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NFL Magazine Sneak Peek

June 21st, 2012 No comments

Three years ago, I decided to put out a full color NFL Preview Magazine and I could not have been more pleased with the results. I correctly predicted 7 out of 8 division winners which was more than any other preview magazine and I was the only magazine to predict the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints to win the NFC South! Last year with the NFL Lockout, I waited to publish my magazine until August to have the latest and most accurate information and now in the last 3 years I have correctly predicted 16 out of 24 division winners!

This year the NFL and Fantasy Football Preview Magazine was sent off to the press earlier than ever before and today the truck showed up to our offices.

You should be able to find my NFL Magazine on the newsstands in early July but if you’re like me and want to have your hands on new information ASAP, try ordering thru the PhilSteele.com store or call our offices at 1-866-918-7711 and you will get it in your hands at least a full week before it officially hits the newsstands. The cost is just $13.25 (includes priority shipping) and we will ship it out of our offices within 24 hours unless ordered on the weekend and in that case it will get shipped 1st thing on Monday.

Unlike the College magazine where I write each of the 124 team previews myself, the NFL magazine was written by others including Erik Kuselias who wrote the Fantasy Section for the 2nd year in a row. I did do the forecast for each team using my 5 sets of Power ratings that I have for the NFL (I use 9 different sets for the colleges).

This year’s magazine is 288 pages which is considerably thicker than most NFL magazines out there. Here on the blog today I thought I would put the six pages of the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants. Below you can see how the pages look and click here to download the pdf version from this years magazine and this will show you all the information on each of the 32 teams that we produce. I will not go into great detail as to what is on the pages as you can see for yourself and I think you will agree that it is more information than any other NFL preview.

Download the PDF Version!

Who Will Be the Top Non-AQ Team This Year?

June 21st, 2012 2 comments

The non AQ conference WOULD HAVE HAD a berth in the National Title game just 3 years ago if Texas had missed a last second FG (vs Neb) as TCU was #3 in the BCS and would have played Alabama. In ’10 TCU came very close again and may have got there if they were one of two remaining undefeated teams. LY Boise probably would have played LSU if not for the missed FG. Many of my sets of power ratings called for Houston to go 12-0 LY and they would have been in a BCS bowl if they won the CUSA Title game at home.

In 2006, my top non-AQ team was Boise St and I PROJECTED THEM INTO A BCS BOWL and they went undefeated and got to the Fiesta Bowl where they beat Oklahoma. In 2007, I called for Hawaii to go 12-0 and grab a SUGAR BOWL BERTH and that is exactly what they did! In 2008 my top non-AQ team was Utah and while they were NOT RANKED in the preseason and no one picked them to even win the MW at the start of the year except me, they finished unbeaten and #2 in the country! In 2009 my Top non-AQ team was Boise St and when they beat TCU in the Fiesta Bowl they finished #4 and the top non-AQ team in the country. 2010 it was FIVE in a row. EVERYONE had Boise St as their top non AQ team but I went against the grain and picked TCU and coach Patterson and company did not disappoint as they knocked off Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl and finished #2 in the country, naturally the top rated non-AQ team out there (TCU #2!).

Last year I pegged the Boise State Broncos as my top non-AQ team and it did not look well when they lost to TCU at home on a missed FG. That missed FG might have prevented them from playing LSU in the Title game!!!! They did finish the year the TOP RANKED non-AQ team (#8)!! Also last year in my magazine I listed my top 6 Non-AQ teams in the following order: 1. Boise St 2. TCU 3. Southern Miss 4. Houston 5. BYU and 6. Ohio! I was simply thrilled with the final AP Top 25 rankings as each of my Top 4 Non-AQ teams finished ranked and BYU finished #26 while Ohio won their bowl game!!

That means in the last 6 years the team that I have predicated as my Top non-AQ school in ALL SIX years has finished as the best non-AQ team with FIVE of them making BCS bowls!

This year I’m going for SEVEN IN A ROW, my call is for the UCF Knights to go unbeaten in CUSA play and be the top non-AQ team in the country this year as they are my Most Improved Team!

Top 200 Freshman for 2013!

June 21st, 2012 No comments

Covering college football as I do takes 52 weeks a year as it is and while I personally do not scout the high school games and rate each player I do compile my rankings based on the many different recruiting services across the country that follow and scout HS football year round. I not only like to use all of the biggest and best services, but I also use regional reports as well. The colleges themselves use many of these services to get the latest information on recruits.

When we receive a recruiting magazine, we translate each player’s ranking into a points system from 1-100 and then log each and every player into the computer and give them a point total from each source. Naturally, the more they are mentioned and the higher they are rated by each publication, the more total points they accrue. After months of entering all of this information, I sort the list by position and by total points and then rank the players from most points to least. The preseason top HS Senior lists have already been released by ESPN, Rivals, 247 Sports and Scout and all of them were compiled into this Pre-Season list.

In today’s blog I have included the top High School Seniors that will be incoming frosh for 2013. By no means is this list final and it will be fluid until next February after the players sign. Since we want the college preview to continue to be the most in-depth and accurate magazine out there, if you find any information that is wrong or if you are questioning a player’s ranking please contact brandon@philsteele.com.

Read more…

Who Will Be This Year’s Surprise Team?

June 21st, 2012 No comments

Do you think it is easy picking a National Champ prior to the year?

Since 1994, only 3 times has the preseason #1 team gone on to win the National Title. However, I am happy that I have correctly pegged the national champ in two of the last four years!

Last year Oklahoma was the preseason #1 team but I had Alabama #1 and the Crimson Tide came thru for me by easily winning the rematch vs LSU in the national title game!  In 2008, Georgia was the preseason #1 team but I had FLORIDA to win the title and the Gators delivered for me!! Athlon was the only other source to have Florida #1.
Only in 1999 (everyone with Florida St), 2001 (two magazines with Miami, Fl) and 2004 (everyone with USC) did any of the Big 9 preseason magazines correctly pick the National Champ.

