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Ranking All 130 College Football Teams

Ranking every FBS team, top 130 college football

Ranking every FBS team, top 130 college football

The 2017-18 college football season is officially in the books, and it’s time to take a look back at the year with full 130 team rankings for every FBS team based upon the body of work. Alabama defeated Georgia on Jan. 8 to claim the national championship, and in no surprise, coach Nick Saban’s team takes the top spot in the rankings. The Bulldogs finish No. 2, with Clemson and Oklahoma rounding out the top four. UCF checks in at No. 5 after a perfect 13-0 season and bowl win over Auburn on Jan. 1. Check out Athlon's full 130 team rankings following the games after the bowl season:

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Ranking All 130 CFB Teams for 2017: Post-Bowl Edition

1. Alabama

2. Georgia

3. Clemson

4. Oklahoma

5. UCF

6. Ohio State

7. Wisconsin

8. Miami

9. Penn State

10. Auburn

11. TCU

12. USC

13. Stanford

14. Notre Dame

15. Michigan State

16. Oklahoma State

17. Mississippi State

18. Northwestern

19. Washington

20. Memphis

21. Washington State

22. Virginia Tech

23. USF

24. LSU

25. Boise State

26. Fresno State

27. Wake Forest

28. NC State

29. Iowa

30. Iowa State

31. FAU

32. San Diego State

33. Oregon

34. Boston College

35. Louisville

36. Texas

37. South Carolina

38. Michigan

39. Missouri

40. Texas A&M

41. Kansas State

42. Florida State

43. Troy

44. Army

45. Utah

46. West Virginia

47. Arizona State

48. Arizona

49. Appalachian State

50. Purdue

51. Ohio

52. Toledo

53. North Texas

54. Kentucky

55. Navy

56. UCLA

57. California

58. Virginia

59. Houston

60. Duke

61. Georgia Tech

62. Ole Miss

63. Northern Illinois

64. Texas Tech

65. Wyoming

66. Central Michigan

67. Florida

68. UAB

69. Southern Miss

70. Marshall

71. Syracuse

72. Pitt

73. Colorado

74. Colorado State

75. Louisiana Tech

76. SMU

77. Arkansas State

78. Vanderbilt

79. Tennessee

80. Temple

81. FIU

82. Arkansas

83. Maryland

84. Indiana

85. Minnesota

86. Nebraska

87. Tulane

88. Akron

89. UTSA

90. Western Michigan

91. New Mexico State

92. Georgia State

93. WKU

94. MTSU

95. Utah State

96. Eastern Michigan

97. Miami, Ohio

98. Buffalo

99. Air Force

100. North Carolina

101. Rutgers

102. Baylor

103. UNLV

104. ULM

105. Old Dominion

106. UMass

107. East Carolina

108. Cincinnati

109. BYU

110. Louisiana

111. New Mexico

112. Oregon State

113. Illinois

114. UConn

115. South Alabama

116. Nevada

117. Hawaii

118. Kansas

119. Tulsa

120. San Jose State

121. Bowling Green

122. Idaho

123. Georgia Southern

124. Texas State

125. Coastal Carolina

126. Kent State

127. Ball State

128. Rice

129. Charlotte

130. UTEP

Ranking All 130 CFB Teams for 2017 After Week 13

With 13 weeks of action from the 2017 season in the books, it's time to revamp the full top 130 team projections and predictions and rank every FBS team in college football. With 13 weeks completed, only one weekend of action remains in the 2017 college football season. But after Week 13, there was a shake up at the top of the rankings. With Alabama losing to Auburn, Clemson is the new No. 1 team. Coach Dabo Swinney's team takes on Miami in the ACC Championship on Saturday and would be the No. 1 seed in the CFB Playoff with a victory. Oklahoma moves to No. 2, with Auburn coming in at No. 3, followed by undefeated Wisconsin at No. 4. The Crimson Tide have slipped to No. 5 but aren't out of the playoff picture. Following a win over Boise State on Saturday, Fresno State has moved into the top 25, while Louisville, Oregon and Missouri are a few of the other teams on the rise headed into the bowl season. Check out Athlon's full 130 team rankings following the games after Week 13:

1. Clemson (11-1)

Week 13 Result: Defeated South Carolina

The Tigers are a win away from their third consecutive trip to the CFB Playoff.

2. Oklahoma (11-1)

Week 13 Result: Defeated West Virginia

Easy win over West Virginia sets up a showdown (or rematch) against TCU in the Big 12 Championship.

3. Auburn (10-2)

Week 13 Result: Defeated Alabama

For the second time (Georgia and Alabama) in 2017, Auburn defeated the No. 1 team in the nation.

4. Wisconsin (12-0)

Week 13 Result: Defeated Minnesota

Badgers’ defense turns in another dominant effort in Saturday’s win over Minnesota.

5. Alabama (11-1)

Week 13 Result: Lost to Auburn

Let the debate begin: Can the Crimson Tide get into the CFB Playoff with one loss and no SEC Championship?

6. Georgia (11-1)

Week 13 Result: Defeated Georgia Tech

Bulldogs successfully avenged last year’s loss to Georgia Tech with a blowout 38-7 victory over the Yellow Jackets on Saturday.

7. Miami (10-1)

Week 13 Result: Lost to Pitt

Loss to Pitt was a significant setback, but Miami’s playoff hopes are still alive with a win over Clemson.

8. Ohio State (10-2)

Week 13 Result: Defeated Michigan

Urban Meyer is now 6-0 as Ohio State’s coach against Michigan.

9. TCU (10-2)

Week 13 Result: Defeated Baylor

Can TCU’s defense find a way to slow down Oklahoma’s high-powered offense in the Big 12 Championship Game?

10. USC (10-2)

Week 13 Result: Bye Week

The Trojans had a scheduled bye in Week 13, which was the program’s first off week in the 2017 season. While one was needed during the regular season, the timing worked out with the Pac-12 Championship up next.

11. UCF (11-0)

Week 13 Result: Beat USF

Friday’s shootout between UCF-USF was easily one of college football’s best games from 2017.

12. Penn State (10-2)

Week 13 Result: Defeated Maryland

After destroying Maryland 66-3 on Saturday, the Nittany Lions should be in good shape to earn a spot in a New Year’s Six bowl.

13. Stanford (9-3)

Week 13 Result: Defeated Notre Dame

How healthy will running back Bryce Love be for Friday night’s Pac-12 Championship Game?

14. Notre Dame (9-3)

Week 13 Result: Lost to Stanford

A five-game improvement in the win column from 2016 to 2017 is a step in the right direction for coach Brian Kelly.

15. Michigan State (9-3)

Week 13 Result: Defeated Rutgers

Mark Dantonio should be near the top of the list for Big Ten Coach of the Year honors.

16. LSU (9-3)

Week 13 Result: Defeated Texas A&M

Quarterback Danny Etling has only one interception in his last seven games.

17. Washington (10-2)

Week 13 Result: Defeated Washington State

Chris Petersen’s defense has not allowed more than 17 points to Washington State in each of the last four matchups.

18. Oklahoma State (9-3)

Week 13 Result: Defeated Kansas

A win in a bowl game would give Oklahoma State three consecutive seasons of at least 10 wins.

19. Memphis (10-1)

Week 13 Result: Defeated East Carolina

The Tigers averaged 13 yards per play in Saturday’s 70-13 win over East Carolina.

20. Washington State (9-3)

Week 13 Result: Lost to Washington

Cougars fell short in their quest to win the division title, but coach Mike Leach’s team has still won 26 games over the last three years.

21. Northwestern (9-3)

Week 13 Result: Defeated Illinois

Wildcats hit bowl season riding a seven-game winning streak.

22. Virginia Tech (9-3)

Week 13 Result: Defeated Virginia

Hokies extend winning streak to 14 in a row over rival Virginia.

23. Mississippi State (8-4)

Week 13 Result: Lost to Ole Miss

Turnovers and the absence of quarterback Nick Fitzgerald just too much to overcome against rival Ole Miss on Thursday night.

24. USF (9-2)

Week 13 Result: Lost to UCF

Quarterback Quinton Flowers totaled 605 yards (a new school record) in Friday’s loss to UCF.

25. Fresno State (9-3)

Week 13 Result: Defeated Boise State

In Jeff Tedford’s first season at Fresno State, the Bulldogs improved their win total by eight games from last year’s 1-11 record.

26. Boise State

27. San Diego State

28. NC State

29. Michigan

30. Oregon

31. Wake Forest

32. Boston College

33. Louisville

34. Iowa

35. Iowa State

36. FAU

37. Texas

38. Texas A&M

39. South Carolina

40. Missouri

41. West Virginia

42. Arizona State

43. Arizona

44. Toledo

45. Kansas State

46. Kentucky

47. Florida State

48. California

49. Virginia

50. North Texas

51. Army

52. Troy

53. Utah

54. UCLA

55. Houston

56. Ohio

57. Navy

58. SMU

59. Arkansas State

60. Purdue

61. Ole Miss

62. Duke

63. Georgia Tech

64. Central Michigan

65. Northern Illinois

66. Texas Tech

67. UAB

68. Southern Miss

69. Syracuse

71. Pitt

72. Colorado

73. Wyoming

74. Colorado State

75. Vanderbilt

76. FIU

77. Appalachian State

78. Arkansas

79. Maryland

80. Indiana

81. Minnesota

82. Nebraska

82. Akron

83. UTSA

84. Marshall

85. Western Michigan

86. Florida

87. Tennessee

88. Temple

89. Louisiana Tech

90. North Carolina

91. Georgia State

92. WKU

93. MTSU

94. Air Force

95. Utah State

96. Rutgers

97. Tulane

98. Eastern Michigan

99. New Mexico State

100. Miami (Ohio)

101. Buffalo

102. UNLV

103. Baylor

104. ULM

105. Old Dominion

106. UMass

107. East Carolina

108. Cincinnati

109. Louisiana

110. New Mexico

111. Oregon State

112. Illinois

113. BYU

114. UConn

115. South Alabama

116. Nevada

117. Hawaii

118. Kansas

119. Tulsa

120. Bowling Green

121. San Jose State

122. Georgia Southern

123. Texas State

124. Coastal Carolina

125. Idaho

126. Kent State

127. Ball State

128. Rice

129. Charlotte

130. UTEP

Ranking All 130 CFB Teams for 2017 After Week 12

With 12 weeks of action from the 2017 season in the books, it's time to revamp the full top 130 team projections and predictions and rank every FBS team in college football. With 12 weeks completed, only two weekends remain in the 2017 college football season. The Week 12 schedule was light on ranked matchups, and with few losses inside of the top 25, there aren't many changes at the top from the post-Week 11 version. However, several teams outside of the top 25 are on the move. Wake Forest, North Texas, FAU, Akron, Missouri and Kansas State are the big movers headed into Week 13, with Ohio, Georgia Tech, Texas Tech, Tennessee and Vanderbilt tumbling after losses last week. Check out Athlon's full 130 team rankings following the games after Week 12:

1. Alabama (11-0)

Week 12 Result: Defeated Mercer

Will the Crimson Tide get any injured defenders back in time for the Iron Bowl at Auburn?

2. Oklahoma (10-1)

Week 12 Result: Defeated Kansas

Win over Kansas secured spot for Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship Game.

3. Miami (10-0)

Week 12 Result: Defeated Virginia

Hurricanes overcome slow start against Virginia to improve to 10-0.

4. Clemson (10-1)

Week 12 Result: Defeated The Citadel

As expected, the Tigers didn’t have to sweat much in Saturday’s win over The Citadel. The challenge gets significantly tougher next week against South Carolina.

5. Wisconsin (11-0)

Week 12 Result: Defeated Michigan

Timely offense and standout defense lead the way in Saturday’s victory against Michigan.

6. Auburn (9-2)

Week 12 Result: Defeated ULM

The Tigers have scored at least 40 points in seven out of the last eight games. How will this offense perform against Alabama?

7. Georgia (10-1)

Week 12 Result: Defeated Kentucky

Nick Chubb and Sony Michel cap off standout careers in Athens with big performances against Kentucky.

8. Ohio State (9-2)

Week 12 Result: Defeated Illinois

J.T. Barrett is the first quarterback in Big Ten history to reach 100 touchdown passes. 

9. Notre Dame (9-2)

Week 12 Result: Defeated Navy

Notre Dame’s defense held Navy to 277 rushing yards in Saturday’s win, which was the fewest allowed to the Midshipmen since giving up 149 in 2012.

10. TCU (9-2)

Week 12 Result: Defeated Texas Tech

Horned Frogs were shorthanded due to injury but easily handled Texas Tech in Lubbock.

11. USC (10-2)

Week 12 Result: Defeated UCLA

Trojans knock off crosstown rival UCLA and will get a needed bye in Week 13 to prep for Pac-12 Championship.

12. UCF (10-0)

Week 12 Result: Defeated Temple

Knights ace another test, defeating Temple 45-19 in Philadelphia. Up next is rival USF.

13. Michigan State (8-3)

Week 12 Result: Defeated Maryland

Thanks to 271 rushing yards, Spartans only needed two completed passes from quarterback Brian Lewerke to defeat Maryland.

14. Penn State (9-2)

Week 12 Result: Defeated Nebraska

A win over Maryland in the season finale should position James Franklin’s team for a New Year’s Six bowl.

15. LSU (8-3)

Week 12 Result: Defeated Tennessee

LSU’s rushing attack gashed Tennessee for 200 yards and four touchdowns in Saturday night’s 30-10 victory.

16. Washington State (9-2)

Week 12 Result: Bye Week

The Cougars can win the Pac-12 North with a win over Washington.

17. Mississippi State (8-3)

Week 12 Result: Defeated Arkansas

Bulldogs were sluggish in the first half against Arkansas, but quarterback Nick Fitzgerald and defense delivered in the clutch to secure the program’s eighth victory in 2017.

18. Stanford (8-3)

Week 12 Result: Defeated California

The Cardinal have won eight in a row over rival California.

19. Washington (9-2)

Week 12 Result: Defeated Utah

Huskies rallied in second half to beat Utah, but coach Chris Petersen’s team was eliminated from the Pac-12 North Division title mix after Stanford beat California.

20. Oklahoma State (8-3)

Week 12 Result: Lost to Kansas State

Loss to Kansas State eliminated Oklahoma State from the Big 12 Championship mix.

21. Memphis (9-1)

Week 12 Result: Defeated SMU

The Tigers win over SMU clinched the AAC’s West Division and a trip to the conference title game on Dec. 2

22. Iowa State (7-4)

Week 12 Result: Defeated Baylor

Quarterback Zeb Noland (14 of 28 for 180 yards and two scores) was steady in his first career start for the Cyclones.

23. Northwestern (8-3)

Week 12 Result: Defeated Minnesota

Running back Justin Jackson has eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards in all four years of playing time.

24. Boise State (9-2)

Week 12 Result: Defeated Air Force

The Broncos have allowed less than 20 points in six out of the last seven games.

25. Virginia Tech (8-3)

Week 12 Result: Defeated Pitt

Defense delivers with four stops at the one-yard line to beat Pitt in the final seconds.

26. Michigan

27. USF

28. Texas A&M

29. Wake Forest

30. South Carolina

31. NC State

32. Texas

33. West Virginia

34. Fresno State

35. San Diego State

36. Iowa

37. Oregon

38. Arizona

39. Boston College

40. Louisville

41. FAU

42. Kentucky

43. Missouri

44. California

45. Virginia

46. Florida State

47. Arizona State

48. Ohio

49. Toledo

50. Kansas State

51. Georgia Tech

52. Northern Illinois

53. Navy

54. North Texas

55. Army

56. Troy

57. Utah

58. UCLA

59. Houston

60. SMU

61. Arkansas State

62. Purdue

63. Syracuse

64. Indiana

65. Wyoming

66. Central Michigan

67. Arkansas

68. Ole Miss

69. Maryland

70. UAB

71. Southern Miss

72. Colorado

73. Colorado State

74. Minnesota

75. Nebraska

76. Akron

77. Duke

78. Texas Tech

79. FIU

80. UTSA

81. Marshall

82. Western Michigan

83. Florida

84. Pitt

85. Tennessee

86. Appalachian State

87. Vanderbilt

88. North Carolina

89. Rutgers

90. Utah State

91. Georgia State

92. Louisiana Tech

93. WKU

94. MTSU

95. Tulane

96. UNLV

97. Eastern Michigan

98. New Mexico State

99. Temple

100. Air Force

101. Baylor

102. ULM

103. Miami, Ohio

104. Buffalo

105. Old Dominion

106. UMass

107. Louisiana

108. East Carolina

109. Cincinnati

110. New Mexico

111. Oregon State

112. Hawaii

113. Illinois

114. UConn

115. South Alabama

116. Kansas

117. Tulsa

118. BYU

119. Nevada

120. Bowling Green

121. Idaho

122. Texas State

123. Coastal Carolina

124. San Jose State

125. Kent State

126. Ball State

127. Georgia Southern

128. Rice

129. Charlotte

130. UTEP

Ranking All 130 CFB Teams for 2017 After Week 11

With 11 weeks of action from the 2017 season in the books, it's time to revamp the full top 130 team projections and predictions and rank every FBS team in college football. With 11 weeks completed, only three weekends remain in the 2017 college football season. Alabama remains No. 1 after escaping Starkville with a close win over Mississippi State. The Crimson Tide have a looming showdown against Auburn in Week 13, which will decide the winner of the SEC West. Oklahoma jumps to No. 2 after a convincing win over TCU, with Miami checking in at No. 3 following a dominant win over Notre Dame. Clemson is No. 4 in this week's rankings, followed by undefeated Wisconsin at No. 5 and Auburn at No. 6 after a huge win against Georgia. Check out Athlon's full 130 team rankings following the games after Week 11:

1. Alabama (10-0)

Week 11 Result: Defeated Mississippi State

Jalen Hurts and Calvin Ridley delivered in the clutch for the Crimson Tide to escape Starkville with a victory.

2. Oklahoma (9-1)

Week 11 Result: Defeated TCU

The Sooners averaged 7.8 yards per play against a tough TCU defense on Saturday night, which will only help quarterback Baker Mayfield increase his lead in the race to win the Heisman Trophy.

3. Miami (9-0)

Week 11 Result: Defeated Notre Dame

It’s official: The U is back. And thanks to Virginia’s loss to Louisville, the Hurricanes are the champs of the Coastal Division title for the first time since joining the ACC.

