RANK TEAM (FINAL 2004 AP RANK) 2004 RECORD RETURNING STARTERS SKINNY (2004 stats unless otherwise indicated)
26 UTAH (4) 12--0 10 Former assistant Kyle Whittingham takes over for Urban Meyer; sophomore quarterback Brian Johnson replaces No. 1 pick Alex Smith
27 VIRGINIA (23) 8--4 14 Cavaliers lost seven players to NFL, but junior Ahmad Brooks (90 tackles, eight sacks) could be nation's best linebacker
28 IOWA STATE 7--5 18 Offense is built around pair of sophomores: QB Bret Meyer (2,257 total yards) and wideout Todd Blythe (21.4 yards per catch)
29 TEXAS TECH (18) 8--4 16 With 236 career receptions, senior Taurean Henderson needs 27 more catches to set NCAA record for running backs
30 PENN STATE 4--7 18 Rangy with 4.4 speed, wide receiver Derrick Williams, nation's No. 1 recruit, from Greenbelt, Md., could have Joe Pa feeling 60 again
31 NORTH CAROLINA STATE 5--6 15 Coach Chuck Amato likens senior defensive end Manny Lawson to NFL star Peter Boulware, an Amato disciple at Florida State
32 GEORGIA TECH 7--5 15 Knee injury limited senior tailback P.J. Daniels to eight games and 714 yards--he gained 1,447 in '03--but he's fully healed
33 MINNESOTA 7--5 15 Junior tailback Laurence Maroney is one of top backs in Big Ten after rushing for 1,348 yards (6.2 per carry) with 12 touchdowns
34 UCLA 6--6 16 One of three finalists in '04, senior tight end Marcedes Lewis (32 catches, 402 yards) is front-runner for John Mackey Award
35 MISSOURI 5--6 11 With 12 rushing yards, senior quarterback Brad Smith will become fifth NCAA player to gain 3,000 yards both rushing and passing
36 UTEP 8--4 13 Junior QB Jordan Palmer, brother of 2002 Heisman winner Carson, completed 58.2% of passes for 2,818 yards and 26 TDs
37 BOSTON COLLEGE (21) 9--3 17 2004 Big East defensive player of the year is back: senior end Mathias Kiwanuka (111/2 sacks, 241/2 tackles for loss)
38 WASHINGTON STATE 5--6 17 6-foot 235-pound linebacker Will Derting, an All-Pac-10 selection, had 93 tackles as junior, including 14 against USC
39 MICHIGAN STATE 5--7 14 Junior quarterback Drew Stanton, who started seven games, emerged as dual threat with 1,601 passing yards and 824 rushing
40 WISCONSIN (17) 9--3 11 With Brian Calhoun, a Colorado transfer who rushed for 810 yards in '03, coach Barry Alvarez has shot at memorable final season
41 ALABAMA 6--6 12 Tide could roll behind senior Brodie Coyle, who was second in nation in passing, then missed eight games with torn ACL
42 WEST VIRGINIA 8--4 12 6'4", 280-pound All--Big East junior guard Dan Mozes (team-high 32 knockdowns) anchors an offense that lost eight starters
43 OREGON 5--6 15 Senior end Devan Long (71/2 sacks) and 338-pound junior tackle Haloti Ngata power Pac-10's second-ranked defense
44 NOTRE DAME 6--6 15 Welcome to South Bend, Charlie Weis: Irish open with four of first five games on road--at Pitt, Michigan, Washington and Purdue
45 SOUTH CAROLINA 6--5 10 Game on: Florida comes to Columbia on Nov. 12 to face its former Ol' Ball Coach, offensive wizard Steve Spurrier
46 UAB 7--5 17 Blazers will ride arm of senior Darrell Hackney, who threw for 3,070 yards in '04 and has 49 TD passes in 30 games
47 MARYLAND 5--6 13 Behind senior LB D'Qwell Jackson (123 tackles), coach Ralph Friedgen looks to rebound from worst season in his four years with Terps
48 TOLEDO 9--4 16 Senior Bruce Gradkowski is only player in Division I-A history to complete at least 70% of his passes in more than one season
