CFN Preview 2018 College Football Rankings & Previews: No. 1 to 130

CFN Preview 2018 College Football Rankings & Previews: No. 1 to 130

2018 Preview

CFN Preview 2018 College Football Rankings & Previews: No. 1 to 130


The CFN Preview 2018 college football rankings, with the summer look at all 130 teams a few months before all the fun starts. 


CFN Preview 2018 Rankings

How good are all the teams going into the 2018 college football season?

Schedules, injuries, position battles, and a whole slew of other things will obviously be a part of the mix as the season is underway, but during the year, the rankings will be based on what is actually happening and not expectations. For now, this isn’t about where the teams will end up. It’s about how strong they all look at the moment – at least before fall camp.

Also added is each team’s 2017 Final Season Ranking. Those based on what each team actually did based on big wins, performance, etc. and not on opinion or talent.

So with all of that, here we go with the CFN Preview 2018 Rankings …

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Team-by-Team Predictions & 2018 Schedules
ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC
C-USA | Ind | MAC | MWest | Sun Belt

130. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

Relative Strengths: Coaching, Special Teams
Relative Concerns: Defensive Line, Secondary
Here’s The Deal: Getting back head coach Joe Moglia back is a big deal, and no, they’re not going to finish as the worst team in college football, but there’s a redo being done in several key spots.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 118
Coastal Carolina 2018 Team Preview

129. Liberty Flames

Relative Strengths: Head Coach, Passing Game
Relative Concerns: Defensive Line, Running Game
Here’s The Deal: The Flames are going to be pesky and annoying all season long for teams planning on getting a rollover game. Turner Gill’s club is going to crank up enough offense once in a while to be more than just competitive.
2017 Final Season Ranking: Not Ranked
Liberty 2018 Team Preview

128. San Jose State Spartans

Relative Strengths: Special Teams, Quarterback
Relative Concerns: Defensive Line, Offensive Playmakers
Here’s The Deal: The second season in the Brent Brennan era should be a bit better – at least offensively – but the lines aren’t going to be quite good enough to make a big push up.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 128
San Jose State 2018 Team Preview

127. Kent State Golden Flashes

Relative Strengths: Defensive Line, Secondary
Relative Concerns: Offensive Line, Offensive Playmakers
Here’s The Deal: Young head coach Sean Lewis brings the FlashFast concept to the team that’s been so woefully painful on offense over the last few seasons. At least the O will be more interesting.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 123
Kent State 2018 Team Preview

126. Rice Owls

Relative Strengths: Secondary, Running Backs
Relative Concerns: Quarterback, Defensive Line
Here’s The Deal: New head coach Mike Bloomgren is bringing in the right attitude and a running game – at least that’s the hope from the former Stanford assistant. It’s going to take a while to get the pieces in place, though.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 124
Rice 2018 Team Preview

125. Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns

Relative Strengths: Coaching, Offensive Backfield
Relative Concerns: Defensive Line, Secondary
Here’s The Deal: Billy Napier is one of the nation’s top young head coaches, and the Ragin’ Cajuns are going to end up being a whole lot better than this. The D won’t be good enough, though, to do much going into the season.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 106
Louisiana 2018 Team Preview

124. Georgia State Panthers

Relative Strengths: Wide Receiver, Linebacker
Relative Concerns: Running Back, Offensive Line
Here’s The Deal: Despite going bowling last year, will the offense be any better? The defense takes a slight step back, but the O just won’t have the pop when Penny Hart isn’t doing big things.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 83
Georgia State 2018 Team Preview

123. UTEP Miners

Relative Strengths: Secondary, Wide Receiver
Relative Concerns: Defensive Line, Offensive Punch
Here’s The Deal: New head coach Dana Dimel has a ton of work to do with a team that couldn’t score and failed to win a game. Getting tougher on D will be a start, but the offensive stars aren’t there.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 130
UTEP 2018 Team Preview