Past Surprise Teams

In 2002, it was yet another Surprise Team taking home the National Title. Ohio St was not even ranked in the preseason Top 10. In fact, only three magazines even picked them to win the Big Ten, let alone contend for a National Title. I am pleased to report I had OSU at #7, which was higher than any other publication and when the smoke cleared, they had beaten Miami, FL in the Fiesta Bowl and took home the National Title.

In 2003, there was another surprise champ and that was LSU. If you read my 2003 College Football Preview, you know I had LSU pegged as my #2 Surprise Team in the country saying they had a great shot at going undefeated and attaining the National Title. At the start of the year, not only did 8 of the Big 9 magazines NOT have LSU as a National Title contender, but NONE had LSU even winning the SEC WEST DIVISION. That year LSU simply won the SEC outright and shared the National Title!! The other half of the National Title went to USC who I had listed as my #5 Surprise Team despite the fact they had to replace their Heisman Trophy winning QB Carson Palmer.

In ’04 almost everyone including myself pegged USC and Oklahoma to play in the Orange Bowl game so there was no Surprise Team in the title game BUT Auburn made no major publication’s Top 10 and almost got to the big game with its unbeaten season. I had Auburn listed as my #7 Surprise Team in ’04.

In ’05 the #1 and #2 preseason teams met in the title game so there was no Surprise Team. Penn St was not ranked in the preseason and finished #3 in the final polls after having a losing season in ’04. While they did not make my Surprise List, they were my #3 Most Improved Team.

The 2006 season was a VERY GOOD year for my Surprise Teams and almost a GREAT YEAR! I say almost a GREAT year because my #1 Surprise Team was Louisville and they came within inches of playing for the National Title. When I wrote the magazine I had expected the “Derby City Duo” of RB Michael Bush and QB Brian Brohm to be one of the top QB/RB combos in the country. Bush was lost in the 3Q of the opening game and Brohm was injured a few games later. Brohm was only a few games back from injury when the #3 Cards blew a 25-7 3Q lead and lost to Rutgers on a FG on the last play (which was a 2nd chance FG after the first one was missed but the Cardinals were penalized for being offsides). Had they held on and won they would have been #2 in the BCS poll and we would have had a pair of unbeatens meet for the title. As we saw, the Buckeyes were greatly affected by their 51 day layoff and were a vulnerable team. Louisville could have been the fourth team in FIVE YEARS to merit National Championship consideration that was one of my Top 10 Surprise Teams. That is a pretty good record considering I do not pick any of the projected preseason Top 10 teams.

In 2007, I had Ohio St listed as my #4 Surprise Team and they entered the season #11 but played in the National Title game. I had USF (unranked preseason) as my #5 Surprise Team and they climbed as high as #2 in the polls. I had Georgia (#13 AP) as my #6 Surprise Team and they finished #2 and almost played in the title game. I had Oregon my #10 Surprise Team and they were #2 when QB Dennis Dixon was injured. Had Dixon not been injured, they likely would have been in the title game. I had Missouri my #9 Surprise Team and despite being UNRANKED in the AP preseason poll, they were #1 when they faced Oklahoma in the Big 12 Title game and finished #4! I also had Hawaii going unbeaten in the regular season and playing in the Sugar Bowl which is exactly what happened!

In 2008, I had Texas Tech my #3 Surprise Team and they got to 10-0 (#2) and came very close (3-way B12 South Division tie) to playing for the Big 12 Championship and possibly the National Title game. Penn St opened the year #22 in the AP poll but was my #5 Surprise team and had they not given away a 9 point 4Q lead vs Iowa they would have been in the title game.

In 2009, the title game was Texas vs Alabama (both top 5 prior to year) so there were no surprise teams.

In 2010, I had AUBURN my #5 surprise team and despite entering the year #22 in the AP poll they ran thetable and won the national title!

So, what have we learned from all this information? Clearly, every year there has been an unexpected Top 10 team and some years there are big surprises like Oklahoma, Ohio St, LSU and Auburn who all took home the title after a 5-loss season (Auburn also had 5 losses in 2003 before going unbeaten in 2004). Now comes the question, “Who will be this year’s Surprise Team?”

The last couple of February’s on PhilSteele.com, I have posted my projected AP Top 10 for the upcoming year. I have hit 9 of 10 the last three years. The last 3 years ESPN has produced its preseason Top 25 and it comes out in April. Here is my expected list of the teams that will likely be ranked in this year’s preseason AP Top 10 and I put them in order of how they will likely be ranked: USC, LSU, Alabama, Oregon, Oklahoma, Georgia, Arkansas, Florida St, South Carolina, Michigan and West Virginia. It’s likely these 11 teams will make up the Top 11 this year, so I will NOT use any of them. Now let’s take a look at this year’s potential surprise teams.

I do want to reiterate that Ohio St and North Carolina both have the talent and schedules to run the table but I could not pick either because they are not eligible for the BCS Title.

This year my #1 Surprise Team is the Texas Longhorns! The ESPN April ranking had them at #22 and they are 13-12 the last two years finishing unranked each year. Last year Texas did not have a Top 10 D (#11) by NCAA standards but had my #2 rated D as they held 5 opponent’s to season lows and took on 6 of the top 13 offenses in the country. The 2nd best defense in the Big 12 confernce taking on these type of powerhouse offenses was Oklahoma and they finished #55 in the NCAA rankings! Texas has a top ten D again with 6 st’rs back but get a big upgrade on offense with my #4 set of RB’s, #11 Rec’s and #8 O-line and they will get the best QB play since Colt McCoy left after ’09. Keep in mind Texas finished in the Top 10 seven of nine yrs (#12 in ’03, #13 in ’06) from 2001-’09 and that included five Top 5 finishes. Their toughest two gms are at Okla St and their Red River Rivalry vs Oklahoma. This is the 2nd year for their new coor’s systems and remember four Nat’l Champs the last 12 years have been off 5 loss seasons.

