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DROOL, MONKEYS, DROOL: TWO OPENING GAMES YOU SHOULD WATCH FOR ALL THE WRONG REASONS

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With spring behind us and only the long, slow, sad hibernation of summer ahead of us, the college football fan has options now. You could focus on your job, spend quality time with your family, or even volunteer your time for a local nonprofit of your choice. Or you could grow tomatoes? Ya ever thought about that?

Of course you haven't, because some grubby dude in a field is working his balls off right now spraying gallons of deadly, carcinogenic insecticide on zillions of tomatoes baking in the subtropical sun just to get you a huge beefsteak to crown your hamburger. We didn't crawl from the muck to grow our own food. We did it because as fish with protofeet and sprouting lungs, we had the dream that one day we could cruise Rivals.com all day slobbering at the hypothetical games we're going to be watching, being the unproductive monkeys all mudskippers dream of being.

And for us, graduate mudskippers, 2007 will be large, large, large. Like Maradona 2007 large. But like Maradona, you'll get fat not just on quality nutrition, but on the junk food of the schedule, too. Here's our pair of fattening, non-value games from week one that you'll watch anyway for all the wrong reasons.


Like, Maradona-large. England points and laughs.

Washington at Syracuse. 8 p.m., ESPN.

Animal, mineral, or vegetable? Vegetable. But it's the first day of the season, so trainwrecking will pass for entertainment. Syracuse's horrible, no good, very, very bad offense (worst in the Big East) meets Washington's crapulent defense (worst in the Pac-10, unless you count Stanford, which we don't.) This means you may be experiencing physical pain at the end of the second quarter. Breathe deep and push through it, since the ending will likely entail something so gorily inept you'll kick yourself for not seeing it. This year's version of Iowa/Syracuse 2006, where you may remember the only goal line stand we've ever seen where we didn't so much credit the defense as excommunicate the offense from the church of decent offense.

Animal correlative: Like watching a toothless old mountain lion attempt to eat a porcupine. Whoever loses last, wins.

West Virginia vs. Marshall. ESPN/ESPN2, TBD.

Animal, mineral, or vegetable?VROOM! Mineral, as in hammered steel pistons pumping out record lap times at Talladega. What had been a slightly substantial rivalry has dimmed to an annual skullknocking with last year's 42-10 headkicking being a prototypical example of what happens to Marshall when they play a Rich Rodriguez team.

Everyone loves a good sprinting slaughter, though, which this promises to be. Let us remind you that Steve Slaton, repaired wrist and all, will be back with Pat "Meow" White, Darius Reynaud, and incoming phonics champion Noel Devine taking the field in one capacity or another. We haven't even touched on West Virginia's improving wideouts. Though Marshall knows exactly what West Virginia will do--run, run, run, run--a team that went "4-7...in the highly competitive Conference-USA" stands little to no chance of getting out of the first quarter without tasting the jet wash of Slaton or White busting multiple sixty yarders on the defense.

Ask the Wannstache, and he will say the same, twitching his mustache all the while.

Animal correlative? A leopard seal ripping a penguin in half.