4. Clemson (9-1)

Week 11 Result: Defeated Florida State

The Tigers weren’t particularly impressive in the win over Florida State, but coach Dabo Swinney’s team pulled away late to secure the Atlantic Division title.

5. Wisconsin (10-0)

Week 11 Result: Defeated Iowa

Badgers’ defense dominates in win over Iowa. Victory over Hawkeyes also clinches a trip to Indianapolis for Wisconsin.

6. Auburn (8-2)

Week 11 Result: Defeated Georgia

Auburn won the battle up front on both sides of the ball and got clutch performances from running back Kerryon Johnson and quarterback Jarrett Stidham in Saturday’s huge win over Georgia.

7. Georgia (9-1)

Week 11 Result: Lost to Auburn

Loss to Auburn was a setback, but the Bulldogs are still alive for the CFB Playoff.

8. Ohio State (8-2)

Week 11 Result: Defeated Michigan State

Buckeyes rebound from last week’s disappointing loss at Iowa to demolish Michigan State 48-3.

9. Notre Dame (8-2)

Week 11 Result: Lost to Miami

Miami’s speed and athleticism and inconsistent quarterback play from Brandon Wimbush and Ian Book were just too much to overcome in Saturday’s loss.

10. TCU (8-2)

Week 11 Result: Lost to Oklahoma

A rematch against Oklahoma awaits TCU if it can win its next two regular season games.

11. Oklahoma State (8-2)

Week 11 Result: Beat Iowa State

The Cowboys need help in order to get to the Big 12 Championship Game, but the win at Iowa State keeps Mike Gundy’s team in the mix.

12. USC (9-2)

Week 11 Result: Defeated Colorado

For the second time in three seasons under coach Clay Helton, the Trojans are headed to the Pac-12 Championship Game.

13. UCF (9-0)

Week 11 Result: Defeated UConn

The Knights have scored at least 30 points in every game this season and have six contests of 40 or more points.

14. Michigan State (7-3)

Week 11 Result: Lost to Ohio State

Spartans had no answers to slow down Ohio State’s offense in Saturday’s loss.

15. Penn State (8-2)

Week 11 Result: Defeated Rutgers

The Nittany Lions started slow but eventually pulled away for a 35-6 win over Rutgers. Running back Saquon Barkley has been held under 100 rushing yards in three consecutive games.

16. LSU (7-3)

Week 11 Result: Defeated Arkansas

Saturday’s performance (11 of 16 for 217 yards and two touchdowns) was one of the better games for quarterback Danny Etling in his LSU career.

17. Washington State (9-2)

Week 11 Result: Defeated Utah

Mike Leach’s team has a timely bye in Week 12 before the Apple Cup showdown against Washington in Week 13.

18. Mississippi State (7-3)

Week 11 Result: Lost to Alabama

The Bulldogs won their share of battles in the trenches against Alabama on Saturday night. However, it wasn’t enough in the end, as the Crimson Tide’s offense made just enough plays to leave Starkville with the victory.

19. Stanford (7-3)

Week 11 Result: Defeated Washington

Bryce Love and a standout effort by the defense helped Stanford upset Washington on Friday night.

20. Washington (8-2)

Week 11 Result: Lost to Stanford

The 30 points allowed to Stanford on Friday night was the most Washington has surrendered all season.

21. Michigan (8-2)

Week 11 Result: Defeated Maryland

Jim Harbaugh’s team can play spoiler with matchups against Wisconsin and Ohio State up next.

22. Iowa (6-4)

Week 11 Result: Lost to Wisconsin

Cornerback Joshua Jackson continued his stellar season by returning two interceptions for a score against Wisconsin.

23. Iowa State (6-4)

Week 11 Result: Lost to Oklahoma State

The Cyclones could be down to their No. 3 quarterback (Zeb Noland) for the next two weeks.

24. Memphis (8-1)

Week 11 Result: Bye Week

The Tigers can clinch the AAC West Division with a win over SMU this Saturday.

25. NC State (7-3)

Week 11 Result: Defeated Boston College

Defensive end Bradley Chubb now owns the school record for most career sacks (26).

26.  Virginia Tech

27. West Virginia

28. Arizona

29. USF

30. Northwestern

31. Boise State

32. Texas A&M

33. South Carolina

34. Georgia Tech

35. Texas

36. Fresno State

37. San Diego State

38. Wake Forest

39. Boston College

40. Louisville

41. Kentucky

42. California

43. Ohio

44. Toledo

45. Missouri

46. Virginia

47. FAU

48. Florida State

49. Syracuse

50. Arizona State

51. Oregon

52. Utah

53. UCLA

54. Navy

55. Army

56. Troy

57. Houston

58. SMU

59. Northern Illinois

60. North Texas

61. Arkansas State

62. Wyoming

63. Arkansas

64. Ole Miss

65. Purdue

66. Kansas State

67. Texas Tech

68. Maryland

69. Indiana

70. UAB

71. Minnesota

72. Nebraska

73. Colorado

74. Colorado State

75. Vanderbilt

76. Central Michigan

77. FIU

78. Marshall

79. Pitt

80. Florida

81. Tennessee

82. Southern Miss

83. Western Michigan

84. Rutgers

85. UTSA

86. Appalachian State

87. Duke

88. North Carolina

89. New Mexico State

90. Air Force

91. MTSU

92. Georgia State

93. Utah State

94. Louisiana Tech

95. WKU

96. Baylor

97. Temple

98. New Mexico

99. Eastern Michigan

100. Akron

101. Cincinnati

102. Tulane

103. UNLV

104. Miami, Ohio

105. ULM

106. Buffalo

107. Oregon State

108. Old Dominion

109. UMass

110. Louisiana

111. South Alabama

112. Hawaii

113. Illinois

114. UConn

115. Kansas

116. Tulsa

117. East Carolina

118. BYU

119. Nevada

120. Idaho

121. Bowling Green

122. Texas State

123. San Jose State

124. Kent State

125. Ball State

126. Coastal Carolina

127. Rice

128. Charlotte

129. Georgia Southern

130. UTEP

Ranking All 130 CFB Teams for 2017 After Week 10

With 10 weeks of action from the 2017 season in the books, it's time to revamp the full top 130 team projections and predictions and rank every FBS team in college football. With 10 weeks completed, only four weekends remain in the 2017 college football season. Last week provided a few surprises, which also had a significant impact on the rankings. Alabama defeated LSU, and Georgia beat South Carolina to remain the top two teams in the nation. Notre Dame, Clemson and Oklahoma round out the top five, with Miami and Wisconsin leading the next tier. The Hurricanes defeated Virginia Tech last Saturday and have a key showdown against the Fighting Irish in Week 11. That game will play a huge role in the playoff outlook for both teams. Iowa joins the top 25 after its upset win over Ohio State, and FAU has reached the top 50 under first-year coach Lane Kiffin. Check out Athlon's full 130 team rankings following the games after Week 10:

1. Alabama (9-0)

Week 10 Result: Defeated LSU

Crimson Tide handle LSU once again. But injuries on defense are a concern with Mississippi State up next.

2. Georgia (9-0)

Week 10 Result: Defeated South Carolina

The Bulldogs clinched the SEC East on Saturday, but coach Kirby Smart’s team has its eyes on a bigger prize – a CFB Playoff trip.

3. Notre Dame (8-1)

Week 10 Result: Defeated Wake Forest

Quarterback Brandon Wimbush seems poised to finish November in a big way.

4. Clemson (8-1)

Week 10 Result: Defeated NC State

Dabo Swinney’s team will clinch the Atlantic Division with a victory against Florida State on Saturday.

5. Oklahoma (8-1)

Week 10 Result: Defeated Oklahoma State

Defense remains an issue, but quarterback Baker Mayfield could carry Oklahoma into the CFB Playoff.

6. Miami (8-0)

Week 10 Result: Defeated Virginia Tech

The Hurricanes delivered a convincing win over Virginia Tech on Saturday. However, the path to a playoff spot won’t get any easier with a visit from Notre Dame up next.

7. Wisconsin (9-0)

Week 10 Result: Defeated Indiana

The Badgers are the Big Ten’s best hope of a playoff team in 2017.

8. TCU (8-1)

Week 10 Result: Defeated Texas

Gary Patterson’s defense leads the Big 12 with 28 sacks generated.

9. Washington (8-1)

Week 10 Result: Defeated Oregon

Huskies are the only one-loss team in the Pac-12, which means Chris Petersen’s team is still in the mix to get to the CFB Playoff.

10. Michigan State (7-2)

Week 10 Result: Defeated Penn State

From 3-9 last season to division champ in 2017? It’s possible for coach Mark Dantonio’s team - provided it can navigate a road trip to Ohio State this Saturday.

11. Ohio State (7-2)

Week 10 Result: Lost to Iowa

A complete meltdown by the Buckeyes in road loss to Iowa.

12. Auburn (7-2)

Week 10 Result: Defeated Texas A&M

The Tigers have scored at least 42 points in five out of six SEC games this season.

13. Penn State (7-2)

Week 10 Result: Lost to Michigan State

Running back Saquan Barkley has been held under 100 rushing yards in four out of Penn State’s last five games.

14. Oklahoma State (7-2)

Week 10 Result: Lost to Oklahoma

Oklahoma State’s defense simply had no answer for Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield in Saturday’s Bedlam defeat.

15. USC (8-2)

Week 10 Result: Defeated Arizona

USC’s offense eclipsed 300 passing and 300 rushing yards for the second time in a game this year. That offensive performance was enough to hold off Arizona and dynamic quarterback Khalil Tate.

16. UCF (8-0)

Week 10 Result: Defeated SMU

SMU gave UCF a battle, but the Knights held on for a victory in Dallas. UConn is up next, and Temple has played better recently, but coach Scott Frost's team is likely to be 11-0 headed into the showdown against USF on Nov. 24.

17. LSU (6-3)

Week 10 Result: Lost to Alabama

With Arkansas, Tennessee and Texas A&M to close out the season, LSU should finish its regular season at 9-3.

18. Iowa (6-3)

Week 10 Result: Defeated Ohio State

Iowa’s 55-24 victory over Ohio State might be the most surprising score and outcome of the 2017 college football season.

19. Iowa State (6-3)

Week 10 Result: Lost to West Virginia

Cyclones’ second-half rally in Morgantown fell short, but coach Matt Campbell’s team is still alive for the Big 12 title game.

20. Virginia Tech (7-2)

Week 10 Result: Lost to Miami

The Hokies need more out of their ground game and big plays on offense going forward.

21. Mississippi State (7-2)

Week 10 Result: Defeated UMass

Bulldogs will have to play a lot better than they did against UMass to have a shot against Alabama on Saturday.

22. Michigan (7-2)

Week 10 Result: Defeated Minnesota

Wolverines pounded Minnesota for 371 rushing yards on Saturday night.

23. Memphis (8-1)

Week 10 Result: Defeated Tulsa

The Tigers are off in Week 11 but a win over SMU on Nov. 18 would clinch the AAC West Division.

24. NC State (6-3)

Week 10 Result: Lost to Clemson

The Wolfpack have lost only six turnovers this season but four of those came in the team’s two losses (South Carolina and Clemson).

25. West Virginia (6-3)

Week 10 Result: Defeated Iowa State

West Virginia’s 524 total yards against Iowa State were the most allowed by the Cyclones in a game in 2017.

26. Arizona

27. Washington State

28. USF

29. Toledo

30. Stanford

31. Northwestern

32. Virginia

33. Boise State

34. Texas

35. Texas A&M

36. South Carolina

37. Georgia Tech

38. Wake Forest

39. Boston College

40. Louisville

41. Arizona State

42. California

43. Fresno State

44. San Diego State

45. Florida State

46. Syracuse

47. Kentucky

48. Oregon

49. Utah

50. FAU

51. SMU

52. Troy

53. Navy

54. Houston

55. Army

56. UCLA

57. Arkansas State

58. Northern Illinois

59. North Texas

60. Arkansas

61. Ole Miss

62. Vanderbilt

63. Kansas State

64. Texas Tech

65. Maryland

66. Indiana

67. Nebraska

68. Purdue

69. Missouri

70. Florida

71. Wyoming

72. Pitt

73. Colorado

74. Colorado State

75. Ohio

76. UAB

77. FIU

78. Marshall

79. Tennessee

80. Southern Miss

81. Central Michigan

82. Western Michigan

83. Rutgers

84. UTSA

85. Minnesota

86. Appalachian State

87. Duke

88. New Mexico State

89. Air Force

90. WKU

91. North Carolina

92. Baylor

93. Louisiana Tech

94. Eastern Michigan

95. Utah State

96. MTSU

97. UNLV

98. New Mexico

99. Oregon State

100. Akron

101. Cincinnati

102. Tulane

103. Georgia State

104. ULM

105. Temple

106. Miami, Ohio

107. Buffalo

108. Hawaii

109. Illinois

110. Louisiana

111. South Alabama

112. UConn

113. UMass

114. Kansas

115. Tulsa

116. East Carolina

117. Nevada

118. BYU

119. Idaho

120. Old Dominion

121. Bowling Green

122. Texas State

123. San Jose State

124. Kent State

125. Ball State

126. Coastal Carolina

127. Rice

128. Charlotte

129. Georgia Southern

130. UTEP

Ranking All 130 CFB Teams for 2017 After Week 9

With nine weeks of action from the 2017 season in the books, it's time to revamp the full top 130 team projections and predictions and rank every FBS team in college football. With nine weeks completed, the 2017 college football season has reached the second half of the year and only five weekends remain until the CFB Playoff is selected. Alabama was on bye in Week 9 and remains the No. 1 team headed into November. Georgia has a strong resume thanks to a non-conference win over Notre Dame, and coach Kirby Smart's team has dominated in SEC play. The Crimson Tide and Bulldogs are a cut above the rest of the nation right now, with Notre Dame, Clemson, Oklahoma and Ohio State rounding out the top six. Iowa State, Arizona and Boston College are three of this week's big movers after picking up key wins in conference play last weekend. Check out Athlon's full 130 team rankings following the games after Week 9:

1. Alabama (8-0)

Week 9 Result: Bye Week

The Crimson Tide had a bye in Week 9 and return to action on Saturday night against LSU.

2. Georgia (8-0)

Week 9 Result: Defeated Florida

Bulldogs move once step closer to winning SEC Championship after blowing out rival Florida in Jacksonville.

3. Notre Dame (7-1)

Week 9 Result: Defeated NC State

Fighting Irish gashed a standout NC State defensive line for 318 rushing yards and two touchdowns in Saturday’s 35-14 victory.

4. Clemson (7-1)

Week 9 Result: Defeated Georgia Tech

A healthy Kelly Bryant at quarterback makes a big difference for the Tigers’ offense.

5. Oklahoma (7-1)

Week 9 Result: Beat Ohio State

Oklahoma’s place in the Big 12 and CFB Playoff mix is likely to be decided in next two weeks with matchups against Oklahoma State and TCU.

6. Ohio State (7-1)

Week 9 Result: Beat Penn State

Since the loss to Oklahoma, quarterback J.T. Barrett has passed for 22 touchdowns and zero interceptions. And Barrett’s performance against Penn State should get the senior into the Heisman conversation.

7. Penn State (7-1)

Week 9 Result: Lost to Ohio State

Despite the loss to Ohio State, don’t count out the Nittany Lions in the CFB Playoff mix.

8. Wisconsin (8-0)

Week 9 Result: Defeated Illinois

The Badgers have allowed only one opponent (Northwestern) to score more than 20 points in a game this season.

9. Miami (7-0)

Week 9 Result: Defeated North Carolina

The Hurricanes turned in a sluggish performance against North Carolina but once again found a way to win.

10. TCU (7-1)

Week 9 Result: Lost to Iowa State

Three turnovers (including two in the red zone) were tough to overcome against Iowa State.

11. Oklahoma State (7-1)

Week 9 Result: Defeated West Virginia

The Cowboys’ defense came up big in Saturday’s win against West Virginia.

12. Washington (7-1)

Week 9 Result: Defeated UCLA

The Huskies remain the Pac-12’s best hope to get a team in the CFB Playoff. However, this team has a lot of work to do in November in order to get to the top four.

13. Virginia Tech (7-1)

Week 9 Result: Defeated Duke

The Hokies have allowed only 20 points over their last three games.

14. Iowa State (6-2)

Week 9 Result: Defeated TCU

Matt Campbell’s second season has been a special one in Ames. The Cyclones have two wins – Oklahoma and TCU – over top-five teams this season.

15. UCF (7-0)

Week 9 Result: Defeated Austin Peay

The Knights are the clear frontrunner to earn the Group of 5 bowl spot in a New Year’s Six bowl.

16. LSU (6-2)

Week 9 Result: Bye Week

The Tigers had a bye in Week 9 and return to action on Saturday against Alabama.

17. USC (7-2)

Week 9 Result: Defeated Arizona State

Arizona State’s improved defense was no match for USC’s offense on Saturday night, as the Trojans recorded 607 total yards in the 48-17 win.

18. Auburn (6-2)

Week 9 Result: Bye Week

Auburn had a bye in Week 9 and return to action in Week 10 against Texas A&M.

19. NC State (6-2)

Week 9 Result: Lost to Notre Dame

The Wolfpack’s CFB Playoffs are over after loss at Notre Dame. However, a win over Clemson in Week 10 would put coach Dave Doeren’s team in control to claim the ACC’s Atlantic Division title.

20. Stanford (6-2)

Week 9 Result: Defeated Oregon State

It wasn’t pretty, but the Cardinal found a way to escape Corvallis with a victory.

21. Mississippi State (6-2)

Week 9 Result: Defeated Texas A&M

Each of Mississippi State’s six victories have come by 20 points or more this season

22. Michigan State (6-2)

Week 9 Result: Lost to Northwestern

Spartans’ running game managed only 95 yards in loss to Northwestern.

23. Michigan (6-2)

Week 9 Result: Defeated Rutgers

Quarterback Brandon Peters (10 of 14 for 124 yards and a score) finally got an extended look in on-field action during Saturday's win over Rutgers.

24. Memphis (7-1)

Week 9 Result: Beat Tulane

With Tulsa, SMU and East Carolina remaining, Memphis has a clear (and favorable) path to the American Athletic Conference’s West Division title.

