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2010 CFN Preview - Unit Rankings
Wisconsin's John Clay, Gabe Carimi & Scott Tolzien
Wisconsin's John Clay, Gabe Carimi & Scott Tolzien
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 16, 2010


Will Wisconsin put up the best offensive numbers this year? Probably not, but the pieces are there to form the nation's most effective attack. Who has the best running backs? Whose offensive line appears to be the most loaded? With the rankings from top to bottom, here are the 2010 CFN Unit Rankings.


Preview 2010 - Unit Rankings

Offenses


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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CFN 2010 Unit Rankings
- Offenses | Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Receivers | Offensive Lines
- Defenses | Defensive Lines | Linebackers | Secondaries  | Special Teams

Note: This is based on talent, returning starters, and skill. It’s not necessarily based on what the final total offense statistics will be.

1. Wisconsin
The offense dominated against the mediocre teams on the schedule and struggled against the great defenses (Ohio State, Iowa, and Miami), and now it might be phenomenal against everyone. Ten starters return to the Big Ten’s No. 1 offense (finishing first in both yards and points), and as long as everyone stays healthy, look out. Heisman candidate John Clay leads a loaded stable of running backs, the receiving corps is experienced and talented, and the offensive line gets all five starters back and has just enough depth to be fine if injury problems strike like last year. The key will be keeping QB Scott Tolzien upright. The Big Ten’s most efficient passer last year, he’s now the type of leader who can carry the team to a BCS bowl, but with top backup Curt Phillips out with a torn ACL, the season goes in the tank if green redshirt freshman Jon Budmayr has to step in.

2. Alabama
Hand off, rinse, repeat. The Alabama offense ran 601 times last year to just 346 passing attempts, and why not? With a big, strong, talented line paving the way, Mark Ingram rumbled his way to the Heisman Trophy while also finishing as the team’s No. 2 pass catcher. Throw in ultra-talented backup Trent Richardson, and the Tide has the makings of another devastating ground attack. But the passing game isn’t just along for the ride, even though that might be the perception of QB Greg McElroy’s job. The senior was the perfect fit (at least he was after a midseason funk) keeping the interceptions to a minimum and keeping the chains moving. Unlike last year, he’ll be able to open it up a little bit more with Julio Jones leading a receiving corps that would be among the most productive in America in just about any other offense. The line gets three starters back and will be every bit as dominant as last season’s was, but it has to do a better job in pass protection after allowing 20 sacks.

3. Arkansas
Offensive coordinator Garrick McGee gets to step into a loaded situation, and as long as QB Ryan Mallett is healthy, the attack should blow up. After finishing 20th in the nation, and third in the SEC, in total offense, and first in the league in both scoring and passing, the Hogs should go ballistic with Mallett working with (arguably) the nation’s deepest and best receiving corps led by TE D.J. Williams and a slew of very big, very fast veterans who can all hit the home run. With a form of the Pistol offense being implemented (at least from time to time), Mallett should be able to utilize the downfield passing game even more while being able to get his deep backs more involved. The Hogs have four good runners who can all produce behind a pedestrian, but veteran line.

4. Ohio State
With nine starters returning from an offense that appeared to be hitting its stride at the right time over the second half of last year, the sky’s the limit. The attack, as always, was conservative with a premium put on keep the chains moving and not screwing up, and while there were too many interceptions (11), everything ended up working out fine. The key wasn’t the emergence of star QB Terrelle Pryor as more of a leader and a playmaker; it was the maturation of the line. While the pass protection was spotty, the line started to do more and more for the ground game, and the team responded. With all the returning talent, a ton of promising depth, and the expected emergence of Pryor as a consistent star, the offense that finished 68th in the nation in yards and 49th in scoring should be far, far better.

5. Texas A&M
The offense has the potential to be among the most productive in the nation once again, but it needs to be more consistent. QB Jerrod Johnson is a veteran who came into his own last year and should do even more with a loaded receiving corps full of speed, experience, and talent led by top NFL prospect Jeff Fuller. The offensive line desperately needs the tackle situation to be solidified, but the interior will be fine as a strength for a underappreciated ground game. The Aggies finished second in the Big 12 in rushing, and with Cyrus Gray and Christine Michael returning, there will be nice balance. There will be a whole bunch of fireworks, lots of fun games, and enough talent and explosion to make up for a shaky defense.

6. Virginia Tech
Finally. After being a scapegoat for years, coordinator Bryan Stinespring mercifully had something to gush over last season. And the best is yet to come. The Hokies finally cranked up the offense in 2009, scoring at least 36 points in the final four games and relocating the big play. It turns out that last November and December is going to be an omen of what’s to come. Tech brings back improving veteran QB Tyrod Taylor, the last two ACC Newcomers of the year, backs Ryan Williams and Darren Evans, and top receiver Jarrett Boykin. It’s as much skill position talent that this program has had in years. If the line can recover from the graduation of the left side and the staff keeps the backs happy, the Hokies will have enough firepower to compensate until the rebuilt D begins to gel.

7. Florida State
Buckle up, Seminole fans. You might be about to witness the most explosive offense this program has had in years. Florida State finally began to turn the corner in 2009, averaging 30 points a game and ranking in the top 4 of the ACC in rushing and passing. From that group return 10 starters, including the entire offensive line and untapped gem Christian Ponder at quarterback. Ponder is the indisputable key. He was just beginning to hit his stride last fall when he went down with a season-ending shoulder injury. However, he played with a sense of purpose in the spring, and is surrounded by enough playmakers, like RB Jermaine Thomas and receivers Jarmon Fortson and Bert Reed, to end his career with an NFL-attracting bang. Led by All-American Rodney Hudson at left guard, the once-green line has a chance to be among the best in the country.

