Looking back on 2013 preseason magazine Top 10 rankings

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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.

After stops at TCU, Arkansas State, Cameron Echols-Luper to give WKU a try

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Maybe the third time will be a charm for Cameron Echols-Luper?

On his personal Instagram account Wednesday, Echols-Luper revealed that he has decided to continue his collegiate playing career at Western Kentucky.  According to the Bowling Green Daily News, the decision was made following a visit to the school earlier this week.

As a graduate transfer, the wide receiver will be eligible to play immediately in 2017 for the Hilltoppers. However, he has to finish up some schoolwork at his former school, Arkansas State, before officially moving on to WKU.

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Echols-Luper began his collegiate career at TCU in 2013, transferring to ASU in 2015. After sitting out that season, he was third on the Red Wolves in receptions (26) and receiving yards (407). His 15.7 yards per reception was second on the team.

Ex-USC DL Noah Jefferson won’t be transferring to Arizona after all

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In early March, Noah Jefferson announced on Twitter that he would be transferring from USC to Arizona.  Nearly five months later?

Never mind.

Wednesday, UA head coach Rich Rodriguez announced that Jefferson will not, as previously expected, be playing for the Wildcats this season.  No reason for the abrupt and unexpected about-face was given.

The coach did, though, intimate that a future pairing between the player and the program isn’t out of the question.

Jefferson wouldn’t have been eligible to play in 2017 for the Wildcats even if his move to the desert had come to fruition. He would’ve, though, had two years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2018 at his disposal.

A four-star member of USC’s 2015 recruiting class, Jefferson played in 14 games, starting one of those, as a true freshman. After starting the season-opening loss to Alabama last season, Jefferson never played another down for USC.

Hugh Freeze makes first public comments since exiting Ole Miss in disgrace

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For the first time since his unceremonious exit from Ole Miss, Hugh Freeze has spoken publicly.  Somewhat.

In what was described as a brief interview with USA Today Sports Wednesday, the former Ole Miss head coach said his family and church have helped him get through the storm of the last few days. When asked if his family was standing by him, Freeze responded, “Oh, gosh, yeah.”

“God is good, even in difficult times,’’ Freeze told the website. “Wonderful wife and family, and that’s my priority.”

“I got some good friends,” the former head coach added.

The stunning news dropped last Thursday night that Freeze’s tenure as the head coach at Ole Miss had come to an end because of at least one call from his university-issued cell phone to a known escort service.  While Freeze blamed the call on a misdial, the administration found a “pattern of misconduct” during a deep dive into his phone records, leading the school to confront the coach about the situation.

After meetings with Freeze Wednesday night and then again Thursday morning, it became apparent that, if he didn’t resign, the school was going to fire him.

Because of a moral turpitude clause in his contract, there was neither a buyout nor a settlement.

Five-star 2017 Auburn signee undergoes ‘minor procedure,’ should be a go for start of summer camp

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It appears Auburn has dodged what could’ve been a significant injury bullet.

Citing a person familiar with the situation, Brandon Marcello of the Auburn arm of 247Sports.com is reporting that Calvin Ashley underwent a procedure on one of his eyes recently.  SECCountry.com described it as “a minor procedure”; both websites stated that the touted offensive tackle will be ready for the start of summer camp on July 31, this coming Monday.

The reports come a few days after Ashley posted a picture on social media of what appeared to be him in a hospital room.

The football program has not yet, at least publicly, addressed what if any type of health issue with which Ashley is dealing.

A five-star member of the Tigers’ 2017 recruiting class, Ashley was rated as the No. 6 tackle in the country; the No. 1 player at any position in Washington D.C.; and the No. 27 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board.  Ashley was the highest-rated player in AU’s class this year, the only five-star recruit pulled in by Gus Malzahn and company this cycle.

The 6-6, 310-pound Ashley is expected to compete immediately for the starting job at left tackle.