The SEC race looks to be very interesting this year. Our pick for the title is the Vanderbilt Commodes, the last team not on probation or under several concurrent investigations. This would be the feel good story of the year in college football, as SEC Commissioner, Bud Selig, has slated Vanderbilt for contraction.
"We're a small market school and we just can't carry the payroll of the big-time SEC teams," explained Vandy AD, Bud Sampson. "All we can offer is academics, and let's face it; SEC football players aren't real interested in academics."
While we are on the subject of academics, Tennessee has weathered the annual look at their tutoring program, and look forward to another year on the lam. Coach Fulmer hopes that this is the year that they finally graduate a football player.
Mississippi State catches a break with an easy non-conference schedule, and hopes to use it to prepare for the tough SEC season. Head coach Jackie Sherrill is biting the heads off of the Ducks to prepare for his return to Pac 10 country. Sherrill was the coach at WSU for a couple of minutes several years ago.
Alabama, also known as Dead Team Walking, narrowly avoided the death penalty thanks to a recent Supreme Court decision. The stay of execution was not without cost, as the Tide will now be known as the Crimson Morons.
Bama AD, Johnnie Cochrane cried foul, claiming that, "Any school can slip up four or five times a decade. It's not like there is a pattern here."
The Big East Conference prepares for its annual one team race for the crown, as lifetime favorite Miami looks to repeat as National Champs. Rumors that Havana High School has been scheduled for their 12th game have proven false, but several little league baseball players with facial hair have moved into the Corral Gables neighborhood recently. Coincidence?
The ACC prepares for its annual one team race for the crown, as lifetime favorite Florida State looks to return to the National Championship. Rumors that Bobby Bowden will coach this season from his Barcalounger via teleconference have not been confirmed.
In the Big XII, look for Texas to have the highest rated recruits on the field once again. Is this the year Chris Simms finally lives up to the unreasonable hype and expectations? No. It is not possible. He should be more relaxed without the Major looking over his back though.
Our choice for the crown is Oklahoma, because if you cannot score you cannot beat them. The Sooners who were once known for their prolific offense, have been playing the best defense in the land for two years. They should have enough offense to run the table.
Nebraska is heading for a couple of down years, and Barney's Colorado Buffaloes, wracked by poor discipline and shoddy coaching, should find Barney's comfort level at 3-8 again this year.
Big Ten (or is it 11?) bullies Michigan and Ohio State should be the best of a mediocre lot. The Wolverines may get to lose to Washington twice this season.
It is inevitable that some team from the fringes outside the big six conferences will rise up to whine loudly about their worthiness for the BCS Championship. They will be ignored, as they should be. In fact, all whining about the BCS should be ignored, because it is unseemly and self-serving. Look folks, we are not talking about curing cancer here.
OUR PRE-SEASON TOP 10
1. Miami..............65-7, in case you forgot. 2. Florida State......Long drought over, back in top 3. 3. Oregon.............The decline begins. 4. Florida............Steve who? 5. Central Florida....Central who? 6. Southern Florida...They're from Florida 7. Western Florida....See above 8. Tennessee..........Passing grade for Vols 9. Portland State.....Tremendously tough team 10. Notre Dame.........Ty the genius
PLAYER DIARY: Landon Blandcork, Southland University
Incoming freshmen Landon Blandcork agreed to share with us, his experiences as an incoming freshman at prestigious Southland University. Landon graduated early from high school, so he could get a jump on his college career.
"I knew that high school was too small of a pond for a studly guy like me, so I couldn't wait to get out and get to the Southland campus and join the legends for spring ball and weight training. I'm already the strongest player on the team, as I can bench press 678 pounds, and squat 1,350 pounds. The older players are in awe of me. There isn't any of the hazing that you might expect. In fact, they have been very helpful, even applying Ben Gay to my jock strap to help me warm up."
Blandcork continues his diary – "In my advanced writing class I turned in an essay on "See Spot Run". My teacher told me that I was in college now, and my writing would have to improve. She gave me a really neat tip on how to work Dick and Jane into my story. Man, college at Southland U is going to be tough, but I can handle it with my super intellect. Some of my old high school teammates let me know I was still one of the guys by helping me paint my new Lexus."
"I think you guys have a pretty good idea by now about how cool I am. Nevertheless, I would like to share with you a typical day schedule here at Southland U, so you can see how a world class athlete spends his time:"
08:00 - Class: Introduction to Amusement Park Management 09:00 – Measure biceps – 78" 10:00 – Walk halls, chicks really dig biceps 11:00 – Measure biceps again, down a half an inch 11:01 – Inject steroids 11:15 - Try to find prostate 11:30 – Ask doctor to reattach muscles to bones 12:00 – Another class! – Weight Lifting and Classic Literature 13:00 – Walk halls again. Chicks really dig biceps. 14:00 – Work! Do odd jobs for Troy Wadsworth III, at his mansion. Make sure no alligators get in pool. 15:00 – End of a grueling shift. Those thousand bucks will buy some books though. 16:00 – Work out with the guys. Let them know who has the biggest biceps. 18:00 – Pick up date, assure her folks she'll be back in time for Nick At Nite.
