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We're boning up--heh, boning--on the myriad ways to kill the gulf of potentially productive time stretching out from now until the beginning of the fall speculation season and the golden missive allowing us all to breathe football scented air again, the Phil Steele preseason guide. We've come up with a few solid ones thus far:

--The X-Box HBC challenge. Most of you, if you were like us prior to us discovering the HBC challenge, stuck to a relatively shallow pool of teams to play with in NCAA 2005. Diversify yourself and start your own round-robin HBC (historically black college) tournament. Not only will the D- grade teams and frequent fumbles keep even the most apparently lopsided game close, you'll enjoy gazing at the eye-searing unis and finding out ways to work your sole "impact player" into the offense...even if he happens to be the safety or the kicker. We had one cornerback for the FAMU Rattlers play every snap of the game on offense and on defense, running kicks back in between possessions and then heading to either the RB slot or his original spot in the secondary. This worked gangbusters until he started bleeding from his ass sometime in the third quarter and coughed up his third fumble in as many carries; prior to that, he had 200+ yds receiving, eighty yards rushing, and 200+ in kick/punt returns. You think we're lying, but it really did say that:


We heartily endorse at least one game as Bethune-Cookman, if only to run the Wyattbone with their ungodly quarterback--we call him "No Pitch" Mitch Nkokoye, even though he's probably modeled on real-life BCC qb Lawrence McCloud--mostly because giving the ball to anyone else is insanity. BCC's also fun to play because as you're running yet another option keeper back eighty yards, you can imagine Alvin Wyatt scoping trim from the sidelines with Teddy Pendergrass playing in his head, stroking his mustache and straightening up the custom-tailored lines of his Steve Harvey Collection™ Suit with the cool aplomb of Daytona Beach's most lethal ladykiller.

Working the Wyattbone day and night, if you know what we mean...

Or you could fill the hours as we do, by holding your nose and...

--Fisking Matt Hayes' articles 'till they squeal. If Hayes' pieces were interrogees, you'd have to withhold the jello cup with dinner to make them talk.

If they were bridges, they'd all be the Tacoma Narrows, twisting and flopping in the wind prior to collapse. Shaky doesn't cover a hairy exposed ass cheek of the naked speciousness of a Hayes column, which he's showing off in grand style with his preseason top ten for 2006, written last Wednesday under the header "It's way too early, but here goes...". (We'd insert a joke about Hayes apologizing for premature ejaculation in here, but it's just not working here. Even though it just did!)

Matt Hayes' columns: Tacoma Narrows-scale wobbly.

His guffaw-worthy picks:

First he takes Ohio State at 1. Not so much a joke for the pick, which could make some sense, but for this remark: "Beat Texas in Austin and the rest of the ride is cake." The Big Ten, the nation's premier college league for parity...and Hayes writes this? About a conference known for having three or four undefeateds going into mid-October and having none come December?

He then goes out for more unproven stock with Auburn, who devolved before your eyes in the Citrus Bowl against Wisconsin, at number 2 despite having none of the defensive moxie they demonstrated under Gene Chizik and showing a creeping case of OC hubris in Al Borges calling Brandon Cox into a hole in the late season. Hayes is firmly hitting the WVU pipe, putting them at three--not bad, if a bit trendy--before listing USC at four. This wouldn't be so bad, but Hayes insists on chipping in why, which as usual undermines his case completely.

4. USC. New QB, new RBs, revamped O-line; yeah, like it matters.

Losing Matt Leinart won't matter. Just want that one on the record, especially with the babyfaced duo of Sarkisian and Kiffin trying to groom their first qb into shape behind a rebuilding offensive line and a crowd of backs getting their rhythm as starters. In fact, you can just give Booty or Sanchez a jersey that says "Leinart" on it and we'll pretend it's all the same, since that's how it's gonna look in the Coliseum. We bet Nick Lachey won't even be able to tell the difference--it's an experiment!

Hayes punts on the five slot by putting Oklahoma in--because they're usually good, weren't good this year, and could be five-worthy--and virtually duplicates the pick on six and seven with Notre Dame and Virginia Tech. (This bodes well for ND, who under Weis have become worthy of hapless blue-chip top ten spot guess plugs for grasping pundits.) Hayes then puts Florida eight, instantly cueing the scratching violins and tympani music for us. (When Hayes is picking you high, run for the fucking hills.) To his credit, Hayes demonstrates a canny understanding of the Gator Nation with this comment:

At what point will Gators fans clamor for freshman QB Tim Tebow?

Answer: the first time Chris Leak pulls up the hem of his sundress, screams, and slides a half yard shy of a first down on 3rd and nothing, Matt. Which will be sometime in the first quarter of the first game. Which is why Meyer is a coach and the fans aren't, since he'll have the sense to NOT turn a freshman over to the wolves and let Leak manage an improving offense and hellraising defense into more victories this season. Meyer also may punt, kick field goals on fourth and 8, and make rational decisions about ball control, two other things anathema to Florida fans (ourselves included.) It's irrational, and we know it, and doesn't mean much in the long run. We love our golden-armed pretty lady of a qb, and we'll stick with him until he graduates, even if he does rip his hose by going on a few more runs this year.

Despite having a fullback at qb and barely holding on against BYU in their bowl game, Cal gets Hayes' nod at 9, with Texas rounding out the top ten because of Vince Young's flight to the pros.
Not a crazy pair to cap the top ten, but hardly sweating it for insight or daring.

The noxious thing here is: he got paid for this, a mediocre shot at an admittedly premature poll. We're not jealous--blogger don't do this for cash, just the joy of distraction--but incredulous? Yes, that would be the word. Someone wrote him a check for this. And in the words of Don King, a convicted killer turned millionaire, only in America!