70 points. Ask anyone about My #2 Surprise Team the Clemson Tigers and the first thing they will say is 70 pts or “West Virginia just scored again.” Clemson had a great season getting to 8-0 and #6 but went 2-4 down the stretch still managing to win the ACC Title. This year they have one of the top QB, RB and WR combos in the country with QB Boyd, RB Ellington, WR’s Watkins and Hopkins. They played a lot of VHT true frosh LY and they are all now exp’d sophs. Most of their toughest ACC foes are in Death Valley and they should be favored in as many as 10 gms this year with 1 tossup (Auburn) and one clear cut underdog (at Florida St). Naturally I think Fla St will win that game but I expected VT to beat them in Blacksburg last year and Clemson prevailed even in a letdown situation off two big wins at home. How quickly the OL comes around (just 2 ret sts) will determine if this is a surprise National Title contender.

In 2010 everyone in the country made the mistake of assuming a large drop off by My #3 Surprise team the Oklahoma State Cowboys as they had to replace QB Zac Robinson (career passing leader), a thousand yd RB and WR Dez Bryant (1st Tm AA). There were 47 different tms that were picked among the various publications Top 25 and the Cowboys were not ranked by a single source! Brand new QB Weeden had a fine year. After spring the coaches wondered if a feature WR would emerge and it took until the end of August but Justin Blackmon did and had a huge year. OSU went 23-3 the last 2 yrs with those two. This year they depart and my biggest apprehension is that they go from a 28 year old QB to a true frosh, perhaps the largest dropoff EVER for a college QB position (10 years age diff!). OSU does have a solid O-line and my #8 set of RB’s but their biggest difference is that the defense which was #107 LY could have a Michigan ’11 type of improvement, as they have Top 25 defensive talent. They do draw Oklahoma on the road but could be favored in all their other road games meaning if they take care of business at home they could be a surprise team despite not being in the Top 15.

My #4 Surprise Team is the Wisconsin Badgers. LY AFTER my magazine was on the newsstands, Wisconsin signed Russell Wilson who had led the ACC in td passes each of the previous 3 years! Wilson is a tireless worker that came in and gave 100% effort every snap including in practice and elevated the team to the Rose Bowl (2 Hail Mary’s away from a poss Nat’l Title appearance). Had I known that he was coming in and that Jim Tressel and Joe Paterno would not be coaching their respective teams when Wisconsin faced them, I would have had the Badgers #1 by themselves as opposed to tied for #1 in the Big Ten Leaders. Danny O’Brien is NOT Russell Wilson but the Maryland transfer is a good fit for the offense and they caught a huge break when Heisman finalist Montee Ball opted to return for his Sr season. UW avoids Michigan out of the Legends and their road games all fall into the winnable category with the toughest at Nebraska and Oregon St. They face my #56 schedule with only 3 ranked teams (no Top 10) and with two of those 3 in the friendly confines of Camp Randall.

In 2010 in this spot I had a 2nd year coach in Gene Chizik who was not a popular hire (showing fans can actually be wrong) and was coming off an 8-5 season and My #5 Surprise Team, the Florida Gators, also have a 2nd year HC that is off a disappointing season at 7-6. A first year HC has to learn the players strengths and weaknesses and the team must learn his new systems. Year two everyone is up to speed. In 2000 Bob Stoops in his 2nd year shockingly won the Title. 2002 was Jim Tressel’s 2nd year at Ohio St and he was the surprise National Title winner! Urban Meyer in his 2nd year at Florida took home a National Title in 2006. In 2010 Gene Chizik (2nd year) took home the title after going 8-5 his first year at Auburn. Third yr HC’s have also won 4 in that span in ’09-Saban Alabama, ’07-Miles LSU, ’03-Carroll USC and ’97-Carr Michigan. LY Florida used 3 different QB’s due to injury, they were -12 in turnovers, go from just 9 ret sts to 17 and go from only 3 SEC home gms to just 3 SEC true road gms (Texas A&M, Tennessee, Vanderbilt). They do have to face four Top 10 teams but only one of them on the road (Florida State). No one is talking about Florida to even win the SEC East but they will be at the end of the year.

If you want my complete list of 2012 Surprise Teams (12) make sure you check out pages 20-22 of this year’s magazine!

Players to Circle in Your Magazine!

June 21st, 2012 No comments

2012 FBS Injuries – Prior To Season!

These are some noteworthy changes to the Projected Starting Lineups that took place AFTER the magazine went to press in May which was AFTER all spring practices were complete. Here is an example of one team that had a lot of deletions off the roster last year. This is how I update my magazine and it allows you to see all the players that are out for the year and note teams with a lot of injuries. You can also tell if teams are fairly healthy when you have a team with little to no circles.

Here is an example of what my Washington St magazine page looked like at the end of 2009. I chose the Cougars because they suffered 67 starts lost to injury in 2009, the most in the NCAA. Remember when Oklahoma won the National Title in 2000? Not a single OU starter lost a single start due to injury!

In 2010 with the heavy sanctions the NCAA had put on USC, naturally the Trojans suffered some attrition. Here is what my magazine page looked like for USC prior to the season.

Here is the current list for players that have been lost for the year since the middle of May. This includes injuries, transfers, suspensions and dismissals. This list will be updated DAILY so check it often. Any player that will not suit up for 2012 when they were expected to in May needs to be on this list.  If you see any players missing in this list please email brandon@philsteele.com and we will get those players on there ASAP.  Also during the season we will provide an updated starts lost list for each school so you can see which schools are banged up and which fall into the zero starts lost category. This section will also update late additions. Here is the current list.

Check back DAILY to make adjustments to your 2012 College Preview Magazine!!
Players in BLUE are new this week.

