It is still just over three months until the start of the college football season. But you know the new season is coming when you see the magazines previewing the season start to show up at your local newsstand.
Such was the case on Friday, when we came across a copy of the Athlon Sports College Football preview at a local bookstore. (Think Barnes & Noble.)
Don’t ask us to explain it, but Athlon lists one College Football Playoff final four on its cover and another inside the magazine. On the cover, it reads Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia and Michigan. It is decidedly different inside as the magazine’s top five reads Georgia No. 1, followed by Michigan second, Alabama third, USC fourth and Ohio State fifth.
The magazine lists its CFB Playoff semifinals with Michigan-Alabama in the Rose Bowl and Georgia-USC in the Sugar Bowl. Ohio State is relegated to an Orange Bowl match-up with Florida State.
The rest of the top 10 is LSU sixth, followed by Florida State seventh, Penn State eighth, Washington ninth and Utah 10th. Notre Dame, OSU’s Week 4 opponent, checks in at No. 14. Wisconsin is 17th and Iowa is just outside the top 25 at No. 26. OSU opponents inside the top 50 include Minnesota at No. 34 and Maryland ranked 41st.
Regarding Ohio State, Athlon wrote: “Ohio State’s high-powered offense shouldn’t miss a beat with Kyle McCord or Devin Brown replacing quarterback C.J. Stroud at the controls of Ryan Day’s attack. A loaded backfield and the nation’s No. 1-ranked receiving corps, anchored by Marvin Harrison Jr., certainly help the new starter at QB, but the Buckeyes also need the offensive line to stabilize after an uneven spring.
“Even if the offense isn’t quite up to its usual standard, an improved defense behind second-year coordinator Jim Knowles will only help Day’s team in its quest to end a two-game losing streak to Michigan.”
Ohio State has four first-team All-Americans with wide receivers Harrison and Emeka Egbuka, defensive end J.T. Tuimoloau and linebacker Tommy Eichenberg. Third-team All-Americans include running back TreVeyon Henderson and offensive lineman Donovan Jackson.
Regarding its Big Ten picks, Athlon has Michigan winning the East Division with records of 12-1 overall and 8-1 in conference play. The Wolverines would defeat Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game. Ohio State is listed at 11-1 overall and 8-1 in conference play.
In terms of the teams’ Nov. 25 showdown in Ann Arbor, Athlon wrote: “The stakes are always high in The Game, but if Ryan Day loses to the rival for the third year in a row, the grumbling from fans might be impossible to ignore.”
Both Michigan and Ohio State have eight first-team All-Big Ten picks. Michigan’s group includes quarterback J.J. McCarthy, while OSU’s includes Harrison, Egbuka, Jackson, Tuimoloau, Eichenberg, tight end Cade Stover, offensive lineman Matt Jones and safety Lathan Ransom.
The Athlon preview runs 192 pages and is chock full of reports on every FBS team and conference as well as unit rankings, recruiting lists, features and much more. For more information on the Athlon Sports preview magazines, click here.
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