Orlando Sentinel college insider Matt Murschel has ranked all 125 Football Bowl Subdivision teams in the country. The Sentinel staff will take a closer look at a new team daily, counting backward from No. 125 to our projected No. 1 team.

Today at No. 105: Memphis

Coach: Justin Fuente (4-8, second season; 4-8 overall)

2012 record: 4-8 (4-4 in Conference USA, T-3 in C-USA East)

Look back: Under new coach Justin Fuente, Memphis looked to change the perception of futility around the program. The Tigers lost four in a row to start the season, including two close losses to Tennessee-Martin (by three) and at Arkansas State (by five). Memphis showed significant progress late in the season. The Tigers won their final three games, downing Tulane, UAB and Southern Miss. The Tigers' defense, which allowed 39.5 points per game in four C-USA losses, gave up just 56 points total in the final three wins.

Offensive starters returning: 8

Offensive starters lost: 3

Defensive starters returning: 8

Defensive starters lost: 3

Key losses: OL A.J. Antonescu, LB Akeem Davis, OL Jordan Devey, WR Marcus Rucker, DB Cannon Smith, DB Robert Steeples

Top returnees: OL Al Bond, OL Antonio Foster, OL Chris Schuetz, RB Brandon Hayes, QB Jacob Karam, DB Bobby McCain, LB Anthony Brown, LB Charles Harris, DB Lonnie Ballentine

Strengths: The Tigers should be better on both sides of the ball, a product of their second season in a system but also the enhanced competition under Fuente. They have production returning on offense with QB Jacob Karam, who started all 12 games and threw for 1,895 yards and 14 touchdowns. Five offensive linemen with starting experience are also back. The Tigers ranked atop C-USA in total defense in conference play and should be formidable up front again with the entire defensive line returning. Memphis allowed just 138 rushing yards a game in 2012, ranking 32nd nationally, and were top-50 in total defense.

Weaknesses: Though Karam brings stability to the offense, Memphis must be better in the passing game in 2013. The team ranked 109th in the country in passing offense last season and need to air it out more. The Tigers are searching for a playmaker on the outside, with their leading returning wideout recording just 476 receiving yards in 2012. The team also lacks a feature back — no rusher on the roster had more than 576 yards on the ground. There are still questions to answer in the secondary, as well, where the Tigers must replace two starters.

Outlook: Memphis finished the final quarter of the 2012 season on a high note, and the Tigers hope to carry that momentum into their first season in the American Athletic Conference. Fuente has looked to enhance competition throughout his roster, instilling the feisty culture in the program. Memphis needs to find a way to put up more points on offense. Expect the Tigers to take another developmental step forward, but they don't yet have the athletes needed to compete with the top of the conference — Louisville, UCF, UConn and Cincinnati.

ptenorio@tribune.com

2013 schedule

 Sept. 7 Duke

Sept. 14 at Middle Tenn. St.

Sept. 21 Arkansas State

Oct. 5 UCF

Oct. 12 at Houston

Oct. 19 SMU

Oct. 30 Cincinnati

Nov. 9 Tenn.-Martin

Nov. 16a t USF

Nov. 23 at Louisville

Nov. 30 Temple

Dec. 7 at UConn