2007 Preseason Rankings - No. 60 to 69

Preview 2007 CFN Preseason Rankings No. 60 to 69 ... Shooting for a Bowl

2007 Preseason Rankings

Shooting for a Bowl - No. 60 to No. 69

Some lower-level BCS conference teams and some top mid-majors

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 119.

CFN 2007 Preseason Rankings
1 to 10 | 11 to 20 | 21 to 29 | 30 to 39 | 40 to 49 | 50 to 59
70 to 79 | 80 to 89 | 90 to 99 | 100 to 109 | 110 to 119

60. Ole Miss
Ole Miss Preview | Offense | Defense |
Depth Chart  
The ranking is too low because ... things are finally starting to turn. The rebuilding has been slower than most Rebel fans would've liked, but Ed Orgeron is doing a better job than he's being given credit for, especially when it comes to the lines. RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis is a workhorse to carry the offense, and he should be an All-SEC star with a huge veteran line to work behind. The defensive tackle combination of Peria Jerry and Jeremy Garrett might be the best in the league if they can stay healthy.
The ranking is too high because ... the quarterback situation is still a problem. Brent Schaeffer has the name recognition, but he can't throw a forward pass and doesn't use his running skills enough. Seth Adams is a more efficient passer, but he's hardly an elite player. Losing all three starting linebackers, especially Patrick Willis, is a killer for the defense, while the secondary has to prove it can make big plays after picking off only three passes last season.
Relative Strengths: Running Back, Defensive Line
Relative Weaknesses:
Quarterback, Secondary

61. Northwestern
- Northwestern Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart  
The ranking is too low because ... everyone has had a year to figure out what they're doing. Just treading water after the Randy Walker tragedy, now the program is ready to move forward with Pat Fitzgerald and a good enough team to pull off a few nice wins in the Big Ten. The offensive line will be among the league's best, paving the way for Tyrell Sutton and what should be a big year.
The ranking is too high because ... the defense is still a major concern. While there are promising players all over the place, there has to be some sort of a pass rush coming from somewhere, and the overall depth isn't quite in place. Offensively, the line can't handle a rash of injuries, and QB C.J. Bacher has to show he can stay healthy and be consistent.
Relative Strengths: Running Back, Offensive Line
Relative Weaknesses:
Linebacker, Secondary

62. Mississippi State 
Mississippi State Preview | Offense |
Defense |
Depth Chart
The ranking is too low because ... the offense will be the best yet under Sylvester Croom. Yeah, yeah, that might be no big whoop, but the line is experienced, there's talent at receiver, and the running back tandem of Anthony Dixon and Robert Elliott could be special. Defensively, end Titus Brown and defensive back Derek Pegues are two of the best players in the SEC and good enough to build things around.
The ranking is too high because ... there isn't a quarterback ready to make the attack shine. Michael Henig had his moments last year, but he has yet to prove he can stay healthy and has rarely been consistently decent. The defense is fast and athletic, but it's relatively inexperienced and will have to fight through some early growing pains. A slew of injuries anywhere would be disastrous.
Relative Strengths: Running Back, Linebacker
Relative Weaknesses:
Quarterback, Offensive Line

63. Southern Miss
- Southern Miss Preview
| Offense | Defense |
Depth Chart 
The ranking is too low because ... the defense should be back to being the nasty, stingy Southern Miss everyone was so afraid of a few years ago. The line is good enough to carry the team to a Conference USA title, while the linebackers should help in all areas, including getting into the backfield. RB Damion Fletcher might be the league's best player, while QB Jeremy Young appears on the verge of being a consistent, steady playmaker.
The ranking is too high because ... if you shut down the USM running game, you'll shut down USM. Young isn't going to throw for 300 yards an outing if he has to, even with an All-America caliber tight end Shawn Nelson to work with. The offensive line needs to replace three starters and could become a bit of a problem over the first month.
Relative Strengths: Running Back, Defensive Line
Relative Weaknesses:
Wide Receiver, Special Teams

