It may not hurt much to apply, you'll only be out the time, materials, and money you spent on sending the application. The odds are in this climate, that any open rank position will go to a more senior person or some pre-planned hire. If you get lucky, you may get to play the foil to this hire and get invited for a phone or maybe even on site interview and go through all the motions before they hire their prefered candidate. The hire process must have the apperance of fairness and through review of candidates. Sure the department may say they were seriously considering you as a viable candidate, but the favored or planned person will likely win out in the end. This happened to a couple of times to some friends of mine. And I had a similar experience three times myself. Once on the phone, and twice on site. The place where I phone interview went to a tenured prof lured in from another school. The other two places invited me out; one seemed interested and I thought it went well, but they filled the position with someone in admin who was stepping out of the role. The last occasion kept joshing me around with scheduling an interview and I thought they changed there minds a couple times. It was delayed and they ended up interviewing me in the summer, and the faculty I would most likely collaborate with were out of town. It was very odd. They ended up filling that position with someone who taught and there undergrad school.
So a lot of wasted time, hopes, and effort, but at least I got some great interviewing experience that may help me for the next job interview right? Right???? And you can put your self through all of that too if your lucky and what a great experience it would be for you too!