On Newsstands Friday: ESPN The Magazine’s 2015 College Football Preview Issue

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On Newsstands Friday: ESPN The Magazine’s 2015 College Football Preview Issue

E-081715-COVERPROMO1ATo download cover: http://bit.ly/1Upq174

Cover Story on New Rivals Harbaugh, Meyer

Ohio State Claims Top Spot in ESPN Power Rankings: TCU, Auburn, and Baylor Round out Top Four

College Football Preview Special August 10 on ESPNU

On the cover:  In “Natural Born Rivals,” The Mag’s Brett Forrest writes that although Coaches Jim Harbaugh and Urban Meyer met for the first time at an annual Big Ten coaches meeting in February,  they’re still learning to become rivals. But dig deeper into the record books and a shared history unfolds along the Ohio-Michigan border—a history that might indicate where this rivalry is headed.  Forrest reveals that both men were born in Toledo, six months apart, their families living just 10 miles apart. Meyer’s first season in college coaching, as a 22-year-old OSU grad assistant, was also the same season Harbaugh, Michigan’s senior QB, guaranteed victory over the Buckeyes. And delivered. Harbaugh and Meyer on the rivalry:

Harbaugh: “Our strategy would be to get better today than we were yesterday,” he says. “Get better tomorrow than we were today. ‘Improvement will lead to success’ theory. So simple that it just may work.” These words give meaning to his removal of countdown clocks. Harbaugh allows his players to focus inwardly, which is as simple as any coach could make it. He politely considers the question of Ohio State, yet he declines to grant the rivalry increased significance. “You want to be better than them,” he says. “It’s not fun to have other people think you’re not as good as they are. That fuels the whole thing. We want to win. We want to win that game.”

Meyer: “I was raised in the Ten-Year War,” says Meyer, who was born in Toledo and grew up in Ashtabula, 170 miles to the east. “My dad was a big Woody Hayes guy. So I was born and bred with that staked on your heart.” “It’s personal,” Meyer says. “When I look across and see the winged helmets and their coaches and their players … I’ve been in rivalries. Utah-BYU. Bowling Green-Toledo. Florida, we had three: Florida State, Tennessee and Georgia. You make them personal, but they’re not. I didn’t grow up disliking Georgia. When I was 6, I was thinking about this rivalry. This one’s seared on your soul. It’s ingrained through every part of your body.” 

“Natural Born Rivals” will appear on ESPN.com Aug. 10 and for the first time include an audio recording of the story and interview with ESPN senior writer Brett Forrest.

College Football Issue Features and Highlights

The Confession of Arian Foster

Foster has played his entire football career –a sport that most closely aligns itself with religion – in college at Tennessee and in the NFL with the Houston Texans – in the Bible Belt. Here, the Texan exclusively reveals why he doesn’t believe in God. By Tim Keown

ESPN Power Rankings Top 25

ESPN Insiders Phil Steele, Brad Edwards, Brock Huard, Ryan McGee and Sharon Katz discuss predictions and projections for each team as part of a comprehensive look at the upcoming season. The Ohio State Buckeyes are the number one team followed by TCU, Auburn, and Baylor. Full list can be found online  Aug. 10.

Best Worst Season Ever

Is Penn State’s QB Christian Hackenberg really worth a No. 1 draft pick? He has his critics – just not in his huddle or the NFL. By Kevin Van Valkenburg

Oklahoma Drill

For nearly seven decades, the Oklahoma Drill – when two players ram into each other, as hard as possible, until one of them has stopped the other – has been the unofficial start to football season. While some refer to the drill as football “in its purest form… a physical fight,” it is also a dark reminder, in this day of concussions and brain injuries, of the price athletes can pay for this sport. By David Fleming

Baylor’s giants

Baylor TE LaQuan McGowan (6’7”, 410 pounds) and DE Shawn Oakman (6’9”, 280 pounds) are massive players with interesting backstories. By Max Olson 

College Football Preview Special on ESPNU

ESPN The Magazine College Football Preview Special Presented by DISH will air Monday, Aug. 10, at 7 p.m. ET on ESPNU. The one-hour special will delve into “Natural Born Rivals” with author Brett Forrest and college football reporter Chris Low and “The Best Worst Season Ever” with author Kevin Van Valkenburg and reporter Andrea Adelson.  College football analyst Tom Luginbill will also talk about the Urban Meyer-Jim Harbaugh dynamic, Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg and other notable topics heading into the 2015 season.  Additionally, ESPN Power Rankings Top 25 will be discussed at length with college football reporters Heather Dinich, Low, and Ryan McGee.  ESPNU’s Anish Shroff will host.

Also in this issue:

  • The Truth: Howard Bryant’s most recent column, “Shouted Down” brings to our attention that although trash-talking has always been a part of sports, only certain types of athletes can get away with it.
  • MLB: FiveThirtyEight examines how, as veteran players proudly march into retirement or stubbornly fade into irrelevancy on the diamond, a wave of young talent is arriving to fill their spots. The majors haven’t been this dominated by young talent in decades.
  • The Numbers: Columnist Peter Keating explores the issue of tanking – particularly in the WNBA – and potential solutions to avoid the frequency.

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Media Contact: Carrie Kreiswirth at (646) 547-4686 or [email protected]

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