Football Preview Magazine Reviews - Part I

Every summer, there's two things you can count on as a college football fan: random topics of conversation on internet boards and preview magazines. Aggie Websider will review each of the top magazines' analysis of A&M's 2007 season and determine which magazine offers the most information and insight. In Part I, Dallas Shipp takes a look at Phil Steele's 2007 College Football Preview.

It's summertime, which means the world of college football is pretty dormant, leaving time for two things—internet message board chatter and preview magazines. But which magazine delivers the best information?

Aggie Websider will take a look at all of the magazines' analysis of A&M this week and see which one seems to be the most accurate and most informative.

Phil Steele's 2007 College Football Preview

For those of you who buy this magazine every year, you're not in search of a good-looking magazine, you want the information and you don't care how you get it.

Phil Steele's magazine may be the worst layout of any magazine on the planet. It's page after page of small black print with an occasional 3x4 inch photo. But what the magazine lacks in design, it makes up for in information.

One of the reasons for that is that Steele personally reviews each and every team, unlike Athlon's or Lindy's who source out all of the stories to local writers familiar with individual teams. While that may be a good strategy for individual team information, it makes it harder for the magazine to predict the national scene.

Because Steele researches every team and ranks the players and positions himself, he's incredibly accurate year after year, earning the title of "Most Accurate Preseason Magazine" for the past eight years.

Will 2007 make nine in a row? As far as A&M is concerned, I think so.

Rushing Attack
Much like Aggie Websider's report following spring practice this year, Steele is blown away by the A&M rushing attack this year. In his individual unit rankings, the Aggie running backs are ranked No. 4 in the country and the offensive line earns the No. 1 spot.

The Aggies are the only team in the country to boast two running backs in the top-25 (Jorvorskie Lane and Mike Goodson). Cody Wallace and Kirk Elder were among the top-20 centers and guards, respectively and Corey Clark was ranked as the nation's No. 31 tackle, with Yemi Babalola at No. 50.

Passing Game
While the rushing attack of A&M got most of the praise from Steele, QB Stephen McGee and tight end Martellus Bennett also received their fair share of pub. McGee is ranked as the No. 21 QB in the country while Bennett earned the No. 4 spot at TE.

Because of the nine starters coming back on offense, Steele predicts the Aggies will improve on last year's 27.8 ppg.

Defensive Line
Steele ranks Red Bryant as the No. 6 defensive tackle in the nation, which I think may be a little gracious after coming off an injury last year. Chris Harrington on the other hand deserves every bit of his No. 13 ranking as a defensive end. Harrington anchored the defensive line last year with 29 tackles and a team-high 7.5 sacks and will hopefully put even more pressure on the quarterback in 2007.

Linebackers and Secondary
This is probably the one area that Steele doesn't seem to be overly impressed with, naming just two players in top 60 in individual rankings by position.

However, he does acknowledge that the linebacker corps will be more experienced in 2007, which should give the Aggies an improved unit in the second year of the 4-2-5 defense.

Special Teams
Steele is very high on the A&M special teams unit, ranking them No. 10 in the country, thanks in large part to punter, Justin Brantley, and kick returner, Kerry Franks. Brantley is ranked as the No. 11 punter in the country and Franks is the No. 9 kick returner, thanks to his 27.7 yards per kick return in 2006.

If the Aggies do indeed have a top-10 special teams unit, many of those heart-breaking losses that plagued the Aggies in 2006 could swing the other way in 2007, setting up a season that could be a magical ride for A&M fans.

Websider Final Analysis
If Steele is as accurate with every team as he seems to be with the Aggies this year, he'll have no problem earning the most accurate award for the ninth straight year.

The A&M offense should indeed by a top-20 unit this year and the defense, which finished No. 46 in 2006 should improve at least to some degree. The Aggies should be able to control the ball with their rushing attack and if a much more healthy McGee is able to stretch the field vertically, the Aggies will have one of the top offenses in the nation.

The special teams unit was ranked No. 27 in the nation last year and if they are able to improve as much as Steele believes they will, look out Big 12.

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