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Most college football preview magazines rank UCF in top 25, project Clemson, Alabama title tilt rematch

This season is the 150th anniversary of college football and, as usual, fans can’t wait for the season to kick off. For those eager to get ready for the upcoming season, there are numerous preview magazines on the market providing plenty of insight, analysis and projections.

Here is a breakdown of the magazines available:

Athlon Sports

Pages: 304

Cost: $11.99

The Buzz: Readers can expect more from this year’s Athlon Sports college football preview issue — about 50 pages more — with the magazine expanding to include a bonus betting guide.

There are the usual standards, with an overview of all 130 Football Bowl Subdivision teams, including an in-depth look at the offense, defense and special teams along with a final analysis for 2019. It also provides statistical breakdowns from last season, a list of prospects from the 2019 recruiting class and, new this year, a scouting report from opposing coaches for teams in the Power 5 conferences.

The issue highlights 15 storylines to watch in 2019, QB battles, QB transfers and a Heisman Watch featuring Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence. Fans can also take a closer look at new coaching hires this offseason along with coaches who enter next season on the proverbial hot seat.

Each conference preview leads with a predicted order of finish, games to watch, recruiting rankings, coordinator carousel and 2019 bowl predictions along with all-conference teams.

The magazine closes with 12 pages of recruiting, six pages of schedules and a page of bowl projections.

College Football Playoff semifinal projections: Clemson vs. Georgia (Fiesta Bowl); Alabama vs. Michigan (Peach Bowl)

National Championship Game projections: Clemson vs. Alabama

Lindy’s Sports

Pages: 232

Cost: $8.99

The Buzz: Much like its counterpart Athlon, Lindy’s provides readers with a preseason ranking of all 130 FBS teams, with defending national champion Clemson earning the top spot ahead of Alabama. There’s a glimpse at the perhaps the biggest topic in college football: the transfer portal and how it’s changed the game, not only for players but coaches as well.

On the heels of strong performances by Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, the issue takes a closer look at 10 incoming freshman quarterbacks who could be impact players for their respective teams this upcoming season.

Lindy’s staff projects each conference title race along with their selections for all-conference teams, a look at the top games in each league and an honor roll of players to watch. Each team preview features a quick synopsis along with highlights of the offense, defense and special teams.

Outside of the usual standards like Heisman Watch and coaching changes, the magazine also has eight pages of recruiting breakdowns along with a player ranking for each position. There are also eight pages of previews for the Football Championship Subdivision, Division II and Division III levels.

College Football Playoff semifinal projections: Alabama vs. Georgia (Fiesta Bowl); Clemson vs. Oklahoma (Peach Bowl)

National Championship Game projections: Clemson vs. Alabama

Phil Steele

Pages: 352

Cost: $14.99

The Buzz: This is the 25th anniversary of Phil Steele’s college football preview and once again the publication doesn’t disappoint. It’s the largest of the preseason magazines — at 352 pages — with some of the most comprehensive breakdowns available. If you’re an analytics person, this is right up your alley.

Steel and his staff rank each individual unit in the FBS, from quarterback all the way to special teams. There is a two-page breakdown of which teams have the toughest schedules in 2019 plus a look at the most experienced teams in each individual conference and his pick for this year’s surprise team.

There also are a forecast for each conference race as well as all-conference teams; unit rankings; records for each team from the past three, five and 10 years; and a statistical showcase. Each team receives an in-depth breakdown of position-by-position, Phil’s forecast of the season, projected starting lineup and analysis of team schedules along with statistical leaders.

Alabama and Clemson take the top two spots in the preseason rankings, with Florida (10) and Miami (15) also finding their way into the top 25. UCF did not make the cut, checking in at No. 27 right behind Memphis.

College Football Playoff semifinal projections: Alabama vs. Michigan (Fiesta Bowl); Clemson vs. Georgia (Peach Bowl)

National Championship Game projections: Clemson vs. Alabama

Street & Smith’s

Pages: 208

Cost: $8.99

The Buzz: While the smallest of the four magazines, Street & Smith’s preview is full of information. In fact, it tackles some of the bigger issues in the game, including bowl expansion, players choosing to sit out bowl games to protect their NFL future and a feature on the rise of UAB football.

Alabama is Street & Smith’s preseason No. 1 team followed by defending national champion Clemson, with Florida at No. 8 and UCF at No. 15.

Each conference preview features a quick synopsis along with projected finish, recruiting rankings, all-conference teams and trending topics. Each team is broken down with a quick preview, a look at the projected starters and some fast facts. Teams ranked in the top 25 receive a much larger look.

There are 17 pages dedicated to previewing the FCS with individual conference breakdowns followed by in-depth looks at Division II, Division III, JUCO and NAIA ranks.

College Football Playoff semifinal projections: Clemson vs. Georgia (Fiesta Bowl); Alabama vs. Oklahoma (Peach Bowl)

National Championship Game projections: Clemson vs. Alabama

mmurschel@orlandosentinel.com

Where Florida teams are ranked

Preseason Top 25

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