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

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50. Purdue Boilermakers

Relative Strengths: Coaching, Quarterbacks
Relative Concerns: Offensive Line, Secondary
Here’s The Deal: Remember, it took a win over Indiana in the final game of the regular season just to go bowling. The Boilermakers will be fine, but they lose a TON of big-time parts off the linebacking corps that was such a huge part of the success. The offense – it’s a Jeff Brohm attack – will start to find its footing a bit more consistently.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 46
Purdue 2018 Team Preview

49. San Diego State Aztecs

Relative Strengths: Offensive Line, Secondary
Relative Concerns:Defensive Line, Punting
Here’s The Deal: As always, the running game will be wonderful – even without Rashaad Penny – starting with an amazing offensive line. The D will come around – again, as always, but the line might need time to gel that it’s not going to get. Having a capable veteran quarterback in Christian Chapman will make up for a slew of issues.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 28
San Diego State 2018 Team Preview

48. Cal Golden Bears

Relative Strengths: Coaching Staff, Linebacker
Relative Concerns: Downfield Passing Game. Offensive Line
Here’s The Deal: The schedule is rough, but Justin Wilcox and the coaching staff are fantastic, and the defense is about to take a big turn into terrific. Are the offensive stars there? Not really – at least, there aren’t enough of them to challenge for the North title – but the O will be better.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 89
Cal 2018 Team Preview

47. Tennessee Volunteers

Relative Strengths: Jeremy Pruitt, Linebacker
Relative Concerns: Running Back, Scoring Points
Here’s The Deal: If nothing else, this isn’t going to be boring. Jeremy Pruitt won’t pull any punches when it comes to his team and how it’s evaluated, and it’s going to be a season-long process to find anything that’ll groove offensively. The defense, though, is going to be a bear right out of the gate under the new coaching staff.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 99
Tennessee 2018 Team Preview

46. Virginia Cavaliers

Relative Strengths: Bryce Perkins, Linebackers
Relative Concerns: Running Game, The Lines
Here’s The Deal: Because of a tough schedule, get ready for the better team/worse record problem. The addition of transfer QB Bryce Perkins will add another dimension to the offense, and despite some massive losses, the defensive back seven will be outstanding.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 77
Virginia 2018 Team Preview

45. Iowa State Cyclones

Relative Strengths: Coaching, Running Backs
Relative Concerns: The Lines, Linebacker
Here’s The Deal: The magic might not continue from last year’s breakthrough run, but the Cyclones are hardly going back to being doormats. David Montgomery and the running game will be special, but the pop to the passing game won’t quite be there and the defense won’t be as stingy.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 38
Iowa State 2018 Team Preview

44. Maryland Terrapins

Relative Strengths: Linebacker, Offensive Backfield
Relative Concerns: Sure-Thing QB Health, Offensive Line
Here’s The Deal: After a few years of great recruiting, DJ Durkin has the team in place to finally start making a whole lot of noise. But first, he needs a quarterback to stay healthy for more than a few games. The defensive front seven will be outstanding and should make up for the offensive concerns.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 98
Maryland 2018 Team Preview

43. UCF Knights

Relative Strengths: Quarterback, Linebacker
Relative Concerns: Secondary, No Scott Frost
Here’s The Deal: Yes, UCF will be good again, and no, it won’t be that good again. On the plus side, with the loss of Scott Frost and several of the big parts of last year’s run, there’s an attitude now – no one will think the Knights can do it all again. QB McKenzie Milton will go ballistic under new head man Josh Heupel.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 1
UCF 2018 Team Preview

42. Boston College Eagles

Relative Strengths: AJ Dillon, Secondary
Relative Concerns: Quarterback, Receiver
Here’s The Deal: There’s a big, giant question mark when it comes to the health of QB Anthony Brown. If he’s not ready to roll right away, there could be a rocky start. However RB AJ Dillon is going to be special again behind a great line. The defense will keep games tight to help out a grinding attack.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 49
Boston College 2018 Team Preview

41. Northwestern Wildcats

Relative Strengths: Defensive Line, Coaching
Relative Concerns: Secondary, Skill Players
Here’s The Deal: Is Clayton Thorson ready to roll? He’s hoping to be back by the start of the season, but he’s not going to push it and risk his NFL future after suffering a knee injury in the bowl game. The defense will be tough enough to pick up the slack for an offense that’ll take a step back.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 21
Northwestern 2018 Team Preview

40. Ole Miss Rebels

Relative Strengths: Quarterback, Receiver
Relative Concerns: Running Game, Defensive Line
Here’s The Deal: How much can the Rebels rely on QB Jordan Ta’amu, WR AJ Brown and the passing game to carry the team? A lot, but the defense won’t be able to help the cause in shootouts. This will be a good team but with a bad record. Along the way, though, it’ll put up a whole lot of points.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 69
Ole Miss 2018 Team Preview

39. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Relative Strengths: Quarterback, Linebacker
Relative Concerns: Receiver, Consistent passing game
Here’s The Deal: You know exactly what’s coming. TaQuon Marshall and the running game will be unstoppable at times, but he has to start hitting more of his passes. He doesn’t have to be Tom Brady, but the Yellow Jackets can’t finish the season completing just 36% of their passes again.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 75
Georgia Tech 2018 Team Preview

