2010 Preseason Rankings - No. 61 to 70
Nevada DE Dontay Moch
Nevada DE Dontay Moch
Posted Aug 9, 2010

Preview 2010 CFN Preseason Rankings No. 61 to 70 ... Shooting for a Bowl

Preview 2010 - Preseason Rankings

Shooting For A Bowl - No. 61 to 70

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

61. Nevada
- 2010 Nevada Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record:: 9-4
Key to the Season:: Running for 250 yards per game or more. Only four teams averaged more than 250 rushing yards per game, and if Nevada doesn't hit the mark, it likely won't win. In the eight wins, the offense exploded for 312 rushing yards or more, while in the five losses the attack ran for 242 yards or fewer. The passing game should be stronger and more effective, so the running game doesn't have to carry everything, but if the ground game is rolling, it might be over.
Relative Strength: Running Back, Quarterback
Relative Weakness: Secondary, Linebacker
What to watch for on offense: More from the receivers. With a running game so historically devastating it'll be hard to take too many carries away from the stars, but the passing attack could balance things out a bit with so much talent returning. Brandon Wimberly has the talent and the skills to be the WAC's most dangerous receiver, while Chris Wellington, Tray Session, and All-WAC tight end Virgil Green, are terrific running mates. Throw in backups Malcolm Shepherd, Moe Patterson, Rishard Mathews, and L.J. Washington, who look like they're out of central casting, and Colin Kaepernick will do more than just run.
What to watch for on defense: New defensive coordinator Andy Buh. Chris Ault's offense has been special, but the defense allowed 838 total points in 2007 and 2008, and while it improved a wee bit last year, and was fine against the mediocre offenses, it got picked apart way too often. Buh's job will be to keep passing games from making things happen deep on a regular basis and will make his linebackers more active. This will be an even more aggressive defense in several ways, but not at the expense of giving up the big play. At least that's the hope.
Fun Stat: Rushing yards Per Game: Nevada 344.9 – Opponents 111.5

62. Air Force
- 2010 Air Force Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record:: 8-4
Key to the Season:: The shootouts are kept to a minimum. Air Force isn't usually able to keep up in firefights. In the three years under Troy Calhoun, Air Force is 0-9 when giving up 29 points or more and is just 6-13 when allowing a mere 18 points or more with three of those wins coming in 2007. Meanwhile, the Falcons went 1-5 last season when scoring 21 points or fewer.
Relative Strength: Running Back, Secondary
Relative Weakness: Receiver, Defensive Line
What to watch for on offense: More from the wide receivers. Yeah, yeah, yeah, that's a yearly thought coming from the Air Force coaching staff that always preaches about the idea of a more balanced attack. This year, however, it really and truly might come true thanks to, arguably, the best set of receivers the program has had in a long, long, long time.
What to watch for on defense: A few prayers thrown out there for the health of the defensive line. Air Force has always had smallish defensive fronts, but this is ridiculous. Only one player is bigger than 240 pounds on the projected two-deep, and there may not be more ill-fitted noseguards in America than the 6-3, 240-pound Ryan Gardner and the 6-5, 235-pound Ben Kopacka. But a steady rotation and a do-one-thing-and-do-it-well approach (and this doesn't include rushing the passer or getting into the backfield) should work as long as a slew of injuries don't strike.
Fun Stat: Third quarter scoring: Air Force 100 – Opponents 31

