Preseason Home Review Index

Phil Steele's College Football Preview

Phil Steele Publications
25935 Detroit Road, Suite 183
Cleveland, OH 44145
Phone: 866-918-7711 (orders)
Web site:
Rating: 78
$8.95, 328 pp.
Year reviewed: 2007

Overview: Phil Steele's format is again almost identical to the previous year's -- with the exact same page count and price -- but it is a very good format, so tinkering is not needed. The magazine has great in-depth coverage. All teams get exactly the same amount of coverage: two full pages. The magazine is fairly long, and it contains relatively few advertisements and no feature articles. As a result, it contains more information than any other preview magazine, with the possible exception of the much heavier (and far more expensive) Blue Ribbon. In addition, about a hundred abbreviations are used to increase information density. Most of the abbreviations are standard (e.g., "DB" = "defensive back"), but some are not (e.g., "VHT" = "very highly touted (top recruit)"). The result can be a little hard to read, but well worth the effort.

Phil Steele's conference predictions rank #1 over both the last three years and the last five years, and also over longer periods, though those calculations are not present on my web site.

Per-team information: Two pages are devoted to all teams. Per-team coverage includes: a paragraph of discussion of each unit on the team (e.g., "offensive line"); a list of individual statistical leaders; previous five years' game results and pointspreads; projected starters with short commentary on each player (and second-string players in most cases); list of top recruits; some gambling-related statistics (e.g., the team's record over the last seven years as a home favorite); and a worksheet/schedule for the current year's games. The commentary is very detailed.

Per-conference information: two full pages are devoted to discussion of each conference. A predicted order of finish is given with a couple sentences' commentary per team; a four-deep all-conference team is given; previous year's final standings and individual statistical leaders are given. There is a section giving "in-conference statistics" (counting conference games only), which can be used to compare teams against more equivalent opposition. Phil Steele's is one of the few magazines that gives an equal amount of coverage to the non-BCS conferences.

National information: A national top 40 is given with a short commentary on each team. There is a four-deep all-America list, with a separate ranking of players by position, with about 60 players for most positions. There are lists of the top 25 "units" nationally (e.g., "offensive line.") There is some analysis of schedule difficulty, and a discussion of top Heisman contenders.
There is a small amount of recruiting information: a list of the top frosh by position, a ranking of recruiting classes, and the last five years' recruiting-class rankings.

Recap (previous year) information: In each team's section there is a recap of the previous year. In addition to the pointspread and final score, game statistics (yards rushing/passing, for example) are given. On the conference page, the last three years of conference standings are given.

Division I-AA information: One page, mostly discussing I-AA in general. More detailed I-AA information is included in Phil Steele's Pac-10 regional preview magazine.

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