MERRY STEELETIDE!

HUZZAH! ONE HUNDRED COCKTAILS TO ODIN! IT'S STEELETIDE!

Steeletide, little doomed one-legged Tim, is the second happiest day of the year: the day when you, the college football consumer gets in their hot little hands the most extensive and punishingly data-riffic college football guide on the planet: Phil Steele's College Football Preview.

Dictated--no, really, it is dictated--by Phil, it is the compendium of every division one football team broken down into units, rosters, tendencies, exhaustive stats on win streaks, record on grass versus turf, and everything everyone else will mostly be regurgitating up over the next nine to ten months anyways. It's also great for your marriage.

Wife: Honey, what do you think? Should we plant bell peppers or tomatoes?

You: Mark Richt is 25-4 in opposing stadiums.

Wife: I don't think you heard me, did you?

You: Utah has the second longest bowl winning streak. It stands at 7 games now.

Wife: YOU DON'T REALLY WANT TO HAVE ANOTHER BABY, DO YOU?

You: EVEN IN A FRUSTRATING YEAR USC OUTGAINED CONFERENCE FOES BY 157 YPG?

Wife: STOP SPEAKING IN ACRONYMS!!!

It should pop up on newsstands shortly, but a sneaky peeky inside this year's mag in no particular order:

1. Nothing's changed. Yay. Same infinitesimally small 6 point type. Same arcane system of acronyms. (Hey, there's a glossary. Nut up, lazy readerperson.)

Same eight sets of power rankings determining his conference picks. Same=good in this case, of course, since this now constitutes the highlight of our offseason and is also responsible for the serotonin bump we've been surfing like the Poraroca for the past day or so.

2. Number one? Oh, Christ: Florida. The 2008 preseason top ten, according to Phil, follow:

10. Penn State.
9. Georgia
8. USF
7. Missouri
6. West Virginia
5. Clemson
4. USC
3. Oklahoma
2. Ohio State
1. Florida

Phil's counting on the "and now, a miracle happens" argument with the talented but scorchy young defensive backfield shaping up for the Gators. Being skeptics, we don't wager on the sun rising, and anyone picking our team to finish first therefore gives us methy shakes. He bids large on Oklahoma, too, probably the more sensible pick in the Big 12 given the sudden evaporation of defense in conference, the Sooner's mammoth offensive line, their solid array of offensive talent, and everyone else going gonzo by leaning on other wise merely good Texas Tech for their Big 12 pick.

Seeing Georgia that low--do not grok, not at all. We would point out, though, that Phil sees them to be a likely national title contender. USF seems a bit high, too, especially with their offensive line struggles and over-reliance on Matt Grothe. Any inclusion of Clemson in the top ten willingly omits their astonishing consistency over the past decade in losing at least two games they should walk away with each year.

3. Notre Dame, up. Ditto for North Carolina, Pittsburgh, South Carolina, Miami, Mississippi, Maryland, and Arizona, of all schools.

That's all we'll divulge, though if we were to actually convey one percent of the information in the guide we'd overload our server. Buy here or on newsstands next week, or in a bookstore if your town doesn't have bold little scamps in half-pants and suspenders hawking newspapers and Life magazine on every corner. It's JAMPACKED WITH INFORMATION, and even in all caps this is an understatement. Own it. Know it. Meld your flesh with it and become one with it.

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