Surprisingly enough, this was the first time I've read Dave Campbell's Texas Football magazine, but it won't be the last.
The layout is great and easy to follow, and the idea of contracting out one of the beat writers from each university allows readers to get a feel for each team from someone who's around the program on a regular basis.
The Dallas Morning News' Rachel Cohen covers A&M in this year's magazine, which is great news for Aggie Fans. Cohen and San Antonio Express News' Brent Zwerneman seem to have the most consistent coverage of the major newspapers that follow A&M. Not only do they both know their stuff, they're both very good writers.
DCTF is different from the rest of the magazines in this series of reviews because it doesn't focus on the national picture as much as Texas. He still puts together a national poll and an All-American team, but the focus of the magazine is on the Texas schools and how their upcoming season affects their conferences and recruiting in Texas.
However, I was disappointed that most of the team features focused on last year's results rather than 2007 predictions.
Not many surprises here. Cohen focuses on McGee's leadership and the rushing attack of the Aggies. However, she does mention that Franchione was impressed with McGee's improved ability to go through his reads and make the right progressions, rather than focusing on one receiver before tucking the ball and scrambling.
In addition to McGee, Cohen likes the Aggies' offensive line and running back duo of Jorvorskie Lane and Mike Goodson as much as anyone else in the country.
The primary focus of DCTF on defense was the improvement from the No. 117 pass defense in 2005 to No. 46 in 2006. However, Cohen stressed that A&M head coach Dennis Franchione and defensive coordinator Gary Darnell both understand that the defense will need more complex schemes in 2007 if the Aggies want to continue their return to "Wrecking Crew" status.
Jordan Peterson receives credit for a "short memory span" that is so important to defensive backs after getting burned on two game-winning touchdown passes and the safeties also get rare credit for the defensive improvements in 2006.
Cohen seems to be more concerned about special teams than some of the other preview magazine writers, especially kicker Matt Szymanski who missed three of four field-goal attempts in September to lose his starting job in 2006.
With as many road games as the Aggies have in 2007, Cohen makes a really good point—the Aggies need a kicker they can trust in clutch situations.
Cohen is pretty accurate in her summary. The Aggies have one of the nation's best offensive lines and an incredibly talented running back corps, which will help them control the clock and give them a chance to win each and every week.
She's just as accurate on defense, which will have to execute more sophisticated schemes to handle tough road games all season long.
DCTF predicts a 9-3 record for the Aggies with losses at Miami, at Nebraska and at Oklahoma and a trip to the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, which would bring mixed results for most fans. If the Aggies close out the year with wins at Missouri and against Texas at home, it would probably be okay, but a perceived step backwards from the Holiday Bowl to the Alamo Bowl, will not go over well with some fans.
Aggie Websider Analysis
Cohen does a great job of analyzing last year's season, and offers some insight to this year's campaign, but it seems like the large chunk of the feature focuses on what happened last year.
There are several graphics that list this year's two-deep chart with projected starters and stats, etc., but there just isn't as much information about the 2007 season or prediction-related content as some of the other preview magazines.
However, DCTF does an incredible job of focusing on the state's recruiting and tying it in to the state's universities' 2007 campaigns.
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