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. 102: Texas State

Coach: Dennis Franchione (10-14, entering third season; 197–115–2 overall)

2012 record: 4-8 (2-4 in Western Athletic Conference, fifth in WAC)

Look back: Dennis Franchione, a two-time national coach of the year who previously led New Mexico, TCU, Alabama and Texas A&M programs, is charged with helping Texas State transition to college football's highest level. The school, previously known as Southwest Texas State and Texas State-San Marcos, has grown to the fifth largest university in Texas. The program, which is located near San Antonio, has won 14 conference titles and two Division II national championships. It will is in the process of taking a big competitive step forward to the Football Bowl Subdivision level.

Franchione scored a five-year contract extension in May following a relatively successful run, including raising the money to help support the football program. The Bobcats opened the 2012 season with a 30-13 win over rebuilding Houston, scoring its first victory over an FBS opponent since 2000. The team's other wins were over Stephen F. Austin, Idaho and New Mexico State. However, it struggled against the main FBS opponents it faced.

Texas State scored a key victory during the offseason. The Bobcats competed in their first FBS conference in 2012, joining the Western Athletic Conference lineup. After key defections, the WAC stopped supporting football. Rather than getting forced to compete as a independent program, Texas State was invited to join the Sun Belt Conference.

Offensive starters returning: 6

Offensive starters lost: 5

Defensive starters returning: 7

Defensive starters lost: 4

Key losses: TE Chase Harper, LB Joplo Bartu, DB Darryl Morris, RB Marcus Curry, DB Jason McLean, QB Shaun Rutherford.

Top returnees: DL Blake McColloch, DB Craig Mager, RB Tim Gay, C Matt Freeman, QB Tyler Arndt, WR Andy Erickson, DB Xavier Daniels, WR Jafus Gaines.

Strengths: Texas State has a variety of playmakers returning on defense, including DB Craig Mager and DB Xavier Daniels. Mager tied for fourth in the WAC and ranked 33rd nationally after snagging four interceptions last season.

The Bobcats fielded a balanced offense last season, averaging 179.3 rushing yards and 200.4 passing yards per game. The team averaged 28.6 points per contest, finishing in the middle of the pack among FBS teams.

Freshman WR Jafus Gaines was an explosive threat for a strong Texas State special teams unit. He led the WAC and ranked eighth nationally in kickoff return yards.

Weaknesses: Texas State must replace some of its strongest individual performers from the 2012 season. The list includes TE Chase Harper, LB Joplo Bartu and C Matt Freeman, who earned All-WAC recognition.

Franchione also will be relying on a new quarterback to power an offense that will be facing a steady diet of established FBS defenses for the first time. Tyler Arndt is expected to replace Shaun Rutherford under center. Arndt saw limited action during the 2012 season going 22 of 56 passing for 208 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.

Outlook: Franchione has helped struggling programs earn big wins in the past and has some talented athletes returning next season, but it'd be tough to post a winning record while playing a true FBS schedule for the first time.

2013 schedule

Aug. 31 at Southern Miss

Sept. 7 Prairie View A&M

Sept. 21 at Texas Tech

Sept. 28 Wyoming

Oct. 5 at Louisiana-Lafayette

Oct. 12 Louisiana-Monroe

Oct. 19 Georgia State

Oct. 26 South Alabama

Nov. 2 at Idaho

Nov. 16 at Arkansas State

Nov. 23 Western Kentucky

Nov. 29 at Troy

ilimon@tribune.com