So I stopped off at the magazine store today and was a little disappointed to see that most of the college football previews had yet to come in. I knew for sure that only Lindy's would be out already, but for some reason I felt I might get lucky and find some other previews. Unfortunately it was mostly just leftover NFL draft magazines, but there were several 2007 Athlon Regional (ACC) magazines available, so I picked one up. There were also Lindy's National and Lindy's Regional (SEC) available, but I'm not a fan of Lindy's so I passed. A quick word on Lindy's; The magazine has a nice design and feel and the regional coverage isn't bad, but the National magazine devotes very little space to non-BCS teams and only about a half a page to the Midshipmen. It's been like this every year and despite thinking it might change it really doesn't, and since I buy enough National magazines as it is I didn't need another one telling me what I already knew lying around the house. The Lindy's regionals, like I said, are not bad, but for some reason the store I was in received SEC previews (in Maryland of all places), and as some of you know I'm not terribly interested in the SEC conference.
As for the Athlon Regional I bought, I've found it really to be one of the better preview magazines out there. Of course I'm an unabashed Phil Steele enthusiast, but getting four pages on Navy coverage (albeit nothing new for me) out of Athlon is not half bad. There are some cool features that are standard to all the regional magazines, including rundowns on preseason Top 25 predictions, recruiting class rankings, and just general listmania of anything and everything. Since this is a Navy preview I won't bore you with all the details, but I'd suggest checking one of these out if you get the chance.
First things first. Navy's own Paul Johnson was ranked as the best"underrated coach" in the country out of six coaches listed. Here's what the blurb said...
Few coaches have been to the White House as often as Johnson, who has made visits each of the past four seasons after Navy's has won the Commander in Chief Trophy. Navy is 8-0 the past four years against the Service Academies.
Nothing new there for Navy fans, but it's good to see Johnson get some recognition. Another interesting note is that the magazine listed Air Force as one of it's five "programs in decline." The Midshipmen are ranked 48th in the Nation by Athlon for the projected rankings, which is 16 spots higher than Lindy's, which ranked the Midshipmen at 64th in the country. Navy's 2007 opponents are projected as followed, with a little commentary by yours truly...
Rutgers #10 (Too High)
Wake Forest #32 (Sounds Right)
Notre Dame #38 (Sounds Right)
Pitt #55 (Sounds Right)
Air Force #87 (A bit low, based on strength of MWC)
Ball State #93 (Much too low)
Northern Illinois #96 (maybe a little low)
Duke #98 (sounds right)
Army #111 (a little low)
North Texas #114 (a little low)
Temple #115 (sounds right)
Because Delaware is a FCS team, they were not projected in the rankings. Athlon predicts eight wins and three loses for the Midshipmen, with what they call a "crucial game" against Pitt (a game that could go either way.) I'm not going to pick apart the analysis, but it's more or less what I'd predict if I were made to predict how the 2007 season would shake down. The projected loses are to (no shock here) Notre Dame, Rutgers, and Wake. For what it's worth, I think the Mids can be competitive against all of those teams, in particular Wake Forest, which does not tend to blow people out. More on that later this summer...
Some other random points. Wide receiver Tyree Barnes is listed as the "rising star" while a lot of credit is given to not only to Paul Johnson, but his staff. Sometimes as fans we overlook the staff, and I think its important to remember just how good of a job the position coaches do in this system. Other than that, the preview is pretty standard, and it's nothing we haven't heard before. I'll have an update sometime next week on further previews that should begin to come out, including, well, you know.
B+ for Navy coverage, A- for ACC coverage. Love the love for Wake for what it's worth.