Air Force

Akron

Alabama

Arizona
5/16 CB Cortez Johnson is transferring to Oklahoma
6/13 DL Dylan Cozens Drafted by Phillies will play baseball
6/15 LB Brian Wagner has decided to quit football
Arizona St

Arkansas
6/12 WR Kane Whitehurst was given release of scholarship
6/12 WR Quinta Funderburk released from team and will sign with Syracuse
6/12 LB Brock Haman Transferred to Arizona St
Arkansas St

Army

Auburn

Ball St

Baylor
5/16 LB Robert Singletary transferred to UTSA
Boise St
6/13 DL Justin Jungblut transferred to N Arizona
6/13 DL Nick Alexander transferred to Portland St
Boston College

Bowling Green

Buffalo

BYU

California
5/24 LB Cecil Whiteside dismissed from team
6/13 RB Trajuan Briggs transferred to New Mexico
Central Michigan

Cincinnati

Clemson
5/16 RB Mike Bellamy Academically Ineligible. Going to JC for ’12.
Colorado
6/9 DL Cordary Allen left team
6/13 WR Peyton williams will grayshirt
6/13 DL Derek McCartney will grayshirt
6/13 OL Gerrad Kough will grayshirt
Colorado St
6/14 DL CJ James granted release
Connecticut
6/13 TE Mark Hansson academically ineligle
Duke
5/16 P Alex King Graduated and transferred to Texas
East Carolina

Eastern Michigan

FIU

Florida

Florida Atlantic

Florida St

Fresno St
5/16 WR Jalen Saunders will transfer to Oklahoma
Georgia

Georgia Tech

Hawaii
6/14 CB Justi Turner transferred from Michigan
6/14 CB Demar Dorsey transferred from Grand Rapids/UM
Houston

Idaho
5/16 WR Ken McRoyal died from gun shot wound
Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Iowa St
5/16 DL Ben Durbin grad transfer from Wyoming
Kansas
5/16 LB Jake Farley transferring to Northern Iowa
5/16 OL Chad Kolumber transferring to Richmond
6/13 K Alex Mueller will transfer
Kansas St

Kent St

Kentucky
6/12 WR Brian Adams gave up football to concentrate on baseball
Louisiana

Louisiana Tech

Louisville

LSU
6/11 DB Ronnie Vinson transferred to Tennessee St
Marshall
6/14 CB Dominick LeGrande transferred from Boston College
6/14 CB Okechukwu Okoroha transferred from Boston College
Maryland

Massachusetts

Memphis
6/14 CB Taurean Nixon transferred
Miami, Fl

Miami, Oh

Michigan
5/16 DL Chris Rock left the program
Michigan St
5/16 DT Matt Ramondo released to transfer
Middle Tenn

Minnesota
5/16 LB Dwayne Mitchell transferred to Nicholls St
Mississippi
6/12 QB Zack Stoudt ended career for health reasons
Mississippi St

Missouri
5/15 DB Tavon Bolden dismissed from team
Navy
6/14 CB David Sperry left school violation of rules
Nebraska
5/16 TE JT Kerr transferring to USC
5/16 S Dijon Washington transferred to Sacramento St
6/12 RB Aaron Green transferred to TCU

NFL and FCS Magazine Updates

June 21st, 2012 No comments

FCS Magazine

In 2007 I made the commitment to provide quality in-depth FCS information and I provided a ¼ page on each FCS team in my Pac-10 Regional. There was moderate interest and I increased the coverage to 1/2 page per team in 2008. In 2009, I moved the coverage to my ACC & Big East Regional giving the FCS even more exposure. Two years ago I increased the coverage on each team to a FULL PAGE and the interest increased further. Last year I was very proud to produce a magazine that gave each and every school equal FCS coverage and it was the only stand-alone FCS magazine on the market!

While last year’s response was not overwhelming, this year I will again produce a FCS only magazine and I am counting on you the FCS fans, alumni, school leaders and athletic departments to help spread the word and make this magazine a success allowing me to continue publishing it.

The FCS continues to provide fans with quality football and with nearly a 100 games this season against FBS foes interest will continue to grow. TV contracts are also becoming bigger, which will continue to expand the viewing audience while more and more upsets seem to occur each season. The NFL draft also brings to light the quality of players that come from the FCS with at least 20 players drafted each year from the small schools. It is time the Nation realizes that many of these quality FCS programs can compete day in and day out with many FBS conferences. You will become an instant expert on EVERY FCS team. So get a leg up on one of your favorite team’s possible FCS opponent this year by purchasing the Phil Steele 2012 FCS Preview today!

As you probably know I spend 7 days a week and 365 days a year working on nothing but football. It has made my Phil Steele’s College Football Preview Magazine the “Most Accurate Preseason Magazine The Last 14 Years” and that same type of hard work and dedication goes into this FCS Preview as well as my NFL Magazine.

If you’re an FCS fan I can promise you there is no other preview like it on the market today with nearly 200 pages dedicated to the FCS! You can ONLY order it through our offices by calling us at 1-866-918-7711 or by going to PhilSteele.com and it is just $8.95 (plus $5.30 S&H). It will NOT BE ON THE NEWSSTANDS so please order it thru the office and support your favorite FCS school.

NFL Magazine

Last week we sent off our 2012 NFL and Fantasy Preview to press and I am excited to say that the magazine will hit the newsstands earlier than ever before as they will be available nationwide on July 3rd. If you’re like me and want to get your hands on it even earlier, we have just received word that a truck will be here at our offices by June 25th at the latest and everyone who orders before then will see their NFL Preview shipped that day. If you’re interested in our NFL and Fantasy Preview (it’s like 2 magazines in one!) the cost is only $7.95 (plus $5.30 S&H) and features 6 pages on each and every one of the 32 teams and more than 288 total pages! Call 1-866-918-7711 or visit the PhilSteele.com Store to order your copy today!

New Feature To This Year’s Magazine!

June 21st, 2012 No comments

Every year I am adding to new features and articles to my College Football Preview and this year for all 124 teams I have added a couple extra columns to the Game-by-Game Stats that you will find on the right hand page for every team. A lot of people have been asking me what those columns stand for and I thought I would explain it further in today’s blog.

Last year during the season I was wondering how certain offensive and defensive performances that a team had vs a particular opponent stacked up on how the other opponents fared against that team. Not every performance as far as yards gained and given up is created equal due to the quality of opponent played. Let’s face it gaining 300 yards of offense last year vs Alabama’s defense would be far more impressive than gaining 300 yards vs Kansas’ D. Here is a Description for the two new rankings in Game-by-Game Stats.

Download PDF version of this chart!

