Chances are you've already come across one of the preseason college football publications at the supermarket or the bookstore. For me, it's a sign that football is just around the corner. Who cares if they arrive nearly a month before the official start of summer? It sure feels like fall when you have them in your hand.
I recently grabbed a copy of both the Lindy's and Athlon's SEC Preview. Unlike Phil Steele, neither publication has a reputation for getting it right when it comes to predictions. Still, they are highly entertaining and give fans something to debate leading up to early September.
Doing a quick read of both publications, I came across some interesting prognosticating that you may or may not agree with completely...
- Athlon's did a story ranking the performances of all new head coaches for 2009. Auburn's Gene Chizik came in at number nine behind Washington's Steve Sarkisian (#2, 5-7), Kansas State's Bill Snyder (#6, 6-6) and Purdue's Danny Hope (#8, 5-7). Now I know I'm partial here, but what kind of dope was this writer smoking when he penned this gem? For the record, Oregon's Chip Kelly was ranked first.
- In the preseason national predictions, Auburn comes in at #22 in Athlon's and #27 in Lindy's.
- Athlon's has Auburn finishing third in the SEC West; Lindy's has them fourth - LSU ranks ahead of Auburn and behind Alabama and Arkansas in their publication.
- In a story ranking the top coaching jobs in America, Auburn comes in at #20. Texas, USC and Florida round out the top three. More on this in next week's post.
- Senior offensive tackle Lee Ziemba was the only Auburn player to make the Athlon's preseason All-SEC first-team.
- Ziemba along with senior linebacker Josh Bynes both made the Lindy's preseason All-SEC first team. Center Ryan Pugh was selected to the second team.
Lindy's breaks down each position across the country and ranks the squads and players according to talent...
◦ Auburn's linebackers rank 5th overall nationally.
◦ Auburn's offensive line also ranks 5th nationally.
◦ Mario Fannin is ranked the 25th best back in America.
◦ Darvin Adams is the 15th ranked receiver nationally.
◦ Ryan Pugh is seventh on the list of top centers.
◦ Lee Ziemba is ranked eighth among tackles and tops in the SEC.
◦ Wes Byrum is rated the eighth top kicker.
- Athlon's released its SEC All-Decade Team. Lineman Marcus McNeil and cornerback Carlos Rogers were the Auburn selections. Surprisingly, neither Carnell Williams nor Ronnie Brown was on the team. Mark Ingram and Darren McFadden were the first-team selections. Though he won the Heisman, it's hard to see Ingram sitting ahead of Williams. But I guess an argument can be made.
- Athlon's projects Auburn to face Florida State in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl.
- Athlon's national top five looks like this...
2. Ohio State
4. Boise State
Lindy's national top five...
2. Boise State
3. Ohio State
For the record, Lindy's and Athlon's pick Alabama in the SEC West and Florida in the East, with Bama winning the title.
What does all this mean? Really, nothing at all. Who would have guessed Auburn would win eight games a year ago? And who would have dreamed Florida would be throttled by Alabama in the SEC Championship?
In an era of 24 hour football news on the internet, these magazines still have a place in college football. There's something about flipping through the pages and seeing all the great photography and writing that gets you ready for football unlike anything else. I don't know about you, but I'm ready to kick it off.
How many days until the first practice?
Be sure to bid on the autographed copy of Phil Steele's Preview Magazine. Proceeds will go to St. Jude's Hospital and will honor Auburn freshman Shon Coleman and his family. Click here to bid.