25. Arizona (6-2)

Week 9 Result: Defeated Washington State

The emergence of quarterback Khalil Tate has propelled Arizona into the mix to win the Pac-12 South.  

26. Washington State

27. USF

28. West Virginia

29. Texas

30. Toledo

31. Georgia Tech

32. Northwestern

33. Iowa

34. Texas A&M

35. Navy

36. South Carolina

37. Boise State

38. Wake Forest

39. Boston College

40. Louisville

41. Kentucky

42. Arizona State

43. Virginia

44. California

45. Syracuse

46. UCLA

47. Oregon

48. Utah

49. Fresno State

50. San Diego State

51. Texas Tech

52. Houston

53. SMU

54. Troy

55. Colorado State

56. Maryland

57. Indiana

58. FAU

59. Florida State

60. Northern Illinois

61. Arkansas State

62. Florida

63. Colorado

64. Nebraska

65. Purdue

66. Arkansas

67. Ole Miss

68. Vanderbilt

69. Kansas State

70. Pitt

71. Western Michigan

72. North Texas

73. Appalachian State

74. Marshall

75. Army

76. Tennessee

77. Minnesota

78. Ohio

79. Air Force

80. UAB

81. Southern Miss

82. FIU

83. UTSA

84. Wyoming

85. Missouri

86. Duke

87. WKU

88. Tulane

89. New Mexico State

90. New Mexico

91. North Carolina

92. Louisiana Tech

93. Central Michigan

94. Baylor

95. Eastern Michigan

96. Oregon State

97. Rutgers

98. Hawaii

99. MTSU

100. Akron

101. Utah State

102. Illinois

103. Miami, Ohio

104. Georgia State

105. Buffalo

106. South Alabama

107. UNLV

108. Kansas

109. UConn

110. Tulsa

111. Cincinnati

112. East Carolina

113. Temple

114. Nevada

115. BYU

116. Louisiana

117. Idaho

118. ULM

119. UMass

120. Old Dominion

121. Bowling Green

122. Texas State

123. Kent State

124. San Jose State

125. Ball State

126. Coastal Carolina

127. Rice

128. Charlotte

129. Georgia Southern

130. UTEP

Ranking All 130 CFB Teams for 2017 After Week 8

With eight weeks of action from the 2017 season in the books, it's time to revamp the full top 130 team projections and predictions and rank every FBS team in college football. With eight weeks completed, the 2017 college football season has reached the second half of the year and only six weekends remain until the CFB Playoff is selected. As expected, there are significant changes to the projected rankings from the preseason and plenty more to come over the next six weekends of action. Alabama remains No. 1 after a dominant win over Tennessee, with Georgia checking in at No. 2 following a bye week. The Crimson Tide and Bulldogs appear to be on a collision course for a matchup in the SEC Championship in early December. Penn State is No. 3 following Saturday night’s blowout victory against Michigan, with TCU, Clemson, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Miami and Notre Dame rounding out the top 10. Fresno State and Boston College are two big movers outside of the top 25 in this week’s rankings. Check out Athlon's full 130 team rankings following the games after Week 8:

1. Alabama (8-0)

Week 8 Result: Defeated Tennessee

Crimson Tide continue their dominance against SEC foes with an easy win over Tennessee.

2. Georgia (7-0)

Week 8 Result: Bye Week

The Bulldogs had a bye in Week 8 and return to action next Saturday against Florida.

3. Penn State (7-0)

Week 8 Result: Defeated Michigan

The Nittany Lions crossed one big hurdle off the schedule with an easy win over Michigan. But the path won’t get any easier this Saturday, as Penn State visits Columbus for a showdown against Ohio State.

4. TCU (7-0)

Week 8 Result: Defeated Kansas

Horned Frogs thoroughly dominate Kansas in 43-0 victory. TCU’s defense limited Kansas to just 21 yards on 49 plays.

5. Clemson (6-1)

Week 8 Result: Bye Week

The Tigers had a bye in Week 8 and return to action this Saturday against Georgia Tech. The health status of quarterback Kelly Bryant is one of the top storylines to watch this week.

6. Oklahoma (6-1)

Week 8 Result: Defeated Kansas State

Quarterback Baker Mayfield was brilliant once again, as the senior recorded 479 overall yards in the win over Kansas State.

7. Ohio State (6-1)

Week 8 Result: Bye Week

The Buckeyes had a bye in Week 8 and return to action on Saturday against Penn State

8. Wisconsin (7-0)

Week 8 Result: Defeated Maryland

Wisconsin’s defense has returned four interceptions (including one against Maryland) for touchdowns this season.

9. Miami (6-0)

Week 8 Result: Defeated Syracuse

Quarterback Malik Rosier threw for a career high 344 yards in Saturday’s win over Syracuse.

10. Notre Dame (6-1)

Week 8 Result: Defeated USC

The second-half schedule won’t be easy for a run at the CFB Playoff, but the Fighting Irish are off to a good start after dismantling USC on Saturday night.

11. Oklahoma State (6-1)

Week 8 Result: Defeated Texas

It wasn’t pretty, but Cowboys survive slugfest in Austin to improve to 6-1.

12. Washington (6-1)

Week 8 Result: Bye Week

The Huskies had a bye in Week 8, which allowed coach Chris Petersen’s team to regroup after losing to Arizona State in Week 7.

13. Washington State (7-1)

Week 8 Result: Defeated Colorado

The weather wasn’t ideal, but the Cougars leaned on balanced attack on offense and a shutout on defense to rebound from last week’s loss to California.

14. NC State (6-1)

Week 8 Result: Bye Week

The bye week came at a good time for coach Dave Doeren’s team. NC State has a difficult back-to-back set of games, as the Wolfpack play Notre Dame this Saturday, followed by a matchup versus Clemson in Week 10.

15. Virginia Tech (6-1)

Week 8 Result: Defeated North Carolina

Saturday’s 52-point win over North Carolina is the Hokies’ largest margin of victory in ACC play.

16. Michigan State (6-1)

Week 8 Result: Defeated Indiana

Spartans’ offense delivers in fourth quarter to knock off Indiana 17-9 in a defensive slugfest.

17. UCF (6-0)

Week 8 Result: Defeated Navy

UCF’s offense seems to get most of the national attention during the program’s 6-0 start, but the defense delivered a key performance against Navy. The Knights limited the Midshipmen to 248 rushing yards and did not allow a run longer than 14 yards.

18. USF (7-0)

Week 8 Result: Defeated Tulane

By scoring 34 points in Saturday’s win at Tulane, the Bulls set a new FBS record with 24 consecutive games with at least 30 points.

19. LSU (6-2)

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Week 8 Result: Defeated Ole Miss

Derrius Guice finally looks healthy – and that’s bad news for the rest of the opponents on LSU’s schedule.

20. USC (6-2)

Week 8 Result: Lost to Notre Dame

Following the loss to Notre Dame, USC’s playoff hopes for 2017 are officially over.

21. Stanford (5-2)

Week 8 Result: Bye Week

The Cardinal had a bye week on Saturday, allowing coach David Shaw to get a head start on a key November stretch – at Washington State, Washington, California and Notre Dame – for a team that has Pac-12 title aspirations.

22. Auburn (6-2)

Week 8 Result: Defeated Arkansas

Tigers rebounded in a big way from last week’s loss against LSU by defeating Arkansas 52-20.

23. Michigan (5-2)

Week 8 Result: Lost to Penn State

Penn State’s dynamic duo of Saquon Barkley and Trace McSorley was simply too much for Michigan’s top-ranked defense on Saturday night. Can the Wolverines find a spark on offense over the last month of the season?

24. West Virginia (5-2)

Week 8 Result: Defeated Baylor

Mountaineers opened up a big lead in Saturday’s game at Baylor but had to hold on late after a furious rally by the Bears. Dana Holgorsen’s ground attack could use a spark after managing only 162 yards over the last two contests.

25. Texas A&M (5-2)

Week 8 Result: Bye Week

The Aggies had a bye in Week 8 and return to action next Saturday against Mississippi State.

26. Georgia Tech

27. Memphis

28. Mississippi State

29. Texas

30. Iowa State

31. Toledo

32. Arizona State

33. Utah

34. Arizona

35. Navy

36. Louisville

37. California

38. Northwestern

39. Iowa

40. South Carolina

41. Virginia

42. Boise State

43. Fresno State

44. San Diego State

45. UCLA

46. Wake Forest

47. Syracuse

48. Kentucky

49. Colorado State

50. Florida State

51. Texas Tech

52. Florida

53. Oregon

54. Houston

55. Indiana

56. Purdue

57. SMU

58. Troy

59. Boston College

60. Northern Illinois

61. Maryland

62. Appalachian State

63. Marshall

64. Southern Miss

65. FAU

66. Arkansas State

67. Ole Miss

68. Vanderbilt

69. Kansas State

70. Colorado

71. Western Michigan

72. Nebraska

73. Tennessee

74. Minnesota

75. Army

76. North Texas

77. Pitt

78. Duke

79. Ohio

80. UTSA

81. WKU

82. Arkansas

83. Tulane

84. Wyoming

85. Missouri

86. New Mexico State

87. New Mexico

88. Air Force

89. North Carolina

90. UAB

91. Louisiana Tech

92. Central Michigan

93. Baylor

94. Eastern Michigan

95. Rutgers

96. Utah State

97. Hawaii

98. MTSU

99. FIU

100. South Alabama

101. Illinois

102. Akron

103. Oregon State

104. Miami, Ohio

105. Buffalo

106. UConn

107. Tulsa

108. Cincinnati

109. East Carolina

110. Kansas

111. Louisiana

112. Georgia State

113. ULM

114. Temple

115. Nevada

116. UNLV

117. Old Dominion

118. BYU

119. Idaho

120. Bowling Green

121. Coastal Carolina

122. UMass

123. Kent State

124. Ball State

125. San Jose State

126. Texas State

127. Rice

128. Charlotte

129. Georgia Southern

130. UTEP

Ranking All 130 CFB Teams for 2017 After Week 7

With seven weeks of action from the 2017 season in the books, it's time to revamp the full top 130 team projections and predictions and rank every FBS team in college football. With seven weeks completed, the 2017 college football season has officially hit the halfway point. As expected, there are significant changes to the projected rankings from the preseason and plenty more to come over the next seven weekends of action. Additionally, Week 7 provided its share of upsets to alter this week's top 25. Clemson, Auburn, Washington State and Washington each lost on the road last weekend, prompting Syracuse, California and Arizona State to make a significant jump after pulling out upset victories in this week's 130 rankings. Alabama, Georgia, Penn State, TCU and Clemson rank in the top five, with Ohio State, Oklahoma, Miami, Wisconsin and Oklahoma State rounding out the top 10. Check out Athlon's full 130 team rankings following the games after Week 7:

1. Alabama (7-0)

Week 7 Result: Defeated Arkansas

Another week, another blowout win for the Crimson Tide in SEC play.

2. Georgia (7-0)

Week 7 Result: Defeated Missouri

Freshman quarterback Jake Fromm threw for a season high 326 yards in Saturday night’s win over Missouri.

3. Penn State (6-0)

Week 7 Result: Bye Week

The Nittany Lions were off in Week 7 and return to action in Week 8 against Michigan.

4. TCU (6-0)

Week 7 Result: Defeated Kansas State

Quarterback Kenny Hill and Horned Frogs’ defense lead the way in Saturday’s 26-6 win over Kansas State.

5. Clemson (6-1)

Week 7 Result: Lost to Syracuse

Friday night’s loss against Syracuse won’t end Clemson’s CFB Playoff hopes. However, coach Dabo Swinney’s team has to do a better job against the pass and needs quarterback Kelly Bryant to return to full strength.

6. Oklahoma (5-1)

Week 7 Result: Defeated Texas

Sooners rebound from disappointing loss against Iowa State to beat Texas 29-24 in Red River Rivalry.

7. Ohio State (6-1)

Week 7 Result: Defeated Nebraska

Buckeyes rout Cornhuskers in Lincoln thanks to big performance from quarterback J.T. Barrett. Up next for Ohio State? A matchup against Penn State in Columbus.

8. Wisconsin (6-0)

Week 7 Result: Defeated Purdue

Defense and running back Jonathan Taylor lead the way for coach Paul Chryst’s Badgers in win over Purdue.

9. Miami (5-0)

Week 7 Result: Defeated Georgia Tech

For the second week in a row, last-second heroics give the Hurricanes a key win in ACC play.

10. Oklahoma State (5-1)

Week 7 Result: Defeated Baylor

Cowboys pile up 747 yards (a school record) and average a whopping 10.5 yards per play in Saturday’s win over Baylor.

11. Notre Dame (5-1)

Week 7 Result: Bye Week

The Fighting Irish were off in Week 7 and return to action on Saturday night against USC.

12. Washington (6-1)

Week 7 Result: Lost to Arizona State

The troubles in Tempe continue, dealing a blow to Washington’s hopes of a repeat bid to the CFB Playoff. The offensive line struggled to protect quarterback Jake Browning on Saturday night and now has an injury concern with standout left tackle Trey Adams.

13. Washington State (6-1)

Week 7 Result: Lost to California

Cougars’ high-powered offense sputters on the road against California’s aggressive defense.

14. USC (6-1)

Week 7 Result: Defeated Utah

Second-half comeback against Utah keeps USC’s playoff hopes intact.

15. NC State (6-1)

Week 7 Result: Defeated Pitt

The Nov. 4 showdown against Clemson looms large in the ACC title picture. But the Wolfpack have a tough matchup ahead against Notre Dame on Oct. 28 before the contest against the Tigers.

16. Virginia Tech (5-1)

Week 7 Result: Bye Week

Coach Justin Fuente’s team will return to action on Saturday to take on North Carolina.

17. Michigan State (5-1)

Week 7 Result: Defeated Minnesota

After giving up 5.5 yards per play in 2016, the Spartans are allowing just 4.3 through six games in 2017.

18. Michigan (5-1)

Week 7 Result: Defeated Indiana

Karan Higdon’s big day (200 yards and three scores) and an overtime goal-line stand on defense prevents Michigan from back-to-back losses.

19. USF (6-0)

Week 7 Result: Defeated Cincinnati

Bulls now own the nation’s longest winning streak (11 games).

20. UCF (5-0)

Week 7 Result: Defeated East Carolina

Knights have scored 50 or more points three times this season, including 63 in Saturday’s win over East Carolina.

21. Stanford (5-2)

Week 7 Result: Defeated Oregon

Running back Bryce Love has recorded a rush of 60 or more yards six times this season.

22. LSU (5-2)

Week 7 Result: Beat Auburn

What a difference a couple of weeks can make in the world of college football. After losing to Troy, LSU has defeated Florida and Auburn in back-to-back weeks.

23. Auburn (5-2)

Week 7 Result: Lost to LSU

Saturday’s loss at LSU was a bad one for coach Gus Malzahn. After leading 20-0 in the first half, the production on offense over the final two quarters was simply inexcusable.

24. West Virginia (4-2)

Week 7 Result: Defeated Texas Tech

Receiver David Sills leads all receivers in college football this year with 12 touchdown catches (including three in Saturday’s win over Texas Tech).

25. Texas A&M (5-2)

Week 7 Result: Defeated Florida

A couple of clutch plays from receiver Christian Kirk and four field goals from kicker Daniel LaCamera gave the Aggies a win in the Swamp – and a place in the top 25 this week.

26. Georgia Tech

27. Memphis

28. San Diego State

29. Utah

30. Texas

31. Mississippi State

32. Iowa

33. Navy

34. Virginia

35. Boise State

36. California

37. Florida State

38. Toledo

39. Texas Tech

40. Wake Forest

41. Kentucky

42. South Carolina

43. Arizona State

44. Oregon

45. Louisville

46. Purdue

47. Arizona

48. Iowa State

49. Syracuse

50. UCLA

51. Florida

52. Houston

53. Colorado State

54. Duke

55. Northwestern

56. Indiana

57. Maryland

58. SMU

59. Troy

60. Northern Illinois

61. Appalachian State

62. Ole Miss

63. Vanderbilt

64. Kansas State

65. Colorado

66. Tennessee

67. Marshall

68. Southern Miss

69. North Texas

70. Minnesota

71. Nebraska

72. Arkansas State

73. Western Michigan

74. Boston College

75. Army

76. UTSA

77. Arkansas

78. Wyoming

79. Ohio

80. Pitt

81. Tulane

82. North Carolina

83. Fresno State

84. New Mexico State

85. New Mexico

86. Air Force

87. Missouri

88. Baylor

89. UAB

90. Louisiana Tech

91. WKU

92. Eastern Michigan

93. Buffalo

94. FAU

95. MTSU

96. Central Michigan

97. Hawaii

98. FIU

99. Utah State

100. Rutgers

101. Illinois

102. Akron

103. Tulsa

104. Oregon State

105. BYU

106. Miami, Ohio

107. Cincinnati

108. Louisiana

109. South Alabama

110. Kansas

111. Georgia State

112. ULM

113. UConn

114. Temple

115. Nevada

116. UNLV

117. East Carolina

118. Old Dominion

119. Idaho

120. Bowling Green

121. Kent State

122. Ball State

123. Coastal Carolina

124. UMass

125. San Jose State

126. Texas State

127. Rice

128. Georgia Southern

129. UTEP

130. Charlotte

Ranking All 130 CFB Teams for 2017 After Week 6

With six weeks of action from the 2017 season in the books, it's time to revamp the full top 130 team projections and predictions and rank every FBS team in college football. While two full months of action remain this college football season, there are already plenty of significant changes to the projected rankings from the preseason. Florida State (a preseason favorite to win it all) has fallen out of consideration for the national title due to two losses in September, with Alabama and Clemson emerging as the clear favorites to win it all in January. In this week’s rankings, Georgia joins the top five to replace Oklahoma after the Sooners lost to Iowa State in Week 6. Penn State, Washington, TCU, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Auburn round out the top 10. Arizona, UAB and Tulane are a few big movers outside of the top 25 in this week’s rankings.

1. Alabama (6-0)

Week 6 Result: Defeated Texas A&M

Even though Alabama won at Texas A&M, it’s probably safe to say the sluggish second-half performance will make for a tough week of practice in Tuscaloosa.

