2015 Pre-Preseason Rankings: No. 69-78

2015 Pre-Preseason Rankings: No. 69-78. Possible bowl teams and some star Group of 5ers

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. Top Eight
- Crank up the realistic playoff expectations if everything breaks right. No. 9-18
- They'll all be in the mix for a conference title, with a little luck. No. 19-28
- Probably a bit low - all could challenge for big things. No. 29-38
- Some new high-risers - there's promise and potential. No. 39-48
- Likely bowl teams - or at least that's the expectation. No. 49-58
- Low-end Power 5 teams, but there's surprise potential. No. 59-68
- Possible bowl teams and some star Group of 5ers. No. 69-78
- Some bottom Power 5s and top Group of 5ers as the rankings roll on. No. 79-88
- Teams that have several major question marks, or are missing top talent. No. 89-99
- They need to replace too many key parts, but there's hope. No. 99-108
- They're not quite at the bottom, but they need a whole bunch of work. No. 109-118
- As spring ball is rolling, which teams come into the year looking up? The Bottom Ten

69. Washington State
Biggest Positive: All four starters return to a secondary that should be the best in the Mike Leach era, and the rest of the defense should be better, too. There might be some reworking in the passing attack, but the line will provide the time with all five starters returning.
Biggest Negative: The losses are big. The team went on without QB Connor Holliday late last year, but he’s gone along with key targets Vince Mayle and Isiah Myers. While the D will be better, DT Xavier Cooper will be tough to replace.

70. Rutgers
Biggest Positive: If the quarterback situation is set, the offense should show plenty of firepower with Leontee Carroo and all the top receivers back. The ground game can’t help but be better if Paul James can return to form - everyone who finished with a positive rushing yard returns.
Biggest Negative: The defense loses four of the top eight tacklers and as plenty of work to do in the secondary – the Scarlet Knights were bad enough defensively last year without needing to do an overhaul. Three starters are gone on the O line.

71. Toledo
Biggest Positive: With Kareem Hunt back the running game is going to be good, and the receiving corps should be just strong enough to take the heat off. All four starters are back on the deep D line, and while the secondary has to be far, far better, at least there’s experience.
Biggest Negative: Hunt is sensational, but he might have a tough time for a while with all five starters gone off the O line. The linebacking corps needs some help, especially with Ray Bush gone, and sensational PK Jeremiah Detmer is done.

72. Northern Illinois
Biggest Positive: The defense had to rebuild last year – and the Huskies won the MAC title. This year they’re full of outstanding veterans led by a terrific secondary featuring SS Marlon Moore. Offensively, QB Drew Hare is back after leading the team to a championship.
Biggest Negative: The O has to undergo an overhaul. Three starters are gone off the fantastic line, and backs Cameron Stingily and Akeem Daniels have to be replaced. Making matters worse is the loss of top target Da’Ron Brown.

73. Nevada
Biggest Positive: Don Jackson returns along with James Butler for a potentially devastating 1-2 rushing punch, and four of the top five pass catchers return. The O line might need a few replacements, but it should be a major strength with a little bit of time. Despite the loss of Brock Hekking, the D line should be terrific.
Biggest Negative: Can QB Tyler Stewart be another Cody Fajardo? The Wolf Pack offense has to have a dynamic playmaker under center. Defensively, the secondary has a long way to go to be decent after losing three starters.

74. Colorado State
Biggest Positive: Rashard Higgins might be the best WR in the nation you’ve never seen, and most of the top rushers are back despite losing Dee Hart. The defensive front should be a plus, and the secondary gets three starters back.
Biggest Negative: Losing QB Garrett Grayson is a problem, and the left side of the line has to get past losing Ty Sambrallo and Mason Myers. Leading tacklers Aaron Davis and Max Morgan are gone from the linebacking corps. PK Jared Roberts will be tough to replace.

75. Syracuse
Biggest Positive: The receiving corps could be terrific with a little bit of time and the improvement of QB A.J. Long. Getting back solid PK Cole Murphy is a big deal for an offense that could sputter a bit. There
Biggest Negative: The offense has to try moving forward despite the loss of four starting O linemen and almost all of the backs who gained a meaningful rushing yard. The defense has even more issues on the line and in the secondary.

76. Wake Forest
Biggest Positive: Last year was a building season and now the payoff should start to come. Four starters are back on the offensive line to give QB John Wolford more time to work. Five of the top seven tacklers return on defense along with the entire linebacking corps.
Biggest Negative: There wasn’t any running game last year, and while experience returns up front and in the backfield, it still has a long, long, long way to go. The receiving corps needs help with the loss of E.J. Scott and Matt James.

77. East Carolina
Biggest Positive: The offensive line should be a tremendous strength with just about everyone back along with all of the key backups. The depth is there at running back to carry the offense early on, while the defensive front seven should be okay led by LBs Zeek Bigger and Montese Overton.
Biggest Negative: You don’t just replace the pitch-catch combination of Shane Carden to Justin Hardy, and losing running mate Cam Worthy doesn’t help. The secondary takes a huge hit losing key tacklers Lamar Ivey and CB Detric Allen.

78. Memphis
Biggest Positive: The MU passing attack should be outstanding with QB Paxton Lynch returning along with almost all of the top receivers. Keeping him upright is a line with four starters returning, while the ground attack should be solid despite the loss of top back Brandon Hayes.
Biggest Negative: The top five tacklers are gone from the fantastic defense losing Martin Ifredi and Terry Redden from the defensive interior – the run D could be a problem early on. Three starters are gone from the secondary.


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