I hope this helps when it comes to explaining how teams fared vs their respective opponents. If you have further questions on these columns feel free to email brandon@philsteele.com.

Golden Nugget Early Lines For 2012′s Marquee College Football Games

June 21st, 2012 No comments

PhilSteele.com is a pure college and pro information site. There is no gambling information on this site. Any mention of the point spread of a game is to let you know who was favored and expected to win when the games were played.

Every year I do about 300 radio shows and a popular question this time of year is “Who do you think will be favored when XXX and XXX meet?” This is asked by callers and the hosts of the radio stations. I can always speculate during June but there is a casino in Las Vegas that is the first to put out some lines on the upcoming games for the 2012 season.

As you know gambling in Las Vegas is legal and the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas has released their numbers earlier this week. Below is a list of all the marquee games that the Golden Nugget has posted for the upcoming year. This information is posted for news matter only.

Date Away Home
Friday, Aug. 31 Boise St Michigan St (-6 ½)
Saturday, Sept. 1 Marshall West Virginia (-20)
Michigan (Arlington, TX) Alabama (-12)
Auburn (Atlanta, GA) Clemson (-2 ½)
Navy (Dublin, Ireland) Notre Dame (-13 ½)
Sunday, Sept. 2 Kentucky Louisville (-11 ½)
Colorado (-6) (Denver, CO) Colorado St
Thursday, Sept. 6 Pittsburgh Cincinnati (-5)
Saturday, Sept. 8 Oklahoma St (-9 ½) Arizona
Miami Kansas St (-7)
Iowa St Iowa (-5)
Washington LSU (-21)
Georgia (-3) Missouri
Florida Texas A&M (-1)
Nebraska (-6 ½) UCLA
USC (-21) (East Rutherford, NJ) Syracuse
Friday, Sept. 14 Washington St (-17 ½) UNLV
Saturday, Sept. 15 Alabama (-6 ½) Arkansas
Notre Dame Michigan St (-3)
USC (-10) Stanford
Florida -5 Tennessee
Saturday, Sept. 22 LSU (-10 ½) Auburn
Clemson Florida St (-8)
Michigan Notre Dame (-1)
Kansas St Oklahoma (-16)
Missouri South Carolina (-5)
California USC (-24)
Saturday, Sept. 29 Mississippi Alabama (-31)
Tennessee Georgia (-13 ½)
Ohio St Michigan St (-4 ½)
Wisconsin Nebraska (-3)
Texas Oklahoma St (-3 ½)
Arkansas (-2 ½) Texas A&M
Baylor West Virginia (-11)
Thursday, Oct. 4 USC (-16) Utah
Saturday, Oct. 6 Arkansas (-4 ½) Auburn
LSU (-7 ½) Florida
Kansas Kansas St (-20)
Nebraska Ohio St (-2)
Washington Oregon (-20)
Georgia (-2 ½) South Carolina
West Virginia Texas (-4 ½)
Miami, FL (Chicago, IL) Notre Dame (-9 ½)
Saturday, Oct. 13 Stanford Notre Dame (-5)
Nevada (-17) UNLV
Alabama (-14 ½) Missouri
USC (-17) Washington
Texas (Dallas, TX) Oklahoma (-6)
Saturday, Oct. 20 UNLV Boise St (-35 ½)
Stanford (-4) California
South Carolina Florida (-4)
Florida St (-10) Miami, Fl.
Michigan St Michigan (-6)
BYU Notre Dame (-10)
Alabama (-17) Tennessee
Baylor Texas (-11)
LSU (-8) Texas A&M
Colorado USC (-36)
Kansas St West Virginia (-7 ½)
Friday, Oct. 26 Cincinnati Louisville (-3 ½)
Saturday, Oct. 27 Mississippi St Alabama (-24)
USC (-14) Arizona
Texas A&M Auburn (-3)
Michigan (-2) Nebraska
Notre Dame Oklahoma (-12)
TCU Oklahoma St (-9)
Ohio St (-3) Penn St
Tennessee South Carolina (-7 ½)
Michigan St Wisconsin (-5)
Florida (Jacksonville, FL) Georgia (-4 ½)
Thursday, Nov. 1 Virginia Tech (-6 ½) Miami, Fl.
Saturday, Nov. 3 Missouri Florida (-5 ½)
Oklahoma St Kansas St (-1)
Alabama LSU (-2)
Nebraska Michigan St (-5)
Pittsburgh Notre Dame (-13)
Oregon USC (-6)
TCU West Virginia (-7)
Thursday, Nov. 8 Florida St Virginia Tech (-1)
Friday, Nov. 9 Pittsburgh (-2 ½) Connecticut
Saturday, Nov. 10 Texas A&M Alabama (-20)
Georgia (-6) Auburn
Notre Dame (-12) Boston College
Mississippi St LSU (-17)
Baylor Oklahoma (-17)
West Virginia Oklahoma St (-6 ½)
Arkansas (-3) South Carolina
Kansas St TCU (-3 ½)
Missouri Tennessee (-1)
Arizona St USC (-27)
Saturday, Nov. 17 Mississippi LSU (-26)
Stanford Oregon (-13 ½)
USC (-16) UCLA
Ohio St Wisconsin (-7)
Oklahoma (-4) West Virginia
Friday, Nov. 23 Arizona St Arizona (-5 ½)
Washington Washington St (-3)
Saturday, Nov. 24 Auburn Alabama (-18)
LSU (-3) Arkansas
South Carolina Clemson (-4)
Florida Florida St (-7 ½)
Mississippi St (-10) Mississippi
Michigan (-3) Ohio St
Oklahoma St Oklahoma (-8)
Oregon (-16) Oregon St
TCU Texas (-7 ½)
Missouri Texas A&M (-3)
Notre Dame USC (-14)
Saturday, Dec. 1 Texas (-3) Kansas St
Oklahoma (-10) TCU
Saturday, Dec. 8 Army (Philadelphia, PA) Navy (-4 ½)

One thing that jumped out to me right away was that my pick to win the National Championship this year Florida St is currently an underdog at Virginia Tech this November!