8. Florida
Maurkice Pouncey won the Rimington Award as the nation’s top center, Aaron Hernandez won the Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end, and Tim Tebow was, well, Tim Tebow. While it might be next to impossible to immediately replace three players of that caliber, especially Tebow, the nation’s No. 6 offense should be even more explosive with John Brantley under center. The Gators won’t scrap the spread, and will likely use tight end Jordan Reed from time to time to be Tebow-like, but Brantley is a next-level caliber passer who’ll push the ball down the field more to a very fast, very promising group of targets. The line might lose Pouncey, but his brother, Mike, will move to center to anchor a veteran group with four starters returning, while Jeff Demps leads a fast group of backs who should shine when they get the chance. There will be a bit more I-formation and a bit less true spread, but it’ll be a shock if the Gators aren’t among the SEC leaders in several offensive categories once again.

9. TCU
The TCU offense has been overshadowed by the defense over the last few years, but things started to change last season. Led by Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year, QB Andy Dalton, the Horned Frogs finished seventh in the nation in total offense and fifth in scoring, and there’s no reason to not be more explosive this year. Four starters return on the line with one glaring hole at right tackle, but it should be a dominant group again. The receiving corps will be phenomenal, there are several talented running backs to form another great rotation, and Dalton should be Dalton again.

10. Georgia
As it turned out, yes, the early departure of QB Matthew Stafford and RB Knowshon Moreno to the NFL did matter. The offense was inconsistent before finding a groove late in the year, and even then every game was different as the passing game didn’t always take advantage of all the weapons and the running game didn’t explode like it should’ve. 2010’s concerns and issues are the same as 2009’s, but there’s a bit more experience to work with. The line, banged up as it might be, is still going to terrific, and it could be the best in the nation if everyone is healthy. A.J. Green leads a dangerous receiving corps, and there’s plenty of talent and speed in the backfield, but can QB Aaron Murray come through? All the pieces are in place to be far, far better than last year as long as the quarterback play is better and as long as the turnovers (28 given away last season) are kept to a minimum.

COULD EASILY BE IN TOP TEN

Boise State WAC
Auburn SEC
Houston C-USAW
Nevada WAC
Oklahoma Big 12
Ole Miss SEC
Oregon Pac 10
Oregon State Pac 10
Stanford Pac 10
Texas Tech Big 12
Washington   Pac 10


SOLID, WILL BE A POSITIVE

Arizona Pac 10
California Pac 10
Iowa Big Ten
LSU SEC
Miami   ACC
Michigan State Big Ten
Missouri Big 12
Notre Dame ind
Penn State Big Ten
Pitt Big East
Texas Big 12
USC Pac 10
Utah   M-West


AVERAGE

Air Force M-West
Baylor Big 12
Boston College ACC
BYU M-West
Cincinnati Big East
Clemson ACC
Colorado   Big 12
Connecticut Big East
Fresno State WAC
Georgia Tech ACC
Illinois Big Ten
Indiana  Big Ten
Iowa State Big 12
Kansas Big 12
Kansas State Big 12
Kentucky SEC
Maryland  ACC
Michigan Big Ten
Mississippi State SEC
Navy Ind
NC State ACC
Nebraska Big 12
North Carolina ACC
Oklahoma State Big 12
Purdue Big Ten
Rutgers  Big East
South Carolina SEC
South Florida Big East
Tennessee SEC
UTEP C-USAW
Wake Forest ACC
West Virginia Big East


NEEDS WORK

Arizona State Pac 10
Army Ind
Duke ACC
Hawaii WAC
Idaho WAC
Kent State MAC
Louisville  Big East
Minnesota Big Ten
North Texas Sun Belt
Northern Illinois MAC
Northwestern Big Ten
Ohio   MAC
San Diego State M-West
SMU C-USAW
Southern Miss C-USAE
Syracuse Big East
Temple MAC
Toledo MAC
Troy Sun Belt
Tulsa C-USAW
 

A PROBLEM

Akron MAC
Arkansas State Sun Belt
Ball State MAC
Bowling Green MAC
Buffalo MAC
Central Michigan MAC
Colorado State M-West
East Carolina C-USAE
Florida Atlantic Sun Belt
Louisiana Tech WAC
Marshall C-USAE
Miami Univ. MAC
Middle Tennessee Sun Belt
Rice C-USAW
San Jose State WAC
UCF C-USAE
UCLA  Pac 10
UL Monroe Sun Belt
UNLV M-West
Utah State WAC
Vanderbilt SEC
Virginia   ACC
Washington State Pac 10
Western Michigan MAC

THE BOTTOM TEN

Eastern Michigan MAC
FIU Sun Belt
Memphis C-USAE
New Mexico   M-West
New Mexico State WAC
Tulane C-USAW
UAB C-USAE
UL Lafayette Sun Belt
Western Kentucky Sun Belt
Wyoming M-West

CFN 2010 Unit Rankings
- Offenses | Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Receivers | Offensive Lines
- Defenses | Defensive Lines | Linebackers | Secondaries  | Special Teams

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