The College World Series may have just started for baseball this weekend, but signs are starting to pop up indicating that football season is near.
College football magazines are appearing on various book and grocery store shelves around town, giving the devoted fan something to read about while the season is still over two months away.
Two popular college football previews are Athlon and Lindy's, the annuals I try to get each year and enjoy reading the most.
Lindy's has Mississippi State running back Vick Ballard pictured on the front cover, while Athlon shows quarterback Chris Relf of the Bulldogs. The photo of Relf has him wearing the No. 36 jersey during the Gator Bowl honoring teammate Nick Bell who died last year.
Athlon points to Relf as being a "gamebreaker" for this season and it will be interesting to see if he has made the strides necessary during the offseason to become a complete signal caller for MSU.
Four Bulldogs earned preseason All-Southeastern Conference honors in Athlon with wide receiver Chad Bumphis on second-team offense, Relf on third-team offense, and defensive lineman Josh Boyd and cornerback Corey Broomfield on third-team defense.
Mississippi State is ranked No. 27 in Athlon's preseason rankings.
Based out of Nashville, Tenn., Athlon Sports is a 44-year-old integrated sports media company. It remains a leader in sports prediction accuracy and prides itself in creating the most sought-after preseason content online and in magazines at the newsstand. The company serves business-to-business and business-to-consumer clients as a publisher, content provider and sports marketer through the portfolio of websites, sports magazines, direct marketing services and events.
The Starkville Daily News provides an Athlon Sports insert each month and we hope you enjoy those. There was a nice feature on former MSU baseball player and Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter in May's edition.
Lindy's is celebrating its 30th year of producing a college football preseason preview and I have tried to pick up most of the copies since it started while John Bond was the quarterback of the Bulldogs.
Mississippi State receives a more generous ranking in Lindy's at No. 21 and said the program has already gotten a big win by keeping coach Dan Mullen from leaving for Florida. The only Bulldog to be found on Lindy's 2011 All-SEC team is cornerback and former East Webster player Johnthan Banks on second-team defense.
For anyone who needs to get a last-minute or post Father's Day gift for that devoted college football fan in your life, picking up one of these previews might be just the right thing.
The information contained in the pages of these books can satisfy the appetite for football while teams are getting ready for the season.
Fathers and football – a winning combination.
Here's wishing all dads a Happy Father's Day.
Danny P. Smith is sports editor and columnist for the Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily News or its staff.