64. Colorado State   
- Colorado State Preview |
Offense | Defense |
Depth Chart
The ranking is too low because ... this should be the best Ram team in several years. While that might not be saying much, the pieces are in place to be the Colorado State that was powering its way to national prominence. Getting star back Kyle Bell back to pound away with the ground game will be a much needed shot in the arm, while the receiving corps will be among the best in the Mountain West. The defense is full of crusty veterans who appear to be ticked about the way the last few seasons have played out.
The ranking is too high because ... the defense still has to show if can make plays. There weren't many game-changing moments and not enough of a pass rush to scare anyone, and while the attitude is there to match the experience, it has to translate into production. If Kyle Bell has any setbacks with his knee, or if he's out for any stretch of time hurt, the ground game will go nowhere. There pass protection has to be far, far better.
Relative Strengths: Running Back, Wide Receiver
Relative Weaknesses:
Offensive Line, Linebacker

65. Cincinnati
- Cincinnati Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart
The ranking is too low because ... new head coach Brian Kelly is a good one. He took Central Michigan and made it a MAC power, and it was a major coup for UC to get him. While all the focus will be on the new spread offense, it's the defense that'll make the Bearcats a bit of a Big East player with almost all the key parts returning. It's a small group, but it's tremendously quick and very effective. Corner Mike Mickens is special.
The ranking is too high because ... the offense will need a while to adjust. Unless Wake Forest transfer Ben Mauk is ready to shine, it could be midseason before the attack finally starts to jell. The offensive line is merely average, while the running backs aren't strong enough to take the pressure off the passing game.
Relative Strengths: Defensive Line, Secondary
Relative Weaknesses:
Offensive Line, Special Teams

66. Syracuse
- Syracuse Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart
The ranking is too low because ... the receiving corps has the potential to be special. Getting Taj Smith back after missing most of last year hurt is a big help, while Mike Williams is a rising Big East star. Sophomore QB Andrew Robinson could become something special after he gets his feet wet. The defensive line should get into the backfield on a regular basis.
The ranking is too high because ... any strides the offense could make with its good skill players might be stymied by a lousy offensive line. No one will get enough time to operate. The defense has to replace all three starting linebackers and the corners are new and certain to be tested from the word go.
Relative Strengths: Wide Receiver, Defensive Line
Relative Weaknesses:
Offensive Line, Linebacker

67. Kansas
- Kansas |
Offense Preview | Defense | Depth Chart
The ranking is too low because ... the team appears to be just good enough to throw a wrench into the Big 12 North. No, KU isn't going to challenge for the title, but it'll have a little bit of pop on offense with a good receiving corps and nice quarterback situation, even if the starter hasn't been named yet. The defense isn't as bad as last year's stats might have made it appear.
The ranking is too high because ... there are gigantic question marks all over the place. Losing ultra-productive runner Jon Cornish is a killer, the O line isn't anything special, the secondary has to make huge improvements just to be mediocre, and the linebacking corps is ridiculously small, even if the idea is to go light and quick.
Relative Strengths: Quarterback, Wide Receiver
Relative Weaknesses:
Running Back, Secondary

68. Minnesota
- Minnesota Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart  
The ranking is too low because ... the defense will be intense and experienced. New head coach Tim Brewster is a house of fire when it comes to energy and enthusiasm, and he'll have his team ramped up game in and game out. If you like the Denver Broncos' running game, then you'll enjoy the Gopher offense with its athletic linemen opening holes for Amir Pinnix.
The ranking is too high because ... Brewster is still untested. All the fire in the world isn't going to overcome the overall lack of talent on both sides of the ball, and there's going to be a bit of a learning curve before Minnesota becomes a threat to finish in the Big Ten's top six. The passing game isn't going to be anything special, and the defense will have problems against anyone who can power the ball.
Relative Strengths: Running Back, Offensive Line
Relative Weaknesses:
Defensive Line, Quarterback

69. Nevada  
- Nevada Preview | Offense
| Defense | Depth Chart
The ranking is too low because ... the linebacking corps is special. Ezra Butler will be a starter at the next level, while Jeremy Engstrom and Joshua Mauga are good enough to be in the mix for all-star honors. The receiving corps is big, fast, and should be more productive with strong-armed QB Nick Graziano taking over.
The ranking is too high because ... the secondary isn't quite good enough to keep the better passing teams under wraps. It'll be a problem area against Hawaii, New Mexico State, and potentially, Boise State. The offensive line is going to need time before it can be consistent. Considering the season opener is at Nebraska, the line will be an issue.
Relative Strengths: Linebacker, Special Teams
Relative Weaknesses:
Offensive Line, Secondary


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