On Saturday the long wait was finally over for this college football writer. A copy of Phil Steele’s College Football Preview had made its way to the mailbox, ending weeks of anticipation. While many will take a good book to the beach for a day of sun in the sand, a copy of Phil Steele’s preview magazine is likely to accompany the hardcore college fans. As you might expect this season, Florida State and quarterback Jameis Winston are getting some good exposure and hype from all angles.
The game has changed over the years with the coveted covers of preview magazines. Instead of featuring one top player or school on the cover for all, regional covers give something for all fans to look forward to. Landing on the cover still carries some meaning for some, but the national bragging rights and the reward for appearing on a cover are slightly diminished. Even Sports Illustrated has realized this over the years with their various regional covers for preview editions for all sports. Winston appears on two separate regional covers of the national previews published by Athlon Sports. The national edition published by Lindy’s has Winston on just one regional cover. Sporting News also only has one regional cover featuring Winston. Steele’s preview cover also features Winston, along with Alabama’s Amari Cooper, Oklahoma’s Trevor Knight and Ohio State’s Braxton Miller.
It really should come as no surprise the defending national champions, led by a sophomore quarterback who just so happens to be the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, get such exposure on the covers of these preview magazines. The question is, will Florida State be able to make a run at a repeat in the first year under the College Football Playoff model?
Athlon Sports, Lindy’s, Sporting News and Phil Steele each have made Florida State, Alabama and Oklahoma consensus CFB Playoff favorites. Athlon Sports and Steele have predicted Ohio State to be the fourth team in the playoff mix, while Sporting News and Lindy’s believe Oregon will emerge for the other playoff spot. Whatever the case, the playoff picture seems to have a pretty established set of favorites for this upcoming season’s playoff push, and none predict multiple SEC teams to appear in the playoffs.
Which four teams do you think will be playing for it all at the end of the 2014 season?