By Steve Williams
You know football season is getting closer when you pass by a magazine rack and see all those slick preseason publications.
Like the sweet smell of honeysuckle, they annually arrive around the end of May or the first of June.
My favorite grocery store had five of them on the shelves when I went to check last week – Football Time in Tennessee, Athlon Sports SEC Preview, College Football Sporting News,
Athlon Sports National Edition and Lindy’s Sports Southeastern Preview. There also was a Fantasy Football NFL magazine in the mix for the early birds who enjoy the pro game.
Just looking at the covers, it appears Ohio State is a consensus No. 1 pick in 2015. The Buckeyes are the reigning national champions, having beaten the Oregon Ducks 42-20 to come out on top in college football’s first-ever playoff last season.
There’s a big photo of Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott on The Sporting News cover. It could be fitting too that the Buckeye bruiser will be wearing No. 15 in 2015. TCU, Auburn, Oregon and Alabama rank behind Ohio State in The Sporting News’ top five.
It’s not surprising that Football Time in Tennessee, a longtime local publication, has Joshua Dobbs on its cover, with a headline that reads, “UT QB Joshua Dobbs Best in the SEC East.” (I think he might be the best in the SEC, period).
Football Time in Tennessee also stirs excitement with another cover teaser: “2015 Vols Still Young – But Could The Future Be Now?”
The Top 25 in Football Time in Tennessee is led by Ohio State, TCU, Alabama, Oregon and Baylor. The Vols show up at No. 21, but six other SEC teams rank ahead of Tennessee.
There’s also listings of “Top Talent in Tennessee” and “Tennessee Elite” that local high school fans will be interested to see.
Looking to make sales in the Knoxville market, Athlon Sports SEC Preview features good-size photos of “Sophomore Sensations Derek Barnett & Jalen Hurd” of UT on its cover.
A College Football Playoff Prediction highlights the Athlon Sports National Edition. The Final Four (drum roll please): 1-Ohio State, 2-Alabama, 3-Baylor, 4-Auburn. That forecast will
sell a lot of magazines in the Yellowhammer State and have those Crimson Tide and War Eagle fans chirping about an Alabama vs. Auburn national title game, you reckon?
The cover of Athlon Sports National Edition also features Alabama running back Derrick Henry, Auburn quarterback Jeremy Johnson, Baylor wide receiver Corey Coleman and Ohio State’s Elliott.
Finally, I doubt Lindy’s Sports Southeastern Preview will be a big seller in the Knoxville area. The headline on its cover says: “Back to Bama: Tide Defense is Nasty.” It also includes a 32-page State of Alabama insert. And a big photo of No. 27 on the front. Oh Henry!