Phil Steele, Sports Mags, Phil Steele Mags

Football Magazine Veteran Phil Steele Discusses the Latest Happenings in College Football, Makes Predictions for NFL Season, Picks New England to the Win Super Bowl 46

With college football starting this week and the NFL just around the corner, CYInterview welcomes back football expert Phil Steele to talk about all the latest football topics. Many will recall our first interview with Phil [see here] looking at predictions for the entire college football season. This time around, Phil makes his predictions for the entire NFL season.

You can listen to the entire interview with Phil below.

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When it comes to everything that has been reported by the media to have allegedly happened at the University of Miami and other schools who have received NCAA penalties for violations including Ohio State and North Carolina over the last year, Mr. Steele explains what he thinks all of this means for the future of college football.

“You bet every single head coach out there that’s got themselves a big time contract or any contract really is gonna start reporting everything that comes across their desk knowing that they could indeed lose their job. And with Miami of Florida this year, North Carolina last year, the possible big suspensions, I think what we’re gonna see is schools really putting more money into the compliance, more dotting the I’s and crossing T’s. I think in the long run college football’s gonna be pretty clean in the next couple years.”

With an ongoing discussion of whether college football players should be paid, Phil says the current system is the best thing we have. Steele believes players shouldn’t be paid. He gives an example that if players were to be paid through for example autograph money, it would create a bidding war among boosters at different universities for a player to play for that school. He believes that would create a whole new set of problems.

“I don’t think it should happen. This is an example, I’ve heard things bandied around where, ok, let them go ahead and sign autographs for money and keep the money. It’s their name. It’s their jersey and all that. Well, I could tell you right now that let’s say at Ohio State, they could easily come up with 27 boosters to give the players thousands of dollars and jerseys and then everybody would be outbidding each other. You know, ‘Hey! Ohio State will get you $100,000 in autograph money. No, no, no, Alabama will get you $150,000 in autograph money.’ I think it would be an escalating thing, turn back into the 60s and 70s when if you weren’t giving players cars and cash you weren’t doing your job. So I think that the way it is now works out the best.”

With various penalties given out to different universities for violations of their football programs, Steele believes the NCAA needs to come up with a specific penalty for every rule violation.

“I think the main thing they [NCAA] have to do is come up with a set penalty when right now every school is judged differently across the line. But just say, if you violate this policy, it is this penalty. If you violate this policy, it is this penalty. There are some head coaches out there who may have turned their heads knowing that the penalty is not that bad for this particular infraction, but if they make the penalties stiff enough, I think everybody will start towing the line as far as compliance goes.”

Looking at two big games from week one of the college football season, Phil believes LSU will beat Oregon if Tigers quarterback Jordan Jefferson plays. He also expects Boise State to win a close game against Georgia. He gives us his reasons why each team wins.

“I think LSU has some inherited advantages here. First of all, they just played their final game last season in Cowboy Stadium so they’re familiar with this large environment and that’s a nice edge to have especially playing in such a unique setting. The second thing LSU’s got going for them is the crowd advantage. They’ll probably have about 80 to 85 percent of the crowd are gonna be LSU fans that’ll be there in force. The third advantage is that when teams have extra time to prepare for Oregon’s offense, they can shut it down…

The Boise State Georgia game might just be a thing of who wants it more…This game could very well put them [Boise State] in the national title game. If Georgia plays as I expect they will this year and end up playing in the SEC Title Game and Boise runs the table they could say, ‘Hey! Look, we got a win over a team that’s playing in the SEC Championship Game in our back pocket.’ And if they’re one of two lone unbeatens out there, they would have a great shot of being there [in the national title game]…I’m gonna call for Boise State to squeak out the win.”

Looking at the first month of the college football season, the sports magazine veteran tells us a few teams we should keep an eye on. FSU, Texas and Oregon have challenging schedules.

“I look at Florida State, they’ve got two games back to back, which could determine whether [A] they are a national title contender and [B] whether they can win the Atlantic Division. They’re all fired up for hosting number one Oklahoma on September 17th…Now win or lose, they’re in a little bit of a letdown spot. The next weekend they have to play Clemson on the road in Death Valley…Win them both, Florida State’s national title contenders. They may be number one in the country heading into October. Lose them both, you’re wondering whether or not they can win the Atlantic Division…

Texas, they play BYU at home and UCLA on the road. Now neither of those two games are against top 10 teams, but I think Texas needs not only to win both games, but win them impressively to really step up and become the Texas of 2008 and 2009 rather than the Texas of last season…Then Oregon plays two big early games on, that LSU game I talked about and then at Arizona. Arizona’s a dangerous test on the road in the desert.”

Switching gears to the NFL, Phil tells us who he believes the big winner and loser was in free agent signings. He believes the Philadelphia Eagles made the most improvements to their team and the New York Giants did nothing to help their cause.

“I was just floored with the pickups that they [Philadelphia Eagles] got…I think when you look at their defense that got a huge upgrade this year, they became my clear cut pick to win the NFC East…They clearly made some big time improvements…Maybe a team that didn’t make the free agent signings comes from the same division, the New York Giants. They’re a team that didn’t do a lot in free agency, lost a couple of players and now they’re getting hit hard by injuries.”

Phil gives us three NFL teams he believes will surprise NFL fans this year. He thinks the Houston Texans, Dallas Cowboys and the San Diego Chargers are teams to watch.

“I think Houston’s got a shot of actually winning their division whereas Peyton Manning I thought would be ready for the season, which is why I picked the Colts to win that division. But if something was wrong with Peyton Manning and he wasn’t able to play the first couple of games of the year, I think Houston could very well skyrocket to winning that division…Watch the Dallas Cowboys…They still have that talented team and they won some big games on the road last year. I think Dallas is a team that could surprise…Also, to me the team that’s gonna make the biggest jump this year is the San Diego Chargers…I think they’re a completely under the radar team…I think the Chargers are one of those teams that nobody’s really looking at right now.”

Looking at the team that will be the most disappointing with the highest expectations, Steele believes it will be the Chicago Bears.

“That defense got another year older…They didn’t have huge improvements in the free agency market and there’s a lot of question marks surrounding the quarterback in Jay Cutler…I see the Bears slipping from hosting the NFC Championship Game to falling out of the playoffs.”

Phil Steele’s prediction to win the Super Bowl this year is the New England Patriots over the Green Bay Packers:

“I like the offseason that they [New England Patriots] had…They made some actual improvements this year where generally Belichick is trading away one of his top players to another team just to get rid of a distraction. They actually made some improvements this year to the roster. I think they have an improved defense. They have perhaps the most explosive offense in the NFL. I think the Patriots can get there and win the Super Bowl.”

Finally, Mr. Steele gives us some of the most underrated and overrated things in football handicapping.

“I think the most overrated thing is just flat out looking at the scores of the games and determining that that’s how it happened…I think the most underrated thing is first of all, you look at a team that let’s say outgained their opponent by 200 yards the previous week but lost. Maybe they were minus five in turnovers…Those are value teams and with most folks looking at the final score, those types of teams are solid play on teams.”

You can now purchase Phil Steele’s college and NFL magazines at his official website clicking here.

You can email Chris Yandek at ChrisYandek@CYInterview.com

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