63. Iowa State
- 2010 Iowa State Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record:: 4-8
Key to the Season:: Scoring. The Cyclones went 0-6 in 2009 when allowing 24 points or more and have gone 3-34 over the last five years when allowing that many or more. The defense isn't going to be a rock this year against the better Big 12 offenses, so the offense that started out well before sputtering and coughing its way down the stretch, scoring more than 17 points just once in the final six games, has to be more consistent and more explosive.
Relative Strength: Quarterback, Running Back
Relative Weakness: Defensive Line, Linebacker
What to watch for on offense: The right guard situation. It might not seem like that big a deal to have concerns about a guard, but with Scott Haughton getting kicked off the team for violating team rules, the line might have to do a bit of shuffling now to find the right combination. Last year, the play of the front five was a minor surprise and turned out to be one of the keys to the season. Everything appeared to be in place for a big 2010, but with Haughton gone, natural guard Ben Lamaak might have to end up moving back over instead of taking over at center for the star of last year's line, center Reggie Stephens. The skill players are in place to come up with a more consistent offensive season, but if the line isn't as good as it was last year, the overall production won't come.
What to watch for on defense: The linebackers. The line simply isn't good enough or reliable enough to not get great play from the linebackers, and now the defense has to replace all three starters from last year. There's promise in former JUCO transfer Matt Tau'fo'ou and sophomores A.J. Klein and Jake Knott, but the corps is so ridiculously thin that the defense might end up using more 4-2-5 alignments throughout the year to play to the strength, the secondary. There was no push into the backfield last year, and while normally the idea would be to get more from the linebackers, this season, just getting steady play from the young group would be a major plus.
Fun Stat: Punt return average: Iowa State 6.1 yards – Opponents 2.2 yards

64. Vanderbilt
- 2010 Vanderbilt Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record:: 1-11
Key to the Season:: A better passing game. There might not be a Jay Cutler around to wing the ball all over the field, but the passing offense can't be as completely and totally ineffective as it has been over the last two seasons. The running backs are talented enough to carry the offense as long as there's a little bit of a threat of a deep ball, but Vandy's inefficient passing hasn't done anything to scare anyone's defensive back seven. Even mediocre play from the quarterbacks will bring a huge change in the record.
Relative Strength: Running Back, Secondary
Relative Weakness: Quarterback, Receiver
What to watch for on offense: Even more from the running backs. Warren Norman and Zac Stacy combined as true freshmen to give the Commodores a dangerous ground attack with plenty of promise and potential for the next few years. Throw in the veteran Kennard Reeves and the big-time talent and size of Wesley Tate, if he can get back from a foot problem, and the running game will be something offense should be able to count on game in and game out. The O line, as banged up as it might be, should be good enough to pave the way, and the backs should come through.
What to watch for on defense: A tremendous year from the outside linebackers. The Commodores lose Patrick Benoist and Brent Trice from the outside, and while they were great, the linebacking corps could be more dangerous and more disruptive without them. Chris Marve is an all-star in the middle who'll be in the hunt for SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors allowing the outside defenders to be able to do whatever they want. John Stokes, Archibald Barnes, Dexter Daniels, and Tristan Strong are all athletic, they all have pass rushing potential, and they'll all be turned loose by defensive coordinator Jamie Bryant to make more big plays in the backfield.
Fun Stat: Time of possession: Opponents 33:49 – Vanderbilt 26:11

65. Kansas State
- 2010 Kansas State Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record:: 4-8
Key to the Season:: A passing game. . Everyone will try to stop star RB Daniel Thomas and it'll be a huge help if Carson Coffman (or one of the other quarterback prospects) can make something happen down the field to take the heat off. KSU came up with just seven touchdown passes on the year and just one in the final five games and four in the final ten.
Relative Strength: Running Back, Defensive Line
Relative Weakness: Quarterback, Linebacker
What to watch for on offense: The quarterback situation. It was somewhat impressive that Kansas State came as close as it did to a bowl game considering the quarterback play was such a disaster. Grant Gregory, who took over the starting job, didn't do much through the air, but he ran well. He's gone, meaning Coffman, who started the first four games before getting replaced, has to show he can move the offense after struggling to do it against the mediocre teams in the first month of the year. There are interesting backups who are more dangerous, but Coffman has to be a playmaker to boost up the Big 12's worst passing attack.
What to watch for on defense: The JUCO transfers. KSU always relies on the ready-made types to help provide the bulk of the depth, along with a few instant starters, but this year the JUCO transfers will mean everything to the defensive front. Getting Brandon Harold back from a knee injury is a big boost to the line, but it'll be Adam Davis, a 6-1, 242-pound Tasmanian Devil of a pass rusher, who could be the most dangerous pass rusher early on. Javonta Boyd is a promising 302-pounder, but it's Prizell Brown, who's expected to start at one spot, and Ray Kibble from Houston on the nose, who'll get the start on the inside to make up for some key personnel losses.
Fun Stat: Time of Possession: Kansas State 33:48 – Opponents 26:12

