The first signs of the coming football season are in stores: Preview magazines have hit the shelves. To help you, the consumer, make informed decisions on which magazine(s) to purchase, we've read through the first round of magazines made available and offer this look at what each one features, as well as a preview of what the previews have to say:
Dave Campbell's 2011 Texas Football
What's inside: Of course, a ton of high schools. That's what the magazine -- now at its 52nd annual edition -- is best known for, but the magazine isn't all high schools. There are five-page previews of Texas' FBS schools, plus information on Texas programs and conferences at all the lower levels.
Athlon Sports Big 12 2011 Preview
What's inside: In addition to 88 pages of national overview, each Big 12 team has a six-page preview, including position-by-position breakdown, key players and recruiting class overview. The edition also includes a smaller breakdown of Conference USA with Houston, Rice, SMU and UTEP. TCU receives a four-page preview at the back.
Athlon Sports College Football 2011 National Edition
What's inside: One-page previews of all 120 FBS teams broken down into offense, defense, special teams and overview. Each preview also includes fantasy football need-to-knows for each team.
Phil Steele's 2011
College Football Preview
What's inside: Tons of information. Steele's isn't designed to be pretty, it's made to be informative. (There is so much content that abbreviations are plentiful, such as "LY" for "last year.") Each team receives two pages chock-full of tidbits, including game-by-game notes on each team's schedule. Talk about details: The top 500 freshmen are ranked, and there is a rating system for all 120 teams' special teams units.
Sporting News 2011
What's inside: Team-by-team previews are divided into conferences, with the top two teams in each conference/division receiving two pages each. The rest are covered with a page each. Conference overviews include ranking the best player in various categories as well as bowl projections.
Lindy's Sports 2011
College Football Preview
What's inside: Like Sporting News, team-by-team previews are divided into conferences and each conference has designated top players in various categories. But unlike Sporting News, there is no extra attention given to the highest-ranked teams --one page per team.
Lindy's Sports 2011 Big 12 Preview
What's inside: After 71 pages of national coverage, there are three Big 12-related feature articles. Big 12 teams are treated to seven pages of previews each. TCU, Houston and UTEP have two pages each, with North Texas, Rice and SMU -- along with other regional schools -- limited to a page each.
Got ya' covered
The idea of a magazine "Cover Boy" is gone. Now it's Cover Boys, with magazines picturing multiple cover subjects to help sales. The seven magazines we examined featured 21 cover boys, including 14 different players. Texas linebacker Keenan Robinson and Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill graced the most covers, with three each. Texas had four different players on covers, with linebacker Emmanuel Acho, safety Blake Gideon and quarterback Garrett Gilbert also making cover appearances. Aledo running back Johnathan Gray was the lone high schooler on a cover, sharing the prestigious Texas Football cover with Texas A&M running back Cyrus Gray. "AMAZING GRAYS," the cover touts. TCU's only cover representative was linebacker Tank Carder on Phil Steele's 2011 College Football Preview.
Talking about TCU
What various publications had to say about the TCU Horned Frogs:
Athlon: "The question is not whether the talent level is the same as 2010 (it is), but whether the Frogs can find a similar mix of leadership and magic." National rank: 15th. Conference prediction: Second behind Boise State.
Lindy's: "Perfection seems to be out of reach in 2011, with the Andy Dalton era over and a conference game at Boise State looming, but the Horned Frogs won't slip far." National rank: 15th. Conference prediction: Second behind Boise State.
Phil Steele's: "It still would not surprise me to see them a National Title player once again despite losing 26 lettermen." National rank: 11th. Conference prediction: Second behind Boise State.
Sporting News: "... there's one more season in the MWC, and TCU will try to navigate its way through with a stout defense, a new quarterback and a veteran offensive line. Whether that's enough to topple Boise State and remain at the top of the Mountain West may depend on how sophomore signal-caller Casey Pachall performs." National rank: 20th. Conference prediction: Second behind Boise State.