to take one of my children to the store to pick up some assessors for bike riding. We included a pit stop at Barnes & Noble for a CD and of course, a sports magazine. This time I purchased the National Edition of Athlon Sports College Football 2008.
Athlon Sports Top Ten in 2008 consists of: 1. Florida, 2. Ohio State, 3. Oklahoma, 4. USC, 5. Georgia, 6. Missouri, 7. West Virginia, 8. Auburn, 9. LSU and 10. Clemson.
In contrast, my Top 25 launched on 5/31 has: 1. Georgia, 2. USC, 3. Ohio State, 4. Texas (as OU fans have reminded me... too high), 5. Ohio State, 6. LSU, 7. West Virginia, 8. Oklahoma, 9. Virginia Tech, and 10. BYU.
Looking over my own Top 25 and Athlon Sports... I think one or both of us have a couple of teams too high (certainly, a couple of Tiger teams):
- 6. Missouri (I have them #17, better spot, but still maybe high) - Clearly a breakout year in '07 for the Tigers, but most years under Coach Gary Pinkel (42-37, 7 years), this is a program that underachieves. Five starters have departed on Offense and the Defense in '07 only ranked 59th nationally. They do have a favorable schedule.
- 9. LSU (my #6, ouch) - Some reason, the defending champ should be ranked #1, until someone on the field beats them, but Coach Les Miles has lost a lot of leadership from the 2007 BCS Title winners. 6 Offensive, 7 defensive starters and their DC have departed. Why did I move them back into the Top 10? They will likely finish #16 in 2008.
Some highlights from this year's National Edition: Iowa's Mitch King 6'3" 264 Sr. defensive tackle is listed as 2nd team all-American (page 25). Like many magazines, the Coaching Carousel is highlighted with pages 26-30 giving insight on the 18 new Division I-A football coaches; from Rich Rodriquez to Michigan, Bo Pelini to Nebraska and former Green Bay Packer head coach Mike Sherman to Texas A&M.
All 119 Teams are ranked from 1-110 (page 32): Iowa 38th and Iowa State 81st. First and second teams for each conference, in addition to conference position ratings. Followed by a page of information for all 119 Division I-A teams from Florida to Florida International.
Throw in the soon to be the 120th Division I-A team: the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, who will be playing a Division I-A schedule (only 2 teams not among the 119). Of course, looking at the Division I-A schedules (FBS), as the NCAA wants it called now, so do some full members (play 2 outside the 119), see pages 181-183:
- Clemson plays The Citadel and South Carolina State (covers just about all in SC)
- Florida State opens with Western Carolina and Chattanooga
- Georgia Tech has Jacksonville State and Gardner-Webb
- Virginia Tech hosts Furman and Western Kentucky (they are not a full FBS yet)
- Indiana opens with Western Kentucky and Murray State
- Texas Tech faces Eastern Washington and Massachusetts
- Ball State tackles Northeastern and Western Kentucky (not listed as 120th yet)
- Kentucky invites Norfolk State, Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky as OOC home opponents (they travel to in-state rival Louisville to open season)
- Troy welcomes Alcorn State and Western Kentucky (soon to be a full FBS member)
- Western Kentucky visits Eastern Kentucky and hosts Murray State
Athlon Sports throws in some Sideline Spirit (pages 184-188) for good measure. Recruiting news (pages 190-192) and of course this year's top rising high school seniors (page 195), which includes our own Top 20 WR Keenan Davis 6'3" 195 from Cedar Rapids, Iowa (Washington High School).
Like the Big Ten edition of Athon Sports for 2008, the same College Football Fantasy information (pages 196-198)
In closing on the back page (page 200), What the ?... We all remember last year's shocking upset on opening weekend... Appalachian State 34, Michigan 32. The page highlights ten other shocking scores involving UCLA (twice), Louisville, Oklahoma, USC, Nebraska Miami-FL, Kansas State, Alabama and finally special mention, Navy 48, Notre Dame 44 (OT).
By the way, August 30, 2008: defending Division I-A champ (FBS) LSU hosts defending Division I-AA (FCS) champ Appalachian State to open the season. Will we be in for another What the ?