Newsstands brimming with love for Bulls
They're as sure an indicator of summer as mosquitoes and mugginess.
Preseason college football magazines, in all their glossy glory, are jostling for space with People, Popular Mechanics and paperback romance novels on merchants' newsstands everywhere.
Based on what they're foretelling, they're likely to land on the coffee tables of a few Bulls fans, too.
Athlon Sports and Lindy's, two of the most prominent early-summer publications (grain-of-salt editions), both predict USF to win the American Athletic Conference's Eastern Division. Moreover, The Sporting News picks USF -- which returns nearly every significant skill player from last season's 8-5 team -- to face Duke in the St. Petersburg Bowl.
“USF could very well become one of the nation’s most dangerous teams," Athlon says in its USF assessment. "But here’s the key: The Bulls were well-versed in handling adversity. Can they handle prosperity?"
Two-time 1,000-yard rusher Marlon Mack is the only Bull chosen as a preseason All-AAC first-teamer by both magazines. Lindy's is especially effusive in its hype.
The publication also picks the junior to be the league's offensive player of the year, and ranks him first among the AAC's top NFL prospects. Additionally, Lindy's ranks the Bulls trio of Mack, senior Darius Tice and junior D'Ernest Johnson among the top 10 backfields in the country. Athlon also lists the unit as the conference's best.
Other Lindy's preseason All-AAC first-teamers are WR Rodney Adams (as an all-purpose player), CB Deatrick Nichols and S Nate Godwin. Joining Mack on the Athlon preseason All-AAC first team are LT Kofi Amichia, MLB Auggie Sanchez and S Tajee Fullwood.
QB Quinton Flowers is a second-teamer -- behind Houston's Greg Ward Jr. -- in both magazines.