38. Arkansas Razorbacks

Relative Strengths: Linebacker, Passing Game
Relative Concerns: Kick Returns, Secondary
Here’s The Deal: New head coach Chad Morris will get the passing game going once he has the right pieces in place, and he’s got enough returning on defense to expect a bit more production. However, the secondary can’t keep getting torched and the D can’t be the worst in the SEC again.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 100
Arkansas 2018 Team Preview

37. Iowa Hawkeyes

Relative Strengths: Secondary, Defensive Line
Relative Concerns: Passing Game, Linebacker
Here’s The Deal: As always, Iowa will be rock-solid up front, but there are massive replacements in the linebacking corps and the passing attack has to be able to move the chains on a consistent basis. It’s a good team across the board, but the mediocre offense has to be able to open it up a bit.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 27
Iowa 2018 Team Preview

36. Boise State Broncos

Relative Strengths: Quarterback, Defensive Line
Relative Concerns: Receivers, Offensive Line
Here’s The Deal: The receivers have to come into place right away for QB Brett Rypien, and the offensive line has to do a better job in pass protection, but as long as the O can keep things moving just a little bit, the D will take care of the rest.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 10
Boise State 2018 Team Preview

35. Duke Blue Devils

Relative Strengths: Linebacker, Secondary
Relative Concerns: Offensive Line, Downfield Passing Game
Here’s The Deal: If the offense can find more pop down the field, and if the line can star battering away a little bit, watch out – this will be one of the ACC’s most annoying teams, at least for the rest of the league. The defense is going to be the real deal.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 56
Duke 2018 Team Preview

34. NC State Wolfpack

Relative Strengths: Quarterback, Receiver
Relative Concerns: Linebacker, Offensive Line
Here’s The Deal: The team isn’t as good as last year’s version, but it’ll be fine. Getting back QB Ryan Finley for another year is a start. He might lose a few of his main men, but the receiving corps is still going to be excellent and the Bradley Chubb-less defense will continue to be great.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 25
NC State 2018 Team Preview

33. UCLA Bruins

Relative Strengths: Chip Kelly, Quarterback
Relative Concerns: Defensive Line, Linebacker
Here’s The Deal: Start with landing Chip Kelly as the new head coach, and everything else will flow from there. The problem? He doesn’t have Chip Kelly players in place quite yet. Really, Wilton Speight might be the starting quarterback? He’s good, but he’s also the anti-Kelly quarterback type. The defensive front seven has to prove it can stop someone’s running game.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 74
UCLA 2018 Team Preview

32. Louisville Cardinals

Relative Strengths: Receiver, Linebacker
Relative Concerns: Running Back, Defensive Line
Here’s The Deal: You don’t get better by losing Lamar Jackson, but the passing game will be fine thanks to a strong receiving corps. The team became a bit too reliant on No. 8 doing everything – and why not? The rest of the offensive parts will take over now.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 40
Louisville 2018 Team Preview

31. Arizona Wildcats

Relative Strengths: Khalil Tate, Kevin Sumlin
Relative Concerns: Offensive Line, Defensive Line
Here’s The Deal: The pressure is on right away for the new guy. Kevin Sumlin has, arguably, the best quarterback in college football, and he’s inheriting a team good enough to win the Pac-12 South. As long as the defense can hold serve once in a while, look out.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 66
Arizona 2018 Team Preview

30. Texas A&M Aggies

Relative Strengths: Jimbo Fisher, Defensive Line
Relative Concerns: Secondary, Consistent Quarterback Play
Here’s The Deal: At least the coaching situation is settled now and everyone can take a deep breath. A&M has a national championship head man, and now it can go about the business of building into a true powerhouse. The pass rush will be stellar, and the parts are there to make the offense go. It’ll be a fun first run for Fisher.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 67
Texas A&M 2018 Team Preview

29. Virginia Tech Hokies

Relative Strengths: Josh Jackson, Defensive Line
Relative Concerns: Receiver, Offensive Line
Here’s The Deal: QB Josh Jackson will make up for some of the key losses in the receiving corps. The defensive line and secondary will be amazing, and the running game will be fine, but it’s up to Jackson to put the team on his back. He’ll do his part, and then let the D do the rest.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 33
Virginia Tech 2018 Team Preview

28. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Relative Strengths: Quarterback, Linebacker
Relative Concerns: Receiver, Consistent Passing Game
Here’s The Deal: There’s a chance the running game can find the same groove that was so devastating over the first part of last season, but that depends on settling the quarterback situation first between Brandon Wimbush and Ian Book. There’s just enough in place on both sides of the ball to come up with a strong year, and just enough missing – like in the receiving corps – to fall short of double-digit wins.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 9
Notre Dame 2018 Team Preview

27. Utah Utes

Relative Strengths: Secondary, Special Teams
Relative Concerns: Receiving Corps, Offensive Line
Here’s The Deal: Can Year Two in the new offensive system mean a more explosive, consistent attack? QB Tyler Huntley should be in for a bigger season if a few receivers emerge early on – and if he gets time to work. The Utes will win at least one game because their kicking game will be better.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 60
Utah 2018 Team Preview

26. Missouri Tigers

Relative Strengths: Drew Lock, Offensive Line
Relative Concerns: Secondary, Turnovers
Here’s The Deal: The Tigers have a potential NFL franchise quarterback in Drew Lock, along with the receiving corps to make the O go and the line to give everyone time to work. The attack will slow down a bit and be a lot more careful with the ball under new offensive coordinator Derek Dooley. Lock and the fantastic special teams will be enough to win with.
2017 Final Season Ranking: 70
Missouri 2018 Team Preview

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