What they are saying about WKU Football
The art of predicting has always been fascinating. Predictions grab your attention as you look to see how high [or low] your team is ranked. When a team is ranked high and supplemented with praise, fans share their finding and use it as validation that their team is better than "X" team. When a team is ranked lower than anticipated, fans share their finding and point out the flaws.
Predictions are not gospel...but they are fun.
As I strolled through Barnes & Noble, a featured magazine rack was lined with 3 magazines: Athlon Sports (also a website), Lindy's Sports, and Street & Smith's. All magazines, in some form or fashion, enticed potential readers with big, bold letters stating "Ranking All 130 Teams!" or "Previewing All 130 Teams!" I caved. I had to see what they said about WKU.
As I flipped through the magazines, I thought, "This would make for an interesting article...comparing and contrasting their predictions for WKU Football."
So that is exactly what I will do...
Athlon Sports: 9-4, #73 in the nation. They project WKU to face Temple in the St. Petersburg Bowl.
Lindy's: N/A, but does rank WKU #42 nationally
Street & Smith's: N/A, but projects WKU to face Temple in the Boca Raton Bowl.
Athlon Sports: 6-2, #1 in the East. Athlon predicts that WKU will fall to Louisiana Tech in the CUSA Championship game.
Lindy's: Does not give a conference record, but does predict WKU as #1 in the East and #1 in CUSA
Street & Smith's: Does not give a conference record, but does predict WKU as #1 in the East
Athlon Sports: Mike White and D'Andre Ferby. Regarding the offensive line, Athlon states: "Four-year starting left tackle and highly touted NFL prospect Forrest Lamp is gone. The interior line is still stout, with senior left guard Brandon Ray, and junior right guard Dennis Edwards returning. Senior Jimmie Sims will likely take Lamp's old spot at left tackle." They describe the secondary as the strength of defense since all five projected starters are seniors. With specialists, they note the strength of the return game (in particular, Kylen Towner).
Lindy's: "[WKU] should still be able to light up the scoreboard. White's leadership should help an inexperienced WR group, and a stable of dangerous running backs can allow the Tops to remain versatile on offense. WKU had the nation's second-best rushing defense in 2016 behind Alabama." Lindy's also believes special teams will remain dangerous in 2017.
Street & Smith's: Mike White. They state "The defense should be solid with cornerbacks De'Andre Simmons and Joe Brown and end Derik Overstreet." In a roundabout way, Street & Smith's lists Todd Stewart as a strength: having a knack for home-run hires.
Athlon Sports: Athlon had a difficult time really articulating a weakness. They state the obvious that Lamp, Taywan Taylor, Nicholas Norris, Ace Wales, and T.J. McCollum are gone. However, beyond that, Athlon just points out that this is Mike Sanford's first head coaching gig. Even then, they still admit that he is groomed for success and having Mike White at quarterback will alleviate pressure.
Lindy's: "Much of Western's success could depend on the play of the offensive line. The Hilltoppers need a new center, left tackle and right tackle; inconsistent play there could derail that unit's ability to replicate the numbers from previous season."
Street & Smith's: Street & Smith's questions the offense without Wales, Taylor, and Nicholas Norris, and defense without T.J. McCollum.
Other Statistics or Info
Athlon Sports: Athlon included an anonymous quote from an opposing CUSA assistant coach that said: "Their [WKU's] talent is just a little bit better than anybody else. They look more like a Power 5 team. They've done a good job recruiting in Florida."
Lindy's: Lindy's picks tight end Mik'Quan Deane as the team's top newcomer. They select Mike White was #1 overall in "Top 10 NFL Talent" for CUSA. In addition, they award White CUSA's "Most Valuable Player," "Most Accurate Passer," and "Strongest Arm." Brandon Ray was awarded "Best Pass Blocker."
Street & Smith's: Street & Smith's names Mike White a Heisman Hopeful out of everyone in CUSA. They award White CUSA's "Best Passing QB," "Best Under Pressure," and "Best Twitter."
Overall, Athlon, Lindy's, and Street & Smith's were good reads. If I had to grade each magazine, Lindy's would receive an A-, Athlon a B, and Street & Smith's a C-/D+. Lindy's was able to provide a an actual thorough analysis; they did not just regurgitate statistics. Athlon was good, and I appreciated that they took a shot at predicting each team's overall record, conference ranking (division & overall), and national rank; however, their analysis was not quite up to par with Lindy's. Street & Smith's was okay, but lost all credibility when they made no mention of D'Andre Ferby.
There you have it, folks. Predictions are fun, they can get you hype for a season, and they can give you a simple rundown of who or what to watch. Predictions are [mostly] educated guesses, but they do not dictate success. Anything can change.
Do you know what a prediction cannot do? Buy a season ticket. But you can! Make sure to buy your WKU Football season tickets!