You may recall that, last month, we were able to bring you a review of the South Bend Tribune’s ND Insider Notre Dame Football Preview. This month, taking full advantage of the “hey if we give you a free copy of this will you review it on HLS?”, we bring to you a review of yet another ND Football season preview. This time around, Andrew Owens from Blue & Gold Illustrated tossed a free copy my way and I’m here to tell you what I think about the magazine after having a couple of weeks to read it.
Here’s the first major take: holy crap, this thing is 160 pages long and I still haven’t read the entire thing.
Yes, two weeks normally should be more than enough time to accomplish this; however, I have discovered that starting a new job while having a new infant around the house consumes quite a sizable amount of time. Further, and probably more important to you, the person wondering if it is worth heading over to BGI to drop $11.95 plus shipping (or $7.99 for the digital version), is that these 160 pages are dense.
There is so much information to consume. It’s like Phil Steele decided to do a ND-focused magazine, used a readable font, and decided to not bastardize the English language. So if you need a tl;dr version of this review, the answer of whether this is worth the money is most definitely yes.
I use the Phil Steele comparisons because, honestly, that’s how I’ve been reading the magazine. I skim Steele cover-to-cover and then start the deep-dive into each of the individual features/sections that I am interested in, basically pecking away at the entire thing until I finish. For me, the BGI preview is part magazine, filled with features covering cover athlete Jaylon Smith, Malik Zaire, an offense and defense Q&A with Brian Kelly, new coaches and ND Football alumni, Todd Lyght and Autry Denson, and Max Redfield (and that’s just scratching the surface), and part reference material for the season.
And the “reference material” portion is really, in my opinion, the meat and potatoes of this whole thing. Every position is broken down in great detail and includes not just an overall evaluation of the unit, but player bios of every member of the Irish roster. If you dare wish to revisit 2014, you have the entire season recapped for you, complete with full stats. For those wishing to focus on the opponents of 2015, you receive a page of analysis for every Irish opponent, detailing their strengths, weaknesses, players to watch, series history, and a prediction for each game (all that is missing are dancing leprechauns).
Basically, you could use this as an unofficial media guide for the 2015 season.
In fact, it is going to replace Phil Steele as my opponent reference guide this year. The information layout is superior (aka doesn’t require a magnifying glass) and the analysis goes much deeper than “here’s what happened the last couple of years and here are the players on the team oh and three words about this year” (or in Steele-speak “LST YR things hppned and VHT and HT plyrs rtrn, this YR dbl digit wins”). As much as I loved all the information Steele attempted to cram in two pages for every team, far too much of it was noise. I can look at each opponent page for a couple of minutes and the information I’m looking for.
In fact, the information on Irish opponents is almost too good as it includes not just an opposing player watchlist, but also an “All Opponent” team which will now make me feel like I’m cheating on every Know Thyself, Know Thy Enemy post if I happen to agree with the experts at BGI. (I’m blaming you for this, Andrew.)
The entire magazine is also sprinkled with all kinds of little Irish nuggets of knowledge, including my personal favorite: correlating Irish success with Triple Crown winners. Drop a few of these little asides in between “RUN THE DAMN BALL, KELLY” and you’re going to sound like the smartest person at your gamewatch.
I can’t say enough good things about this magazine. Kudos to BGI for putting together one hell of a solid preview magazine. In fact, we are seriously spoiled as Irish fans that we can get both this and the ND Insider preview digital version for under $20 (or almost the cost of Steele’s magazine). We live in the future y’all.
So head over to BGI and order your copy. Also, be sure to tune into the Friday Roundup this week as I will be interviewing Andrew Owens from BGI to talk some more about the magazine and get his take on the upcoming ND season.
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