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Indianapolis Colts early favorite for No. 1 pick in 2013 NFL Draft

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Is there a chance Matt Barkley could spend his NFL playing days in his college stadium?


 

Let's get this out of the way quickly: "Fans for Barkley" doesn't have the same panache as "Suck for Luck." But one lucky (forgive me) fan base is going to have a crack at USC quarterback Matt Barkley in next April's NFL draft. And if you saw any of USC's action last week against the Rainbow Warriors of Hawaii, well, you have something to be excited about.

The good thing about the NFL -- compared to other sports like baseball and basketball -- is that every team has a chance to win the Super Bowl year after year. Yes, even you in Cleveland. (Assuming you root for a team other than the Browns. Just kidding, love you Cleveland, you have a chance.)

But that won't stop us from prematurely handicapping the race to be the No. 1 team, not in February, but in April -- when the draft takes place. You got that, right? So for the second consecutive year, here are our alternative rankings.

And without further ado ...

RANK

6

NEW YORK JETS

Rex Ryan isn't shy about hyperbole, but his latest proclamation, "I don't even see (getting fired) as a possibility," might be his best yet. At some point, you wonder if he's purposely sabotaging himself. Like you could imagine him going into full George Costanza-mode, driving around the Jets' offices with the Super Bowl III trophy dragging from his bumper, screaming "Joe Namath was a sham." Just leave the body suit at home, Rex.

RANK

5

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

Congratulations to the Jaguars, you won the stalemate with your greatest player in franchise history! But it will be one of the few wins you will earn this season. And the good news: if Blaine Gabbert is as bad as advertised, he will help bring his replacement to Jacksonville.

RANK

4

MINNESOTA VIKINGS

The Vikings must be frustrated. The team has a legitimate chance to land the top spot, but that Adrian Peterson keeps trying to ruin it by rushing back on to the field after suffering a severe knee injury last season. Don't worry Fans for Barkley, Minnesota chapter; as long as Christian Ponder is on the field, you still have a chance.

RANK

3

MIAMI DOLPHINS

The Dolphins have a pretty good defense (even after getting rid of Vontae Davis), and finished strong in 2011. But to avoid any chance of actually competing this year, the team immediately installed Ryan Tannehill as the starting quarterback and instead put themselves right in the hunt for the No. 1 pick.

RANK

2

ST. LOUIS FOOTBALL CLUB

Forgive me for day dreaming about this possible scenario: St. Louis is one of the franchises most-often mentioned in connection with the new stadium in Los Angeles. If the team stumbles this season, it could end up in position to draft Barkley. Could you see Matt Barkley leading the new Los Angeles Rams into their temporary home in the L.A. Coliseum in 2013? Farfetched? Nearly the same thing happened with Marcus Allen and the Los Angeles Raiders back in 1982.

RANK

1

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

Well, allow me to take a page from Ric Flair when I say to be the champ, you have to beat the champ. And until any team shows it has what it takes to knock the Colts from their lowly perch, they have to be the leader in the clubhouse. But don't expect this team to stay this low for long.

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