2. Clemson (6-0)

Week 6 Result: Defeated Wake Forest

The Tigers had no letdown from last week’s victory at Virginia Tech, as coach Dabo Swinney’s team defeated Wake Forest 28-14 on Saturday. Quarterback Kelly Bryant’s ankle injury isn’t serious, and the junior could play in Friday night’s matchup against Syracuse.

3. Georgia (6-0)

Week 6 Result: Defeated Vanderbilt

Georgia’s ground attack recorded 423 yards in Saturday’s 45-14 blowout victory against Vanderbilt. The Bulldogs have allowed just 17 points through three SEC games this year.

4. Penn State (6-0)

Week 6 Result: Defeated Northwestern

The Nittany Lions have yet to allow an opponent to score more than 19 points this year.

5. Washington (6-0)

Week 6 Result: Defeated California

Freshman tight end Hunter Bryant is an emerging weapon in the passing game for the Huskies.

6. TCU (5-0)

Week 6 Result: Defeated West Virginia

Kenny Hill’s all-around performance and 14 points off two West Virginia turnovers keep TCU in the ranks of the unbeaten.

7. Oklahoma (4-1)

Week 6 Result: Lost to Iowa State

Defensive issues – especially in the secondary – are back for the Sooners after the loss to Iowa State.

8. Ohio State (5-1)

Week 6 Result: Defeated Maryland

The Buckeyes turned in one of the year’s top defensive performances so far in 2017, limiting Maryland to just 66 total yards in a 62-14 victory.

9. Wisconsin (5-0)

Week 6 Result: Defeated Nebraska

Badgers’ rushing attack gashed Nebraska for 353 yards in Saturday night’s win in Lincoln.

10. Auburn (5-1)

Week 6 Result: Defeated Ole Miss

Despite missing two games due to injury, running back Kerryon Johnson ranks fourth among SEC rushers in total yardage (504) this season.

11. Washington State (6-0)

Week 6 Result: Defeated Oregon

A short-handed Oregon offense provided little trouble for the Cougars in their first road game of the season.

12. Miami (4-0)

Week 6 Result: Defeated Florida State

Hurricanes snap seven-game losing streak to Florida State, but the win was costly for coach Mark Richt’s team. Standout running back Mark Walton is out for the rest of the year due to an ankle injury.

13. USC (5-1)

Week 6 Result: Defeated Oregon State

The Trojans were far from flawless in the victory over Oregon State, but the performance allowed coach Clay Helton’s team to move on from last week’s loss to Washington State.

14. Oklahoma State (4-1)

Week 6 Result: Bye Week

The Cowboys were on bye this Saturday and return to action in Week 7 against Baylor.

15. Notre Dame (5-1)

Week 6 Result: Defeated North Carolina

With quarterback Brandon Wimbush sidelined due to a foot injury, Notre Dame’s defense and ground attack led the way in Saturday’s 33-10 victory over North Carolina.

16. NC State (5-1)

Week 6 Result: Defeated Louisville

The Nov. 4 showdown against Clemson in Raleigh looms large for the ACC Atlantic Division title.

17. San Diego State (6-0)

Week 6 Result: Defeated UNLV

After he was limited to just 107 yards against Northern Illinois, San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny rebounded with 170 yards and two touchdowns in Saturday night’s win at UNLV.

18. Virginia Tech (5-1)

Week 6 Result: Defeated Boston College

Bye week comes at a good time for coach Justin Fuente’s team. Top receiver Cam Phillips suffered a foot sprain against Boston College and needs to be at full strength for the stretch run to win the Coastal Division.

19. Michigan State (4-1)

Week 6 Result: Defeated Michigan

Spartans have won eight out of the last 10 games against Michigan.

20. Michigan (4-1)

Week 6 Result: Lost to Michigan State

Five turnovers simply too much for Jim Harbaugh’s team to overcome against Michigan State.

21. USF (5-0)

Week 6 Result: Bye Week

The Bulls had a bye on Saturday and return to action in Week 7 against Cincinnati.

22. UCF (4-0)

Week 6 Result: Defeated Cincinnati

Knights averaged 12.9 yards per play in Saturday’s rain-shortened victory over Cincinnati.

23. Georgia Tech (3-1)

Week 6 Result: Bye Week

Yellow Jackets had a timely bye on Saturday. Coach Paul Johnson’s team has a huge showdown against Miami in Week 7.

24. Stanford (4-2)

Week 6 Result: Defeated Utah

Bryce Love’s 68-yard touchdown run sealed the victory for the Cardinal in Salt Lake City.

25. Louisville (4-2)

Week 6 Result: Lost to NC State

Lamar Jackson continues to play at a high level, but the Louisville defense has been a mess in conference play, allowing 40.3 points a game through ACC contests. 

26. West Virginia

27. Navy

28. Utah

29. Texas

30. Oregon

31. Mississippi State

32. Texas A&M

33. Iowa

34. Memphis

35. UCLA

36. Texas Tech

37. Purdue

38. Houston

39. Florida State

40. Wake Forest

41. Toledo

42. Virginia

43. Boise State

44. Troy

45. LSU

46. Florida

47. Kentucky

48. Vanderbilt

49. Kansas State

50. Indiana

51. Maryland

52. South Carolina

53. Duke

54. Iowa State

55. Colorado State

56. SMU

57. Tennessee

58. Appalachian State

59. Western Michigan

60. Northern Illinois

61. Arizona

62. Colorado

63. Minnesota

64. Syracuse

65. Northwestern

66. Nebraska

67. California

68. Marshall

69. Arizona State

70. Tulane

71. North Texas

72. Southern Miss

73. UTSA

74. Army

75. Arkansas

76. Ole Miss

77. Arkansas State

78. Pitt

79. New Mexico

80. Wyoming

81. Louisiana Tech

82. Ohio

83. MTSU

84. Boston College

85. North Carolina

86. Air Force

87. Utah State

88. Baylor

89. WKU

90. Cincinnati

91. Missouri

92. Miami, Ohio

93. Central Michigan

94. Eastern Michigan

95. Illinois

96. BYU

97. Hawaii

98. New Mexico State

99. Buffalo

100. FAU

101. UAB

102. Rutgers

103. ULM

104. Fresno State

105. Temple

106. Tulsa

107. Oregon State

108. FIU

109. Kansas

110. Akron

111. Louisiana

112. Nevada

113. East Carolina

114. Connecticut

115. Old Dominion

116.UNLV

117. Idaho

118. South Alabama

119. Bowling Green

120. Georgia State

121. Ball State

122. Coastal Carolina

123. UMass

124. San Jose State

125. Rice

126. Texas State

127. Georgia Southern

128. Kent State

129. UTEP

130. Charlotte

Ranking All 130 CFB Teams for 2017 (After Week 5)

With five weeks of action from the 2017 season in the books, it's time to revamp the full top 130 team projections and predictions and rank every FBS team in college football. While two full months of action remain this college football season, there are already plenty of significant changes to the projected rankings from the preseason. Florida State has fallen out of consideration for the national title due to two losses in September, with Alabama and Clemson emerging as the clear favorites to win it all in January. Oklahoma knocked off Ohio State to jump into the top five, and USC lost at Washington State to damage the Trojans' hopes of making a CFB Playoff appearance this year. UCF, NC State, Utah, Georgia Tech, TCU, Washington State and San Diego State have used strong performances in September to jump into the top 25, while Virginia, Wake Forest, Texas Tech and Maryland are a few of the big movers from outside of the top 25. 

1. Alabama (5-0)

Week 5 Result: Defeated Ole Miss

Alabama has rolled its last two opponents by a combined score of 125-3.

2. Clemson (5-0)

Week 5 Result: Defeated Virginia Tech

Timely plays by quarterback Kelly Bryant and another standout effort on defense guide the Tigers to win in Blacksburg.

3. Oklahoma (4-0)

Week 5 Result: Bye Week

The Sooners had a bye in Week 5 and return to action on Saturday against Iowa State.

4. Penn State (5-0)

Week 5 Result: Defeated Indiana

The offensive line has allowed 11 sacks through five games and is a concern for coach James Franklin as the heart of Big Ten play arrives.

5. Washington (5-0)

Week 5 Result: Defeated Oregon State

Huge performance from quarterback Jake Browning and receiver Dante Pettis help Huskies pull away from Oregon State in the second half on Saturday night.

6. Ohio State (4-1)

Week 5 Result: Defeated Rutgers

Quarterback J.T. Barrett has passed for 484 yards and eight touchdowns over the last two games.

7. Georgia (5-0)

Week 5 Result: Defeated Tennessee

Kirby Smart’s defense has allowed only four touchdowns through five games in 2017.

8. Michigan (4-0)

Week 5 Result: Bye Week

The Wolverines had a bye week on Saturday and return to action this week against rival Michigan State.

9. TCU (4-0)

Week 5 Result: Bye Week

The Horned Frogs were off in Week 5 and return to action this Saturday for a huge Big 12 showdown against West Virginia.

10. Wisconsin (4-0)

Week 5 Result: Defeated Northwestern

Badgers come up big on defense with 11 tackles for a loss and eight sacks in Saturday’s win against Northwestern.

11. Auburn (4-1)

Week 5 Result: Defeated Mississippi State

Tigers getting better with each snap, with the offense starting to generate more big plays to team with a powerful rushing attack.

12. Washington State (5-0)

Week 5 Result: Defeated USC

Defense delivers for Washington State and coach Mike Leach in upset win over USC.

13. USC (4-1)

Week 5 Result: Lost to Washington State

Offensive line concerns (and lack of big plays) finally catch up to USC in Friday night’s loss to Washington State.

14. Oklahoma State (4-1)

Week 5 Result: Defeated Texas Tech

Mason Rudolph’s five touchdowns just enough for Oklahoma State to avoid Texas Tech’s upset bid.

15. Louisville (4-1)

Week 5 Result: Defeated Murray State

Cardinals crush Murray State in easy tune up before Thursday night’s game against NC State.

16. Notre Dame (4-1)

Week 5 Result: Defeated Miami (Ohio)

Defense and a powerful ground game lead the way for Notre Dame in blowout victory over Miami, Ohio.

17. Miami (3-0)

Week 5 Result: Defeated Duke

Will the Hurricanes end a seven-game losing streak to Florida State this Saturday?

18. San Diego State (5-0)

Week 5 Result: Defeated Northern Illinois

Aztecs struggled on offense against Northern Illinois, but a touchdowns on special teams and defense help Rocky Long’s team hold on for a 34-28 victory.

19. Virginia Tech (4-1)

Week 5 Result: Lost to Clemson

Hokies have two of next three games at home, with November tests against Miami and Georgia Tech likely to decide their position in the Coastal Division.

20. Utah (4-0)

Week 5 Result: Bye Week

Utes had a bye in Week 5 and return to action this Saturday against Stanford.

21. NC State (4-1)

Week 5 Result: Defeated Syracuse

Defensive end Bradley Chubb has accumulated four sacks over the last two games.

22. USF (5-0)

Week 5 Result: Defeated East Carolina

Bulls have scored at least 42 points in every game against FBS opponents in 2017.

23. Florida (3-1)

Week 5 Result: Defeated Vanderbilt

Gators posted 467 total yards (a season high) in Saturday’s win against Vanderbilt.

24. UCF (3-0)

Week 5 Result: Defeated Memphis

UCF’s offense averaging a healthy 7.1 yards per play through three games.

25. Georgia Tech (3-1)

Week 5 Result: Defeated North Carolina

Yellow Jackets join the top 25 after 33-7 victory against North Carolina. Up next? A huge showdown against Miami on Oct. 14.

26. West Virginia

27. Oregon

28. Stanford

29. Florida State

30. Texas A&M

31. Mississippi State

32. Michigan State

33. Texas

34. Kansas State

35. Iowa

36. Navy

37. Wake Forest

38. Maryland

39. Memphis

40. UCLA

41. Texas Tech

42. Purdue

43. Houston

44. Duke

45. Toledo

46. SMU

47. Kentucky

48. Vanderbilt

49. Indiana

50. Virginia

51. Boise State

52. Troy

53. Arkansas

54. Colorado

55. LSU

56. Tennessee

57. South Carolina

58. Colorado State

59. Minnesota

60. Northwestern

61. Northern Illinois

62. Nebraska

63. UTSA

64. California

65. Appalachian State

66. Western Michigan

67. Iowa State

68. Louisiana Tech

69. Ohio

70. Arizona State

71. Marshall

72. Ole Miss

73. Arizona

74. Syracuse

75. Pittsburgh

76. New Mexico

77. Wyoming

78. Arkansas State

79. North Texas

80. Boston College

81. North Carolina

82. WKU

83. Tulane

84. Southern Miss

85. Army

86. MTSU

87. Utah State

88. Baylor

89. Air Force

90. Cincinnati

91. Miami, Ohio

92. Missouri

93. Eastern Michigan

94. Illinois

95. BYU

96, Hawaii

97. New Mexico State

98. Buffalo

99. FAU

100. Old Dominion

101. Tulsa

102. Rutgers

103. Temple

104. Oregon State

105. FIU

106. Idaho

107. Central Michigan

108. ULM

109. Kansas

110. Fresno State

111. South Alabama

112. Ball State

113. East Carolina

114. Connecticut

115. Akron

116. UNLV

117. Louisiana

118. UAB

119. Coastal Carolina

120. UMass

121. San Jose State

122. Nevada

123. Rice

124. Georgia State

125. Texas State

126. Georgia Southern

127. Kent State

128. Bowling Green

129. UTEP

130. Charlotte

Update: See the latest AP Poll Top 25 Rankings.

Preseason CFB Projected 130 Team Rankings for 2017

NCAAF Rankings: FSU QB

Ranking all 130 college football teams is no easy task, but with the first Saturday of action on Aug. 26 days away, it is time to see how every FBS program stacks up for 2017. At the top, Alabama leads the way as Athlon’s projected national champion. The Crimson Tide lost to Clemson on the final play of last year’s title game, and even though both sides of the ball have a few holes to fill, coach Nick Saban’s program is still the team to beat. Ohio State is a close No. 2, while Florida State and Washington round out the projected playoff teams for 2017.

Outside of the top four, a host of teams should make for an interesting season, Michigan, Auburn, LSU, and Oklahoma State are just a few programs projected outside of the top eight that could be in the playoff mix. Defending champ Clemson is projected to finish No. 7, as coach Dabo Swinney's team still returns enough talent to remain a factor in the national title mix. Oklahoma is still Athlon’s pick to win the Big 12 after coach Bob Stoops retired. However, the gap between the Sooners and Oklahoma State or Texas closed just a bit in June.

USF is the projected top team from the Group of 5 conferences, with Boise State, San Diego State, Memphis, Navy and Colorado State rounding out the next tier of contenders. Appalachian State, Troy and Arkansas State headline a top-heavy trio in the Sun Belt, while Toledo and Miami are the favorites in the MAC. WKU and Louisiana Tech appear to be on a collision course for a rematch in the C-USA title game.

Where do all 130 teams stack up for 2017? Athlon Sports projects where every team will finish in the final rankings at the conclusion of the upcoming season:  

2017 Conference Predictions

Power 5: ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

Group of 5: American | C-USA | MAC | Mountain West | Sun Belt

Ranking All 130 College Football Teams for 2017

130. UAB

After a two-year hiatus, the Blazers make their return to the gridiron on Sept. 2 against Alabama A&M. Considering all of the new faces on the depth chart, it is hard to know what to expect out of this team in 2017. However, one thing is for certain: UAB is in good hands with Bill Clark leading the program. Clark guided the Blazers to a 6-6 mark back in 2014 and has recruited well during the hiatus to ensure this team can be competitive right away. A couple of transfers are likely to lead the way on offense. Former Middle Tennessee quarterback A.J. Erdely is the favorite to start under center, while Collin Lisa returned to Birmingham after a stint at Buffalo to work as the team’s go-to target. There’s also a cast of talented options at running back, including Kalin Heath, Donnie Lee, James Noble and Jonathan Haden. Senior Shaq Jones is the lone returning starter from the 2014 team and should be one of the leaders for Clark this fall. True freshman Thomas Johnston was the top recruit in UAB’s 2017 signing class and could push for snaps right away at linebacker. Considering all that has transpired with this program over the last couple of years, just returning to the gridiron and being competitive in conference play would be an accomplishment.

College Football Rankings: UAB

129. Texas State

The Bobcats are hoping for better results in their second season under coach Everett Withers. Texas State finished 2-10 last fall and nine of those defeats came by double digits. Withers is going with a youth movement on both sides of the ball, so instant improvement could be tough to find this fall. Mississippi State graduate transfer quarterback Damian Williams was expected to start at quarterback, but his status with the team is uncertain. If Williams does not return to the team, the Bobcats will have to turn to a true freshman at quarterback. Regardless of which quarterback starts, the offense has to get better play from a line that surrendered 44 sacks last year, along with a ground game that averaged 2.3 yards per rush in 2016. A linebacker unit that features tackling machine Bryan London (141 stops in 2016) figures to be the strength of the defense. However, Texas State surrendered 41.1 points per game last season, and even with London returning, the defense is expected to be in rebuild mode once again in 2017.

College Football Rankings: Texas State

128. UMass

The Minutemen found out just how difficult life as a FBS Independent can be last season. Coach Mark Whipple’s team finished 2-10, went 0-4 against Power 5 opponents and lost 51-9 at BYU in late November. The going will get a little easier for this program in 2017. UMass plays just two Power 5 teams this fall but adds one of the Sun Belt’s top teams in Appalachian State, along with American Athletic champion Temple, and another matchup at BYU. While the schedule isn’t much easier, it should provide some relief for a team that quietly features one of the nation’s top tight ends. Senior Adam Breneman caught 70 passes for 808 yards and eight scores last season and is expected to push for All-America honors. Quarterback Andrew Ford was solid (26 TDs, 14 INTs) after taking over the starting job last fall, and running back Marquis Young (898 yards) is a potential 1,000-yard rusher. With Ford, Young and Breneman in place, the Minutemen should easily improve last year’s scoring average, which was just 23.3 points per game. While the offense is in good shape, new coordinator Ed Pinkham has a lot of work to do on defense. UMass gave up 35.5 points per game in 2016 (partially a product of the schedule) and allowed 6.1 yards per play. Reversing those numbers starts with better play up front against the run and getting after the quarterback more after generating 25 sacks in 2016. Safety Khary Bailey-Smith leaves big shoes to fill on the back end. Doubling last year’s win total would be a step in the right direction for the Minutemen.

