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#69-72: Change is the way Division 1 gameday preview

The next installment of the division1 college sports gameday preview. Schedule and roster strength and overall potential scores

 
PRLog - Aug. 31, 2012 - EVANSVILLE, Ind. -- #69-72:
Change is the way
#72: Florida International
Schedule strength: 84
Roster strength: 84
Overall potential: 50

The short on the Golden Panthers:
Mario Cristobal has made winning at FIU a reality in it's short existence. And FIU has been winning with a roster full of unknowns. This year's roster is no different. FIU doesn't have any star talent or blue chippers, but there aren't any noticable weaknesses on either side of the line either. With one exception: A young inexperienced quarterback. The go to player on offense will be Kendrick Rhodes at running back. A repeat of last season may be a stretch unless the offense clicks out of the gate.
#71: Connecticut
Schedule strength: 62
Roster strength: 77
Overall potential: 72

The short on the Huskies:
This team is loaded with a lot of JUCOs and transfers that will likely see starting time this season. Chandler Whitmer should get the start at quarterback. Look out for running back Lyle McCombs, who had a break out season as a sophomore last season. And the defense doesn't have any soft sports to speak of. There is potential for a lesser bowl bid if the offense clicks early and doesn't fade late.
#70: SMU
Schedule strength: 66
Roster strength: 89
Overall potential: 56

The short on the Mustangs:
June Jones made believers out of many last season. But this season he has to start over. No quarterback on the roster has any experience. With a huge question mark about this years passing game, Zach Line will be the answer, at running back. On the other side of the line, there aren't too many holes that need to be address as SMU will work from the 3-4 again this season. Overall, how quick the offense gels will be the key to the teams success.
#69: Maryland
Schedule strength: 88
Roster strength: 35
Overall potential: 86

The short on the Terrapins:
A clean slate of assistant coaches as a result of last seasons collapse leaves questions all around. Second year head coach Randy Edsall has a monster of a rebuild and a rough schedule to boot. On the plus side the Terps defensive unit is stingy and strong. And quarterback C.J. Brown, who knows how to pass and run. Can Brown improve his passing game though?
#57-60:
Bowl bound, but barely
#60: Illinois
Schedule strength: 58
Roster strength: 64
Overall potential: 64

The short on the Illini:
Tim Beckman takes over the Illini after Ron Zook crashed and burned last season. What is in store for Illinois this season depends on how he implements the spread option, his signature at Toledo the past three seasons. Nathan Scheelhaase and Reilly O'Toole will likely see split starting time at quarterback and both have had moderate success. The defensive unit remains mostly in tack from a year ago, which is good news. It should be an exciting offense if everything falls into place, and a bowl game is not out of the question.
#59: Northwestern
Schedule strength: 63
Roster strength: 60
Overall potential: 59

The short on the Wildcats:
How strong is Kain Colter? He is the workhorse quarterback/running back/receiver that gets results at all positions. It should be no surprose that the Wildcats will once again go with him this season. Not many teams have a triple threat player like Colter, and as long as he stays healthy, will be leading the Wildcats into the postseason this year. Defensively, some holes still need to be plugged up, and improvements need to be made against the pass, but overall the defense should be effective enough, especially against a tough Big Ten schedule.
#58: Purdue
Schedule strength: 76
Roster strength: 33
Overall potential: 73

The short on the Boilermakers:
Three quarterbacks, Robert Marve, Caleb TerBush, and Rob Henry, all good but not great, all capable leaders but with a lot of room to grow. Look for a rotation of the three at QB this season. Wide receiver Antavian Edison is back and should be their primary target. Ralph Bolden needs to stay healthy for the running game to be effective. There are few holes to be addressed on defense, and the overall outlook this year should be good.
#57: Vanderbilt
Schedule strength: 81
Roster strength: 29
Overall potential: 66

The short on the Commodores:
Better watch out, Vanderbilt is coming on and this isn't a fly by night one year success story. Last seasons finish wasn't a fluke, James Franklin came into Nashville and made believers out of many. Some retooling is needed on defense, but on offense running back Zac Stacy is back and is expected to be the main offensive threat this season. There's more, running backs Jerron Seymour and Warren Norman are also back, giving the Dores a run attack that will carry Vanderbilt to a bowl this season.
#53-56:
What next?
#56: Arizona State
Schedule strength: 50
Roster strength: 38
Overall potential: 82

The short on the Sun Devils:
Arizona State had high hopes last season only to fall flat. Exit Dennis Erickson and enter Todd Graham. There are plenty of returing starters on offense, notible Cameron Marshall at running back, that leads one to believe the Sun Devils should be able to contend this year. But Graham will be going with a different offensive and defensive approach from last season. Instead of a pro set offense, look for the open spread. How well the team as a whole transitions to the new way remains a question. It may take a while, but in the end Arizona State will salvage the season and see the post season.
#55: Arizona
Schedule strength: 51
Roster strength: 46
Overall potential: 71

The short on the Wildcats:
A new head takes over that has name recognition: Rich Rodriguez, formerly of Michigan and West Virginia. The Wildcat attack on offense will likely be the no huddle, led by Matt Scott at quarterback. There are a number of running backs that will be shuffled in and out, keeping the opposing defenses off guard. The bad. The entire defense needs to be rebuilt from the ground up. A lot of potential on offense may be for not if the defense doesn't do its job this season.
#54: Southern Mississippi
Schedule strength: 32
Roster strength: 70
Overall potential: 65

The short on the Golden Eagles:
A brand new coaching staff. A completely redone offense, and the same over on defense. The holdovers that will make Southern Miss competitive is the offensive line. How new head coach Ellis Johnson molds the rest of the offense will be the determining factor how many wins the Golden Eagles end up with. It will be a struggle, but a winning season isn't out of the question.
#53: Nevada
Schedule strength: 40
Roster strength: 43
Overall potential: 82

The short on the Wolf Pack:
Cody Fajardo is the heads on favorite to start at quarterback. Fajardo must continue to polish his overall game if Nevada is to rebound from last seasons dismal performance. The running game is still young and the receiver corps best man, senior Brandon Wimberly, needs to stay healthy. Over on defense, the Wolf Pack must stay strong all season long. Last season, Nevada's D came out strong, faltered down the stretch.

--- End ---

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