Continuing my hater series, we're now going to hit on another college football preview magazine: Athlon Sports. I will give Athlon credit, in that even though at a high level it's very similar to Sporting News, they at least provide more reasoning, and reasoning that does not contradict themselves unlike Sporting News.
Bust out your guide, see what I'm hating on, then add to the list in the comments section! Let's go!
What I'm Hating On:
- Iowa State being ranked 76th overall behind teams like Northern Illinois, Duke, and Syracuse. I get we aren't all that, but come on. It's not the number that bothers me as much as the relativity of where we're place. If we're 76th, the above teams should be in the 80s. They have us winning 2 non-conference games, and I think we know those aren't coming from Iowa and Utah. If Northern Illinois is indeed better as their rankings suggest, shouldn't they be beating us? I know it's only a couple of spots, so perhaps it's due to ISU playing at home, but still.
- Use of the word 'depth'. This is often used in a misleading way in my opinion. When reading about ISU they say we're deep at WR. When people usually read that someone is deep at a position, that usually implies that the position is a strength to the team. Not true in this case. At least not yet. We have a bunch of guys who play the position, and from what I saw, the dropoff isn't that big, but the group absolutely stunk last year. Particularly getting of the line of scrimmage on bump and run coverage. So yeah, we're deep with our WRs in that guys #1-6 all bring something to the table, but it's a group that was arguably the worst in the conference. Another example: Analysts were saying we were deep at point guard, and that was our least productive position last year. To me, deep means you have the bodies AND are productive. What's the point of mentioning if you have a lot of people who can play a position, if in the end they aren't being productive?
- ISU's secondary being rated the worst in the Big 12. Really? If you aren't watching the games, I think the passing stats can be misleading. In short, if you give the QB all day to throw, and he's good, he's going to find someone who's open. Well, ISU faced a handful of good QBs, and gave him plenty of time to throw.
- ISU's running backs being rated 9th in the Big 12. I guess running 5.2 yards a carry, much of it while injured, means you suck.
Overall, their thoughts and rankings are pretty similar to Sporting News. You can tell they do more research as they knew names like Shontrelle Johnson, and a lot of what they say about ISU is fair. I spot checked for other teams that I followed, and nothing was too crazy.
I do have to give them props for not having Baylor get to a bowl game. The rankings of Kansas in these guides have been scratching my head thus far. As I said in the previous installment, KU lost a ton of talent, and is instilling a brand new coaching staff. Anything above 5th in the North to me is a crazy prediction. But maybe there's something with KU I'm just missing.
Part 1: Sporting News