College Football Rankings: UMass

127. Kent State

The Golden Flashes have just eight wins over the last three years, making 2017 a critical year for coach Paul Haynes and his future at his alma mater. Any hope for a bowl push starts with senior quarterback/all-purpose threat Nick Holley. After injuries hit the quarterback position hard last season, Holley shifted from receiver to under center and ended 2016 with 1,923 total yards. With a full offseason to shape the offense to his strengths, can coordinator Don Treadwell help this unit average more than 20.6 points a game? Holley has a lot on his shoulders, and his 5-foot-10 frame could wear down over the course of the season. Can Holley get more help from his supporting cast? Defense has been a strength under Haynes, and this unit limited opponents to 28.7 points per game last fall. Senior tackle Jon Cunningham is a first-team All-MAC selection by Athlon Sports, but the strength of this unit is the secondary. The Golden Flashes allowed just one pass play of 50 or more yards in 2016. The schedule features crossover games against Western Michigan, Central Michigan and Northern Illinois and swing games versus Buffalo and Akron take place on the road. That’s a tough path for improvement.

College Football Rankings: Kent State

126. Charlotte

The 49ers made progress in their second season at the FBS level in 2016. Coach Brad Lambert’s team won four games, with three of those coming in Conference USA play. The next step for Charlotte is to contend for a winning record and a bowl, but those two goals may have to wait another year. Lambert’s team returns 12 starters and has better depth thanks to its recent recruiting classes at the FBS level. But the program lost standout defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi and running back Kalif Phillips, leaving big shoes to fill on both sides of the ball for 2017. Quarterback Hasaan Klugh showed promise last fall and returns for his first full year as the team’s starter. He’s joined by capable targets at receiver in senior T.L. Ford II and junior Workpeh Kofa, while guard Nate Davis should push for all-conference honors. Benny LeMay and Robert Washington are tasked with picking up the slack on the ground. The defense has significant voids to fill in the front seven and gave up nearly 35 points (34.6) a game in 2016. Safety Ben DeLuca could emerge as one of Conference USA’s top defensive backs this fall.

College Football Rankings: Charlotte

125. New Mexico State

This will be New Mexico State’s final year as a Sun Belt member, as the program is set to become a FBS Independent next fall. The Aggies will be looking to push for a bowl in their final year in the conference and snap a streak of 14 consecutive losing seasons. The good news for coach Doug Martin? Running back Larry Rose is back to full strength after an injury-plagued 2016 campaign, and quarterback Tyler Rogers returns after throwing for 2,603 yards. Rogers needs to cut down on the turnovers (12 picks) but is surrounded by one of the Sun Belt’s top receiving corps. Defensive coordinator Frank Spaziani returns eight starters from a unit that allowed 38.8 points per game last season. Scoring points shouldn’t be a problem, but New Mexico State’s hopes of a winning season rest with a struggling defense against a tough schedule.

College Football Rankings: New Mexico State

124. Coastal Carolina

Led by former TD Ameritrade CEO Joe Moglia, Coastal Carolina is the newest member of the FBS level. Moglia is dealing with a medical issue and will be sidelined for the 2017 campaign. Offensive coordinator (and former Charleston Southern head coach) Jamey Chadwell will serve as the team's head coach this fall. The Chanticleers are in the second year of a two-year transition period and are ineligible to play in a bowl game. But this team will be a factor in Sun Belt competition, as Coastal Carolina won 10 games at the FCS level last season. After injuries hit the quarterback position hard in 2016, Chadwell is hoping for stability behind Syracuse transfer Austin Wilson. If Wilson isn’t the answer, junior Josh Stilley is likely to get the call as the team’s No. 1 quarterback. The one-two punch of Marcus Outlow and Osharmar Abercrombie should be an effective one on the ground, but the Chanticleers will be replacing three starters on the line. An athletic and speedy defense returns only five starters from a unit that limited opponents to 19.3 points per game in 2016. Linebacker Shane Johnson and senior end Marcus Williamson are two of the leaders for defensive coordinator Mickey Matthews, while the secondary is looking for new starters to emerge.

College Football Rankings: Coastal Carolina

123. Buffalo

Lance Leipold came to Buffalo after a successful run at Wisconsin-Whitewater, but this program has just seven wins over the last two years. In order for the Bulls to challenge for a bowl in 2017, Leipold needs marked improvement from both sides of the ball. The offense managed only 16.5 points a game last season, while the defense gave up 32.3 per contest. Sophomore quarterback Tyree Jackson is promising but has to improve as a passer after completing only 53.1 percent of his throws in 2016. Improving the passing game doesn’t just fall on Jackson’s shoulders. The sophomore needs targets to emerge on the outside after the departure of the team’s top three receivers from last year. Additionally, running back Jordan Johnson expired his eligibility after rushing for 1,040 yards in 2016, leaving junior Johnathan Hawkins and freshman Theo Anderson as the favorites for carries. The strength of the offense should be up front. Four starters are back, and Rutgers transfer Jacquis Webb is competing for the starting job at left tackle. While last year’s defensive numbers weren’t pretty, don’t be surprised if Buffalo takes a significant step forward on this side of the ball. The Bulls return eight starters – including one of the MAC’s top linebacker units – and safety Ryan Williamson anchors a secondary that is expected to improve with three returning starters. A bowl trip is unlikely, but Buffalo could double its win total from 2016.

College Football Rankings: Buffalo

122. San Jose State

New coach Brent Brennan has extensive ties to the state of California and San Jose State, but the first-year coach has a lot of work do in 2017. The Spartans went 4-8 last fall and have not posted a winning record since 2012. Reversing that trend is going to take some time. Brennan is regarded as a good recruiter, and his ties to the state will help San Jose State attract talent in the next couple of years. But in 2017, Brennan inherits a team filled with question marks on both sides of the ball. The offense averaged only 24.4 points per game in 2016 and must replace quarterback Kenny Potter. Sophomore Josh Love is the favorite to take the first snap, with freshman Montel Aaron and junior college recruit Sam Allen also in the mix. The Spartans are in good shape at the skill positions with the return of running back Malik Roberson (508 yards) and receivers Justin Holmes and Tre Hartley. However, none of this will matter unless San Jose State’s offensive line is better. This unit allowed a hefty 50 sacks last fall but returns all five starters. The concerns in the trenches spread to the defense, where this unit is transitioning to a new 3-4 scheme. Depth is a concern up front, but two of the starters – juniors Bryson Bridges and Owen Roberts – could be in the mix for all-conference honors. Linebacker Frank Ginda made 99 stops last season and is a first-team All-Mountain West selection for 2017. The secondary is the strength of this defense. Cornerback Andre Chachere and safety Maurice McKnight are both likely to earn all-conference consideration in 2017, with Chachere earning first-team honors last fall. Brennan worked under Mike MacIntyre during his successful tenure at San Jose State, so he knows what it takes to win here. However, it is going to take some time to rebuild this program.

College Football Rankings: San Jose State

121. Georgia State

Change is the theme surrounding Georgia State this offseason. There’s a new coach (Shawn Elliott), and the Panthers now have their own stadium after taking over (and renovating) Turner Field (now Georgia State Stadium). Elliott comes to Atlanta after working as South Carolina’s offensive line coach since 2010, and he has ties to athletic director Charlie Cobb from a stint at Appalachian State. Georgia State’s offense averaged only 19.9 points per game last year, but there’s too much firepower to expect a repeat of that total. Senior Conner Manning will compete with Aaron Winchester for the starting quarterback job, and the receiving corps regains the services of All-Sun Belt target Penny Hart after missing most of last season due to a foot injury. One priority for the offense: Find more balance. Georgia State averaged just 87.7 rushing yards per game in 2016. The defense returns eight starters and could be among the best in the Sun Belt.

College Football Rankings: Georgia State

120. UTEP

The Miners have one bowl appearances and winning mark (2014) under coach Sean Kugler, but this program has posted a losing record in three out of the last four seasons. And after a 4-8 mark in 2016, the pressure is building on Kugler to get UTEP back on track. That’s not an easy assignment for the former NFL assistant, as standout running back Aaron Jones left for the pros and the defense is a concern after giving up 34.9 points per game in 2016. Quadraiz Wadley was slated to replace Jones this fall, but he’s out after suffering a shoulder injury in spring practice. With Wadley out, Kevin Dove, sophomore Walter Dawn and true freshman Joshua Fields could handle the majority of the carries. Regardless of which player earns carries, he should find running room behind a standout offensive line. This unit is anchored by All-America candidate Will Hernandez, graduate transfer Logan Tuley-Tillman, and center Derron Gatewood. Quarterback Ryan Metz (1,375 yards, 10 TDs) was steady last fall, but the Miners connected on just 12 passes of 30 or more yards. More is needed out of Metz and the receiving corps without Jones to lean on in 2017. The defense has major concerns up front, but the back seven should be a strength. Linebacker Alvin Jones is one of Conference USA’s top defenders, and safety Devin Cockrell is another all-conference candidate. A tough schedule awaits UTEP in 2017. In addition to non-conference games against Army, Oklahoma and Arizona, the Miners catch WKU and Middle Tennessee in crossover play.

College Football Rankings: UTEP

Related: Conference USA 2017 All-Conference Team

119. ULM

Second-year coach Matt Viator has ULM on the right track, but this program might be a year away from making a push for a bowl game. The Warhawks won two conference games in November, ending the season with some momentum after losing starting quarterback Garrett Smith due to injury midway through 2016. Smith is back under center and the supporting cast should be set with the return of the top three receivers and the team’s top four running backs. The supporting cast will also receive a boost from the addition of Alabama transfer Derrick Gore at running back. Viator’s offense should take a step forward after averaging 23.3 points per game last season, but the defense is a bigger concern. While eight starters return, this unit ranked near the bottom of the league against the run, pass efficiency defense and allowed 39.1 points per game. A tough schedule limits the upside for ULM. However, this team should be more competitive in Viator's second year at the helm.

College Football Rankings: ULM

118. Rice

Rice is one of Conference USA’s toughest jobs, but it’s notable that the Owls have watched their win total decrease in three consecutive years after a 10-4 finish in 2013. Coach David Bailiff has won 56 games since taking over in 2007 and could be facing a make-or-break campaign. In order for Rice to snap a string of two losing seasons in a row, finding a quarterback is Bailiff’s top priority. Sophomores Jackson Tyner and J.T. Granato and freshmen Sam Glaesmann and Miklo Smalls battled for the job in fall practice. Glaesmann was named the starter in mid-August, with Granato deciding to transfer to the FCS level. Until Glaesmann settles in, expect the offense to lean heavily on a solid line that returns all five starters and running back Samuel Stewart. Sophomore Kylen Granson could be in for a breakout year at receiver. Rice was porous on defense last season, giving up 37.3 points a game, meore than 200 yards a contest on the ground and 32 plays of 40 yards or more. New coordinator Brian Stewart should build his 2017 group around linebacker Emmanuel Ellerbee and a solid defensive line. The pass defense has to improve for the Owls to cut down on last year’s 37.3 points per game total allowed.

College Football Rankings: Rice

117. Fresno State

Fresno State was one of the Mountain West’s top programs but slipped considerably during the final three years under coach Tim DeRuyter. After an 11-2 campaign in 2013, the Bulldogs won just 10 games over the next three seasons, capped by a 1-11 record in '16. The long climb back to respectability begins with new coach Jeff Tedford, who returns to the collegiate sidelines for the first time since 2012. Tedford’s background is on offense, which is a good thing considering Fresno State averaged just 17.7 points a game in 2016. Sophomore Chason Virgil is team’s most-experienced option at quarterback, but he will be pushed by junior college recruit Jorge Reyna and Oregon State graduate transfer Marcus McMaryion. The Bulldogs need more consistency out of his position, especially with a solid group of playmakers waiting to break plays on the outside. Even if the passing game improves, Fresno State still has to find ways to spark a ground attack that averaged only 3.2 yards per rush in 2016. Can Saevion Johnson, Dontel James or a couple of freshmen emerge as the answer at running back? Adding to Tedford’s concerns on offense is a line that surrendered 31 sacks last fall. The defense was slightly better in 2016, giving up 30.9 points per game (seventh in the Mountain West). However, this group was gashed against the run (247.4 ypg allowed) and generated 14 sacks. New coordinator Orlondo Steinauer takes over after a stint in the CFL and will have his hands full.

College Football Rankings: Fresno State

116. Ball State

Mike Neu went 4-8 in his first season at his alma mater, and year two begins with significant concerns on both sides of the ball. The offense will be led by junior quarterback Riley Neal and Athlon Sports first-team All-MAC running back James Gilbert, who rushed for 1,332 yards and 12 scores last fall. Neal has showed flashes of promise but had an up-and-down 2016 campaign by tossing 12 picks vs. 13 touchdowns. Finding targets for Neal is critical for Neu, especially after top receiver Damon Hazelton decided to transfer to Virginia Tech. Freshmen Khalil Newton and Justin Gibbs could be counted on for major contributions at receiver. The line returns three starters and has a chance to be among the best in the MAC. New coordinator David Elson inherits a defense that ranked seventh in the MAC by allowing 30.1 points per game in 2016. And with only four starters back, Elson will be busy this offseason. End Brandon Winbush (8.5 sacks) is the headliner, while three new starters step into the rotation at linebacker. Ball State won only four games last fall but suffered six of the eight losses by 10 points or fewer. Turning some of the close losses into wins will require improvement from Neal, as well as a reversal of a minus-10 turnover margin.

College Football Rankings: Ball State

115. Nevada

Change is the key world to remember around Reno this offseason. The Wolf Pack are under the direction of a new coach (Jay Norvell), with new schemes slated to be implemented behind new coordinators Matt Mumme and Jeff Casteel. Mumme plans on transitioning Nevada from a Pistol offense to more of a pass-first/spread approach, which is likely to take a year or two to implement. Helping Mumme’s implementation is Alabama transfer David Cornwell at quarterback. Cornwell's arrival became even more critical after running back James Butler decided to transfer in early July. The Wolf Pack need more targets to emerge at receiver, and the offensive line is a concern with just two returning starters. The firepower is there for the offense to improve over the course of the year, but Mumme’s group might be a year away. The personnel snapshot isn’t bad on defense. End Malik Reed is a candidate for Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year honors, linebacker Gabriel Sewell is back after a solid freshman campaign, and the secondary has two all-conference safeties in Dameon Baber and Asauni Rufus. With the new schemes on both sides of the ball, just matching last year’s five wins would be a good debut for Norvell.

College Football Rankings: Nevada

114. Bowling Green

It’s easy to pin the blame on coach Mike Jinks for Bowling Green’s drop off from MAC champion to four-win team in 2016. However, it’s also important to note the Falcons lost a good chunk of talent from that team, and a first-year coach learning on the job compounded the problem. But there were signs of promise last fall. The Falcons won their last three games and are positioned to exceed last year’s four total victories. Quarterback James Morgan is a rising star under center, and the receiving corps should be a standout group, anchored by Scott Miller, Teo Redding and junior college transfer (and former Oregon State player) Datrin Guyton. Josh Cleveland and Donovan Wilson anchor a solid stable of running backs, which received more of the workload during the team’s three-game winning streak. Jinks’ top priority this offseason is finding the right answers for an offensive line that replaces three starters. The development of this group is critical to the team’s hopes of challenging for a bowl. It’s a good thing Bowling Green has enough offensive firepower to average at least 30 points a game. The defense gave up 38.3 per contest in 2016 and returns only five starters. This unit does feature All-MAC candidates in lineman Gus Schwieterman, linebacker Brandon Harris and safety Jamari Bozeman. However, this defense is filled with question marks and could struggle once again in 2017. Punter Joseph Davidson is one of the best in the nation.

College Football Rankings: Bowling Green

Related: MAC Football 2017 All-Conference Team

113. FIU

Butch Davis returns to the sideline for the first time since his firing at North Carolina prior to the 2011 season. While Davis has been away for six years, he’s stepping back into familiar territory. After spending time as an assistant at Miami (1984-88) and again as the head coach (1995-2000), he’s certainly familiar with FIU and its recruiting territory in Miami-Dade County. The Panthers landed sixth in Athlon Sports’ Conference USA East predictions, but this team has potential to surprise. The senior leadership of quarterback Alex McGough, running back Alex Gardner and receiver Thomas Owens provide a solid foundation on offense. The biggest concern for the offense is in the trenches after giving up 31 sacks in 2016. Progress could be slow for this unit with just two returning starters. The defense gave up 34.8 points per game last season but should show improvement under coordinator Brent Guy. The Panthers return nine starters, including a standout linebacker unit led by seniors Treyvon Williams and Anthony Wint. A push for five wins or a bowl would not be a surprise from Davis in his debut.

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112. East Carolina

Scottie Montgomery’s first year in Greenville was a struggle. East Carolina finished 3-9 – with a win over NC State – and claimed only one victory in league play. Another alarming stat: All seven of the losses in AAC action came by at least 11 points. To help this program get back on track, Montgomery dipped into the graduate transfer ranks for immediate help. Quarterback Thomas Sirk (Duke), running back Tyshon Dye and end Gaelin Elmore (Minnesota) are expected to start and provide an instant impact. Sirk is the most important addition, but he’s also coming off a torn Achilles that forced him to miss all of 2016. If Sirk is limited at any point, the Pirates will turn to junior Gardner Minshew under center. Dye adds to a talented backfield of options, but East Carolina needs more production from its rushers after averaging only 132.4 yards per game on the ground and 3.9 yards per carry. Zay Jones leaves big shoes to fill at receiver after catching 158 passes in 2016. But the cupboard isn’t bare for Montgomery. Quay Johnson, Jimmy Williams and Davon Grayson form a talented trio of options and a group capable of ranking as one of the AAC’s top receiving corps. Even if East Carolina’s offense matches last year’s per-game average (27), the defense has to improve for this program to go bowling. The Pirates gave up 36.1 points per game and finished last in the league against the run. Only four starters are back, but the addition of Elmore and Auburn transfer Tim Irvin should provide a boost. East Carolina should improve in Montgomery’s second season. But it’s also a long climb to six wins or to crack the top three of the AAC’s East Division.

