You know summer has arrived when the college football preview magazines appear on the shelves of your local bookstore (unless it has already gone out of business). Their appearance marks just about the halfway point of the nigh-interminable off-season and are just about all we have to fortify ourselves until fall practice arrives.
As much as we delight in finally reading about the season to come rather than the one we just concluded, it's hard to say exactly how much useful information you can glean from these publications. Preview magazines are usually penned in April so even the most accurate ones are going to be hobbled by the inevitable march of unexpected events. Add to that the unexplained idiosyncrasies of each one and you pretty much are just taking their word on a lot of it.
Now, obviously, we suggest you get your season preview information from our own Bill Connelly's superb series here on SB Nation which is full of stats and insights and more ceiling references than you can shake a stick at. But it also might be helpful to look at the preview magazine's assessment as a whole to get something of a barometer of what the general sentiments are about the 2013 season.
Sure, we know everyone is high on Alabama and Johnny Manziel but what about the rest of the field? Who is expected to emerge from the pack and make that surprise run for championship? What powerhouse program is expected to stumble? Perhaps, by examining the preview magazines assessments we can get an idea. Not because they are necessarily accurate but because it might show us the preconceptions about different teams going into the season.
That matters because in two months, those preconceptions are going to be transformed into poll standings and then the rough beast begins slouching toward Pasadena once again.