1: Washington State
Well, well, well, has it been 67 years already? No? Then why the Hell are they here at number one? Scratch this! Restart.
This is a great choice. All the Duck fans will think I'm really smart for picking them. I can save big bucks on security when visiting Autzen this fall. I will be loved like Sally Fields. Solid choice here.
The Ducks are excited now that the mediocre Joey Harrington has been replaced by schoolyard legend, Jason Fife. Fife almost bolted early to the pros, miffed at his lack of playing time last season, when he was clearly better than Joey.
Mike Bellotti continues to upgrade recruiting. He's gone from using Washington's recruit list, to recruiting right off the Washington roster. This may mollify Duck fans who are worried about interest in UO from blue chip recruits.
Oregon plays all of their games at home this year, as agoraphobia has struck Eugene. They are anxious to repeat their 65-7 thumping of Washington, which they pulled off last year, via proxy.
2 – Oregon State
There aren't a lot of sure things left in the world today, but Beaver fans will tell you the closest thing to a sure thing is a third straight win over the Ducks at Parker-Reser- (insert new sponsor name here) Stadium. That won't be enough to win the league, but it will give the Beavs the Rose Bowl bid, as the Ducks go to the Fiesta bowl, despite the one loss. Because they are the Ducks and they deserve it, damnit!
Coach Jack Daniels will unveil his sour mash defense, which all agree is the class of the league. Running back Stephan Jackson and QB Who Ever, will team to get just enough points to win. The Beavers hope to use a big season as a springboard to an expanded stadium, so they can join Oregon in only being 50 years behind the Huskies.
3 – Southern Cal
Pete Carroll continues to rebuild the ruins of Troy, and Carson Palmer is still quarterback. Like Chris Simms, Palmer is out of potential finally, and now must produce, or join Todd Marinovich as an Arena League stalwart.
Defense is the word at SC as well, as the offense might have trouble scoring.
4 – UCLA
When you bury them, they rise up and perform. The Bruins are in the part of the cycle where the big stars and their big SUVs have moved on, and the new stars are not yet established at the local car lots. There is hunger in Bruinville, and the Uclans should get off to a fast enough start to fade and still hold onto 4th place.
Paus may be back for what seems like his 12th year as quarterback, but we think DeShaun Foster finally left. The WWF defense, complete with their head banging linebackers, should put some more quarterbacks in the hospital this season.
5 – Washington State
Memo to ABC, next year check with us before you pick your December game. You have another dog on your hands, as the over rated, highly inflated Cougars will be lucky to finish this high. Jason Gesser will run around and beat Idaho, while getting crunched and losing to Washington. As David Byrne (Talking Heads) said, "Same as it ever was."
We maintain that rumors of depth and talent at Wazzu are greatly exaggerated. We are right, unlike that other Illustrated magazine that will probably do something stupid again and pick Wazzu to win the league, if not the nation.
6,7,8,9 – Pick ‘em – Arizona, ASU, Cal, Stanford
Like anybody gives a rip about these teams. Cal managed to string together some of the worst years in the horrible programs history, all the while cheating like bandits. New coach Jeff Tedford was overheard saying, "We never got in trouble for doing that stuff at Oregon. What's the deal? Doesn't Cal have a Nike contract?"
Arizona State might be due to pop up and grab a bowl, they do that every now and again. Stanford welcomes the latest genius to the Farm. Arizona has a good basketball team again this year.
10 – Washington
Judgment Day is here for Rick Neuheisel. As outlined by Colorado and Oregon press, his four-year plan to destroy Husky Football comes to fruition this fall. Experts from around the Northwest and the Rockies have long foretold of this cataclysmic event.
Rick has stocked the program with highly rated, blue chip recruits, a big danger sign in itself. He's finished 2nd more than he's finished first here, in his three years. His quarterback ran out of bounds once. His defense disappeared late last year. Experts agree, that it is a permanent condition that can never be fixed. Lord help us all.
The Munchkins will be rejoicing as the Wicked Witch of the West gets its first losing season in 25 years.
Thank you dear readers, and please don't miss our Week One Preview Issue, due to hit a computer near you the week of August 31. And look for us in the brand new Sports Washington, if they are actually crazy enough to meet our ridiculous salary demands. I hope Tom Hicks buys the magazine.
Editor's Note: If you didn't figure out that this piece was parody and satire, you might want to reread this article with tongue firmly in cheek. Like anyone would pick Washington 10th??
Links to back issues of DuckFighter Illustrated
Race Bannon can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can catch him on his cell phone when he's in his limousine. That number is 1-800-NODRAKE.