College Football Rankings: East Carolina

111. Georgia Southern

Tyson Summers’ tenure at Georgia Southern got off to a rocky start. Despite returning 12 starters from a team that won 18 games from 2014-15, the Eagles slipped to 5-7 and just 4-4 in league play. A victory over Troy in the regular season finale likely secured Summers of a second year in Statesboro, and there’s already enormous pressure to win in 2017. Georgia Southern still has a good foundation of talent to engineer a turnaround this fall, and the addition of new play-caller Bryan Cook should help the offense get back to its option roots. But Cook must find a quarterback after Seth Shuman left the team to play baseball. Shai Werts ended spring as the No. 2 option and is expected to claim the job this fall. The one-two punch of Wesley Fields and L.A. Ramsby at running back should find plenty of running room behind one of the Sun Belt’s top offensive lines. Summers and defensive coordinator Lorenzo Costantini have a tough assignment ahead this offseason. The Eagles return only four starters and face a significant rebuilding project in the front seven.

College Football Rankings: Georgia Southern

110. Louisiana

Mark Hudspeth has guided Louisiana to five bowl trips in six seasons at the helm, and the Ragin’ Cajuns should contend for another postseason appearance in 2017. Of course, Louisiana’s place in the Sun Belt will largely depend on how well the offense can replace standout running back Elijah McGuire. Senior Darius Hoggins (out indefinitely due to a broken jaw), freshmen Elijah Mitchell and Trey Ragas and sophomore Jordan Wright headline a cast of options for new offensive coordinator Will Hall, while promising junior Jordan Davis is set to become the new starting quarterback. Davis has a solid set of receivers on the outside to utilize, including big-play threat Keenan Barnes. The line ranks as one of the best in the Sun Belt with four returning starters. The strength in the trenches continues on defense, as end Joe Dillon (seven sacks in 2016) anchors one of the Sun Belt’s best fronts. With the question marks on offense, Louisiana may have to lean on its defense a little more to win in 2017. And the schedule won’t provide many breaks. The Ragin’ Cajuns play two of the Sun Belt’s top teams – Arkansas State and Appalachian State – while playing road games at South Alabama, Idaho, Tulsa, Texas A&M and Ole Miss.

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Related: Sun Belt Football 2017 All-Conference Team

109. Akron

A year after earning the program’s first bowl victory, the Zips slipped to 5-7 after injuries took a toll on the quarterback position and the defense. Returning to the postseason and a winning record likely rests on a return to full strength from quarterback Thomas Woodson. He underwent offseason shoulder surgery but is expected to return to full strength for fall practice. If Woodson is limited or struggles, former Virginia Cavalier and junior college recruit Nick Johns will step under center. The return of running back Warren Ball from a season-ending injury should spark a ground attack that ranked 11th in the MAC last fall. The Zips will miss Jerome Lane’s big-play ability at receiver, but senior Austin Wolf could emerge as an all-conference candidate after catching 36 passes last year. A line that returns four starters could be the strength for the offense. After giving up 33.6 points per game and finishing 11th in the MAC against the run in 2016, it’s clear Akron’s defense can only go one way in 2017. But improvement isn’t guaranteed for coordinator Chuck Amato. The Zips suffered key losses at each level, struggled to generate a pass rush or create turnovers last fall and return only four starters on this side of the ball. Linebacker Ulysees Gilbert is one of the MAC’s top defenders, while transfers Jamal Davis (Pitt), Darian Dailey (Rutgers) and Mark Ellis (West Virginia) and could provide some instant help. A schedule that features non-conference games against Penn State, Troy and Iowa State, along with crossover games against Toledo and Western Michigan won’t provide much relief.

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108. North Texas

Seth Littrell was one of the top coaching hires from the 2016 cycle and provided an instant spark for the Mean Green last year. After North Texas won just one game in 2015, this program finished 5-8 last fall and earned a trip to a bowl due to APR scoring. Littrell still has a lot of work to do, but the Mean Green are clearly trending in the right direction. In order for this team to push for a winning record in 2017, more is needed from an offense that averaged only 24.8 points per game last fall. Sophomore quarterback Mason Fine (1,572 yards, six TDs) showed promise and should build off 2016 in his first opportunity as the full-time starter in 2017. Fine’s development will be aided by one of Conference USA’s top running backs in senior Jeffery Wilson, along with junior college recruit Jalen Guyton at receiver. The offensive line returns three starters but must cut down on the sacks after giving up 43 last fall. The defense was a key cog in last year’s improvement. After surrendering 41.3 points per game in 2015, North Texas cut that total to 32.6 last year. There’s a new coordinator (Troy Reffett) and some turnover (just four returning starters), but the Mean Green have the pieces in place to improve on this side of the ball. The secondary is one of the best in Conference USA, and Kansas State transfer Bryce English is a name to remember in the front seven. English is out for the first few weeks of 2017 after an offseason injury but is still expected to make an impact. Another bowl trip is within reach for Littrell’s team.

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107. Marshall

Marshall’s collapse from a team that won 33 games from 2013-15 to a 3-9 record in '16 was quite puzzling. What went wrong for this team last year and is it correctable in one offseason? That’s the big question for coach Doc Holliday. For starters, the Thundering Herd struggle to generate any consistency from its ground attack, averaging just 108.2 rushing yards per game. Some of that inconsistency came from the problems in the trenches, but both units have to improve in 2017. Quarterback Chase Litton has the potential to be one of Conference USA’s top signal-callers – if he can get more help from the supporting cast. Miami transfer Tyre Brady is a player to watch at receiver, while tight end Ryan Yurachek is the best in Conference USA. Junior college recruit Trey Rodriguez should provide a spark for the ground game. The problems for Holliday were not limited to the offense last year. Marshall gave up 35.3 points a game on defense and ranked ninth in Conference USA against the run. The secondary was equally problematic, finishing 101st nationally in pass efficiency defense. Junior tackle Ryan Bee and cornerback Rodney Allen are two building blocks for coordinator Chuck Heater, and the addition of Miami transfer Juwon Young (suspended first four games of 2017) should bolster a struggling linebacker unit. Marshall has too much talent on the roster to finish 3-9 again. However, contending for the C-USA East Division seems out of reach.

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106. Central Michigan

John Bonamego opens his third season at the helm of his alma mater looking to replace standout quarterback Cooper Rush. Michigan transfer Shane Morris is the favorite, but sophomore Tony Poljan is also in the mix. Replacing Rush won’t be easy. After all, he finished second in MAC history with 12,891 passing yards. If a quarterback emerges, the Chippewas should have no trouble scoring points behind new coordinator Chris Ostrowsky. The running back corps is deep and more help is on the way in the form of Minnesota transfer Berkley Edwards. The receiving corps should be among the best in the MAC, with tight end Tyler Conklin a first-team All-MAC selection by Athlon Sports. The defense returns six starters from a group that surrendered 30.3 points per game last fall – an increase of just over eight per contest from 2015. Linebacker Malik Fountain, end Joe Ostman and defensive backs Amari Coleman and Josh Cox are the top performers and could all push for first-team All-MAC honors. This unit has a few holes to fill, but the defense has a chance to improve its numbers from 2016. If Morris or Poljan emerges under center, the Chippewas should earn their third consecutive bowl trip under Bonamego.

College Football Rankings: Central Michigan

105. UNLV

Third-year coach Tony Sanchez has the Rebels trending up entering 2017. A bowl could be a season away, but UNLV won four games last fall (up from three in 2015) and lost two by no more than six points. Making the jump to six (or more) wins will require better play at quarterback. And the Rebels could have the right answer in the form of redshirt freshman Armani Rogers. He’s projected as the team’s starter over former junior college/Nebraska signal-caller Johnny Stanton, and Rogers is primed for a breakout year. Joining Rogers on offense is a deep stable of backs led by Charles Williams and Lexington Thomas, along with one of the league’s top offensive lines. The Rebels are deep at receiver, with Devonte Boyd (45 catches in an injury-limited year) expected to push for first-team All-Mountain West honors. The receiving corps is also expected to get a boost from the return of Kendal Keyes (missed 2016 due to injury). While the offense is poised to take off, question marks surround the defensive depth chart. UNLV returns only two starters on this side of the ball and depth at all three levels is a concern. After giving up 36.8 points per game last fall, it’s tough to see this unit taking a significant step forward with much in the way of proven talent.

College football rankings: UNLV

104. Idaho

This will be Idaho’s final year at the FBS level, and coach Paul Petrino’s team has a chance to go out on a high note. The Vandals return nine starters from a team that claimed its first winning season since 2009. Quarterback Matt Linehan is a second-team Athlon Sports All-Sun Belt selection for 2017, but his supporting cast will feature some new faces after the departure of four out of the top five targets from last season. Running backs Aaron Duckworth and Isaiah Saunders form one of the Sun Belt's top tandems. The offensive line is also a concern after the departure of three starters. The Vandals allowed just over 30 points per game (31.3) last season and had their share of issues against the pass. Coordinator Mike Breske returns only five starters, but end Aikeem Coleman is one of the Sun Belt’s top defenders, and the linebacker unit should be among the best in the conference. Idaho had a bit of luck on its side last fall. A plus-11 turnover margin and four victories by one score suggests some regression is in order for 2017.

College Football Rankings: Idaho

Related: Sun Belt Football 2017 Predictions

103. South Alabama

The Jaguars had an interesting 2016 season. Despite a 2-6 record in Sun Belt play, South Alabama made its second bowl appearance in program history. Thanks to upset victories against Mississippi State and San Diego State in non-conference play, the Jaguars reached the six-win mark for the third time in four years. With 11 returning starters and one of the Sun Belt’s best defenses in place, South Alabama shouldn’t need upsets in non-conference play to go bowling in 2017. The line is anchored by Louisville transfer Finesse Middleton and standout tackles Tyree Turner and Tre Alford. Safety Jeremy Reaves is also a first-team All-Sun Belt selection by Athlon Sports for 2017, but the secondary suffered a setback over the summer when Jalen Thompson was ruled out due to academics. The offense averaged 25.4 points per game last season and needs more help from the line to improve on the stat sheet. Quarterback Dallas Davis should rank among the league’s top signal-callers, while running back Xavier Johnson should push for 1,000 yards after rushing for 831 last season. The receiving corps must be retooled after losing its top four options from 2016.

College Football Rankings: South Alabama

102. Eastern Michigan

The Eagles were one of college football’s most surprising teams in 2016. Under the direction of third-year coach Chris Creighton, Eastern Michigan had its first winning season since 1995 and made its first bowl trip since '87. Another postseason game is within reach this fall, especially with a high-powered offense returning to Ypsilanti. Quarterback Brogan Roback is one of the best in the MAC, and despite losing tight end Nigel Kilby, the senior will have one of the league’s top receiving corps at his disposal. Shaq Vann’s return from injury adds to a solid stable of running backs. The offensive line is Creighton’s biggest concern after losing three full-time starters from last year’s group. If the line comes together, exceeding last season’s scoring output (29.6 ppg) won’t be a problem. While the defensive numbers from last season weren’t indicative of a shutdown group, it was a huge step forward for a unit that was gashed repeatedly in 2015. Eastern Michigan gave up 42.1 points per game that season but cut the total to 29.8 in 2016. End Pat O’Connor is the biggest loss for coordinator Neal Neathery from a defense that is slated to return eight starters. Assuming Neathery can fortify the pass rush and work on cutting down the big plays in the secondary, Eastern Michigan’s defense should take a step forward on the stat sheet once again. However, Creighton’s team won’t get a break in scheduling. The Eagles play the top two teams – Ohio and Miami – from the East and catch swing games against Northern Illinois and Central Michigan on the road.

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101. UConn

A familiar name is set to take over at UConn this fall: Randy Edsall. The former UConn coach has returned to Storrs after leaving to take the top spot at Maryland following the 2010 season. Edsall guided the Huskies to four consecutive bowl games from 2007-10 but inherits a program in need of repair. The offense averaged just 14.8 points per game and needs to find an answer at quarterback after the offense generated just eight passing scores last fall. Senior Bryant Shirreffs opened spring practice as the favorite to start, but junior college recruit David Pindell won the job in fall camp. Sophomore Donovan Williams was in the mix to start but moved to receiver. New coordinator Rhett Lashlee plans to implement an up-tempo/spread attack to spark this attack, and running back Arkeel Newsome could be a huge focal point of the offense. Receiver Noel Thomas (100 catches in 2016) won’t be easy to replace and more is needed from a line that has struggled in recent years. The picture isn’t as bleak on defense for Edsall. UConn allowed 28.1 points per game last fall and finished third in the AAC against the run. New coordinator Billy Crocker has a solid foundation at his disposal, including standout senior linebackers Vontae Diggs and Junior Joseph. Cornerback Jamar Summers is one of the AAC’s top defensive backs, but he’s also working with three new starters in the secondary. Edsall did a good job in his first stint at identifying under-the-radar recruits and developing them into solid starters. Finding success in his second stint in Storrs isn’t guaranteed, but Edsall knows what it takes to win and should help this team take a step forward in 2017.

College Football Rankings: UConn

100. Tulane

The Green Wave are coming off a 4-8 debut under coach Willie Fritz, but this team wasn’t far from bowl eligibility. Tulane dropped four games by 10 points or fewer, including a four-point defeat against Wake Forest and losing to Navy by a touchdown. Fritz clearly has this program trending up, but the Green Wave are probably a year from bowl eligibility. The addition of junior college transfer Jonathan Banks at quarterback is huge for an offense that managed only 24.1 points per game in 2016. Banks has the mobility to thrive in Fritz’s spread option attack. Banks won’t throw a ton (15-20 attempts per game), but the receiving corps is in better shape this fall, with junior Terren Encalade (13.9 ypc) likely the top target. Senior running back Dontrell Hilliard has led the team in rushing for two years in a row and should be the anchor for the ground game once again. The line regains the services of center Junior Diaz, who missed most of 2016 due to injury. This group and Banks’ development is critical to Tulane’s hopes of hitting six wins. The Green Wave quietly boast one of the American Athletic Conference’s top defenses. Tackle Tanzel Smart and linebacker Nico Marley will be missed, but there’s enough talent in place to remain near the top of the league. End Ade Aruna is poised for his best year, while the secondary is a standout group, headlined by cornerback Parry Nickerson.

College Football Rankings: Tulane

Related: American Athletic Conference 2017 Football Predictions

99. Northern Illinois

The Huskies are coming off their first losing season since 2007 and a string of six consecutive trips to the MAC Championship Game was also snapped last fall. Can coach Rod Carey get this program back on track? Contending for the conference title is unlikely, but if the Huskies can find the right answer at quarterback, a bowl trip is within reach. Injuries hit this position hard last season, as four different quarterbacks received snaps. Junior Ryan Graham and sophomore Daniel Santacaterina are set to battle for the job this fall, but this offense is going to lean heavily on its ground attack. Leading the way for running back Jordan Huff is a standout line, anchored by Athlon Sports first-team All-MAC left tackle Max Scharping. Top receiver Kenny Golladay won’t be easy to replace, but the Huskies get Chad Beebe back from injury, and Iowa State transfer Jauan Wesley could provide a boost on the outside. While finding a quarterback is the biggest storyline for Carey this offseason, the defensive concerns shouldn’t be overlooked. This unit gave up 30.3 points a game and struggled to stop the run (10th in the MAC). The front seven has to be retooled and could be problematic once again. The strength of the defense is the secondary, which features standout senior Shawun Lurry. With Eastern Michigan coming to DeKalb and no Ohio or Miami in crossover play, the schedule breaks in Northern Illinois’ favor this fall.

College Football Rankings: NIU

98. FAU

The Owls will be one of college football’s most intriguing teams this fall. And the reason for that is pretty simple: Lane Kiffin. The former Alabama offensive coordinator takes over in Boca Raton and inherits a team that has won just nine games over the last three years. While Kiffin’s last stint as a head coach at USC ended in his firing, the guess here is this stint goes significantly different. FAU is a program with potential in a fertile recruiting territory, and with Kiffin helping to make the final push, the Owls inked C-USA’s No. 1 signing class. Included in that haul was former Florida State quarterback De’Andre Johnson, a junior college transfer who is fighting with Daniel Parr and Jason Driskel to start in 2017. Johnson (or Parr and Driskel) is surrounded by a deep group of skill players, including standout running back Devin Singletary and receivers Kalib Woods and DeAndre McNeal. Auburn graduate transfer John Franklin joined the team in mid-August and is expected to step in at receiver. The offensive line should get a boost from the return of tackle Reggie Bain, who missed all of 2016 due to injuries suffered in an offseason car wreck. Scoring points shouldn’t be a problem for Kiffin’s team, but defense could be an issue. Standout end Trey Hendrickson expired his eligibility, adding to the concerns for a run defense that gave up 245.4 yards per game in 2016. Anchored by cornerback Raekwon Williams and safety Jalen Young, the secondary should be the strength of the defense. The personnel is in place for Kiffin to lead FAU to a bowl game in his first year in Boca Raton.

College Football Rankings: FAU

97. Utah State

After winning 19 games from 2013-14, Utah State has been trending in the wrong direction. The Aggies are just 9-16 over the last two seasons, and after a 3-9 record last fall, there’s considerable pressure on coach Matt Wells. Can Utah State get back into bowl contention this fall? It’s not going to be easy. An offense that averaged just 23.9 points per game in 2016 should improve behind new coordinator David Yost. The former Oregon assistant plans to utilize more up-tempo looks this fall, which should play into the strengths of quarterback Kent Myers. The senior has the talent to push for All-Mountain West honors, but the supporting cast is a concern. The Aggies are breaking in four new starters on the offensive line, and the receiving corps must be retooled after losing three key players from last year’s squad, including talented receiver Rayshad Lewis to transfer. The defense wasn’t the best in the Mountain West in 2016 but certainly wasn’t a weakness either. This year’s version must replace a couple of key cogs, including linemen Travis Seefeldt, Ricky Ali’fua, linebacker Anthony Williams, safety Devin Centers and cornerback Daniel Gray. The secondary is anchored by All-Mountain West candidates in safety Dallin Leavitt and cornerback Jalen Davis and is the strength of this defense. Senior Alex Huerta and juniors Derek Larsen and Chase Christiansen provide a solid foundation at linebacker, but the revamped line is likely to be the biggest concern for Wells. While this team has a lot of personnel concerns to address, it is important to note Utah State lost four Mountain West games by a touchdown or less last year. Turning a couple of those close losses into wins could equal a bowl trip for the Aggies.

