Our guest columnist assisting us today will be your neighborhood pharmacist.
7. Florida. A fair rating for our Most Favored Nation, we think, since by placing them at seven we avoid the hacky default #2 pick for the returning national champion replacing a quarterback and nine starters on defense.
Wait...let that bleed for a bit there Nine starters on defense. But that's the same situation Ohio State had coming into this season!, you say, clutching certainty to your chest. Discard reason, and the fact that Ohio State's defense faced a tightassed Texas offense in their game in Austin and a Michigan team that burned up substantial yardage on them as their only substantial offensive challenges. Case dismissed there, and no, Mr. Waterston, you may not appeal.
But I had a really, really good point!
So the defense will be not only porous throughout the secondary and along the defensive line, but it will look different in terms of scheme, as well. Last season the Gator D could roll Reggie Nelson up top and creep the strong safety down toward the line in what we'll call a Cover 1 and a Half--that's how much ground Nelson covered on his own and how good the corners were last year at evaporating potential deep threats.
This year will see more of a straight Cover 2 because incoming starter Kyle Jackson is, at his worst, is an accelerant for getting burned deep. You may remember his work from the 2005 Alabama and LSU games, where at times he resembled Manny Ramirezy trying in vain to track down a wandering pop fly caught in the wind. His presence in the starting lineup alone is screaming-fantod-worthy.
The offense? Tebow, Caldwell, Murphy, Ingram, Harvin, incoming freshmen of astonishing speed like Dionte Thompson, a veteran and increasingly deep offensive line...this may, in the end, resemble Meyer's Utah teams more than either of his Florida models, because we'll be playing WAC-ball this year.
Your local pharmacist says: Don't hyperventilate a bit too much there on the defense, unless you're fond of terbutaline inhalers! Ha, that a pharmacist's joke, there. Jackson's had two years of study, the linebacking corps may be better, and Tony Joiner's ready to dish out injuries from the safety spot you couldn't treat with just a standard round of anti-inflammatories! It's not as bad back there as you expect.
And I noticed that new Valtrex prescription you brought in. You may think I don't judge...but I do, you whore you. Unclean! UNCLEAN!!!
I don't judge. I just point and laugh, and then judge, Herp-boy.
8. Oklahoma. WHEEEEE! Who needs a quarterback?
Oklahoma played last season's schedule with Paul Thompson, who started spring practice as a wide receiver, at quarterback, got the botched call of all botched calls turned against them versus Oregon, and as Phil Steele pointed out in a flurry of data last night, outgained Texas by leagues in their matchup in Dallas yet gave up five turnovers in the loss to the Longhorns.
Then, as EA Sports so eloquently put it, they became Goliath.
They return much of their #16 ranked defense, have Allen Patrick stepping in ably for Adrian Peterson, and should do much to shelter whomever emerges from a three-man scrum at quarterback between Joel Halzle, Sam Bradford and Keith Nichol with a heavy lean on the run, play-action, and a somewhat simplified offense.
And this is where Oklahoma's supposed to be, right? They rise to 3 or 2, fall to the low teens following a loss to someone they shouldn't lose to, then they get in the Big 12 Championship game. That's their season. Go look it up. It's in the Bible, under the book of "Hayden Fry Descendents and their Passably Excellent Coaching Records."
Your local pharmacist says: Sounds reasonable enough.
Hey, you know when you asked me about whether that anti-inflammatory had any contraindications with the other medication you were taking? Actually, let's not be coy--the weight loss medication Alli. That's what it is, Tubby, and don't deny it.
Don't lie to me. I'm your pusher.
Anyway, remember when I said it didn't have any? WHOOOPS! Little pharmacist joke there. You'll be farting a fine golden spray of undigested fat as it stands right now with Alli, but here's the kicker: with that antinflammatory, you'll be tripping balls, too. And all the while I'll be here, humming quietly under these crackling fluorescent lights and laughing on the inside. Because you'll be on your toilet, hunched over and convinced you're a human roman candle in the hand of God as you strip the finish off the toilet with your acrid ass-splatter.
And don't light a match, either. A roof is an expensive thing to replace.
9. Virginia Tech. Another team that should just stop renting, put together a nice down payment, and just buy a spot on the polls between 7 and 12, since that's seemingly where they perennially end up anyway.
The defense: malevolent. They're strong and returning starters throughout the depth chart, most importantly in the linebacking corps where Vince Hall and Xavier Adibi will do anything they please in midfield. Victor "Macho" Harris, in addition to being an excellent corner playing on a gifted defense, is also nicknamed "Macho." If he does not meet you and immediately punch you in the face and begin making out with your girlfriend, you may file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau for false advertising.
Macho! Punch that man immediately or you'll have to talk with Jenkins!
The offense: malodorous, at times, but it's not like Virginia Tech's ever needed or hoped to have much of an attack, anyway. (Momentary ESPN broadcast analysis breakin: HEY DIDJA KNOW THEY LIKE SPECIAL TEAMS AT VIRGINIA TECH IT'S CALLED BEAMERBALL!!! Yes, thanks. That's been on repeat for the entirety of ESPN's college football coverage. We're aware.) Sean Glennon isn't what you'd call "good." He isn't what you'd call "talented." He is, however, "capable of handing off to Brandon Ore and throwing the bootleg play-action passes and screeens VT loves," which again, may be enough.
DID YOU KNOW THEY LIKE SPECIAL TEAMS AT VIRGINIA TECH!!! Yes, yes. We know.
Your local pharmacist says... Frank Beamer continues to be one of the most respected coaches around, which I heard on ESPN once. Or a million times. Can't really remember, actually. I'm fucking jacked on whatever's in that huge white jar over there. Some days I don't even look, really. One time--another little pharmacist's joke here--I reached in and got some pills out of a jar without looking. WHOOPSIE! A little Traizolam is fine, but a whole handful of 'em doesn't exactly go down like Skittles, you know?
Fortunately, I excused myself, and called up a doctor friend of mine. He's hopelessly addicted to pornography and Oxycontin, so you know he owes my ass. ("Hmm, let's see Dr. Richards--a prescription for 'Santos L. Halper'? Sounds real to me!") I've got the porno hookup like you wouldn't believe. Seriously--the Pharma Ranch walls are like some kind of ancient repository of digital pussy frozen and kept on DVD for future generations.
Anyway, he pumped my stomach, but not before I strangled a cat in the parking lot and put my head through the windshield of a city bus. That's pharmacy life for ya, there!