I believe it's important to test oneself as a sportswriter.
Sure, I could turn out another award-winning recruiting column, but sometimes it's good to write outside the box.
So for this week's recruiting column, I won't be Dave Hooker, whom you know and love. I'll be Lane Kiffin, the younger, taller and perhaps slightly better looking football coach at the University of Tennessee.
If you're missing Dave already, he will return next week.
I'm Lane and I'll be trying to convince Jesse Scroggins to reconsider his commitment to Southern California.
I'm not going to tell the star prospect from Lakewood (Calif.) High School where to play college football yet. And I'm not going to bash USC. I coached there for six years.
However, I'm offering up 10 reasons why USC won't be the home he envisions it will be:
No. 1: Matt Barkley. Have you heard he's the starter? Yep, just happened. The freshman beat out Aaron Corp, who is a pretty darn good player.
No. 2: Los Angeles smog. Do you realize what that stuff does to your lungs? Might as well start smoking cigarettes.
No. 3: Matt Barkley. Is he really just a freshman? And he beat out Corp, who is a junior? Wow, that Barkley guy must be good.
No. 4: L.A. traffic. It's even bad when there's not a Michael Jackson memorial.
No. 5: Matt Barkley. Have you heard how much he loves USC and that he'll likely spend four years there even if he were a top NFL prospect after his junior season.
No. 6: Earthquakes. I seem to remember hearing that the entire state of California could just slide into the ocean. I'm not saying that's guaranteed but it is a possibility.
No. 7: 2013. You might start by then. That all comes back to that Barkley kid. Man, he's awesome.
No. 8: Mark Sanchez. Sure Sanchez became a first-round NFL draft pick after just one full season at USC,but did you see him last week against the Baltimore Ravens? Eeesh. Looks like he could have used some more college experience. Too bad he sat on the bench for three years at USC.
No. 9: Cycles. USC is certainly on top now but how long can that last? Florida State and Miami were once that dominant before they dropped faster than one of Eric Berry's tackling victims.
The erosion has already started. I'm gone. Steve Sarkisian is gone. How much longer do the Trojans have on top? However, if anybody can keep them there, it's that Barkley kid.
No. 10: The Coliseum. There's not a good seat in the house. It's so spread out. I doubt your parents will even be able to see you sitting on the bench.
So now that you have ample reason not to sign with USC, here are 10 reasons to consider UT.
No. 1: Family. It's the only place outside of SoCal where you've got kin - as they say in Tennessee. Much of your mother's family lives in Memphis.
No. 2: Playing Time. Even if Nick Stephens wins the job in 2010, you can learn behind him and be the man in 2011. You'd practically be guaranteed to start three or four years.
No. 3: Pro-style offense. Want to make a little money playing football? I'll teach you how to harness your abilities and mold you into a top-flight NFL prospect thanks to my quarterback friendly offense.
No. 4: The SEC. It's simply the best college football conference in the nation. Just ask ESPN. They bet billions on its future success. Yes, that's billions with a "b", as in Barkley.
No. 5: Jim Chaney. He molded Drew Brees into a Pro Bowler. Kyle Orton isn't too bad either. Imagine what he could do with Barkley.
No. 6: Hungry fans. There was a time when a 10-win season in Knoxville was worth a big yawn. Now, fans want a winner but have much more realistic expectations. Win 10 at UT and you're a hero. Win 10 at USC and, well, you're still sitting behind that Barkley guy.
No. 7: Me. Ask Pete Carroll about me. He trusted me to run his offense and it worked out pretty well.
No. 8: Peyton Manning. He'll be a resource as soon as you step on campus. He'll work out with you in the off-season. Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart just don't have the same umph, do they?
Palmer and Leinart are good but they'll always be overshadowed by Manning - and of course Barkley.
(Think Barkley can win three Heisman trophies. It's never been done but I wouldn't bet against him.)
No. 9: Dave Hooker. You'll be covered by one of the brightest journalists in the nation.
No. 10: Neyland Stadium. Completely refurbished by the time you arrive on campus. And not a Barkley in sight.
Dave Hooker covers recruiting. He can be reached at email@example.com.