College Football Rankings: Utah State

96. New Mexico

Bob Davie has brought steady improvement to this program since taking over in 2012, with the Lobos finishing '16 with a 9-4 mark and another trip to the New Mexico Bowl. Davie has this program on stable ground, but New Mexico has a few key voids to address before matching last year’s nine wins. The offense led the Mountain West by averaging 36.7 points per game in 2016 and should rank near the top once again. Quarterback Lamar Jordan is streaky as a passer but ranked third on the team in rushing with 739 yards last fall. Jordan anchors the option-based attack for Davie, but he won’t have to shoulder the entire workload on the ground. Tyrone Owens (1,097 yards), Richard McQuarley (18 TDs) and Daryl Chestnut (255 yards) form a capable trio for coordinator Bob DeBesse. And the Lobos have a road-grading offensive line with four returning starters to lead the way. The passing game should get a boost from the return of Delane Hart-Johnson (29.7 ypc in 2015) after he missed all of 2016 due to injury. It’s a good thing New Mexico’s offense should be among the best in the Mountain West and can chew up chunks of time off the game clock, as the defense returns only three starters from a group that gave up 31.5 points per game in 2016. Each level is filled with question marks, but the secondary is of particular concern after giving up 17 plays of 40 or more yards last fall. The Lobos also face a tougher slate in conference play. Hawaii, Nevada and San Jose State are traded for road games at San Diego State and Fresno State, along with a home date against an improving UNLV team. Additionally, New Mexico plays at Wyoming in a key swing game.

College Football Rankings: New Mexico

95. Cincinnati

The Bearcats have been one of the more consistent programs through the Big East/American Athletic Conference era, but last season’s four-win campaign was the program’s lowest victory total since 2010. Former Ohio State assistant Luke Fickell is tasked with getting this program back on track, and with his extensive ties to the state of Ohio, he should be a good fit over the long haul. For Cincinnati to return to the postseason in 2017, Fickell and coordinator Mike Denbrock have to find answers for an offense that managed just 19.3 points a game last year. Ohio State transfer Torrance Gibson did not join the team, leaving Ross Trail and Hayden Moore as the team’s top options at quarterback. Moore has the edge in experience and threw for 1,744 yards and 11 scores in seven appearances last year. The receiving corps is in good shape with Devin Gray (58 catches) and Kahlil Lewis (48) returning. Additionally, this unit added Louisville graduate transfer Ja'Quay Savage in August. Running back Mike Boone was limited to just 388 yards last year due to injuries, but he could be a 1,000-yard rusher with a full year of carries. Only two starters are back on the offensive line and this group is a concern entering fall workouts. The defense ranked fourth in the AAC in points allowed (26.9 ppg) last season and is under the direction of new coordinator Marcus Freeman. There’s some turnover at each level, but this unit returns one of the AAC’s top linemen in tackle Cortez Broughton. Cincinnati needs a few breaks to go bowling, but a fresh start under Fickell should be a step in the right direction.

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94. UTSA

The Roadrunners are a program on the rise under second-year coach Frank Wilson and will continue to build off the momentum from last season’s six wins. Wilson is known as a standout recruiter, but he’s already proving his mettle as a head coach by guiding UTSA to its first bowl trip in program history last fall. This year’s team is projected third in Conference USA's West Division, but there’s little gap between the Roadrunners and second-place Southern Miss. For UTSA to take a step forward in the win column, the offense needs more consistency out of its passing attack and quarterback Dalton Sturm. This unit is loaded with options at receiver and features talented running back Jalen Rhodes, who is ready to step in for Jarveon Williams. The offensive line allowed a whopping 43 sacks last fall and has to improve for this team to challenge Louisiana Tech at the top of the West. The defense should be a strength for the Roadrunners. Linebacker Josiah Tauaefa (115) is a tackling machine and already one of the top defenders in Conference USA as a sophomore. He’s joined by senior La’Kel Bass at linebacker, while end Marcus Davenport and safety Nate Gaines are also among the best at their respective position. The defense allowed 27.9 points per game in 2016 and should cut that total even lower this fall. If the passing game and offensive line improve, UTSA could be the biggest challenger to Louisiana Tech in C-USA's West Division.

College Football Rankings: UTSA

Related: Conference USA Football 2017 Predictions

93. Southern Miss

Interesting was probably the best way to describe coach Jay Hopson’s first season in Hattiesburg. Southern Miss returned enough talent to push for the Conference USA West Division crown, but this team stumbled late after an injury to quarterback Nick Mullens, and a minus-17 turnover margin was among the worst in the nation. Mullens expired his eligibility after the New Orleans Bowl win over Louisiana, leaving former junior college recruit Kwadra Griggs and talented sophomore Keon Howard competing for the starting job. Howard received limited playing time last season and showed he’s still developing as a passer after completing only 44 percent of his throws (50 attempts). Griggs emerged as the favorite at quarterback in fall practice. Assuming Hopson and coordinator Shannon Dawson find an answer under center, Southern Miss should thrive on offense. Running back Ito Smith averaged 147.5 all-purpose yards per game last season and returns to anchor the ground game. Receiver Allenzae Staggers (63 catches in 2016) is among the conference's best at receiver. In addition to quarterback, the line – with just two returning starters – ranks as a concern for Hopson’s offense. The defense has to retool a bit in the front seven, but the secondary returns three starters and should be among the best in C-USA. The road game at UTSA on Oct. 7 looms large in positioning for teams in the West Division.

College Football Rankings: Southern Miss

92. Illinois

Lovie Smith’s second season in Champaign is likely to look a lot like 2016. After winning just three games (and one Big Ten contest) last fall, the Fighting Illini have personnel concerns with a depth chart that returns only eight starters. On offense, uncertainty surrounds the quarterback spot. Junior Chayce Crouch is the favorite to start after completing 18 of 32 passes for 249 yards and one score last fall. The strength of the offense is at the skill positions with running backs Kendrick Foster and Reggie Corbin, and the receiving corps features two potential All-Big Ten candidates in Malik Turner (48 catches) and Mike Dudek (returning after missing the last two years because of a knee injury). With three starters back, the offensive line is also in a good spot after giving up just 20 sacks in 2016. The defense has a ways to go after giving up 31.9 points per game and finishing 12th in the conference against the run. Each level was hit hard by departures, and Smith dipped into the junior college ranks for immediate help with the addition of linebacker Del’Shawn Phillips. Linebacker Hardy Nickerson, linemen Dawuane Smoot, Gimel President and Chunky Clements won’t be easy to replace. If Smith is able to get consistent quarterback play from Crouch, Jeff George Jr. or Lawson, Illinois will have a chance to exceed last year’s three wins. However, too many question marks exist to escape the bottom of the Big Ten West Division.

College Football Rankings: Illinois

91. Rutgers

Chris Ash inherited a roster in need of major repair, so last year’s 2-10 record was no surprise. And it’s no secret, Ash and his coaching staff have another tough rebuilding year on tap. For perspective on where Rutgers is right now: The Scarlet Knights were shut out in four Big Ten games and lost six conference matchups by at least 17 points. New coordinator Jerry Kill is tasked with jumpstarting an offense that averaged only 15.7 points per game. Junior Giovanni Rescigno (889 yards, five TDs) opened spring practice as the favorite to start at quarterback, but Louisville graduate transfer Kyle Bolin and true freshman Jonathan Lewis pushed him for the No. 1 spot. Bolin emerged as the likely starter in fall practice but all three could see snaps in 2017. Regardless of who starts at quarterback, the return of receiver Janarion Grant from a knee injury is a boost to the passing attack. Grant caught 20 passes for 210 yards in four games before being lost for the season. The strength of the offense is at running back with seniors Robert Martin and Josh Hicks, along with Miami graduate transfer Gus Edwards forming a talented trio of options. The offensive line is under renovation with three new starters stepping into roles. The defense was problematic last fall by giving up 37.5 points per game and ranked last in the Big Ten against the run and yards per play allowed (6.4). With eight starters back, some improvement should be expected. Cornerback Blessaun Austin could push for All-Big Ten honors, and end Kemoko Turay hopes to regain his freshman form (7.5 sacks in 2014). All three starters also return at linebacker. For this defense to take a significant step forward, Rutgers needs more depth and playmakers to emerge in the trenches. Major improvement is unlikely in year two under Ash. However, the Scarlet Knights should be able to exceed last season’s two wins. 

College football rankings: Rutgers

90. Old Dominion

The Monarchs had a breakout year in 2016, and there’s plenty of staying power behind coach Bobby Wilder. Old Dominion won 10 games and claimed a bowl victory for the first time since joining the FBS level in 2014. While quarterback David Washington leaves big shoes to fill, the Monarchs should be a safe bet for another postseason trip. Sophomore Blake LaRussa will get the first opportunity to replace Washington, with redshirt freshman Drayton Arnold also in the mix. Regardless of which quarterback wins the job, expect to see a lot of running backs Ray Lawry and Jeremy Cox. The receiving corps and offensive line rank among Conference USA’s best. The defense features three new starters at linebacker, but the end combination of Bunmi Rotimi and Oshane Ximines should keep the front seven performing at a high level.

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Related: Conference USA Football Predictions for 2017

89. Kansas

Significant progress will take time at Kansas, but coach David Beaty seems to have this program on the path after winning two games in 2016. The Jayhawks are assembling a roster capable of competition in the Big 12 on a week-to-week basis, and the coaching staff was upgraded with the addition of former TCU play-caller Doug Meacham this offseason. Meacham will take over the offensive play-calling duties from Beaty, with junior college recruit (and former Washington State signal-caller) Peyton Bender expected to start over sophomore Carter Stanley. Bender quietly has a capable group of receivers at his disposal, headlined by Alabama transfer Daylon Charlot and junior Steven Sims (77 grabs in 2016). LaQuvionte Gonzalez was dismissed from the team over the summer after catching 62 passes last year. In order for the offense to escape the cellar of the Big 12, improving the ground game is a must. Kansas managed only 119.1 rushing yards per game last fall. Junior college recruit Octavius Matthews (limited in fall practice) and freshman Dom Williams could provide some much-needed punch at running back. The defense has allowed at least 30 points a game for seven consecutive years. That streak is unlikely to stop in 2017, but Kansas has one of the league’s top defenders at end in Dorance Armstrong Jr. (10 sacks in 2016), and a rising star at safety in sophomore Mike Lee. This team is loaded with question marks, but there’s enough to potential to win three or four games in 2017.

College Football Rankings: Kansas

88. Hawaii

The Rainbow Warriors showed marked improvement in coach Nick Rolovich’s first season, finishing 7-7 and winning the program’s first bowl game since 2006. Another step forward is in store for Hawaii in 2017, as Rolovich’s squad is the biggest threat to San Diego State in the West Division. Toppling the Aztecs isn’t going to be easy, but the Rainbow Warriors can lean on an explosive offense. Quarterback Dru Brown (19 TDs, 7 INTs) provided a spark once he took over the starting job. The junior should be even better with a full year to work as the team’s No. 1 quarterback. Top receiver Marcus Kemp (73 catches) expired his eligibility, but the receiving corps is in good hands with John Ursua, Dylan Collie and Ammon Barker. This offense has good balance with the return of running back Dicoemy Saint Juste (1,006 yards). Additionally, the line returns three starters, including All-Mountain West pick Dejon Allen at left tackle. While Hawaii shouldn’t have trouble moving the ball, stopping opposing offenses was a challenge last fall. The defense surrendered 37.3 points a contest (worst in the Mountain West) and gave up more than 200 rushing yards per game. New coordinator Legi Suiaunoa has a solid core returning up front – including linebacker Jahlani Tavai and end Meffy Koloamatangi. But the secondary features a couple of new faces, with the cornerback spot of particular concern for Suiaunoa.

College Football Rankings: Hawaii

87. Virginia

Last season’s 2-10 record was the first losing mark in coach Bronco Mendenhall’s head coaching career. The lack of success by the Cavaliers was really no surprise considering the question marks surrounding this team in the preseason, but there were glimpses of hope at the end of the year. Virginia nearly defeated Louisville in late October and lost to Wake Forest by seven points one week later. Mendenhall will be expecting more than moral victories in 2017, but it’s tough to see this team getting drastically better. Quarterback Kurt Benkert (2,552 yards, 21 TDs) returns to direct the offense after an up-and-down first season in Charlottesville. Benkert’s favorite targets – Doni Dowling and Olamide Zaccheaus – are back after combining for 101 catches. However, the remainder of Benkert’s supporting cast is littered with question marks. With the departure of Taquan Mizzell and Albert Reid, the team’s top returning rusher is Jordan Ellis – with 61 yards in 2016. A couple of graduate transfers were brought in to improve a shaky offensive line. Mendenhall’s background is on defense, so it was a surprise to see the Cavaliers near the bottom of the ACC in scoring, rush, pass and total defense last fall. However, this unit has potential to improve behind eight returning starters, including All-America safety Quin Blanding, as well as standout linebacker Micah Kiser. The defensive line needs Andrew Brown to deliver a huge senior season. Marked improvement is unlikely. However, Virginia could double its win total from 2016.

Virginia: college football picks against the spread

86. Arkansas State

The Red Wolves have been a model of consistency in recent years, as this program has played in six straight bowl games and earned a winning record each season in that span. Even though coach Blake Anderson’s team has a few key voids to fill, that streak should be extended to seven. Senior end Ja’Von Rolland-Jones anchors a standout line – a group critical in Arkansas State finishing second in the Sun Belt in scoring defense (21.5 ppg) last fall. Joining Rolland-Jones up front is rising star and Alabama transfer Dee Liner. The biggest concerns on defense are in the secondary where three starters must be replaced. The offense got off to a slow start in 2016 but averaged 32.1 points per game in conference play. The firepower is there at the skill positions to match that total, and quarterback Justice Hansen should be better in his second year as the starter. However, the line looms as a major concern for Anderson. All five starters must be replaced, and instant help was sought through the transfer ranks. Anderson is slated to handle the play-calling duties for the offense in 2017.

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Related: Sun Belt Football 2017 Predictions

85. Ohio

Frank Solich’s Bobcats are one of the MAC’s most consistent teams. Ohio has won at least eight games in six out of the last eight years. Additionally, this program has made seven bowl trips in that span. Also, Ohio’s last losing record was in 2008. With Solich’s success in mind, it’s never a good idea to count this team out even when there are personnel concerns to address. The Bobcats are the defending MAC East champs but a repeat trip to Detroit will hinge on how much the offense develops behind sophomore quarterback Quinton Maxwell. Ohio’s ground game will receive a boost from the return of A.J. Ouellette from a season-ending injury in 2016, with junior Papi White anchoring a receiving corps looking to replace two out of its top three targets. There’s a solid foundation in place with three starters returning along the offensive line, including Athlon Sports first-team All-MAC selection Jake Pruehs. Continuing the consistent theme, Ohio is usually solid on defense, and there’s no reason to expect anything different in 2017. The defensive line loses standout end Tarell Basham, but there’s enough experience returning to keep this unit performing at a high level. Additionally, linebacker Quentin Poling should be in the mix for MAC Defensive Player of the Year honors and alleviates some of the concern up front. The secondary returns two starters and should take a step forward after ranking ninth in the league in pass defense in 2016. Ohio hosts Miami in a game that could decide the champion of the East Division. However, Solich’s team also has to play Toledo and takes on an improved Eastern Michigan team in crossover play.

College Football Rankings: Ohio

84. Purdue

The Boilermakers have won no more than three games in each of the last four years, but the program made one of the offseason’s top hires with the addition of Jeff Brohm. During a 30-10 run at WKU, Brohm developed one of the nation’s top offenses and guided the Hilltoppers to back-to-back Conference USA titles. While Brohm isn’t likely to lead Purdue to a bowl game in 2017, there should be some improvement in the on-field product. Brohm will call the plays on offense, which figures to provide immediate help for a unit that managed only 24.6 points per game in 2016. Working with quarterbacks is a specialty for Brohm, and junior David Blough showed promise after throwing for 3,352 yards and 25 scores last fall. Running back Markell Jones anchors a solid stable of options and should push for 1,000 yards in the new offense, but question marks remain at receiver and up front. Two graduate transfers were added to boost the front five, while the receiving corps added Corey Holmes, who started his collegiate career at Notre Dame. New coordinator Nick Holt returns six starters on defense, with the strength of this unit coming at linebacker. Sophomore Markus Bailey and senior Ja’Whaun Bentley form a solid one-two punch at the position, while WKU grad transfer T.J. McCollum is expected to push for a starting job in the fall. The Boilermakers need to get tougher against the run after giving up 238.4 yards per game last fall. Don’t expect major improvement in Brohm’s first year, but Purdue’s offense will make things interesting in West Lafayette.

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83. Western Michigan

The Broncos had quite a ride in 2016. Under the direction of former coach P.J. Fleck, this program finished the regular season at 13-0, won the MAC Championship Game and earned a berth in the Cotton Bowl against Wisconsin. Repeating those accomplishments in 2017 isn’t going to be easy. There’s a new coach (former WMU quarterback Tim Lester), a first-time starter at quarterback after the departure of Zach Terrell, and both sides of the ball lost important pieces from last year’s squad. One of those pieces was standout receiver Corey Davis, who was selected in the first round of the NFL draft. Replacing Terrell is expected to be sophomore Jon Wassink after Tom Flacco transferred over the summer. With inexperience under center, expect the Broncos to lean heavily on their ground game. The trio of Jarvion Franklin, Jamauri Bogan and LeVante Bellamy is one of the most productive in the nation. This group will have plenty of help up front, as Western Michigan’s line could be the best in the MAC. After leading the conference in scoring defense (19.8 ppg) last fall, Lester could lean even more on this group in 2017. Each level suffered personnel losses, but this unit shouldn’t slip too far on the stat sheet. Robert Spillane and Asantay Brown form a standout one-two punch at linebacker, while cornerback Darius Phillips is a lockdown cover man on the outside. Another bowl trip is expected, but Western Michigan will have to overcome quarterback concerns and a date at Toledo in order to win the MAC West once again.

