Madden 2008 and the Random Freeze

OK, I’m just about ready to lose it.
I’ve had Madden 08 since the Friday before last and the game has locked up about 30 – 40 times.  Last night *I COULD NOT SIM ANY GAMES* (I tried about 7 times with 7 hard resets).
Yes, that’s right.  When you play "Franchise" mode you tend to simulate a lot of weeks’ worth of the NFL’s regular season (and pre season).  The Franchise mode goes for thirty seasons which would make for a lot of games to play without simming. 
Last night I couldn’t simulate week 1 of a preseason.  It’s frozen during games three time (and usually when I’m having a half decent game too) – it also freezes when left on pause for more than a minute (*every time*).
Here is Electronic Art’s brilliant suggestion on debugging the problem.  In case you don’t feel like clicking on the link, I’ll paraphrase for you:
1. Gee, I’d never think to look at the game disc (which is brand new). 
Next thing? 
2. Delete all your saved game data.  Yeah, I’m going to blow away hours and hours of gameplay (I managed to get to the second ring status yesterday which took about 6 – 8 games and some high scoring).
So I’m calling xbox technical support tomorrow.  My console had to go into the factory about two months ago as it was:
a) scratching my game discs (great..) and
b) freezing
So.. the question is.. is this a console issue or a game issue?  I’ve played the Transformers: The Movie game for quite a while with 0 lock ups.. Could it be the console?
All I know is that I’ve never had anything like these kind of issues with the PlayStation or PlayStation 2.. Even the old Xbox (original) got to be pretty stable once it hit hardware revision 1.6 (the 1.0 console was, in a word, complete crap).
Is there something cheap and nasty in the hardware to cause all this instability?  I haven’t had the console more than 10 months and it’s been to the service centre once already (leaving me console-less for two weeks).
Microsoft, call me….we need to chat (rob.sanders [at]

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