Texas Football Magazine hit news stands everywhere Monday, carrying with it predictions for just about every level of competitive football any fan in Texas could possibly wish to follow.

The first thing that jumped out at me were the predictions on the cover alone, including picking Colt McCoy and Texas to win the national title, TCU to break into the BCS and Baylor to end its bowl drought.

The first thought that popped into my head was that any “outsider” (any person not from the Lone Star State) would take one look at the cover and disgard it as a “homer” publication.

To a certain degree, the outsider would be correct, yet all three bold predictions appear to hold merit.  At least on paper.

Note the importance of the words “on paper,” for that’s all the predictions are based on.  No team in Texas, be it the Walnut Springs Hornets, who Texas Football has labeled as the No. 7 team in Division II of the Six-Man world, or the Dallas Cowboys for that matter, have played a single game.

Predictions are great, but one can never forget, preseason prognosticators are simply playing paper football, and their formulas for making predictions fail about as often as college football’s BCS.

Once I opened the magazine, a few other predictions caught my eye, including the number of district champions the magazine picks to repeat as top finishers in their respective leagues.  These fall under the “safe” pick category.  If you’re not sure who to pick, go with the club that won it last year.  They’ve been there, done that, and know what it takes to do it again.

Take Glen Rose for example.  The Tigers are picked to repeat as runners-up in District 7-3A, exactly where they finished a year ago.  For a neutral outsider trying to get all his picks in before deadline, the pick is safe because China Spring is the defending league champ and has quarterback Brian Bell and six other offensive starters back along with four regulars on defense.

The paper footballers know nothing of the versatility and athleticism new Glen Rose quarterback Colt Plaster brings to the table, but on the same note, it should also be pointed out that they probably know nothing of similar upcoming talent at other area contenders. 

With all due respect to Tiger defensive tackle Ivan Funez, who the magazine predicts will be the 7-3A defensive MVP, wouldn’t returning all-state safety Immanuel Morales have been a “safer” pick.  Of course, saying that means I’m playing a little paper football myself, and I assure you my formula - okay, actually I have no formula - is no better than that of countless other prognosticators.

Can Walnut Springs repeat last season’s deep run and with their experience possibly even - dare I say it - capture the school’s first state title?  Can Glen Rose knock off China Spring for a district championship?  Will the Tigers go deeper than one round in the state playoffs?

These and many, many other questions will be answered in time.  But they will be answered on the gridiron, where paper football means absolutely nothing