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Related: MAC Football 2017 All-Conference Team

82. SMU

The Mustangs improved their win total by three games from coach Chad Morris’ first season to year two. And with an explosive offense on tap for 2017, look for SMU to earn its first bowl bid since 2012. Ben Hicks will have to hold off Arkansas transfer Rafe Peavey and junior college recruit D.J. Gillins for the starting job, but the sophomore is a breakout candidate at quarterback after throwing for 2,930 yards and 19 touchdowns last season. The Mustangs are overflowing with talent at receiver and at running back. Junior Courtland Sutton (76 catches for 1,246 yards) is an All-America candidate, and he’s joined by LSU transfer Trey Quinn and sophomore James Proche as key targets for Hicks. Junior Braeden West (1,036 yards) headlines a solid trio of running backs. The biggest concern for Morris’ offense remains the line. This unit has to get better in pass protection after surrendering 26 sacks in 2016. While the offense is good enough to get SMU to six wins, moving higher in the American Athletic Conference standings depends on how far the defense progresses. The Mustangs gave up 36.3 points per game last fall and ranked 11th in the league against the run. End Justin Lawler is the unit’s top performer and a first-team American Athletic Conference selection for 2017 by Athlon Sports. However, question marks remain at every level. Expect SMU to be involved in plenty of shootouts this fall.

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81. Temple

The defending American Athletic Conference champs are a team in transition for 2017. Geoff Collins was hired as the program’s new coach after Matt Rhule left to take the top spot at Baylor. In addition to Collins and new schemes on both sides of the ball, the Owls must replace quarterback Phillip Walker, and a handful of key defenders, including standout edge rusher Haason Reddick. Uncertainty surrounded the quarterback spot exiting spring ball. Four candidates are vying for the starting job, with sophomore Logan Marchi or junior Frank Nutile likely the favorite to take the first snap. Helping to ease the new quarterback in is one of the AAC’s top receiving corps – led by receivers Ventell Bryant and Keith Kirkwood – and a strong ground attack, anchored by junior Ryquell Armstead. The line has to shuffle a bit after losing two starters, but this group should be solid once again. While the list of departures on defense is extensive, Collins isn’t inheriting a roster devoid of talent. The secondary should be strong with three returning starters, while there’s enough experience and talent in the front seven to remain near the top of the American Athletic Conference. Adding to Collins’ challenge in year one is a tough schedule. Temple catches Notre Dame and Army in non-conference play, while getting three of the top four teams from the West – Tulsa, Navy and Houston – in crossover action.

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80. Army West Point

Maintaining success hasn’t been easy for Army West Point. The program has just two bowl bids and winning records since 1997. But the momentum for the Black Knights seems to be changing behind coach Jeff Monken. After a 6-18 start to his tenure at West Point, Monken guided Army to an 8-5 record last fall, which was the program’s highest win total since posting 10 in 1996. Additionally, the Black Knights won the Heart of Dallas Bowl and beat rival Navy for the first time since 2001. With 15 returning starters, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Monken’s team match or exceed those totals in 2017. Army West Point finished second nationally by averaging 339.5 rushing yards per game, and the bulk of that ground game is slated to return. Quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw was inconsistent as a passer but ranked second on the team with 826 rushing yards. Fullback Andy Davidson led the team with 961 yards, while Darnell Woolfolk (600 yards), Jordan Asberry (421) and Kell Walker (378) are all slated to provide support in the option-driven attack. Better ball security is a priority for Monken after the offense lost 25 turnovers last season and finished with a minus-three margin overall. The defense was hit harder by departures, as linebackers Jeremy Timpf (112 tackles) and Andrew King (11 TFL) leave big shoes to fill. Senior Alex Aukerman (15 TFL) will assume the mantle as the team’s top defender, with six other starters returning from a unit that limited opponents to 19.8 points per game in 2016. Also working in Army’s favor: The schedule. The Black Knights play only two Power 5 teams. Earning the program’s first back-to-back winning records since 1989-90 is easily within reach.

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79. UCF

After UCF completed an 0-12 season in 2015, the program could only go up in coach Scott Frost’s first year in Orlando. While improvement was expected, winning six games and reaching a bowl game was probably more than most anticipated. Either way, UCF is in great shape with Frost at the helm. And with nine starters back, an improved offense could make the Knights the biggest challenger to USF in the AAC East. Frost was known for his high-powered offenses at Oregon after Chip Kelly left for the NFL, but UCF is still trying to put the right pieces together. Quarterback McKenzie Milton showed promise in his first year as the starter and should improve in his second season as the No. 1 signal-caller. The skill talent is in good shape around Milton. The Knights return Jawon Hamilton and Adrian Killins as a capable duo at running back, with a deep slate of receivers coming back on the outside. Junior Tre’Quan Smith should push for first-team All-AAC honors. After giving up 36 sacks last fall, Frost needs better play from his offensive line for the offense to take a step forward. The picture isn’t quite as clear on defense. The Knights return only four starters – all in the front seven – with a complete rebuild underway in the secondary. However, the talent that is returning – linebacker Shaquem Griffin and linemen Trysten Hill, Jamiyus Pittman and Tony Guerad – are all among the league’s top defenders. Griffin was particularly dominant in 2016, as he recorded 11.5 sacks, 20 tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles and 92 tackles. Alabama transfer Shawn Burgess-Becker could be an impact addition at safety.

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Related: American Athletic Conference 2017 Predictions

78. Miami (Ohio)

After finishing 2016 with six consecutive regular season wins and a one-point defeat to Mississippi State in the St. Petersburg Bowl, the RedHawks are the favorite to claim the MAC East title. Coach Chuck Martin clearly has the program on the right path after winning five games over his first two years. The steady rebuild in Oxford took time, but Miami has a team loaded with talent in the upperclassmen ranks. An offense that averaged only 22.8 points per game in 2016 should take a significant step forward this fall. Quarterback Gus Ragland (17 TDs, INT) is a rising star under center and his return from a knee injury sparked the offense over the second half of 2016. Ragland will be throwing to one of the MAC’s top receiving corps, and the duo of Kenny Young and Alonzo Smith return to anchor the ground attack after combining for 1,266 rushing yards last season. The line gave up 42 sacks in 2016, but there’s optimism for marked improvement with four starters returning, including standout guards Jordan Diamond and Sam McCollum. While the offense is expected to take a significant step forward on the stat sheet, Miami’s defense shouldn’t be overlooked. In fact, this unit could be the best in the MAC in 2017. The RedHawks limited opponents to 23.8 points per game last fall. Eight starters return, including cornerback Heath Harding and safety Tony Reid to anchor the top secondary in the MAC. Replacing standout end J.T. Jones is the top priority for co-coordinators John Hauser and Matt Pawlowski. Miami has to play at Ohio in a key East Division showdown but misses Toledo and Western Michigan in crossover play.

College Football Rankings: Miami (OHIO)

77. Air Force

Coach Troy Calhoun’s ability to quickly reload at Air Force will be tested once again in 2017. The Falcons lost a ton of talent from last year’s 10-win team, as just one starter is slated to return on defense, and top receiver Jalen Robinette as well as three of the top four statistical options at running back have expired their eligibility. The rebuilding process starts with junior quarterback Arion Worthman, who impressed in a late-season stint as the team’s starter. Worthman is poised for a breakout year in 2017. Rounding out the supporting cast for Air Force is all-purpose threat Timothy McVey (8.5 ypc in 2016) and three starters on the offensive line. Filling Robinette’s shoes on the outside is expected to fall to senior Tyler Williams, while tight end Ryan Reffitt could be more involved after catching eight passes for 173 yards in 2016. Scoring points or ranking near the top of the nation in rushing shouldn’t be a problem. But how quickly can Air Force’s defense reload? This unit was hammered by departures, including standout safety Weston Steelhammer and 12 of the unit’s top 13 tacklers from last fall. Senior Grant Ross (67 stops) is the lone returning starter and significant concerns remain about the defensive line and in the secondary. Calhoun is the Mountain West’s No. 1 coach, but it’s also reasonable to expect a regression in wins in 2017 after posting 28 over the last three years.

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76. California

California hit the reset button after a 5-7 season under former coach Sonny Dykes, with Justin Wilcox tapped to lead the program for 2017 and beyond. Wilcox is regarded for his work as a defensive coordinator, and that side of the ball has been a glaring issue for California in recent seasons. How much of a difference can Wilcox make in one season? After giving up 42.6 points and more than 500 yards per game last fall, this unit can only go one way. The overall depth and talent level needs to improve, but Wilcox has some talented pieces to work with, including end James Looney and linebackers Devante Downs and Raymond Davison. The secondary features just one returning starter but a return to full health from cornerback Darius Allensworth and safety Evan Rambo could alleviate some of the concerns about the pass defense. New offensive play-caller Beau Baldwin comes to Berkeley after a successful stint as Eastern Washington’s head coach. He plans on making a few tweaks to the offense, including more involvement from the running game and tight ends in the passing attack. Finding a quarterback is Baldwin’s top priority after the departure of Davis Webb. Junior Chase Forrest and sophomore Ross Bowers are the leading candidates under center, with the battle expected to go deep into August. The running back stable – led by Tre Watson and Vic Enwere – should be a strength, and this offense isn’t hurting for options at receiver. Sophomore Demetris Robertson is one of the Pac-12’s rising stars. However, even if a quarterback emerges, California’s offense won’t go anywhere unless the line finds three new starters. All signs point to a rebuilding year for the Golden Bears in 2017.

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75. Middle Tennessee

The Blue Raiders hope to knock WKU from the top of Conference USA’s East Division behind quarterback Brent Stockstill and receiver Richie James. Stockstill suffered a shoulder injury in early November last fall and missed three games before returning to play in the Hawaii Bowl. Despite the injury, he still finished with 3,233 yards and 31 touchdowns. Stockstill will frequently target James – a potential All-America receiver for 2017 – after he caught 105 balls for 1,625 yards and 12 scores last season. James is joined by emerging threat Ty Lee (63 catches in 2016) and senior Patrick Smith (28) to form C-USA’s top receiving corps. Senior Shane Tucker rushed for at least 400 yards in 2014 and '15 and was slated to move to receiver before missing 2016 due to injury. He’s moving back to running back to replace I’Tavius Mathers, who expired his eligibility after rushing for 1,561 yards and 17 touchdowns last fall. Junior college recruit Maurice Gordon is a player to watch at running back. Skill talent isn’t a concern for coach Rick Stockstill, but the Blue Raiders have significant concerns up front. This unit must replace three starters after giving up just 14 sacks last fall. The concerns in the trenches extend to the defensive side of the ball. New coordinator Scott Shafer was a standout hire for Stockstill, but he’s got his work cut out this offseason. MTSU must replace all four starters up front, with Missouri transfer Walter Brady expected to provide a boost at end. The linebacker unit should be the strength of the defense with all three starters back. The Nov. 17 game at WKU should decide the winner of C-USA’s East Division.

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74. Tulsa

The Golden Hurricane’s 10-win campaign in 2016 tied for the second-most victories in a single season in school history. What can Tulsa do for an encore? Contending for the AAC West Division title isn’t out of the question, but coach Philip Montgomery has to plug a few gaps on offense. For starters, Montgomery needs to find a quarterback to replace the prolific Dane Evans. Redshirt freshman Luke Skipper and sophomore Chad President are locked into a tight battle for the starting job, with Skipper a slight favorite exiting spring ball. Even though Keevan Lucas and Josh Atkinson depart the receiving corps, Montgomery isn’t hurting for talent. Justin Hobbs and Keenen Johnson combined for 80 receptions last fall and should easily exceed 100 in 2017. Leading rusher James Flanders expired his eligibility, but the ground game won’t miss a beat with D’Angelo Brewer (1,435 yards) taking over as the top back. The strength of Tulsa’s offense remains up front, with a line that returns four starters, including three first-team AAC selections by Athlon Sports. It was no secret the Golden Hurricane were led by their offense in 2016, but the defense quietly improved after giving up 39.8 points per game in 2015. Can the improvement continue in 2017 after the departure of linebackers Trent Martin and Matt Linscott and both starting defensive backs? The end combination of Jesse Brubaker and Jeremy Smith (9.5 combined sacks last fall) should be a force off the edge, while the secondary is expected to take a step forward with four starters returning. Until a quarterback emerges, Tulsa will need more help from its defense early in the 2017 campaign.

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73. WKU

The Hilltoppers have claimed back-to-back Conference USA titles, and despite a change in leadership, this program is the pick over Middle Tennessee in the East Division for 2017. New coach Mike Sanford is a rising star and should keep WKU performing at a high level this fall. The offense has averaged over 40 points a game for three consecutive seasons and has the firepower to push for that total once again. Quarterback Mike White (4,363 yards, 37 TDs) leads the way, with D’Andre Ferby anchoring a solid stable of running backs. Replenishing the receiving corps is a top priority for Sanford, as WKU will miss the big-play ability of Taywan Taylor and Nicholas Norris. Sophomore Lucky Jackson is primed for a breakout year in the passing game. Another area of focus for Sanford is the offensive line, which loses standout Forrest Lamp. But the cupboard is hardly bare, as WKU returns three starters, including Athlon Sports all-conference selections Dennis Edwards and Brandon Ray. New coordinator Clayton White is shifting the defense to a 4-2-5 approach. Each level suffered a key loss from last season, but a strong foundation is still in place. The secondary – led by cornerbacks Joe Brown and De’Andre Simmons – should be among the best in Conference USA. With Middle Tennessee slated to visit Bowling Green this year, the East Division title still runs through L.T. Smith Stadium.

College Football Rankings: WKU

Related: Conference USA Football 2017 Predictions

72. Wyoming

Craig Bohl delivered a breakout season in his third year at the helm in Laramie, as the Cowboys won the Mountain Division, finished with eight wins and snapped a bowl drought that extended four seasons. And this team is primed for another run at the top of the conference in 2017. NFL prospect Josh Allen is back after throwing for 3,203 yards and 28 scores last fall. Allen is already garnering interesting as a first-round pick in next year’s draft and could help his cause by cutting the number of interceptions (15 in 2016) and raising his completion percentage (56). Allen will be handing off to a new running back this season, as standout performer Brian Hill left early for the NFL. The receiving corps is under renovations as well after Tanner Gentry, Jake Maulhardt and tight end Jacob Hollister expired their eligibility. However, C.J. Johnson and Austin Conway are two promising targets for Allen to rely on this fall. The offensive line also is a strength with five starters returning, including Athlon Sports first-team All-Mountain West selection Zach Wallace. The defense surrendered 34.1 points per game last fall but should take a significant step forward with all nine starters returning. Sophomore linebacker Logan Wilson and junior safety Andrew Wingard are two of the best in the Mountain West. This group must eliminate the big plays allowed after surrendering 46 plays of 30 yards or more last season. Adding to the difficulty of a repeat: the schedule features road trips to Boise State, Air Force and Utah State.

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71. Louisiana Tech

A third trip in four seasons to Conference USA’s Championship Game should be in the works for coach Skip Holtz’s Bulldogs in 2017. Despite losing quarterback Ryan Higgins and standout receivers Trent Taylor and Carlos Henderson, this offense should remain near the top of the conference in scoring behind new quarterback (and rising star) J’Mar Smith. The sophomore will be throwing to a revamped receiving corps, but there’s talent in place with the addition of Tulane transfer Teddy Veal, redshirt freshman (and former Oklahoma signee) Adrian Hardy and proven targets Kam McKnight and Alfred Smith. Additionally, Jarred Craft and Boston Scott anchor a strong ground attack behind a line that returns three starters. The defense suffered heavy losses in the back seven, but the line is the best in Conference USA behind standout end Jaylon Ferguson (14.5 sacks in 2016). This unit gave up 33.6 points a game last fall, so there’s a need for improvement in coordinator Blake Baker’s second year at the controls. All-conference safety Xavier Woods won’t be easy to replace in the secondary. Even though Louisiana Tech has some turnover on both sides of the ball, UTSA and Southern Miss aren’t quite ready to challenge for the West Division title. And by the end of 2017, the Bulldogs could emerge as the top team in the conference.

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70. Boston College

The Eagles closed 2016 on a three-game winning streak, culminating in a 36-30 victory over Maryland in the Quick Lane Bowl. Coach Steve Addazio hopes to utilize that momentum into a bigger and better 2017. But Boston College will have its hands full in the brutal ACC Atlantic, along with a non-conference slate that features Notre Dame. In other words, just getting back to six (or seven) victories would be a good 2017 campaign. The strength of Addazio’s teams in Chestnut Hill have always relied on a strong ground game and standout defense. That formula should be intact this fall, as running backs Jon Hilliman and AJ Dillon anchor a solid stable of backs, and the offensive line is poised to improve with three returning starters, along with the addition of West Virginia graduate transfer Marcell Lazard. Junior Darius Wade opened spring ball as the favorite to win the starting quarterback job, but redshirt freshman Anthony Brown finished spring with the insight track. The battle between Wade and Brown is expected to go deep into fall camp. Expect Wade or Brown to target tight end Tommy Sweeney and receiver Michael Walker frequently in 2017. End Harold Landry (16.5 sacks) anchors a defense that held opponents to 25 points a game and ranked first in the ACC against the run last fall. The senior end is among the nation’s top returning defenders and a candidate for All-America honors. The linebacker unit is in good shape with Connor Strachan and Ty Schwab returning, and three starters are back for a secondary that hopes to take a step forward in 2017.

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69. Toledo

All of the pieces are in place for Toledo to claim its first MAC West title since 2004. Behind quarterback Logan Woodside, the Rockets averaged 38 points a game in 2016 and another prolific year is in store. Woodside is the MAC’s top quarterback and one of the best players returning in the Group of 5 ranks. The supporting cast is undergoing a few renovations around Woodside. Kareem Hunt has expired his eligibility, but Terry Swanson is primed for a big senior year as the team’s No. 1 running back. Tight end Michael Roberts is the biggest loss in the receiving corps. However, senior Cody Thompson (68 catches) and junior Jon’Vea Johnson (10 TDs) are both expected to earn all-conference honors in the high-powered passing game. The offensive line has been an annual strength in recent years and should remain solid with two full-time starters back in the mix. The defense suffered a few key losses in the secondary and on the defensive line, as three all-conference performers have expired their eligibility. Coach Jason Candle doesn’t need this group to be an elite, shutdown defense with a high-powered offense leading the way. Even if this group takes a small step back, it is hard to see Toledo slipping from No. 1 in the West Division.

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