The 2010 college football schedule kicks off tonight and The Wall Street Journal analyzes this season's hottest prospects for "preseason beefcake photos." How do you "top" Rod 2.0 fave Eric Berry (above) and his sporno-rific image for Tennessee last year?
Some of the better [photos] have—no surprise here—begun to make their way to the Internet, where confused fans have bombarded them with comments describing them as anything from "embarrassing" and "hilarious" to "really hot." At Tennessee, one of the pioneers of this tradition, players and strength coaches are still mulling over how to top last year's photo, in which then-senior Eric Berry, now a safety for the Kansas City Chiefs, posed shirtless with his pants unbuckled and a heavy chain around his neck as he leaned against the side of a Lamborghini borrowed from a local car dealership.
Georgia Tech players last year chose a "Transformers" theme for their topless shot. They posed around a yellow Chevrolet Camaro like the one that turns into an "Autobot" in the movie. While they weren't striking poses like bodybuilders, there wasn't a sunken chest in sight. "I know for a fact that the girlfriends like it—mine didn't complain," says Georgia Tech center Sean Bedford, now a senior, adding that even his mother ordered 15 prints.
The report never mentions the biggest reason why gridiron beefcake has become so popular over the 'net: The over-the-top homoerotic appeal. Reporter Hannah Karp does note that “even some unofficial team photos where players are fully clothed make schools nervous.” No homo.
At the request of the University of Tennessee Athletic Dept., the video featuring the shirtless Eric Berry and the Vols has been removed from YouTube. There are still some videos floating around though.