49 ARKANSAS 5--6 18 6'6", 224-pound wideout Marcus Monk showed star potential as freshman, catching 37 passes for six touchdowns
50 SOUTHERN MISS 7--5 15 All-America cornerback John Eubanks both gaineth (29.4 yards per kick return) and taketh away (nine pass breakups, three picks)
51 KANSAS STATE 4--7 14 After Wildcats' worst season since 1989, fleet Florida State transfer Thomas Clayton replaces Darren Sproles at tailback
52 CLEMSON 6--5 15 Senior cornerback Tye Hill, the 2004 ACC 100-meter champion, was third in nation in pass breakups (21)
53 MIAMI (OHIO) 8--5 15 All-MAC senior linebacker Terna Nande is fast (4.43 in the 40) and fierce (29 tackles for loss over past two seasons)
54 OKLAHOMA STATE 7--5 14 Cowboy up: Sophomore quarterback Donovan Woods will ride herd on new coach Mike Gundy's no-huddle, spread offense
55 NORTHWESTERN 6--6 11 Senior linebacker Tim McGarigle led nation with 81/2 solo tackles per game and ranked third in total tackles per game (12.6)
56 NEBRASKA 5--6 13 Can Bill Callahan win in Lincoln? Quarterback Zac Taylor, a juco transfer who had a terrific spring, is good fit for West Coast offense
57 MEMPHIS 8--4 13 Heisman voters, take note: Senior D'Angelo Williams (1,948 yards, 22 TDs) could be country's most explosive running back
58 MISSISSIPPI 4--7 12 New coach Ed Orgeron's 4--3 defense will showcase 6'2", 230-pound junior middle linebacker Patrick Willis (70 tackles, five sacks)
59 OREGON STATE 7--5 16 Junior Matt Moore, who started five games at UCLA in 2003, takes over for 3,000-yard passer Derek Anderson
60 NORTHERN ILLINOIS 9--3 14 With seven consecutive 100-yard games, junior tailback Garrett Wolfe (1,656 yards, 18 TDs) set Huskies record
61 NEW MEXICO 7--5 17 Senior running back DonTrell Moore can become sixth player in I-A history to rush for 1,000 yards in four straight seasons
62 TCU 5--6 13 Horned Frogs are powered by fifth-year-senior passer with arm to match name--Tye Gunn (career 58.3% completion rate)
63 NORTH TEXAS 7--5 11 Mean Green will be rushing machine with sophomore Jamario Thomas (1,801 yards) and senior Patrick Cobbs (1,680 yards in 2003)
64 LOUISIANA TECH 6--6 11 Senior linebacker Byron Santiago (84 tackles, including 71/2 for loss) was first-team All-WAC and has drawn raves from NFL scouts
65 MIDDLE TENNESSEE 5--6 17 Junior quarterback Clint Marks completed 70.4% of his passes but threw as many interceptions (14) as touchdown passes
66 COLORADO STATE 4--7 18 Rams have high hopes for junior running back Nnamdi Ohaeri, who played defensive back at UCLA before transferring in '04
67 KANSAS 4--7 15 Junior Charles Gordon is potent triple threat: He had seven interceptions and 15 catches and was Jayhawks' top punt returner
68 SYRACUSE 6--6 15 Senior Damien Rhodes (team-high 856 yards) will carry load after departure of All--Big East running back Walter Reyes
69 ILLINOIS 3--7 16 HireZook.com: Former Florida coach (23--14 with Gators) takes over team that's gone 1--15 in Big Ten over past two seasons
70 MISSISSIPPI STATE 3--8 18 Bulldogs will have bite with senior tailback Jerious Norwood, who rushed for 1,050 yards and seven touchdowns
71 ARIZONA 3--8 17 Wildcats making strides under second-year coach Mike Stoops, who has a stud in senior free safety Darnell Brooks (73 tackles)
72 NORTH CAROLINA 6--6 16 Tar Heels will be feeling blue with road games at Georgia Tech, Louisville, Miami and Virginia Tech