Thanks for Golden Nugget Director Tony Miller for stepping out on a limb to release the first college football lines in Las Vegas, and also kudos to one of his assistants, Aaron Kessler, for putting in the long hours prepping the formula that the GN used to come up with the numbers. Finally, thanks to Keith Fridrich for letting me know that the Nugget had these lines up and sending me a copy. Next time you are in Vegas, give the Nugget a look.

How can you pick XXX on your All-Conference Team…He never played a down of College Football?

June 21st, 2012 No comments

For years now I have wanted to put different articles in my magazine but many of you know there is not much available room remaining to squeeze in more information. However through the internet and on my website I can produce 2 or 3 pages of information and not have to worry about space limitations. I have been asked the question of the article above so many times during my radio show circuit that I keep giving the same type of answers over and over.

Similar to my Top 40 and conference order projections, everything that you see in my magazine is a projection of where and what the season will look like at the end of the season. The same goes for my All-Conference teams. Several times I project upperclassmen who have had rather disappointing careers to have breakout seasons and place them on my All-Conference team. Also on occasion I even place true freshmen on my All-Conference teams meaning that I project them to have really big first years. While a true freshman starting an entire year is uncommon, keep in mind on average at least 1 or 2 true freshman make their way into the starting lineup at some point in the year on nearly every team. While freshman standouts who end up being All-Conference or All-American caliber are rare there usually is 1 or 2 breakout freshman each year in college football (see Clemson’s Sammy Watkins LY).

Here is brief history of all the very successful FIRST year players in college football through the years (in date order).

1. Tony Dorsett rushed for 1,586 yds as a freshman at Pitt in 1973 and was the first freshman All-American since Army’s Doc Blanchard did it in1944.

2. Herschel Walker ran for 1,616 yds in 1980 and finished in the Top 3 of the Heisman Trophy Voting while leading the Bulldogs to the National Title.

3. NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith gained 1,341 yds and 13 TD’s and finished No. 9 in the 1987 Heisman Trophy Voting as a freshman RB at Florida.

4. Marshall Faulk broke 10 individual NCAA records as a freshman when he rushed for 1,429 yds and 21 TD’s in 1991.

5. In 1996 Ron Dayne ran for 1,863 yds and 18 TD’s as a frosh. Ironically, Dayne’s freshman season provided the most yds of any of his four seasons and he finished his career as the NCAA’s all-time leading rusher.

6. Virginia Tech’s Michael Vick holds the NCAA FBS mark for the highest passing efficiency rating by a freshman, with 180.4 while totaling 2,425 rush/pass yds and 20 TD’s in 1999. Most impressively he led VT to the national title game vs Florida St that same year!

7. Jared Lorenzen had 3,827 pass yds as a freshman at Kentucky in 2000 and holds the NCAA record for most pass yds gained by a freshman in a season.

8. Brad Smith is the only freshman QB in college football history to have gained both 2,000 yds pass and 1,000 yds rush when he accomplished this in 2002.

9. In 2004, Oklahoma’s Adrian Peterson had the most rushing yds by any NCAA freshman in history with 1,925 and was a Heisman finalist.

10. In 2007, Texas Tech WR Michael Crabtree broke several NCAA freshman records with 134 rec for 1,962 yds and 22 TD’s.

11. Jeremy Maclin in 2007 broke the FBS record for all-purpose yards by a freshman when he racked up 2,776 total yds. It included 375 rush yds, 1,055rec yds and 1,346 yds on returns.

12. Sam Bradford threw for 3,121 yds and 36 TD’s (an NCAA record by a freshman) and only eight picks during his freshman campaign at Oklahoma in 2007. He also completed 69.5 % of his passes, which is the FBS record for highest completion % by a freshman in a season with at least 200 attempts.

13. In 2009, Pittsburgh RB Dion Lewis had 1,799 rush yds, the best rookie performance by a back since North Texas’ Jamario Thomas had 1,801 yds in 2004.

14. This year’s #2 Pick in the NFL Draft, Robert Griffin III threw for 2,091 yds and 15 TD’s and then rushed for 843 additional yds and 13 TD’s as a rookie in 2009.

15. Last year Sammy Watkins did it all as a freshman at Clemson and racked up 2,297 yds in total offense and was a 1st Tm AA as a true frosh. Watkins gained 1,219 yds as a receiver, 231 yards on the ground, 826 yards as a kick returner.

Two years ago I took a lot of flack for putting freshman South Carolina RB Marcus Lattimore on my preseason All-SEC team before he even played a down. In the end, he did not disappoint me when he ran for 1,197 yds (4.8) and was the National Frosh of the Year in 2010! Again last year I put South Carolina freshman phenom DE Jadeveon Clowney on my preseason list and despite not being a regular starter, he had 12 tfl’s and was 2nd Team SEC at the end of the year! I also had Texas RB Malcolm Brown and Georgia RB Isaiah Crowell on my preseason All-Conference teams and the two of them combined for 1,592 rush yds!

As you can see from all the above examples it is not very uncommon for a freshman to step in and make an immediate impact in their inaugural season and this is why each year you will find at least 1 or 2 true freshman who have never played a down of college football make my All-Conference team.

Combined Experience Chart

June 21st, 2012 No comments

In the past several blogs I have been breaking down each factor that goes into my New and Improved Experience Chart and today I conclude the series by combining the five factors into my final ranking.

For more than 7 years I have listed an experience chart, which broke down the number of seniors, juniors, sophomores and freshmen each team had in the two deep and rated the teams experience level with a formula I devised. In ’09 I made the experience chart FIVE TIMES better.

We still do the exact same chart but now I just list the Senior starters, the rest of the seniors in the two deep and the points accumulated by using the system I used from 2002-‘08. In the chart listed below I have now included 4 other factors. The 2nd factor listed in the chart below is the % of lettermen returning. I devised a point system for this and explain it in depth on page 319 of this year’s magazine. Also added was the % of returning offensive yards. I took the total yards passing, rushing and receiving for each team and divided out the yardage of the returning players and the yards returning % listed below is that figure. I did the same with the total tackles from last year and the % of tackles returning. This gives us an idea of the defense’s experience. The final factor is the career starts returning for the offensive line. These players are not included in the stats but are a vital part of the offense.

