Georgia, led by Knowshon Moreno, was the hottest team at the end of 2007 and is loaded going into this year, but it's not the CFN Pre-Preseason No. 1. Who is? Here's a hint ... you're not going to like it. Remember, the recruiting season is kicking in and spring ball is a few weeks away, so for now, here's a way-too-early look at all the teams.
CFN 2008 Pre-Preseason Rankings
- 2008 No. 26 to 50 |
No. 51 to 75 |
No. 76 to 100 |
No. 101 to 119
- 2007 CFN Pre-Preseason Rankings
now, these rankings are based on how good the teams look
following the 2007 season and who's coming back for 2008, and not necessarily where they'll end up. Don't forget
that a great team can look lousy when playing a nasty schedule,
while an average team might be overrated after playing a bunch of
Before getting too excited or too ticked off, remember, recruiting
hasn't finished up yet and spring practice is still several weeks away.
This is just an early indicator of where the teams might be.
2007's Pre-Preseason Top 10? 1. USC
6. Ohio State
1. Ohio State 2007 Record: 11-2
SEC fans will go ballistic at the notion, and America might let out a
collective groan at the thought of OSU in another national title game, but with all the returning talent, this
really should be 2008's best team. Remember, 2007 was supposed to be a
rebuilding year and a stepping-stone to this season. Getting to the
national championship was unexpected gravy. Shock of shocks, most of the
stars decided to come back for one more year with DE Vernon Gholston the
only early defector.
The Buckeyes don't have the speed or athleticism of the top teams,
right? The NFL certainly doesn't think so with at least 11 starters, not
including both kickers, who'll be drafted with five, LB James
Laurinaitis, LB Marcus Freeman, CB Malcolm Jenkins, RB Beanie Wells, and
OT Alex Boone, who'd be starting on day one of the 2008 NFL season.
A national punching bag after
two straight blowout losses in BCS Championships, the Buckeyes will be
good enough to get another shot with almost everyone of note returning
on offense including QB Todd Boeckman and top receivers Brian Hartline
and Brian Robiskie. The defense might lose Gholston and LB Larry Grant,
but nine starters are back. PK Ryan Pretorius
and P A.J. Trapasso form one of the nation's best kicking duos.
2. Georgia2007 Record:
The expectations are off the charts after a seven-game winning streak
ended 2007 and with almost all the top players coming back on both sides of
the ball. The receiving corps could use an overall upgrade, and strong
safety Kelin Johnson and end Marcus Howard will be missed, but that's
nitpicking. The only other concern is the lack of a safety net behind
Knowshon Moreno in the backfield, and Matthew Stafford has to become the
NFL caliber quarterback he's expected to be, but this is a true national
title contender from day one.
3. Oklahoma2007 Record: 11-3
This is a national title-caliber team if the offensive line plays up to
its talent-level. With OG Duke Robinson, OT Phil Loadholt and the rest
of the starters back, this should be the nation's best front five to
give QB Sam Bradford and RBs DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown time and
room to work. WR Malcolm Kelly is gone, but Juaquin Iglesias was the
team's best receiver over the course of 2007. Big 12 Defensive Player of
the Year Curtis Lofton and CB Reggie Smith left early, and some other big voids need to be filled
in the secondary, but this should still be one of the league's best
4. Florida2007 Record:
2006 might have been Urban Meyer coaching Ron Zook's team, 2007 might
have been about restocking the shelves, and now 2008 will be all about
Meyer's program getting back to a national title level. Top receiver
Andre Caldwell is gone, two starters have to be replaced on the
offensive line, and pass rushing star Derrick Harvey and strong safety
Tony Joiner have to be replaced. That's about it. The running game will
be better with USC transfer Emmanuel Moody expected to rock and roll
right away, while Tim Tebow and Percy Harvin might just be the two best
offensive players in America.
USC2007 Record: 11-2
Because of the brand name and the way the 2007 season ended, the Trojans
will be in everyone's top three, if not number one. However, there are
issues. The jury is still
out on a receiving corps that underperformed, Mark Sanchez and/or Mitch Mustain has to prove worthy of running the show, three starters have to
be replaced on the O line, and a few key parts are gone off the killer
defense. Of course, this is USC, it reloads, but this isn't nearly as
good a team as the one going into last year.
