With the spring practice in the books and summer camps set to start in just about two months, that can only mean one thing — college football preview magazines will be hitting newsstands in short order.
Arguably the most anticipated magazine — at least for me — year in and year out comes from Phil Steele. And, while this year’s edition is not yet available to the public, advanced copies have been shipped to select individuals.
Pat Forde of ESPN.com is one of those individuals and, in a message posted on his Twitter page, he reveals Steele’s somewhat surprising Top-Ten list.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of all comes at the very top of the list, where Steele has placed the Oklahoma Sooners as his preseason No. 1. The Sooners are coming off a season that featured the most losses since Stoops’ first season in Norman, and found themselves outside the Top 25 in both the coaches and Associated Press polls.
Steele has shown in the past that he’s willing to go against the mainstream grain, and tabbing the Sooners as No. 1 certainly continues that outside-the-box line of thinking.
Another more-than-mild surprise is TCU sitting at No. 4 ahead of No. 6 Boise State, the school that toppled the Horned Frogs in January’s Fiesta Bowl and returns 21 of 22 starters from that unbeaten squad.
Alabama, with plenty of new faces on the defensive side of the ball, finds itself at No. 3, just behind No. 2 Ohio State.
Nebraska rounds out Steele’s Top Five at No. 5, while Florida (No. 7), USC (No. 8), Miami (No. 9) and Oregon (No. 10) finishing off the Top Ten.
Texas on the outside? The Trojans and Ducks both on the inside?
If nothing else, it makes for very intriguing offseason fodder. And a diversion from all of the expansion speculation that’s inundated the sport over the past two months..