66. Baylor
- 2010 Baylor Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record:: 5-7
Key to the Season:: Stopping the run. Baylor is supposed to use its running game to own the time of possession battle and give the mediocre defense a break. Instead, the Bears finished 111th in the nation in time of possession partly because the loss of Griffin killed the ground game and partly because the defense couldn't stop anyone on third downs. A lack of a pass rush was an issue, but too many offenses got too many 3rd-and-shorts because the ground attacks were so effective.
Relative Strength: Quarterback, Secondary
Relative Weakness: Offensive Line, Defensive Line
What to watch for on offense: Besides Robert Griffin's knee, the play of the offensive line. The receiving corps is raw, but it's extremely fast and extremely athletic. It'll be able to make plays on the move as long as Griffin is given time. There's also a track team (literally) in the backfield with Griffin, RB Jay Finley, and other rushing options all with the potential to go the distance every time they touch the ball. Now everyone needs room to move. There was some changing around of positions and some nice new pieces added to the line puzzle this offseason, but it needs to find something it can do well. Pass protection has been an issue, even with NFL-caliber tackles like Jason Smith, and now, Danny Watkins, on the outside, and running consistently has been a big problem against the stronger Big 12 defensive fronts. If the line is better in any way, the offense will come up with a few explosive games.
What to watch for on defense: The ends. 355-pound Phil Taylor and converted end Tracy Robertson (who's in a more natural position) will be solid on the inside, but the line has to generate pressure from the outside. Gary Mason Jr. and Zac Scotton are big bodies who might hold up well against the run, but neither will scare opposing quarterbacks on a regular basis. If you don't get to the quarterback in the Big 12, your defense will get ripped up, so the idea will be for the BU defense to try to get more quarterback hits and be more disruptive on the outside so the back seven doesn't have to pick up the slack.
Fun Stat: Time of Possession: Opponents 32:36 – Baylor 27:24

67. Syracuse
- 2010 Syracuse Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record:: 4-8
Key to the Season:: Experience to translate into production in the secondary. Syracuse has six players back with starting experience, but will it actually make a difference? The Orange has been feeble in pass defense the last three years, ranking lower than 100th nationally at the conclusion of each season. The program doesn't have the offensive attack to keep pace in shootouts, meaning these defensive backs better tighten up in coverage or else the school will have a difficult time getting out of neutral.
Relative Strength: Linebacker, Defensive Line
Relative Weakness: Quarterback, Offensive Line
What to watch for on offense: The development of the tackles. Arguably the biggest area of concern for the Orange, two inexperienced tackles are being put in charge of protecting the pocket. On the left side, Justin Pugh has a high ceiling, but he also has a limited resume after redshirting in 2009. Over on the right side, Michael Hay is set to make his debut out of Nassau (NY) Community College.
What to watch for on defense: Non-stop pressure. Coordinator Scott Shafer wants to pressure from the moment his kids get off the bus, and has the right blend of athletes to get it done. At defensive end, Chandler Jones and Mikhail Marinovich are long and lean athletes coming into their own. At linebacker, Derrell Smith and Doug Hogue form one of the most insidious pass-rushing tandems in the country. Opposing quarterbacks better be prepared for a small window to make connections with receivers because the Orange will be in their face for all 60 minutes.
Fun Stat: Punt return average: Opponents 13.2 - Syracuse 6.9