6. LSU 2007
Alright Les, it's all your program now. With a national title and three
years at the helm, Miles has to replace several key players on his "damn
good football team" along with defensive coordinator Bo Pelini. Ricky
Jean-Francois needs to be the new star on the D line and Tyson Jackson
has to play up to his pro potential, while
defensive back seven has to replace outside linebackers Ali Highsmith
and Luke Sanders along with safety Craig Steltz and corner Chevis
Jackson. The offense loses WR Early Doucet, steady QB Matt Flynn, and
bruising RB Jacob Hester. Even though another national title will be a lot to
ask for, the attack should keep rolling with Ryan Perrilloux at
quarterback behind a great line.
7. Wisconsin2007 Record: 9-4
If everyone can stay healthy, unlike 2007, the Badgers should be
special. P.J. Hill, Lance Smith and Zach Brown form one of the nation's
best trio of running backs working behind a loaded line with four
starters returning. Former Kansas State transfer Allan Evridge has to
establish himself at quarterback right away, but getting TE Travis
Beckum back will help. CB Jack Ikegwuonu took off early for the NFL, but
the D is loaded, especially at linebacker. The graduation of PK Taylor
Mehlhaff and P Ken DeBauche will hurt.
8. Missouri2007 Record: 12-2
The Tigers are loaded. TE Chase Coffman returning for his senior season
was a big step to give Heisman finalist Chase Daniel a star security
blanket to go to. Finding a running back to replace Tony Temple will be
the biggest issue, but Derrick Washington is a big-time prospect and
there are enough playmakers, and enough experience on the line, to
expect another strong season. DT Lorenzo Williams is gone, but nine
starters are back to go along with PK Jeff Wolfert.
9. West Virginia2007 Record:
Call this a wait-and-see ranking considering the new coaching staff and
some key losses. Bill Stewart loses Steve Slaton and Darius Reynaud
early to the NFL, but that would've happened if Rich Rodriguez was still
around. QB Pat White and WR/RB Noel Devine will be the stars of the
attack working behind a fantastic O line with all five starters
returning including OT Ryan Stanchek. The defense has to make some major
replacements with Keilen Dykes and Johnny Dingle gone off the line along
with four starters in the five man secondary, including SS Eric Wicks
and FS Ryan Mundy.
10. Texas Tech2007 Record: 9-4
Oh ... my ... goodness. Texas Tech had the nation's No. 1 passing
offense and was No. 2 in total offense ,and now everyone is back but WR
Danny Amendola. WR Michael Crabtree, QB Graham Harrell, all five
starting offensive linemen, along with their backups ... everyone. LB
Paul Williams and CB Chris Parker, who are all replaceable, are two of
the three losses off the defense. The other, SS Joe Garcia, will hurt.
The team's biggest hole loss, other than Amendola and Garcia, is clutch
PK Alex Trlica.
11. Penn State
2007 Record: 9-4
The receiving corps should be fantastic with Derrick Williams, Deon
Butler and Jordan Norwood back, but who's going to throw him the ball?
Daryll Clark will have the inside track, adding more running to the mix,
but Pat Devlin will get a shot. Everyone is back on the O line and nine
starters return on defense losing LB Dan Connor along with CB Justin
King, who left early for the NFL.
Tennessee2007 Record: 10-4
Offensive David Cutcliffe to Duke is the biggest loss with QB Erik Ainge
not far behind. Jonathan Crompton and Nick Stephens will battle for the
starting quarterback gig with a loaded backfield and a nasty offensive
line to work with. All five starters return up front, all the receivers
are back, and the secondary, even without Jonathan Hefney, should be
fine. The much-maligned defensive front will be the biggest problem
losing three starters on the line along with linebackers Ryan Karl and
13. Kansas2007 Record: 12-1
Can Kansas really be a preseason top five team? Even after a 12-1 season
with an Orange Bowl victory, it still seems strange to think of KU as
elite, but the team should be the real deal with QB Todd Reesing leading
a loaded offense, even with the loss of OT Anthony Collins, WR Marcus
Henry and RB Brandon McAnderson. DT James McClinton is done and CB Aqib
Talib left early, but the other nine starters are back. Both kickers
need to be replaced.
14. Auburn2007 Record:
Will the Tony Franklin offense be ready to fly right away? Is Kody Burns
ready to be the spread quarterback to jump-start the attack? The running
game should be tremendous with all five starters on the O line back
along with top running backs, Brad Lester, Ben Tate and Mario Fannin.
The defensive line needs three new starters to go around Sen'Derrick
Marks, but six of the starters are back in the back seven.
