Here's the first of the 2013 season previews... The Orlando Sentinel throws out the first lowball ranking placing Army at 117th nationally.
Seeing these early previews is on one hand nice in the pre-summer slow news days, but it is also typical for these countdown rankings to release the lowest ranked teams earliest.... so there is that.
In the past The Sentinel has ranked teams by their projected Win-Loss record and I have no reason to think this preseason's rankings are any different. While this is an insulting placement for any team, the Sentinel's way of ranking has usually been the least accurate of any method of ranking and I don't think it will be difficult for Army to far, far outplay the #117 rank that they have been given here.
Obvious question marks are at the quarterback spot and the defense needing to greatly improve on their NCAA worst numbers:
Outlook: The opportunities for success will be there for Ellerson and the Cadets, but a lot will depend on who takes over at quarterback. Steelman was the heart and soul of the program for the past four seasons and finding someone who can fill that role could be difficult. The triple option offense is tough to stop because few teams actually run it, giving Army an edge. But the Black Knights’ defense must improve in order for the team to be successful this season.
I like these kind of early previews and low rankings as a mark for the team to surpass, but #117 will be pretty easy to surpass and assuming any improvement on defense they should clear that low hurdle in week 2.