73 WASHINGTON 1--10 19 New coach Tyrone Willingham gets a shot at his former employer when Huskies host Notre Dame on Sept. 24
74 STANFORD 4--7 18 Quarterback Trent Edwards, who has struggled to find consistency, should flourish in new coach Walt Harris's West Coast offense
75 BYU 5--6 13 Senior wideout Todd Watkins led the Mountain West with 1,042 receiving yards and had four TD receptions of at least 68 yards
76 HOUSTON 3--8 15 Cougars will be in good hands with senior Vincent Marshall, who caught 61 passes for 1,040 yards, tops among returnees in C-USA
77 NAVY (24) 10--2 6 New starter Lamar Owens, a senior, triggers triple-option offense that averaged 289.5 rushing yards, third best in nation
78 MARSHALL 6--6 7 Big shoes to fill: coach Larry Keuck takes over for retired Bob Pruett, who was 94--23 and had five bowl wins in nine years
79 TULANE 5--6 19 Senior left guard Matt Traina and his twin brother, senior center Joe (combined weight: 565 pounds), anchor line
80 CONNECTICUT 8--4 13 Matt Bonislawski, a junior, replaces most prolific passer in UConn history, Dan Orlovsky (10,076 career passing yards)
81 KENTUCKY 2--9 15 Here's something new offensive coordinator Joker Phillips doesn't find funny: Cats' 275.5 yards per game ranked 115th in nation
82 TROY 7--5 9 Top two returning tacklers (senior linebackers Leverne Johnson and Bernard Davis) must fill void left by first-round pick Demarcus Ware
83 SOUTH FLORIDA 4--7 18 Bulls will rush with senior Andre Hall, who ran for school-record 1,357 yards and averaged 6.5 yards per carry
84 KENT STATE 5--6 15 Senior linebacker Justin Parrish (6'2", 240) set a school record with 14 sacks and 171/2 tackles for loss
85 BAYLOR 3--8 13 All-America senior Daniel Sepulveda averaged a booming 46.0 yards per punt (42.5 net) in winning Ray Guy Award
86 WAKE FOREST 4--7 16 After back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, senior tailback Chris Barclay needs 907 yards to become Deacons' alltime leading rusher
87 INDIANA 3--8 19 New coach Terry Hoeppner has little talent to work with and must overcome losing mentality: Hoosiers are 8--27 since '02
88 HAWAII 8--5 12 Juco transfer Colton Brennan and freshman Tyler Graunke are leading candidates to replace NCAA's alltime leading passer, Timmy Chang
89 NEVADA 5--7 15 Senior wideout Nichiren Flowers caught 91 passes, sixth best in nation, for 1,126 yards and six touchdowns
90 VANDERBILT 2--9 12 Holy Moses: All-SEC senior linebacker Moses Osemwegie (team-leading 94 tackles) has been godsend for struggling Commodores
91 UNLV 2--9 10 Rebels will build offense around 6'8", 255-pound senior tight end Greg Estandia, who has scouts drooling with his size and hands
92 SAN DIEGO STATE 4--7 21 Tailback Lynell Hamilton, the Mountain West's freshman of the year in 2003, is back after missing '04 with a broken ankle
93 OHIO 4--7 16 Former Nebraska coach Frank Solich returns to his native state, where he will try to lead Bobcats to third winning season since '82
94 TULSA 4--8 13 Senior tight end Garrett Mills (51 catches for 560 yards and two touchdowns) has caught a pass in 27 consecutive games
95 AIR FORCE 5--6 14 Shaun Carney became the first Falcons freshman to begin the season as a starting quarterback; he completed 61.1% of his passes
96 RUTGERS 4--7 16 Senior Ryan Hart's passing numbers (3,154 yards, 65.1% completion rate) are impressive; his record as a starter (10--20) is not
97 NEW MEXICO STATE 5--6 14 Former Kentucky coach Hal Mumme brings his pass-happy offense to Las Cruces; hands controls to juco transfer Royal Gill
