly. Last year there were losses to Hawaii and Temple that should've been layups. Two years ago there was a loss to the FCS's Delaware, in 2004 there was a clunker against Tulane, and in 2003 it was Delaware. This year, there isn't any team on the schedule that Navy can't beat,
Relative Strength: Quarterback, Running Back
Relative Weakness: Receiver, Linebacker
What to watch for on offense: The effectiveness of the slot backs. The Navy speed backs are usually interchangeable; every year a new seemingly irreplaceable playmaker is replaced. There's a slew of very small, very fast, very green backs trying to pick up the slack. 5-8, 180-pound Gee Gee Greene, 5-8, 167-pound Aaron Santiago, and 5-7, 180-pound Bo Snelson are just a few of the quick backs who'll try to make big plays on the outside so QB Ricky Dobbs and fullback Vince Murray can shine on the inside.
What to watch for on defense: The linebackers. Ross Pospisil, Tony Haberer, Clint Solvie, Craig Schaefer, and Ram Vela were the main starters throughout last year combining to make 338 tackles and 14 of the team's 22 sacks. They're all gone, but Tyler Simmons is a veteran backup who's ready to take on a bigger role after finishing third on the team with 68 tackles and a tackle for loss. There are plenty of tough, quick players around him, but they're going to be under fire on a defense that counts on the linebackers to make most of the big plays.
Fun Stat: Penalties: Opponents 78 for 668 yards – Navy 48 for 415 yards

75. Duke
- 2010 Duke Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record:: 3-9
Key to the Season:: More from the O line. Now more than ever, the Blue Devils need their young and talented offensive line to turn the corner. Headed by C Bryan Morgan and LT Kyle Hill, four starters and seven letterwinners return to provide hope for a better all-around season.
Relative Strength: Receiver, Linebacker
Relative Weakness: Offensive Line, Secondary
What to watch for on offense: The quarterback battle. This is clearly going to be the make-or-break territory for the offense, if not the entire team. Sophomore Sean Renfree appears to be the guy, but he missed the spring recovering from a knee injury, clearing the way for redshirt freshman Sean Schroeder and true freshman Brandon Connette to get more reps. This position is especially critical for a team that has one of the nation's worst running games and a talented corps of receivers that needs to be fully utilized.
What to watch for on defense: The development of a pass rush. Duke must get more pressure on the quarterback, or else the defensive backfield will again be fair game for opposing quarterbacks. New coordinator Marion Hobby will blitz if it becomes necessary, but he'd prefer to keep his linebackers and safeties back as much as possible. Instead, the hope is that veteran defensive ends Patrick Egboh and Wesley Oglesby have the kinds of senior years that are commensurate with their stature and physical ability.
Fun Stat: Red zone touchdowns: Opponents 60% - Duke 46%

76. Northern Illinois
- 2010 Northern Illinois Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record:: 9-3
Key to the Season:: NIU runs for 175 yards or more. The 26-20 win over Ball State was the only time over the last two years the Huskies won when they didn't run for more than 164 yards. The Huskies are 12-0 in their last 26 games when rushing for over 175 yards or more, and 1-13 when they don't. They have to establish the ground game and can't let the passing game try to carry the offense.
Relative Strength: Running Back, Offensive Line
Relative Weakness: Secondary, Receiver
What to watch for on offense: The quarterback situation. Chandler Harnish is the team's best quarterback, but he has a banged up knee that will be a cause for concern all season long. DeMarcus Grady was a great recruit for the program a few years ago, and he's a dual-threat playmaker with the skill to be one of the league's most explosive players. Throw in JUCO transfer Casey Weston, and the Huskies have options.
What to watch for on defense: The linebacker situation. Alex Kube is a trusted veteran and Pat Schiller had a nice season as a regular starter on the outside. They could quickly be overshadowed by Devon Butler in the middle and a few very good, very athletic young prospects who could do even more for the aggressive defense. Victor Jacques, Tyrone Clark, and Cameron Stingily could all start for several MAC teams and will play a big role right away in the rotation.
Fun Stat: Sacks: Northern Illinois 34 for 270 yards – Opponents 15 for 124 yards

77. Temple
- 2010 Temple Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record:: 8-4
Key to the Season:: A passing game. With one of the MAC's best offensive lines and a backfield loaded with talent, it'll be easy to run the ball, run the ball, and run the ball some more. But for an offense that was 92nd in the nation in yards but 39th in scoring, creating a balance will be a must. The O doesn't have to be a high-octane passing juggernaut, but it does have to be efficient.
Relative Strength: Running Back, Defensive Line
Relative Weakness: Quarterback, Secondary
What to watch for on offense: A devastating ground game. Bernard Pierce became the MAC's breakout star of 2009, but Matt Brown stepped in and ripped off a few big games showing that it's the system as well as the back. The Owl O line is huge with everyone on the two-deep at 300 pounds or more, and after cranking out 187 rushing yards per game and 29 touchdowns last year, this season should be truly special.
What to watch for on defense: A brick wall of a defensive front. The Owl defense allowed a mere nine rushing touchdowns last season and finished first in the MAC and 18th in the nation in run defense allowing 108 yards per game (and those stats factor in games against Penn State, Army, Navy, and Toledo). The linebacking corps will be fantastic, but it's the front line that will be the strength of the team with at least four potential all-stars in an outstanding rotation.
Fun Stat: Interception return average: Temple 22.6 yards (on 16 interceptions) – Opponents 2.9 yards (on 14 interceptions)