I then devised a formula that factors all 5 into the total points equation and then turned the point total into a number from 100 to 0. A 100 would be a team with 25 seniors (NCAA scholarship limit) in the two deep and every yard and tackle returning and 120+ career starts on the offensive line. A 0 would be a team with no experience and 0 seniors in the two deep. Just as in years past the first number is where each team ranks in the NCAA.

If you have been following the past couple of experience blogs, it should come as no surprise that UTSA has the most experience points for 2012 with 81.1 as they have the most returning starters and finished among the tops in % of Lettermen returning and % of tackles returning. Tennessee also is one of the most experienced teams with 78.8 pts as they return at least 75% of their lettermen, yds and tackles while also boasting 105 career OL starts.

At the bottom of the chart is Colorado and Miami, Fl who both feature 2nd-Year HC’s who certainly have their work cut out for them. Remember though two years ago Oklahoma St was #120 in this chart and surprised EVERYONE.
Here is the complete New and Improved Experience Chart which is featured on page 321 in this year’s magazine.

2012 Combined Experience Chart

Total Senior Senior Senior % LTR % YDS % TKL OL CAR
Rank
Team Exp Pts Strs 2 Deep Exp Pts Return Return Return STRS
1
UTSA 81.1 3 1 51 85.5% 91.0% 89.0% 48
2
Tennessee 78.8 5 5 66 76.6% 79.5% 75.8% 105
3
Central Michigan 76.6 11 3 69 77.6% 86.4% 73.2% 94
4
Oklahoma 75.6 12 3 73 70.0% 83.9% 68.0% 102
5
Kent St 75.4 13 1 70 69.1% 71.2% 81.9% 101
6
Eastern Michigan 73.7 11 3 64 72.6% 95.3% 66.0% 95
7
West Virginia 73.2 10 6 66 66.7% 92.3% 60.2% 105
8
Duke 72.4 9 2 61 66.7% 81.5% 74.2% 90
9
Miami, Oh 72.2 13 1 70 73.1% 88.3% 55.5% 88
10
Rutgers 72.1 10 3 67 75.4% 78.0% 80.3% 76
11
Louisiana Tech 71.8 13 8 79 76.7% 82.2% 53.7% 92
12
Ohio 71.6 11 4 71 75.4% 63.2% 74.4% 98
13
NC State 71.6 11 3 72 59.6% 75.0% 65.3% 112
14
Utah 71.2 11 4 69 78.4% 95.8% 58.3% 65
15
Ball St 71.1 9 4 63 63.8% 83.7% 60.2% 115
16
WKU 70.8 9 3 64 82.8% 66.0% 71.4% 88
17
Texas Tech 70.8 12 1 61 67.1% 87.0% 76.6% 69
18
FIU 70.6 11 5 73 78.7% 42.6% 88.2% 103
19
Boston College 70.5 6 2 55 72.7% 98.4% 69.5% 66
20
Mississippi 70.3 6 5 67 78.9% 84.1% 74.0% 57
21
Army 70.3 9 4 75 71.3% 91.6% 74.8% 45
22
South Alabama 69.9 5 4 66 73.4% 89.9% 96.0% 30
23
Florida St 69.8 8 3 63 77.3% 87.8% 75.6% 50
24
Troy 69.6 13 4 78 67.1% 95.2% 58.2% 56
25
UCLA 69.3 11 3 62 73.9% 69.1% 84.6% 74
26
Kansas St 69.0 13 8 86 66.7% 95.8% 58.8% 43
27
USF 68.8 12 4 72 70.3% 85.5% 77.3% 46
28
Oregon St 68.8 9 4 68 70.3% 87.1% 77.6% 50
29
Texas St 68.7 8 3 64 72.7% 89.8% 79.5% 43
30
Georgia Tech 68.6 7 2 66 76.8% 65.7% 77.5% 83
31
Georgia 68.4 10 1 63 73.0% 89.4% 88.5% 31
32
Bowling Green 68.1 4 2 49 72.4% 66.6% 87.9% 78
33
UCF 67.5 10 6 64 66.7% 55.0% 76.8% 89
34
Michigan 66.8 10 3 63 67.6% 81.8% 77.4% 64
35
Tulane 66.5 8 1 48 77.8% 90.6% 86.0% 50
36
Louisville 66.5 5 3 53 77.0% 77.7% 70.8% 74
37
Purdue 66.4 10 4 71 65.8% 86.3% 66.7% 49
38
Iowa St 66.4 11 7 79 66.7% 84.9% 65.1% 53
39
BYU 66.3 9 8 70 73.0% 64.1% 66.4% 77
40
North Carolina 66.2 9 4 62 65.0% 77.3% 55.8% 93
41
Nebraska 66.0 9 7 74 66.7% 92.0% 62.1% 44
42
FAU 65.7 5 5 70 74.2% 63.3% 74.9% 57
43
Fresno St 65.6 10 6 73 66.0% 79.4% 68.9% 51
44
Missouri 65.1 10 3 66 62.7% 83.3% 67.8% 68
45
UMass 65.1 11 4 69 71.2% 42.1% 74.8% 85
46
Vanderbilt 64.6 11 2 62 67.2% 83.1% 62.8% 60
47
Wyoming 64.6 11 4 68 72.9% 77.5% 64.2% 64
48
