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College Football 2011 Predictions: Top 25 Worst Teams Heading into 2011

Daniel BrommerCorrespondent IApril 4, 2011

College Football 2011 Predictions: Top 25 Worst Teams Heading into 2011

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    By this time of the year we as college football fans have a pretty good idea as to who the top programs will be going into 2011. But then there are those teams that won't have such good luck, or talent for that matter.

    These are the teams that won't make a splash or have a surprise victory. These are the teams that will finish in the same spots they did a year ago, or for some they will find themselves at the bottom of the well like they have for the past decade.

    These teams are the bottom feeders, the ones who will finish last or second to last in their conference and will certainly not make a bowl game.

    Here are the 25 teams that will finish at the bottom of the charts at year's end.

25. UCLA

2 of 26

    2010 Record: 4-8

    Wins: Houston, Texas, Washington State, Oregon State

    How hot is the seat in Los Angeles? Scorching hot. Rick Neuheisel hasn't exactly lived up to the hype of when he was first hired to lead this program back to at least respectability. Now UCLA is sitting at the bottom of the Pac-10, and with two new teams coming in next year, they may find themselves at the bottom of the well yet again.

    Key Returner: Johnathan Franklin had a solid season at running back last year, rushing for 1,127 yards and eight touchdowns. He will have to carry this team on his back if UCLA is going to get back to at least a .500 record.

24. Mississippi

3 of 26

    2010 Record: 4-8

    Wins: Tulane, Fresno State, Kentucky, Louisiana-Lafeyette

    Last year the Jeremiah Masoli experiment failed miserably and landed Mississippi in the bottom of the SEC, the best conference in football. There was a lot of promise when Masoli showed up on campus, but he never got a grasp on the offense, which led to a lost season.

    Key Returner: Brandon Bolden is the bright light of the team now and he is one of the best running backs in the conference. He chose to stay for another year to up his draft value. Last season as a junior he had 976 yards and 14 touchdowns. He will have to do more than that if Ole' Miss is going to have success this season.

23. Tulane

4 of 26

    2010 Record: 4-8

    Wins: Southern Louisiana, Rutgers, UTEP, Rice

    Tulane didn't exactly impress last season and it doesn't look like they will this year. Finishing towards the bottom of their conference certainly doesn't have optimism levels running high in Tulane. Don't expect them to make a giant turnaround this season, either.

    Key Returner: Ryan Griffin had an impressive season as a freshman quarterback a year ago when he threw for 2,371 yards and 14 touchdowns with eight interceptions. If he can build on those numbers, Tulane could get back to at least .500 this year.

22. Florida Atlantic

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    2010 Record: 4-8

    Wins: UAB, Florida International, Western Kentucky, Louisiana-Lafeyette

    It seemed that when Rusty Smith was the quarterback there was at least some kind of optimism that this team would break through and have a lot of success, but that has all changed now. Florida Atlantic isn't exactly a joy to watch as they once were, but that doesn't mean they don't have potential. After all, they are located in Florida.

    Key Returner: Jeff Van Camp returns at quarterback where he passed for 2,459 yards with 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

21. Utah State

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    2010 Record: 4-8

    Wins: Idaho State, BYU, New Mexico State, San Jose State

    After they defeated BYU last year there was plenty of reason for excitement, but then they began to drop games that they were "supposed" to win. The victory over BYU was quickly replaced by the feelings of defeat and another bad year.

    Key Returner: Unfortunately they lost their starting quarterback and running back and are left with Dontel Watkins at receiver. Watkins had 492 yards and four touchdowns.

20. Wyoming

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    2010 Record: 3-9

    Wins: Southern Utah, Toledo, Colorado State

    Nothing new here. Wyoming has never been a real threat as a football team, but they have had decent years. Don't expect that this year, as they finished towards the bottom of their conference last year and will do the same thing this year.

    Key Returner: Austyn Carta-Samuels threw for 1,702 yards with nine touchdowns and eight interceptions.

19. Minnesota

8 of 26

    2010 Record: 3-9

    Wins: Middle Tennessee, Illinois, Iowa

    Minnesota finished with big wins over Illinois and Iowa, but the loss to South Dakota early in the season is enough to wipe those wins out. Minnesota will now have to deal with newcomer Nebraska to the Big 10 this year, so it looks like they will find themselves finishing either last or second to last in the conference this year.