15. Texas2007 Record: 10-3
Was the Holiday Bowl the spark for a big 2008? QB Colt McCoy leads a
strong offense that should be fine even with RB Jamaal Charles and TE
Jermichael Finley bolting early. The O line was a big problem, but for
good or bad, all the starters return. Defense is a big issue losing
tackles Frank Okam and Derek Lokey along with five starters in the back
seven. New coordinator Will Muschamp should change things in a big
16. Oregon2007 Record:
The silver lining in the loss of Dennis Dixon late in the year was the
experience Justin Roper got. He'll battle with Cody Kempt for the
starting job with the winner getting a fantastic receiving corps to work
with, led by Jaison Williams, but RB Jonathan Stewart is gone. C Max Unger leads a tremendous offensive
line, while pass rushing terror Nick Reed should grow into a superstar.
The defensive tackles are gone and there are some holes to fill at
linebacker, but the defense should be better.
17. Virginia Tech2007 Record:
The defending ACC champions should be take a step back unless the
defensive line and receiving corps can reload. This is a running team
and anyone who gets the ball will produce behind a good line with four starters
returning. Will the offense continue with the two-headed quarterback
attack of Sean Glennon and Tyrod Taylor, or will Taylor take over?
Taylor and his running skills might be needed with Branden Ore gone
with issues on the line, the D loses corner Brandon Flowers, and most painfully, the linebacking tandem of Vince Hall and
18. Illinois2007 Record: 9-4
The loss of Big Ten Player of the Year Rashard Mendenhall will set the
running game back a bit, but the biggest issue is up the middle on
defense with DT Chris Norwell, LB J Leman and safeties Kevin Mitchell
and Justin Harrison gone. The top-shelf recruiting classes under Ron
Zook should kick in full force on both sides of the ball and now the
expectations will be there.
19. Boston College2007 Record:
Don't expect a major drop-off even with the loss of three offensive
linemen, QB Matt Ryan and RB Andre Callender and L.V. Whitworth. Why?
Defense. Eight starters are back, and while losing FS Jamie Silva and DE
Nick Larkin will be felt, this should still be one of the ACC's best Ds.
20. Clemson2007 Record: 9-4
It's all up to the offensive line that only gets back one starter, C
Thomas Austin. QB Cullen Harper is an ultra-accurate passer who gets top
targets Aaron Kelly and Tyler Grisham back to light up the ACC, but the
real star should be RB C.J. Spiller with James Davis jetting early for
the NFL. It would've been nice if DE Phillip Merling returned for his
senior year, but as is, eight starters return including everyone in the
21. Michigan2007 Record: 9-4
Expect a step back to take a big leap forward, at least offensively.
There could've been one of the nation's best passing games with Ryan
Mallett throwing to Mario Manningham and Adrian Arrington, but they all
took off. Who's the quarterback? Georgia Tech transfer Steven Threet?
He's a passer, but Rich Rodriguez will want a dual-threat playmaker
meaning Terrelle Pryor, the nation's top recruit, could be coming to Ann Arbor, or
Carlos Brown could step in from the running back corps. The defense
takes a big hit, but DT Terrance Taylor should be a strong anchor to
22. BYU2007 Record: 11-2
Looking for your early sleeper for an at-large BCS spot? BYU gets
everyone back on offense but C Sete Aulai and WR Matt Allen. QB Max Hall
and the running tandem of Harvey Unga and Fui Vakapuna will have to put
up plenty of points early on with three starters gone out of the
secondary along with three of the four starting linebackers, but pass
rushing star Jan Jorgensen is back.
23. South Carolina2007
The SEC East might be loaded, but anything less than being in the hunt
for the division title until the end will be unacceptable. The time is
now for Steve Spurrier to actually do something with the program. QB
Chris Smelley, WR Kenny McKinley, and RB Mike Davis form a nice nucleus,
four starters return to the offensive line, and everyone of note is back on defense.
24. Alabama2007 Record:
Nick Saban's first season was supposed to be about building towards the
future, and now the future has to be now. The offensive line has the
potential to be the best in the SEC, while all the top running backs,
and QB John Parker Wilson, return in the backfield. The receiving corps
has to replace D.J. Hall and Matt Caddell, while the defense has to find
replacement for end Wallace Gilberry, two linebackers and top CB Simeon
25. Wake Forest2007 Record: 9-4
Can Jim Grobe come up with a third straight strong season? Absolutely.
QB Riley Skinner and RB Josh Adams are back to ease the loss of
pass-catching machine Kenneth Moore, and only two starters are gone off
the line. The defense gets back star CB Alphonso Smith and the
linebacking tandem of Aaron Curry and Stanley Arnoux, but the line has
to replace three starters. P/PK Sam Swank is back for what seems like
his 19th year in a Demon Deacon uniform.