Connecticut 64.3 11 3 66 63.3% 79.1% 75.9% 48
49
ULM 63.9 7 3 62 68.3% 94.6% 47.0% 69
50
Ohio St 63.7 9 2 60 66.7% 75.9% 81.9% 42
51
Florida 63.6 8 2 63 84.6% 36.5% 86.3% 79
52
Arkansas 63.6 9 6 71 71.0% 73.3% 56.4% 65
53
Clemson 63.2 8 2 51 66.7% 94.0% 71.7% 48
54
Texas 63.1 3 3 57 68.3% 83.9% 57.6% 63
55
USC 63.0 8 1 50 56.3% 85.3% 71.8% 60
56
Pittsburgh 62.4 10 0 61 74.6% 92.9% 47.7% 52
57
Illinois 61.8 10 4 57 71.9% 63.7% 68.2% 68
58
Indiana 61.5 3 1 51 69.4% 79.0% 64.8% 58
59
Virginia 61.4 7 4 57 62.7% 81.4% 56.0% 76
60
East Carolina 61.1 7 3 73 70.6% 46.8% 76.9% 68
61
UNLV 61.1 5 4 56 64.8% 76.7% 54.6% 82
62
Washington St 61.1 8 5 68 71.0% 55.5% 68.0% 57
63
Louisiana 61.0 11 0 58 70.0% 84.9% 42.9% 73
64
Colorado St 60.8 7 2 50 63.5% 79.1% 83.0% 56
65
Notre Dame 60.5 7 3 53 56.9% 75.4% 64.8% 65
66
Baylor 60.4 9 6 73 77.1% 30.9% 81.2% 77
67
Western Michigan 60.3 8 4 62 64.2% 63.3% 60.3% 68
68
UTEP 60.1 12 5 71 66.2% 63.8% 61.1% 53
69
Syracuse 59.9 7 5 60 65.6% 65.9% 68.4% 63
70
New Mexico 59.8 12 5 74 65.7% 51.5% 55.6% 65
71
South Carolina 59.4 10 5 61 69.8% 73.5% 59.3% 61
72
Kansas 59.4 12 3 76 69.9% 49.5% 60.6% 75
73
LSU 58.9 4 5 59 63.2% 52.3% 62.8% 104
74
Maryland 58.9 10 2 55 65.6% 71.3% 84.8% 46
75
Utah St 58.8 11 3 70 64.9% 54.4% 60.0% 66
76
Alabama 58.5 7 1 60 64.1% 56.7% 50.6% 95
77
Washington 58.1 3 6 54 64.6% 60.6% 70.3% 62
78
Memphis 58.0 7 2 63 74.5% 71.3% 70.4% 42
79
Tulsa 57.9 12 5 74 68.3% 52.3% 61.5% 70
80
Buffalo 57.7 7 3 64 73.3% 42.1% 70.7% 72
81
Akron 57.5 7 4 57 65.1% 87.9% 57.2% 34
82
California 57.1 8 4 56 67.6% 81.7% 45.8% 63
83
Marshall 56.9 4 1 53 72.7% 90.8% 43.3% 44
84
Middle Tennessee 56.7 7 3 61 61.2% 79.1% 57.4% 37
85
Navy 56.3 11 7 86 51.4% 59.2% 71.6% 34
86
Arkansas St 56.3 11 7 79 66.7% 77.9% 44.1% 33
87
North Texas 55.4 7 3 58 56.5% 64.0% 46.4% 67
88
Texas A&M 55.3 11 4 60 66.3% 39.3% 61.3% 95
89
Oklahoma St 54.9 10 2 67 71.4% 35.7% 78.7% 63
90
Kentucky 54.1 8 4 53 67.1% 84.7% 42.1% 50
91
Minnesota 54.0 7 1 57 71.2% 69.1% 53.5% 40
92
Michigan St 54.0 5 5 59 71.4% 21.0% 86.8% 74
93
TCU 53.7 7 2 51 65.6% 91.9% 53.7% 28
94
Auburn 53.7 8 1 51 70.6% 58.0% 81.8% 35
95
Southern Miss 53.3 11 3 74 64.6% 45.4% 50.9% 80
96
Wisconsin 52.8 7 1 65 64.1% 51.8% 74.3% 49
97
Oregon 52.1 9 1 57 79.2% 36.5% 72.8% 65
98
Penn St 52.1 9 4 71 60.3% 79.5% 52.1% 17
99
Mississippi St 52.0 7 7 65 76.1% 54.2% 60.4% 43
100
Iowa 51.9 6 5 58 64.5% 59.9% 55.2% 45
101
San Diego St 51.6 6 6 67 63.5% 38.9% 55.3% 75
102
Nevada 51.5 11 3 58 57.4% 38.6% 52.6% 75
103
Virginia Tech 51.4 8 3 58 65.2% 53.8% 76.5% 17
104
Houston 51.2 8 5 69 74.6% 16.5% 68.4% 71
105
San Jose St 51.2 6 6 66 62.3% 44.2% 60.9% 66
106
Wake Forest 50.4 6 2 50 72.4% 63.4% 68.8% 19
107
UAB 49.8 8 3 55 66.7% 78.8% 49.7% 17
108
Toledo 49.3 9 6 72 69.6% 59.2% 47.1% 26
109
Stanford 48.8 5 4 56 79.2% 41.1% 67.7% 37
110
Rice 47.9 6 1 58 64.7% 61.8% 60.0% 15
111
Northwestern 47.5 8 3 57 69.0% 41.7% 49.4% 73
112
Arizona 47.4 6 8 67 75.3% 22.7% 52.7% 61
113
Northern Illinois 46.5 11 2 65 71.6% 33.2% 71.8% 24
114
Idaho 46.1 14 3 81 68.3% 34.8% 52.3% 31
115
Cincinnati 45.7 8 6 69 67.2% 41.8% 57.7% 28
116
SMU 45.2 11 5 65 63.6% 39.8% 71.7% 24
117
Temple 44.7 11 1 71 70.0% 37.9% 44.2% 29
118
Boise St 43.6 9 7 67 70.6% 36.0% 39.9% 64
119
New Mexico St 43.5 9 6 73 64.2% 35.1% 41.1% 59
120
Arizona St 42.5 9 3 71 66.7% 30.2% 47.6% 47
121
Air Force 42.1 11 8 73 68.0% 37.4% 48.2% 39
122
Hawaii 41.4 7 3 61 69.2% 51.1% 45.6% 20
123
Miami, Fl 38.1 6 3 59 63.1% 23.7% 50.8% 36
124
Colorado 37.8 6 0 43 58.7% 22.3% 62.3% 51