Football Preview Magazine Reviews - Part IV

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 IV, Dallas Shipp takes a look at the 2007 Lindy's Big 12 Preview.

The 2007 edition of Lindy's Big 12 Preview is fairly similar to Athlons (it even has a "Sideline" section of cheerleaders as well), but seem to have more information about national player rankings at quarterback and skill positions. However, Lindy's only ranks the top five tight ends and top eight centers, guards and tackles. On defense, they only rank the top 12 at each position.

If you're going to rank individual positions, rank the same number at each position.

However, the Lindy's rankings are still fairly favorable to Texas A&M, with Stephen McGee (No. 13 QB), Mike Goodson (No. 20 RB) and Cody Wallace (No. 3 C) all making the cut. With deeper rankings at each position, Jorvorskie Lane and Martellus Bennett would definitely receive more attention, and Kirk Elder and Cody Wallace probably make a more comprehensive list of the nation's top offensive linemen.

The A&M backfield is ranked No. 6 and the offensive line is No. 3, adding more publicity to the Aggie rushing attack in 2007.

That attack, and the Aggies' ability to run the clock, is the main reason behind the No. 18 preseason ranking by Lindy's as well.

12th Man Magazine's Rusty Burson makes an interesting point about McGee's sense of urgency because he knows he will "never again be associated with a collegiate offensive line as talented and experienced as this year's unit."

McGee is a fierce competitor, and it's clear that Burson loves his attitude on and off the field and believes that a much healthier McGee is ready to improve his passing game from 2006.

Like every other magazine, Burson points out how dominant the Aggie rushing attack can be, but seems more optimistic than other experts about the passing game. He predicts more production from senior receiver Earvin Taylor and tight ends Martellus Bennett and Joey Thomas this year to help spread the field and open up the Aggie offense.

Burson, like the other preseason magazine writers that Aggie Websider has reviewed so far, believes the biggest strength of the defense is the offensive line, led by senior Chris Harrington. But again, he seems to be more optimistic about the linebacker corps and secondary, and so does Franchione.

Linebackers Misi Tupe and Mark Dodge get a lot of credit for guiding last year's defensive turnaround as well, and Burson suggests that newcomers Anthony Lewis and Matt Featherston will add depth at the position.

Burson likes sophomore cornerbacks Jordan Peterson and Jordan Pugh, who he says both have "star potential."

Special Teams
Burson's biggest concern in this area seems to be kicker Matt Szymanski, who struggled early in the season but kicked a 32-yard field goal in the Holiday Bowl.

The rest of special teams looks pretty good according to Burson. Kerry Franks and Pierre Brown return this year as kick returners. The duo were responsible for the Aggies move from No. 109 in the nation in kick return average to No. 3 in the nation in 2006.

Justin Brantley was No. 10 in the nation last year with a average punt of 44.3 yards.

Schedule Analysis
Burson brings up a very interesting point in this segment. The Aggies play conference road games at Texas Tech, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Missouri this year. Since the inception of the Big 12 in 1996, A&M is just 2-13 in those four venues.

One feature that is really unique to the Lindy's magazine is the "winning trend" graph that charts the Aggies' wins from 1997-2006. There is a direct correlation between the program going downhill in the final four years under Slocum and a uphill swing since Franchione's first year in 2003.

Websider Analysis
There's not as much prediction-like material in Lindy's, but there is a lot of analysis from Rusty Burson, who knows the program as well as anyone. The side charts that have tidbits of information are useful and the graphs may surprise some fans.

The No. 5 ranking for the Big 12 conference seems low to me, but at least Lindy's didn't rank it behind the No. 6 Big East Conference. If A&M could pick up a nationally televised win against Miami on the road, it would help the Big 12 Conference's image as much as A&M's.

Overall, it's a great magazine with good information and is definitely worth the $6.99 newsstand price.

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