    Key Returner: DeLeon Eskridge rushed for 698 yards and seven touchdowns, giving Minnesota at least one reason for optimism.

18. Kansas

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    2010 Record: 3-9

    Wins: Georgia Tech, Colorado, New Mexico State

    Kansas showed signs of having a surprising season when they beat Georgia Tech early in the year, but then they won just one game in the Big 12 against Colorado. They might deserve to be a little lower in this list considering how good of a coach Turner Gill is, but he will need another year under his belt before Kansas begins to show any real signs of improvement.

    Key Returner: Jordan Webb started as a freshman at quarterback last year and had 1,195 yards passing for seven touchdowns, but he also threw eight interceptions. With another year in Gill's system, Webb should improve a lot this season.

17. Wake Forest

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    2010 Record: 3-9

    Wins: Presbyterian, Vanderbilt, Duke

    Riley Skinner still isn't going to be walking through that door, so Demon Deacon fans, I think it's time to start moving forward. Wake Forest had a very bad season in the ACC last year, winning just one game in the conference against Duke and sorry to say, I don't think they will win a single conference game this season.

    Key Returner: Josh Harris rushed for 720 yards and seven touchdowns, making him the one and only bright spot on this offense. Should he get more carries he could see the 1,000 yard mark, but the wins will still be the same.

16. Duke

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    2010 Record: 3-9

    Wins: Elon, Navy, Virginia

    Why are they rated below Wake Forest? For the simple reason that they are Duke and because the one quality win Wake Forest had was against Duke last year. Duke has begun to show some signs of life in their football program, but this year isn't the year that they finally reach respectability.

    Key Returner: Sean Renfree had a great season at quarterback, passing for 3,131 yards with 14 touchdowns, but he also threw 17 interceptions. If he can cut down on his mistakes, Duke could actually make a few surprises this year.

15. Central Michigan

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    2010 Record: 3-9

    Wins: Hampton, Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan

    Dan LeFevour graduates and the program regressed dramatically. Of course, they do have bragging rights against Western Michigan and Eastern Michigan for beating both of them last year, but if that is the only real accomplishment, they are in a world of hurt.

    Key Returner: Ryan Radcliff did have a nice year at quarterback, passing for 3,358 yards with 17 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. He certainly isn't a playmaker like LeFevour, but he's their best option for success on the offensive side this year.

14. Louisiana-Lafeyette

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    2010 Record: 3-9

    Wins: Arkansas State, North Texas, Louisiana-Monroe

    Louisiana-Lafeyette doesn't exactly scream football power and don't expect that to start in 2011. They will again finish near the bottom of the conference and their quality wins may be against the same teams they won against last year, or they could drop those games and finish with a 2-10 record, or 1-11.

    Key Returner: Chris Masson passed for 1,842 yards with 11 touchdowns and six interceptions.

13. Colorado State

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    2010 Record: 3-9

    Wins: Idaho, UNLV, New Mexico

    When looking at last season's wins you really can't pinpoint which one is even remotely impressive. I would have to go with Idaho since they aren't on this list, but as for UNLV and New Mexico, those can't be labeled as quality wins.

    Key Returners: Pete Thomas returns at quarterback. Last year as a freshman he passed for 2,662 yards with 11 touchdowns, but he did add 13 interceptions. Thomas could evolve into a good player and his experience will be needed greatly.

12. Washington State

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    2010 Record: 2-10

    Wins: Montana State, Oregon State

    Here we are again. Another year and another losing record for Washington State. The only time this team looked good in the conference was when Washington failed to win a single game back in 2008. What to expect for in 2011? Another losing season.

    Key Returner: Marquess Wilson was a nice spark to the offense last year as a freshman receiver. He had 1,006 yards and six touchdowns.

11. Eastern Michigan

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    2010 Record: 2-10

    Wins: Ball State, Buffalo

    Eastern Michigan didn't have a successful year by any terms in 2010, winning only two games against Ball State and Buffalo and the bad thing is that they probably won't win many games in 2011, either. They finished second to last in the Mid-American conference ahead of Akron and they will most likely find themselves in the same position this year.

    Key Returner: Alex Gillet was a nice surprise at quarterback, throwing 13 touchdowns with 1,633 yards passing, but he did add 13 interceptions. He also rushed for 766 yards and five touchdowns.

