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On Newsstands Friday: ESPN The Magazine’s 2016 College Football Preview Issue

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To download covers: http://bit.ly/2b0V7o4

  • Issue Features Four Covers: Christian McCaffrey, Leonard Fournette, Baker Mayfield and Deshaun Watson
  • Alabama Claims Top Spot in ESPN Power Rankings: Clemson, Oklahoma and Florida State Round Out Top Four
  • ESPN The Magazine College Football Preview Special, tonight at 7 p.m. ET on ESPNU

DON’T MISS: “The Bennett Brothers vs. Everyone.” Over three days in Los Angeles, the NFL’s brutally honest Michael and Martellus Bennett riff on everything and everyone, from Roger Goodell to Jay Cutler to the entire structure of the NFL. By Mina Kimes http://es.pn/2aQ3KTy

Issue highlights and features:

The Lightness of Being Christian McCaffrey

Stanford star running back Christian McCaffrey, who broke Barry Sanders’ collegiate single-season all-purpose yardage record last year, is on a quest to dispel the misconceptions and stereotypes about athletes, both black and white. By Andrew Corsello

All He Needs Is Hate

You’re short. You’re slow. Critics help Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield more than they know. Mayfield has built a career on feeling slighted. Now, as a Heisman favorite and national title contender, how does he sustain that fire? By never forgetting anything—and feeding a burning desire to prove everyone wrong. By Tim Keown

One for All, All Fournette

The numbers say … hand the ball to Heisman candidate Leonard Fournette—again and again. The Mag dives deep into the talented running back, examining his impact on LSU and his chances to hoist the Heisman. By David Ching

Playing in the Shadow of Death Valley

For quarterback Deshaun Watson and Clemson, it’s starting to feel a lot like 1981, the only time the Tigers were national champs. That team remains closely intertwined with the current squad: Sons play, former coaches watch and an alum even works in the athletic department. Can the Heisman hopeful, who single-handedly almost defeated Alabama last season in the playoff, help his team write its own championship chapter? By Hallie Grossman 

Haircuts, Turkey Shoots and Pontoon Boats

Big-time college football coaches have their happy places. Where are they? Hint: away from people and their endless suggestions about recruiting or defending the spread. Among the escapes? A barbershop (Jim Harbaugh), a golf course (Bob Stoops) and in the woods to hunt turkeys (Jimbo Fisher). By Ryan McGee 

If It Runs Like a Duck

A track star on the gridiron, or a football star on the track? Either way, Oregon junior wide receiver Devon Allen will be running in Rio. Last fall, Allen put football on the backburner to focus on a new goal: the Olympics. Two years ago, Allen’s 13.16 time in the 110-meter hurdles at the NCAA championships was the second fastest in NCAA history—a mark that would have placed him fourth in the London Games. The Mag followed Allen through the track and field Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon. By Alyssa Roenigk

How to Stop the Tide

SportsCenter’s Matt Barrie and Sara Walsh think USC should go for it all vs. Alabama in Week 1. By Anthony Olivieri

ESPN Power Rankings Top 25

From Alabama on down, The Mag projects the potential playoff path for each of college football’s Top 25 teams.

College Football Preview Special on ESPNU

ESPN The Magazine College Football Preview Special will air Monday, Aug. 8, at 7 p.m. ET on ESPNU. The one-hour special will highlight the issue’s four cover stories, featuring Christian McCaffrey, Baker Mayfield, Leonard Fournette and Deshaun Watson, by writers Tim Keown, Ryan McGee, Hallie Grossman and Andrew Corsello. Additionally, ESPN Power Rankings Top 25 will be discussed at length with college football Insiders Tom Luginbill, Kevin Carter, Phil Steele, and college football reporter Ryan McGee. ESPNU’s Matt Schick is the host.

Also featured in this issue is a 2016 SEC insert, a week-by-week preview at the coming season.

Additional issue highlights and features:

MLB: In “The 3,000-Hit Wonder,” writer Marly Rivera asks Miami Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki about chasing the big MLB milestone. And the 42-year-old swears he’s not stopping there. http://es.pn/2aGmdi9

MLB: Take out the DH factor and some of the best starting pitchers reside in the National League.

Voices: Senior writer Wright Thompson reflects on the new documentary about former New Orleans Saints special-teams player Steve Gleason, his battle with ALS and his mission to leave video documentation of himself for his young son. This dying man teaches us how to live.

The Truth: Columnist Howard Bryant discusses the need for white athletes to stand in solidarity with their black teammates in post-Ferguson America.

Olympics: Justin Gatlin, American’s fastest man, will be good enough for gold in Rio if he can beat Usain Bolt—no small task. In “Split Second,” writer Jesse Washington breaks down what it will take for Gatlin, 34, to catch the fastest man in history. Presented in collaboration with The Undefeated. http://bit.ly/2auFndf

Olympics: In an excerpt from the book Carry On, by Lisa Fenn, two high school wrestlers lift each other to improbable achievement.

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