With spring football about to kick in, how do each of the teams look? What are the first impressions? These are the first thoughts that can and will change over the next several months before diving deep into the team-by-team previews. Please, give us your thoughts and questions – be pleasant – hitting us at @ColFootballNews.
- The best and the brightest teams going into spring football.
- Crank up the realistic playoff expectations if everything breaks right.
- They'll all be in the mix for a conference title, with a little luck.
- Probably a bit low - all could challenge for big things.
- Some new high-risers - there's promise and potential.
- Likely bowl teams - or at least that's the expectation.
- Low-end Power 5 teams, but there's surprise potential.
- Possible bowl teams and some star Group of 5ers.
- Some bottom Power 5s and top Group of 5ers as the rankings roll on.
- Teams that have several major question marks, or are missing top talent.
- They need to replace too many key parts, but there's hope.
- They're not quite at the bottom, but they need a whole bunch of work.
- As spring ball is rolling, which teams come into the year looking up?
The Bottom Ten
109. Texas State
Biggest Positive: If you like the running game, you’ll love what the Bobcats will bring with QB Tyler Jones and RB Robert Lowe destined for massive seasons. On the other side, the secondary is loaded with David Mims one of the Sun Belt’s best corners and S Demetrius Woodard ready to rock.
Biggest Negative: The defense needs to unearth some more playmakers with four of the top five tacklers needing to be replaced. The kicking game could become an issue with Will Johnson done – he handled all of the duties.
110. San Jose State
Biggest Positive: Starting with WR Tyler Winston, the passing game should be solid. The quarterback situation has to be settled, but four starters are back up front to help make it all go. Defensively, if Christian Tago isn’t the best linebacker in the Mountain West, he won’t be far off. However …
Biggest Negative: All four starters are gone off the defensive front including Travis Raciti and Foloi Vae on the inside, and playmaker Vince Buhagiar is gone from the linebacking corps.
111. Florida Atlantic
Biggest Positive: The Owls should be far more dangerous offensively with four starters returning on the line to protect Jaquez Johnson returning along with Jay Warren. Defensively, the line has the potential to be special with all four starters returning along with all the pass rushers.
Biggest Negative: There’s no replacing D’Joun Smith in the secondary. Offensively, Johnson is the key, but he needs reliable weapons to work with – three of the top receivers are done.
112. Old Dominion
Biggest Positive: Outside of the quarterback situation, the skill players are all in place with almost all the key receivers back and Ray Lawry an excellent running back to keep feeding.
Biggest Negative: The interior of the defensive front needs an overhaul with the top tackles done. There should be a pass rush to help the secondary, but the starting corners need to be replaced. The biggest problem, though, is the loss of QB Taylor Heinicke – the one who made it all go.
113. Southern Miss
Biggest Positive: If the offense was ever going to get rolling, this would be the year with everyone back except for WR Markese Triplett. 13 of the 14 players who caught a pass are back – there are more than enough weapons for QB Nick Mullens to work with.
Biggest Negative: The O might be loaded, but the D needs work with most of the top tacklers gone. Not helping the overall cause is the loss of ultra-reliable PK Corey Acosta.
114. Florida International
Biggest Positive: The Golden Panthers should be far better offensively with nine of the top ten pass catchers back. The defense welcomes back all the linebackers to go along with an outstanding looking defensive tackle rotation to gum things up.
Biggest Negative: Yeah, there’s experience at receiver, but the passing game still has to work. Key defensive backs Justin Halley and Demarkus Perkins have to be replaced. C Donald Senat is done – he was the leader of the line.
Biggest Positive: The outside linebacking combination of Kassan Messiah and Trey Seals should be among the best in the MAC working around Jovan Santos-Knox on the inside. The secondary gets back all four starters.
Biggest Negative: Blake Frohnapfel was the one who made the offense go, and now UMass has to try to find a quarterback who’ll be close to as productive. Also done is key Jean Sifrin – NFL tight ends don’t hang around the program.
Biggest Positive: New head coach Chad Morris welcomes back a good-looking O line with four starters back, and most of the key receivers are back to go along with a nice group of quarterbacks to play around with.
Biggest Negative: The defense has veterans, but it has to replace two of the stars in S Hayden Greenberry and LB Stephon Sanders. The defense has to come up with more of pass rush and has to replace anchor Darrian Wright on the nose.
117. South Alabama
Biggest Positive: Out of all the concerns and replacements on both sides of the ball, there’s no real worry at safety with Roman Buchanon and Antonio Carter a terrific tandem. The kicking game should be fine with PK Aleem Sunanon and P Brandon McKee back.
Biggest Negative: If you’re South Alabama, you don’t replace a NFL quarterback prospect like Brando Bridge. RB Kendall Houston is done along with the top two receivers – Shavarez Smith and Jereme Jones – along with TE Wes Saxton. The line needs work, too, losing Ucambre Williams and Drew Dearman from the left side.
Biggest Positive: The top four tacklers return led by S Josh Jenkins and CB Chris Carnegie in a strong-looking secondary. While the passing game isn’t really a big part of the attack, the receiving corps is going to be a strength.
Biggest Negative: The O line that needs to be so precise and so efficient to make the attack work needs to replace three starters. Star running backs Terry Baggett, Raymond Maples and FB Larry Dixon are done. The D line is gutted with all the starters gone.
2015 Pre-Preseason Rankings: No. 109-118
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