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Looking back on 2013 preseason magazine Top 10 rankings

Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston throws a pass against the Auburn Tigers in the fourth quarter during the NCAA BCS Championship football game in Pasadena

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, college football preview magazine time! Yes, this is the time of year when companies start going to printers to publish the annual college football preseason magazines that have become an annual tradition keeping many attached to the old, traditional paper medium to get our college football fix. There is just something nostalgic about flipping through the pages, wondering which team will be ranked next. Many college football fans dare not to leave on a vacation without a copy of their favorite preseason annual, myself included.

But how accurate are those preseason magazines anyway?

Comparing the top ten rankings between Phil Steele, Athlon Sports and Lindy’s shows some similar trends in thinking, as well as some significant misses by each. In the end, there is always going to be something that nobody sees coming at the time of publication, such as Georgia’s rash of injuries or Notre Dame losing a starting QB from a BCS Championship contender the previous season. For that, every preseason magazine should get a free pass, maybe two, when it comes to standing by the preseason rankings.

All three preview magazines here predicted Alabama and Ohio State to play for the BCS Championship, and that came close to happening until the final couple of weeks of the regular season. After that we see some mixed results, but Phil Steele had Florida State ready to slide into the championship mix when few others did.

Phil Steele

1. Alabama

2. Ohio State

3. Florida State

4. Texas

5. Oregon

6. USC

7. Louisville

8. Oklahoma State

9. Georgia

10. Notre Dame

Steele swung and missed on Texas and USC, but Alabama and Ohio State looked solid until the final game each played before the bowl season.

Athlon Sports

1. Alabama

2. Ohio State

3. Oregon

4. Georgia

5. South Carolina

6. Clemson

7. Stanford

8. Notre Dame

9. Texas A&M

10. Louisville

Athlon Sports missed the mark on Florida State, although they were not necessarily wrong about Clemson. Athlon rankedĀ Florida State at No. 15 in the preseason ranking.


1. Alabama

2. Ohio State

3. Stanford

4. Oregon

5. Texas A&M

6. Georgia

7. Clemson

8. LSU

9. South Carolina

10. Louisville

Lindy’s also whiffed on Florida State while banking on Clemson out of the ACC and going heavy on SEC contenders. Lindy’s was a tad more optimistic about Florida State than Athlon Sports, ranking the Seminoles No. 13. Both Athlon Sports and Lindy’s were much more pessimistic about the Longhorns than Phil Steele, with each listing Texas at No. 18.

For a more comprehensive look at how underrated or overrated teams were in these preview magazines and more, check out this database comparing and contrasting preseason ranking with final AP ranking. Auburn, not surprisingly, stunned everyone, as did Missouri. Florida, Texas and Georgia ended up being the biggest disappointments for a variety of reasons.

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5 Responses to “Looking back on 2013 preseason magazine Top 10 rankings”
  1. 4512dawg4512 says: May 26, 2014 2:00 AM

    Bahaha! Oklahoma blew the doors off of Alabama and I didnt see OU on any of those polls, yet Bama is still #1 across the board… That cracks me up

  2. 24pointlead says: May 26, 2014 7:49 AM

    The only thing more lame than a preseason poll is a writer reviewing three of them a year later.

  3. drummerhoff says: May 26, 2014 10:37 AM

    Phil Steele rated FSU very high because of a weak 2013 schedule. It’s right there in black&white and he was right.

  4. casurferho says: May 26, 2014 8:12 PM


    Lmao! Nicely said

  5. wde2010 says: May 27, 2014 11:24 AM

    The sport site’s love Bama! They would rank them number 1 every year if they where missing a QB, Center, OLB and Kicker!!

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