122. Charlotte 49ers

Relative Strengths: Linebacker, Special Teams
Relative Concerns: Offensive Line, Defensive Line
Here’s The Deal: The 49ers who struggled so much last season have to figure out how to get the offense going with a young backfield and mediocre line. They’ll be a wee bit better, but it’ll be a consistent fight to be competitive.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 125
Charlotte 2018 Team Preview

121. East Carolina Pirates

Relative Strengths: Quarterback, Wide Receiver
Relative Concerns: Defensive Line, Secondary
Here’s The Deal: Defense, defense, defense. The Pirates will find ways to put points on the board again, but the defense still has to prove it can stop someone.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 116
East Carolina 2018 Team Preview

120. Texas State Bobcats

Relative Strengths: Special Teams, Defensive Back Seven
Relative Concerns: Quarterback, Defensive Line
Here’s The Deal: After years of building up the talent level, there are a few decent players across the board – there’s hope for an improvement. But the production has to follow, and the lines just aren’t proven or good enough.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 119
Texas State 2018 Team Preview

119. Hawaii Rainbow Warriors

Relative Strengths: Quarterback, Linebacker
Relative Concerns: Running Back, Secondary
Here’s The Deal: Yeah, it’ll be back to the days of the run-and-shoot offense – there will be times when the thing works – but the proven players aren’t there and the defense is about to be in for a long, long year.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 114
Hawaii 2018 Team Preview

118. South Alabama Jaguars

Relative Strengths: Linebacker, Special Teams
Relative Concerns: Quarterback, Offensive Line
Here’s The Deal: It might not take a whole lot of tweaking to improve from a bad season. New head coach Steve Campbell needs to step up the lines right away, and the offensive backfield has to be better.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 88
South Alabama 2018 Team Preview

117. Bowling Green Falcons

Relative Strengths: Quarterback, Receiver
Relative Concerns: Defensive Line, Linebacker
Here’s The Deal: The passing game is going to be better and more consistent, but can the defense slow anyone down? It’s a big year for the Falcons and their future, and they’ll have to hope they can win a slew of shootouts.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 121
Bowling Green 2018 Team Preview

116. Eastern Michigan Eagles

Relative Strengths: Defensive Line, Secondary
Relative Concerns: Special Teams, Running Back
Here’s The Deal: The Eagles will end up being better than this, but they’ll need the offensive pop to show up while hoping to win plenty of defensive slugfests.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 94
Eastern Michigan 2018 Team Preview

115. Nevada Wolf Pack

Relative Strengths: Passing Game, Secondary
Relative Concerns: Offensive Line, Defensive Line
Here’s The Deal: There’s hope for the high-powered air show to be stronger and more consistent, but can the defense stop anyone? The lines just aren’t going to be strong enough to hold up against the better teams.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 113
Nevada 2018 Team Preview

114. Connecticut Huskies

Relative Strengths: Linebacker, Special Teams
Relative Concerns: Offensive Line, Defensive Line
Here’s The Deal: It’s still going to be a rough run without the offensive playmakers to be consistently strong. What can the O do well? The lines are going to struggle a bit too much.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 112
UConn 2018 Team Preview

113. FIU Golden Panthers

Relative Strengths: Special Teams, Coaching
Relative Concerns: Secondary, Passing Game
Here’s The Deal: And now comes the rebuilding season. Butch Davis and the coaching will figure some things out, and the defense will hold up, but the offense that was so inconsistent last season will sputter.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 53
FIU 2018 Team Preview

112. Ball State Cardinals

Relative Strengths: Running Back, Receiver
Relative Concerns: Linebacker, Special Teams
Here’s The Deal: Getting back QB Riley Neal and RB James Gilbert from injury is a really, really big deal. The Cardinal offense will start to work again, but the defensive front six/seven won’t be able to hold up.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 117
Ball State 2018 Team Preview