98 DUKE 2--9 14 Second-year coach Ted Roof has installed run-oriented system to jump-start nation's worst offense (266.5 yards per game)
99 AKRON 6--5 14 Junior Luke Getsy will replace quarterback Charlie Frye, who set a school record with 11,049 career passing yards
100 CINCINNATI 7--5 8 Bearcats have a stud in junior tight end Brent Celek (eight TD receptions), but only two other starters return on offense
101 LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE 4--7 16 Mismatch of the year? Defensively challenged Ragin' Cajuns travel to second-ranked Texas for season opener on Sept. 3
102 ARMY 2--9 11 Senior Carlton Jones (1,269 rushing yards) will try to keep nation's worst defense (490.1 yards allowed per game) off field
103 RICE 3--8 11 Nation's top running attack (306.5 yards per game) needs junior tailback Thomas Lott to return to 2003 form (7.4 yards per carry)
104 TEMPLE 2--9 12 Senior Mike McGann, who started as a freshman and sophomore, takes over for the QB who replaced him in '04, Walter Washington
105 EAST CAROLINA 2--9 16 New coach Skip Holtz's first priority is to shore up a defense that allowed 39.9 points per game, third worst in nation
106 SAN JOSE STATE 2--9 14 Mighty mite senior running back Lamar Ferguson (5'5", 151 pounds) will play hide-and-seek behind O-line that averages 303 pounds
107 LOUISIANA-MONROE 5--6 18 Double trouble: Senior quarterback Steven Jyles was third in the Sun Belt in both passing (2,322 yards) and rushing (587)
108 EASTERN MICHIGAN 4--7 14 Junior kicker Andrew Wellock connected on 21 of 23 field goals and was runner-up for Lou Groza Award
109 WESTERN MICHIGAN 1--10 13 Does senior quarterback Ryan Cubit (1,887 passing yards) have job security? His dad, Bill, is head coach and offensive coordinator
110 CENTRAL MICHIGAN 4--7 14 Junior tailback Jerry Seymour (163.8 all-purpose yards per game) has rushed for 100 yards in 14 of his 20 career games
111 BALL STATE 2--9 19 MAC Daddy: Cardinals' hard-hitting junior strong safety Erik Keys (84 tackles) is best defensive back in conference
112 IDAHO 3--9 19 Running backs Jayson Bird and Rolly Lumbala combined for 1,473 yards and 14 touchdowns as freshmen last season
113 SMU 3--8 21 Mustangs' leading tackler in '03, senior linebacker D.D. Lee, returns after missing most of last year with elbow injury
114 UTAH STATE 3--8 13 Sophomore Kevin Robinson was No. 2 in nation in punt returns (22.5 yards per game) and ran two back for touchdowns
115 ARKANSAS STATE 3--8 12 Cornerback Tyrell Johnson had 94 tackles, including 11 against LSU, and was All--Sun Belt as freshman
116 CENTRAL FLORIDA 0--11 15 Not-so Golden Knights: Central Florida owns the nation's longest active losing streak (15 games) and opens at South Carolina
117 FLORIDA ATLANTIC 9--3 8 Opposing quarterbacks would be wise to avoid senior cornerback Willie Hughley (43 tackles, 11 pass breakups, six picks)
118 BUFFALO 2--9 17 Oct. 1 game at Western Michigan is Bulls' best shot to break 17-game road losing streak
119 FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL 3--7 18 Mr. Irrelevant Bowl: Golden Panthers host fellow I-A newcomer Florida Atlantic on Nov. 26 in season finale for both teams
COLOR PHOTOAL TIELEMANS TURF WARS Duke will try to lift its ground attack, which ranked 109th in the nation. COLOR PHOTOROBERT BECK TROJAN WAR UCLA and QB Drew Olson will be gunning for rival USC on Dec. 3.