10. UNLV

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    2010 Record: 2-10

    Wins: New Mexico, Wyoming

    UNLV finished third to last in the Mountain West ahead of the two teams that they defeated. They may have a fighting chance in the conference once TCU and BYU leave, but as for 2011, they won't finish anywhere ahead of where they finished last year.

    Key Returner: Phillip Payne had 689 yards receiving with five touchdowns.

9. Bowling Green

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    2010 Record: 2-10

    Wins: Marshall, Central Michigan

    Another team from the Mid-American conference represented on this list, Bowling Green finished towards the bottom of the top heavy conference and while they didn't finish last, they might have a shot at it this year.

    Key Returner: Matt Schilz passed for 2,223 yards with eight touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

8. Vanderbilt

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    2010 Record: 2-10

    Wins: Ole' Miss, Eastern Michigan

    I know what some of you are thinking: How is it that Eastern Michigan is predicted to finish ahead of Vanderbilt? There is no right or wrong answer. Both teams will probably end up with the same record. It's kind of sad to think that Vanderbilt was once considered "decent" back when Jay Cutler was playing quarterback for them, and they still finished with a losing record back then.

    Key Returner: Larry Smith passed for 1,262 yards with six touchdowns and five interceptions.

7. Western Kentucky

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    2010 Record: 2-10

    Wins: Louisiana-Lafeyette, Arkansas State

    Another regular on this list, Western Kentucky finished dead last in the Sun Belt Conference with their only quality win coming against Arkansas State, who finished the season with a 4-8 record.

    Key Returner: One very bright spot for Western Kentucky is running back Bobby Rainey, who rushed for 1,649 yards and 15 touchdowns.

6. New Mexico State

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    2010 Record: 2-10

    Wins: New Mexico, San Jose State

    New Mexico State had one win in the conference and that was against San Jose State, which, coincidentally, prevented them from finishing last in the WAC. It would be a stretch to think that they will finish any higher than that in 2011.

    Key Returner: Quarterback Matt Christian passed for 1,372 yards with eight touchdowns.

5. San Jose State

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    2010 Record: 1-12

    Wins: Southern Utah

    San Jose State finished last in the WAC last year and didn't win a single game in the conference; their only win coming against an FCS opponent in Southern Utah. It's hard to say there is reason for optimism for this team in 2011 and they may just take the title of the loser in the WAC yet again.

    Key Returner: Matt Faulkner passed for 206 yards and a touchdown.


4. New Mexico

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    2010 Record: 1-11

    Wins: Wyoming

    New Mexico finished with the same conference record as Wyoming, but the only reason they didn't finish last in the conference is because they beat Wyoming. Once again, another team from the Mountain West represented on this list. Is it any wonder that TCU, Utah and BYU are leaving?

    Key Returners: Quarterbacks Stump Godfrey and B.R. Holbrook split time last year at quarterback and combined for 1,172 yards passing with seven touchdowns.

3. Buffalo

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    2010 Record: 2-10

    Wins: Rhode Island, Bowling Green

    It was almost inevitable that when Turner Gill left for Kansas that this program would go back to where they were used to: the bottom. Buffalo had just one conference win against Bowling Green and otherwise, were a very bad team in 2010. Don't expect any different in 2011.

    Key Returner: Jerry Davis was a freshman quarterback last year and passed for 1,753 yards and 16 touchdowns, only to be matched by 16 interceptions.

2. Akron

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    2010 Record: 1-11

    Wins: Buffalo

    I couldn't decide whether or not to put them before or after Buffalo on this list, and since Buffalo did finish with two wins instead of just one, here they are. Akron's only win came in the conference against Buffalo and they finished last in the Mid-American Conference.

    Key Returner: Patrick Nicely passed for 1,753 yards with 10 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

1. Memphis

26 of 26

    2010 Record: 1-11

    Wins: Middle Tennessee

    Memphis finished last in Conference USA and their only win did come against a team that finished 6-7 in Middle Tennessee. However, they couldn't win a single game in their conference and will once again finish with a losing record. There is really no argument for them not to be the worst team going into 2011 because they simply just don't have a good team coming back.

    Key Returner: Ryan Williams passed for 2,075 yards and 13 touchdowns, but had 10 interceptions. He was however just a freshman, but if this team is going to prove the country wrong, he will have to play a lot better this season.

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