111. Tulsa Golden Hurricane

Relative Strengths: Running Back, Receiver
Relative Concerns: Defensive Line, Secondary
Here’s The Deal: Shootout, shootout, shootout. The Golden Hurricane will find ways to win a few games with wild and crazy offensive performances, but teams will be able to run as much as they want to on the defensive front.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 120
Tulsa 2018 Team Preview

110. New Mexico State Aggies

Relative Strengths: Special Teams, Secondary
Relative Concerns: Running Back, Offensive Line
Here’s The Deal: There will be a step back after the magical season. Life as an independent will be tough at times, but the Aggies will get stronger as the season goes on. It’ll take a bit to find the right playmakers.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 78
New Mexico State 2018 Team Preview

109. ULM Warhawks

Relative Strengths: Quarterback, Receiver
Relative Concerns: Defensive Line, Secondary
Here’s The Deal: This team might play the most fun games in college football. QB Caleb Evans and the offense … awesome. But the defense is going to get ripped to shreds.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 102
ULM 2018 Team Preview

108. Old Dominion Monarchs

Relative Strengths: Special Teams, Offensive Line
Relative Concerns: Offensive Backfield, Defensive Front
Here’s The Deal: A bit of an X factor team, the Monarchs might just surprise if they can get the offense together and rolling with a young backfield. The D is just decent enough to flirt with a good year.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 103
Old Dominion 2018 Team Preview

107. Georgia Southern Eagles

Relative Strengths: Running Game, Special Teams
Relative Concerns: Passing Game, Defensive Line
Here’s The Deal: The modified option offense will be one of the Sun Belt’s most interesting wild cards. If it works, look out. If the team can play like it did late in the season, it can be a real conference threat.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 122
Georgia Southern 2018 Team Preview

106. Akron Zips

Relative Strengths: Linebacker, Secondary
Relative Concerns: Running Back, Offensive Line
Here’s The Deal: Okay, okay, OKAY. Akron always manages to play better than the offensive production and talent level, and the defense might just be good enough to be a threat in the MAC again. The Zips will finish higher than this, but that O …
2017 Final Season Ranking: 80
Akron 2018 Team Preview

105. UMass Minutemen

Relative Strengths: Quarterback, Receiver
Relative Concerns: Defensive Line, Special Teams
Why Are They Here? The offense will be good enough to win a few shootouts, but the defense will make it tough again to win close games. When the passing game is working, within reason, this will be one of the teams no one wants to deal with.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 107
UMass 2018 Team Preview

104. New Mexico Lobos

Relative Strengths: Offensive Backfield, Secondary
Relative Concerns: Offensive Line, Defensive Line
Here’s The Deal: Will all of the issues from this offseason matter? The running game will be terrific, but the defensive front won’t be strong enough to hold up against anyone with a good offensive line, This year will be a struggle without a hot start.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 111
New Mexico 2018 Team Preview

103. Cincinnati Bearcats

Relative Strengths: Quarterback, Linebacker
Relative Concerns: Offensive Line, Offensive Consistency
Here’s The Deal: Will the O finally start to push the ball down the field more? The Bearcats have enough on defense in Luke Fickell’s second season to be better overall, but the offense has to prove it can produce.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 108
Cincinnati 2018 Team Preview

102. Tulane Green Wave

Relative Strengths: Running Game, Secondary
Relative Concerns: Defensive Line, Linebackers
Here’s The Deal: Is this the year the Willie Fritz option attack finally starts to dominate? It had better with a defensive front that will be an issue early on.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 81
Tulane 2018 Team Preview

101. BYU Cougars

Relative Strengths: Linebacker, Receiver
Relative Concerns: Running Back, Secondary
Here’s The Deal: Just how quickly can this whole thing turn around? Good play from the passing game will be a start, and the offensive line will be a big plus, but can the running game do much of anything? The defense will be fine, but it won’t make up for the offense if it’s not a whole lot stronger.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 110
BYU 2018 Team Preview

NEXT: 76-100, 50-75, Top 25

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