Brad Keith

Sports Editor

brad.keith@empiretribune.com

Texas Football Magazine hit news stands everywhere Monday, carrying with it predictions for just about every level of competitive football any fan in Texas could possibly wish to follow.

The first thing that jumped out at me were the predictions on the cover alone, including picking Colt McCoy and Texas to win the national title, TCU to break into the BCS and Baylor to end its bowl drought under the guidance of a certain coach who led Stephenville High School to greatness in the nineties.

The first thought that popped into my head was that any “outsider” (any person not from the Lone Star State) would take one look at the cover and disgard it as a “homer” publication.

To a certain degree, the “outsider” would be correct, yet all three bold predictions appear to hold merit.  At least on paper.

Note the importance of the words “on paper,” for that’s all the predictions are based on.  No team in Texas, be it the De Leon Bearcats, who Texas Football has labeled as dark horse contenders in Class A, or the Dallas Cowboys for that matter, have played a single game.

Predictions are great, especially for our friends in Strawn, whose defending champion Greyhounds are the preseason No. 1 in Division I of the six-man world.  But one can never forget, preseason prognosticators are simply playing paper football, and their formulas for making predictions fail about as often as the BCS.

Beyond the major predictions out front, one thing inside Dave Campbell’s 50th masterpiece jumped out at me immediately.

Stephenville isn’t among the magazine’s top 25 in 4A.  Neither, by the way, is La Marque.

This came as no surprise to me, as the Yellow Jackets don’t return a single offensive starter, and most out there have no idea what James Miles is capable of at running back or just how good a large crop of exciting upcoming youngsters has the potential to be.

La Marque wasn’t a surprise either after the recent downturn of one of the greater Houston area’s powerful dynasties,

I thought Stephenville head coach Joseph Gillespie made a great point when he reminded everyone that Denton Guyer wasn’t ranked at the beginning of 2008, but shocked the world.  Guyer, by the way, is No. 2 this year.

Perhaps a good playoff run will have Stephenville at No. 2 in next year’s poll.

For what it’s worth, which again, isn’t much, TFM does pick the Jackets to reach the playoffs for the 20th time in 21 years.  Stephenville is picked second behind Everman in District 8-4A, which for any neutral outsider playing paper football is the “safe” pick, since the Bulldogs won the district title in 2008 and have knocked off the Jackets in four straight meetings.

Tarleton is picked to place fourth in the Lone Star Conference (picked by entire league, not divisions), again the “safe” pick because ACU and WT are, well, ACU and WT, and because Texas A&M-Kingsville brings back Billy Garza at quarterback.

The paper footballers know nothing, of course, of the ability of guys like Lonnie Buchanan, a newcomer to the Tarleton secondary.  It must also be pointed out, however, they know nothing about similar incoming talent among other LSC contenders.

Can Tarleton get back to the national playoffs?  Can Stephenville make another deep post season run?  Is De Leon a Class A state title contender?  Will Strawn once again win it all?

These and many, many other questions will be answered in time.  But they will be answered on the gridiron, where paper football means absolutely nothing