78. Army
- 2010 Army Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record:: 5-7
Key to the Season:: A passing game. Rich Ellerson's Cal Poly offense was tremendous running the ball and was second in the FCS in 2008 in passing efficiency. Last year's Army team was abysmal through the air, and just didn't even try in some occasions with five games with fewer than ten passing attempts. The Army quarterbacks combined to complete just 45% of their passes for 861 yards and five touchdowns with five interceptions.
Relative Strength: Running Back, Linebacker
Relative Weakness: Receiver, Defensive Line
What to watch for on offense: Jared Hassin. The Ellerson option attack needs a bruising, talented fullback as a base for everything else to work from, and in steps the new star of the show. Hassin, a transfer from Air Force, wasn't able to become eligible last year, but now he's ready and the brings his 6-3, 218-pound size to a running game that needs a physical presence. All of a sudden, watch how wide open the outside becomes for the veteran speed backs.
What to watch for on defense: The knee of Stephen Anderson. The senior middle linebacker was on his way to a phenomenal year making 83 tackles in just nine games, and then he hurt his knee against Air Force. He's expected to be back and he's supposed to be fine, but it's asking a lot to be that good again that quickly after such an injury. The coaching staff has added more pop and more athleticism to the defense with the Whip Bandit position to help out the linebackers, and Kingsley Ehie is a solid backup option if Anderson isn't right, but the Black Knights need their force in the middle.
Fun Stat: Sacks: Army 23 for 195 yards – Opponents 10 for 67 yards

79. UNLV
- 2010 UNLV Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record:: 5-8
Key to the Season:: A pass rush. Linebacker Jason Beauchamp made 6.5 of the team's 15 sacks and 12 of the 49 tackles for loss, and now he's gone. How weak was the front seven? Corner Quinton Pointer finished second on the team in sacks (two) and tackles (72). In a trickle-down effect, the lack of a pass rush (finishing 117th in the nation in tackles for loss and 106th in sacks) meant the mediocre secondary had to be far better.
Relative Strength: Quarterback, Receiver
Relative Weakness: Defensive Line, Secondary
What to watch for on offense: The running game from the backs. The quarterbacks are going to be able to take off when needed and they're not going to be asked to sit in the pocket and be Peyton Manning, but unlike last year, when Omar Clayton was second on the team in rushing and backup quarterback Mike Clausen was third, the running backs will get the bulk of the work as the offense goes to a more power-oriented attack. The veteran line will be frothing at the mouth to line up and hit someone, and the backs are in place to produce with C.J. Cox, Bradley Randle, and Channing Trotter likely to combine for well over 1,500 yards.
What to watch for on defense: The tackles. There's no excuse to not be better against the run on the inside with 350-pound Ransey Feagai, 350-pound Nate Holloway, 315-pound Isaako Aaitui, and 285-pound lightweight Isaiah Shivers the main foursome in the rotation. The Rebels haven't generated any sort of a pass rush in years, and while the tackles won't get into the backfield, they have to anchor the front so everyone else can operate. However, the painful truth might be that the Rebels don't have a sure-thing pass rusher who can get to the quarterback.
Fun Stat: Penalties: Opponents 92 for 859 yards – UNLV 63 for 613 yards

80. UTEP
- 2010 UTEP Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record:: 6-6
Key to the Season:: Takeaways. The Miners had just 18 takeaways last season, ranking them in a three-way tie for eighth place in Conference USA. UTEP won't stop too many folks this fall, but if they can change the possession arrow a few more times and get the ball back to a potent offense, it'll have made a significant contribution.
Relative Strength: Running Back, Quarterback
Relative Weakness: Secondary, Defensive Line
What to watch for on offense: The rebuilt left side of the line. About the only things that'll halt the Miner offense this fall is if QB Trevor Vittatoe can't get his act together or if the front wall is flimsy. While the former should work itself out, the latter is a genuine concern. UTEP lost all-star Mike Aguayo and steady Cameron Raschke, and could replace them with inconsistent Will Osolinsky and Anthony McNac. If the holes are smaller for Buckram and the pocket collapses too quickly, the Miners will have no chance of reaching the .500 mark.
What to watch for on defense: The situation on the interior. This is always an issue in El Paso. In 2010, it'll be a full-blown crisis. Not only did the Miners lose two key seniors to graduation, but a switch to a 4-3 means a need for more bodies on the inside. Making matters worse, the roster features an aggregate of one letter and zero starts, a sure-fire recipe for problems in run defense. A year ago, UTEP allowed over five yards a carry, which could wind up being a victory for this tattered group in 2010.
Fun Stat: Red-zone touchdowns: Opponents 70% - UTEP 57%

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