Between Phil Steele, Athlon, The Sporting News, and Lindy's, Lindy's has been the least accurate over the last 10 years. It's a guide I don't take too seriously, but one I still purchase anyways. I've talked about it before, but usually I'm purely entertained by their predictions, and a little bit of entertainment is worth the $8.
But here's the thing: I'm worried. I'm looking at their predictions and rankings, and I agree a lot with them. There are some spots here and there where I'm not sure where they're coming from, but overall a lot of my preconceived notions line up with what they're writing. Does this mean that I'm horrible at this stuff, or is Lindy's just going to have an abnormally better year than Athlon and TSN? I guess we will see.
Regardless, there's plenty of crazy stuff to make fun of, so here we go:
Here's What I'm Hating On:
Jerrod Johnson apparently plays for Wisconsin, and Wisconsin is in the Big 12. OK, I know this is a typo, but it's a bit funny reading the Big 12 section, and seeing "Wisconsin" in there. They were giving Johnson the award for being the "Coolest in the Clutch". Not saying that he isn't cool in the clutch, but considering they only played 1 close game (I'll arbitrarily define as 10 points or less) in which they won, and they lost 3 close games, hard to buy it. They already gave him an award for strongest arm, put him an the All-Big 12 first team, and named him MVP of the Big 12, it wasn't like they had to fish for an award for him.
- For each team capsule, they have a quote from a player. Staying on the Jerrod Johnson theme, I find it hilarious that they use a quote from Von Miller, a teammate, as the evidence that Johnson is a Heisman candidate. Typically these mags use unnamed assistant coaches (aka writers pretending they talked to a coach), or some scout, or something like that. Of course Johnson's teammate thinks he's awesome. He very well could be a Heisman candidate, but you gotta bring a little more credibility than using the bias of a teammate. They do this for other teams as well, but the quote about Johnson made me laugh, not because of the prediction, but because of who it was coming from.
- Can somebody explain to me the Wisconsin love here? I get they have 10 of their 11 returning starters on offense, but I find it very interesting that they not only leapfrog Iowa and Penn State, but also teams like TCU and Nebraska, and get ranked #6 overall? I'm interested in seeing how that plays out for them. I would have them ranked in the teens and 3rd or 4th in the Big 10. I guess I'm more of a "show me" kind of guy before I move teams up drastically like that.
- Going back to the Big 12, they have a weekly list of the "big games". There's actually some ISU love here, which is interesting to read. I will say that they're comments of the Iowa game having a special meaning to Paul Rhoads, I think are a bit of an exaggeration. I haven't ever heard of Rhoads making any "special" comments about Iowa, the way I felt like McCarney was. Not saying it's right or wrong, but Rhoads, an emotional guy, hasn't ever indicated any "special" meaning, other than it's a game against a good team, that he wants to win, like every single coach in the nation thinks as well. I also laughed outloud when looking at the comments about Oklahoma vs. Missouri. In that Missouri ought to not look ahead to Nebraska. Wait, what? If you cannot get fired up to play Oklahoma, arguably the best team in the Big 12, in front of your home fans, then you ought to not be playing college football.
Lindy's didn't do as bad of a job as I thought. I give them some credit for ranking Boise so high, as most don't have them quite as high as #2. I actually think they handled ranking Nebraska and Iowa correctly. They are relative to each other, and neither is crazy high, considering the type of pub we're reading and listening to around Central Iowa. UNC at #13 is a bit too high for me, as Miami at #20 is a bit too low. Not sure if Cincy, and Houston ought to be ranked either, but we'll see.
I also think they were quite generous to ISU, ranking them #50 overall. I don't think most ISU fans would even have them that high. But don't get too pumped, as this magazine is usually the worst at predicting the stats. We all know the schedule is hard, and W-L wise, being in the Top 50 is the high end, not the baseline on what to expect. It's still nice to at least read something that isn't pissing on ISU, even if credibility is remotely in question.
Tomorrow is the "big day" where Phil Steele comes out with his guide. I plan on purchasing that beast tomorrow and I'll post something about it in the next couple of days, after I digest it. Some items that have leaked is that Phil Steele has ISU's schedule as the toughest in the nation, and also, he predicts ISU to finish last in the North (according to what I heard). I'll get more into it when I review it, but the magazine is more than just some guy making predictions. He gives you the tools he's using, in a concise way, to form your own predictions. There is still a degree of opinion and judgment that he makes, as this stuff isn't an exact science.
Part 1: Sporting News
Part 2: Athlon