Looking back on 2013 preseason magazine Top 10 rankings

5 Comments

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 ranked Florida State at No. 15 in the preseason ranking.

Lindy’s

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.

Auburn dismisses WR Kyle Davis

Associated Press
1 Comment

Kyle Davis began the 2017 season in Gus Malzahn‘s doghouse.  Today, he’s been kicked out of the yard and to the curb.

Last week, Davis was a non-participant in practice and didn’t travel with his teammates for the Week 7 game against LSU.  Malzahn confirmed Tuesday that the wide receiver has been dismissed from his Tigers football program.

The only reason given was breaking unspecified team rules.

We wish him nothing but the best moving forward,” the head coach said in announcing the dismissal.

Davis and two other Tigers were suspended for the season opener against Georgia Southern for, again, breaking unspecified team rules.  Since returning, the sophomore has seven receptions for 210 yards.  His 30 yards per catch is tops on the team.

A four-star 2016 signee, Davis was rated as the No. 10 receiver in the country and the No. 9 player at any position in the state of Georgia.    As a true freshman, he caught 12 passes for 248 yards and two touchdowns in 12 games.  He started one of those contests.

Mike Leach downplays rumors that have him following Bill Moos to Nebraska

Getty Images
2 Comments

Sunday, it was confirmed that Bill Moos was leaving his job as athletic director at Washington State to take the same position at Nebraska.  It didn’t take long after the official announcement of the move for the speculation to commence.

A home loss to Northern Illinois was the football program’s first-ever to a MAC school and its first home loss to a Group of Five team since 2004, sparking talk as to how much longer Mike Riley could last as the Cornhuskers’ head coach.  Losses by a combined 63 points the last two weeks to Wisconsin and Ohio State did nothing to alleviate those concerns.

Enter Moos, whose last football hire at Wazzu has turned into a very significant upgrade for that program.  Taking over a team that won a combined nine games the four years before he was hired by Moos, Mike Leach guided the Cougars to 12 wins his first three years after being hired in 2012.  The past two seasons have turned into breakout ones of sort for the Cougars as they won nine games in 2015 (most since 2003) and eight in 2016.  They were off to a 6-0 start this season before Cal stunned them in Week 7.

Add Riley’s struggles to Leach’s successes and mix in Moos’ departure Pullman for Lincoln, and the recipe was there for Leach-to-‘Huskers talk.  Monday, the coach downplayed such a possibility.

“I don’t have any plans to do that and then they already have a head coach there and he’s a pretty good one, Mike Riley,” Leach said according to the Spokane Spokesman-Review. “Wish Bill the best and we just move forward.”

Leach did, though, have high praise for his now-former boss.  Extremely high praise.

“He’s the best AD that I’ve ever met,” Leach said. “Everything from active to retired to dead. Bill’s the best AD I’ve ever even met. …

“Bill’s a very honest, straightforward guy and he was a guy you could count on, who you knew had your best interest.”

Alabama settling in as five-touchdown favorite over Tennessee

Getty Images
5 Comments

Five-touchdown, not five-point.  The Butch Jones Era, ladies and gentlemen.

In the wake of yet another crippling, emasculating loss for the Tennessee football program, Butch Jones again pulled fired up his verbal backhoe and further buried his coaching tenure on Rocky Top.  There’s little doubt Jones’ time as the Volunteers will expire at some point between now and shortly after the end of UT’s season; there’s exactly zero doubt that, outside of Knoxville — and probably inside, to be blunt — the perception of the program under Jones is at its lowest in decades.

The latest case in the latter point?  Wagering establishments.

Sunday afternoon, UT will enter the not-so-friendly confines of Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa for the 100th edition of its annual rivalry game against top-ranked Alabama.  Over the weekend, the Vols opened as anywhere from a 33- to 34.5-point undergo.  As we head toward midweek, it’s crept a bit upward according to Bovada.lv.

Bovada tells CFT that, over the last 31 years, the Vols have never been as large of an underdog as they are right now.  Prior to a 23-13 loss, they were 30- point underdogs to Florida in 2009.  In 2011 and 2013, they were 29- and 28-point underdogs, respectively, to Alabama.  They ended up losing both contests, 37-6 in the former and 45-10 in the latter.

In the previous 99 meetings between the rival programs, the Vols have lost by 35 or more points exactly four times. The first came in 1906 (51-0), the second in 1963 (35-0).  The last two times?  The 2013 game mentioned above and 2016 (49-10).

Ahead of last year’s game in Knoxville, the Crimson Tide was in the neighborhood of a seven-point favorite.

Cal loses leading tackler to season-ending injury

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Cal’s stunning upset in Week 7 came with a very steep price tag on the defensive side of the ball.

In the second half of Cal’s upending of then-No. 8 Washington State Friday night, Devante Downs went down with an unspecified injury.  Three days later, the football program confirmed that the inside linebacker would miss the remainder of the 2017 season because of it.

Other than lower body, the specific nature of the injury wasn’t detailed.

Regardless of what exactly is sidelining Downs, it’s a very significant blow to a Golden Bears defense that’s currently tied for 67th in scoring after finishing the past four seasons 125th, 123rd, 108th and 125th in the same category.

Through seven games, Downs is far and away Cal’s leading tackler with 65.  Next closest?  Ra Davison‘s 43.  He also leads the team in sacks (three), quarterback hits (four) and forced fumbles (two), while he’s tied for the lead in interceptions (two) and fumble recoveries (two).  The 5.5 tackles for loss for which he’s been credited are tied for second.