68. Fresno State
- 2010 Fresno State Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record:: 7-5
Key to the Season:: Turnover margin. The Bulldogs have to start generating more pressure into the backfield, finishing second-to-last in the nation in sacks, and they have to force more takeaways. This is way too athletic and way too active a group to only come up with eight interceptions and seven fumble recoveries, and if it can start to do more, that could be the difference in at least two games. The offense had some fumbling problems and Ryan Colburn threw too many picks early on, and it could stand to tighten up.
Relative Strength: Offensive Line, Quarterback
Relative Weakness: Secondary, Defensive Line
What to watch for on offense: A bit more balance. The Bulldogs ran it 55 times last season and threw it just 321 times. With no Ryan Mathews, the offense will rely a bit more on Ryan Colburn and the passing game while using more of a rotation for the ground attack. There's so much speed and upside at receiver, and the pass protection should be so strong, that there should be more firepower through the air.
What to watch for on defense: The linebackers. The defensive front has the potential to do more with Chris Carter leading an active group, but it's the linebacking corps that should star. Ben Jacobs has the potential to be the WAC Defensive Player of the Year, but his stats aren't going to be quite as strong because he's not going to have to do as much as past years with the return of Chris Lewis on one side and the expected emergence of Travis Brown on the other. This will be a more active group and should come up with more big plays.
Fun Stat: Average Yard Per Carry: Opponents 6.0 – Fresno State 5.4

69. Virginia
- 2010 Virginia Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record:: 3-9
Key to the Season:: A more efficient offense. A year ago, Virginia was 98th nationally on third down conversions and 93rd on red zone touchdowns. That's just not going to cut it going forward. Somehow, some way, the Cavaliers have got to find a way to extend drives and score six, which will also take a heap of pressure off an overworked defense.
Relative Strength: Defensive Line, Secondary
Relative Weakness: Quarterback, Offensive Line
What to watch for on offense: The young playmakers. You're not going to know it based on last year's numbers, but Virginia is quietly harboring some exciting underclassmen with high ceilings. While they'll need more support from the passing game and blockers, backs Dominique Wallace and Perry Jones and receivers Tim Smith and Javaris Brown are game-changers in the right setting. It's up to the coaching staff to put them in a situation that allows them to make blossom to their fullest potential. Wallace and Smith, in particular, have the locals buzzing about their long-term prospects.
What to watch for on defense: The move to a 4-3 to mean more pressure. Not only are the Cavaliers determined to generate more of a pass rush than a year ago, but they've actually got four quality starters up front. On the outside, Cam Johnson has the moves of a converted linebacker and Zane Parr is a 6-6, 275-pound bull rusher. On the inside, Matt Conrath and Nick Jenkins form a quick and energetic tandem. Virginia has the combination of size and speed on the front wall that's going to equal problems for opposing offensive lines this fall.
Fun Stat: Time of possession: Opponents 32:46 - Virginia 27:14

70. Indiana
- 2010 Indiana Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart

Predicted Record:: 5-7
Key to the Season:: Consistent placekicking. IU will be involved in shootout after shootout with a defense that won't stop anyone and an offense that, on occasion, will put up yards and points in bunches. As mediocre as last year's 4-8 team was, it would've gone bowling if it won two of the games that were decided by three points or fewer. After Nick Freeland hit only 14-of-25 field goals, a little more production could mean a bigger season.
Relative Strength: Receiver, Quarterback
Relative Weakness: Secondary, Defensive Line
What to watch for on offense: The passing game. Darius Willis is a talented back, but he's not going to get a ton of carries and the big line doesn't do much to open big holes. IU's only chance at a good year is to bomb away, and it has the receivers to do it. Tandon Doss, Damarlo Belcher, and Terrance Turner aren't Big Ten household names, but they're very big, very productive, and they'll pose matchup problems for everyone with smallish corners. It also helps to have a quarterback in Ben Chappell who knows how to spread the ball around.
What to watch for on defense: Making up for a lack of talent and experience with a lot of running. IU's defense might not be consistent, but it'll be flying around trying to make something happen. Only four starters return, but that doesn't mean the coaching staff won't get creative with the blitzing and the aggressiveness including a little more of a 3-4 alignment from time to time. There will be some big mistakes allowed, but for the most part the defense should be able to force turnovers and should be able to swarm to the ball with a high-motor. Once in a while, though, some team with talent will come out and lay a pasting on the IU D.
Fun Stat: Fourth down conversions: Opponents 5-of-6 (83%) – IU 8-of-15 (53%)

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