By Rachel Nichols
Page 2

EDITOR'S NOTE: On occasion, we all need help. But where to turn? Fortunately, Rachel Nichols is here to bring us the special kind of advice that only the world's greatest athletes can dole out. Whether to take it or not ... well, that's up to you. Today's Ill-Advised expert: Matt Leinart, Southern Cal quarterback and Heisman Trophy hopeful.

RACHEL: So this week, it's back to school with Matt Leinart. But before we get class in session, a short pop quiz: What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?

MATT: Well, it's kind of corny.

RACHEL: Go ahead. Cheese out.

MATT:: My family just always told me to set your goals high, just to dream big because anything is possible. I'm kind of living my dream playing football here at USC, starting quarterback. So dream big. I mean, why not?

RACHEL: Was that always your dream?

Matt Leinart
Soon, Leinart might be dishing out advice on how to win a Heisman.

MATT: Actually, my dream when I was little was to play pro baseball.

RACHEL: Hmm. OK. Just to clear this up for you:  Baseball -- little white ball. Stitches on it. Football -- bigger, pigskin-type thing.

MATT: This is true. But let's say I'm hoping I'm going to make a career out of this football thing now.

RACHEL: Fair enough. So let's begin the advice-o-rama. Our first question is from Sandy Keeler in Wisconsin. She says, "I've been offered a full-ride volleyball scholarship to college, but what I really want to do is go to film school. My family can probably afford the tuition, but my parents would rather not pay for school; and besides, they're really proud of my volleyball career. What should I do?"

MATT: To me, the important thing is to make your own decisions, so she should go to film school. Or she could go to a school where she can play volleyball and be in the film school. We have a great film school here.

RACHEL: Would you be in her student film if she asked you to? You'd have to look all pensive and arty.

MATT: Sure, I'd do it. I've been in a student film already, my freshman year. I was playing basketball in it or something.

RACHEL: Ah, a secret past. Good to know that if this whole football thing doesn't work out, you'll have something reliable to fall back on. Like acting. Or maybe just advice columnist. The next soul desperate for your services is Steve Pruer in Baltimore. He says, "I work construction; and every day, my wife packs me the same ham and cheese sandwich. I don't mean to be critical, but she's got to start mixing it up. What other sandwich suggestions can you make?"

MATT: Hmm ... this is worth some thought. I like the Italian sandwiches. If she wants to put some work into it, it could have some ham, turkey, salami and all that kind of stuff. Of course, peanut butter and jelly is always good.

RACHEL: You're sounding a little lustful over there.

MATT: Oh, I'm totally a sandwich connoisseur. Quizno's, Togo's, Subway. You definitely have to mix it up a little bit. He's just got to be as nice about it as possible when he asks her. Otherwise -- no sandwiches at all.

RACHEL: The horror. I bet you're a cut-off-the-crusts guy.

MATT: No, crusts are good. Don't fear the crust.

RACHEL: Just the Turtle. So here's a football question: Jason in Kentucky writes, "I have a twin brother. My parents put us in different high schools so we would have different friends and stuff, but we both play football and we're playing each other next week. I know he's been limping around since his last game. Do I tell the other guys on my team, who could use it to their advantage? Or do I keep my mouth shut because he's my brother?"

MATT: You've got to keep your mouth shut. You don't let up on your brother because he's hurt, but you don't rat him out, either.

RACHEL: Oh, I don't know. You're awfully quick to rule out blackmail.  Do you have a brother?

MATT: Yeah, but he's like 25. He's older. We're close, but I wouldn't hesitate to go after him. We used to have our battles in the front yard, and I used to be the kid he'd tell all his friends to pick on.

The Thundercats
What if it was a Thundercat, though? Whoa!

RACHEL: This is why, even as a kid, you should just travel with an offensive line. Your brother, your math teacher -- if anyone gets rough, those guys know what to do. Of course, not so convenient on a date. Hard to fit everyone into the booth at the restaurant. Which brings us to our romance question of the day, from Sean in Minneapolis. He writes, "My girlfriend hates my cat. My cat has been with me through thick and thin and is my best buddy. But obviously, he can't offer me the things my girlfriend can. What do I do?"

MATT: Man, I hate cats.

RACHEL: Cats, I feel, are not a good sign. And people out there: Save your letters. You can argue that one cat is OK; but I have strong feelings that unless you're a grandma with a big front porch, it's never OK to get that second cat. Then you're pretty much the chick with the cats. But I don't know about a guy.

MATT: Oh, it's worse if you're a guy. Look, if it's a dog, we might have a discussion. Dogs are your friends. But a cat? Pick your girlfriend, dude. Cats are useless.

RACHEL: So, Sean, go down to the shelter, do a dog-for-cat swap, and then take your girlfriend to a movie. Maybe if the dog's cute, the girlfriend will still be there in the morning. And maybe if you're really lucky, she'll make you a sandwich.

So the last question we always ask for this column is, what's the best piece of advice you can give to everyone out there?

MATT: Probably, "Don't mix colors with whites." You get pink. Hey, I'm in college. Right now, that's big.

Got an issue or a question, or otherwise need to be 'Ill-Advised' in the future? Send it to Rachel Nichols right here.