Monday, September 26, 2005

To answer Evan's query...

Okay, Evan asked me to get on board with his little listy do-dad there, although I'm not sure he viewed his request as quite the mammoth undertaking that I did. I don't mean that he didn't take it seriously when he made his, I mean that I don't think he fully comprehended how seriously I would take it. I prompt people to do lists like these all the time, and quite frankly, I feel that I wouldn't be an adequate ... ... if I didn't put forth the same amount of effort I expect from those I question. That's not to say that my list is perfect, or even that I was able to exhaust all possibilities. There are undoubtedly great songs that I forgot, and some may not agree with what I put on or left off, but hey, these are my favorites. Evan, just remember: you asked. Here we go.

Oh, and in the interest of full disclosure, I should say that this list is actually going to be a couple of lists. As I said, I cogitated significantly to come up with a list that I felt honestly reflected my favorite applicable tunes. This led to a database in excess of 30 songs. I've split them up into 3 tiers of 10 songs each, from (relatively) least favorite to most favorite, with some leeway given for how much I feel the song fits the criteria. And then one or two bonuses thrown in for no valid reason. It's not complicated once you start reading. Okay, let's see how this works out...

TIER 3 - The Bronze Medalists (in alphabetical order, by artist)

Break Your Heart - Barenaked Ladies
One of my absolute favorite songs of all time. Loses a couple of points because of the fact that I don't really know if this is a "break-up" song -- I mean, the guy in the song is clearly saying that he regrets that he led on a girl who digs him more than he digs her. And he finally sacked up and said "Bitch, step off," and now he's like "You know, it sucks that I made her think I was into her ... but it was much better to just say, uh ... 'Bitch, step off'." Wow, that's big of you, guy.

Best moment: the cathartic screaming by Steve Page (who sadly and clearly wrote better songs when he was an alcoholic) at the end of the bridge.

Apple Shampoo - Blink-182
About a couple that's just grown apart. After you strip away the usual early-Blink pop-punk posturing, it's really a pretty heartbreaking story about two people who have gradually gone from lovebirds to sparring partners, best illustrated by the following lines, which I'm shocked came from the mind of Mark Hoppus:

It isn't exciting reciting the stories
Of kind words turned hurting
When routine gets boring

The Dance - Garth Brooks
Viewed objectively, the song is really fantastic. Truly. But, I mean, it's Garth Brooks. He's kind of a douche, he inflicted "Friends in Low Places" upon an unsuspecting public, and he's sold his soul in order to try and outsell The Beatles. I can't in good conscience put him in the top 10. But that shouldn't take too much away from this, a tune (not penned by Brooks himself, it's worth noting) which recognizes that even though things come to an end, and sometimes quite a painful one, the good times just might have made the whole thing worth it. Bonus points for a piano outro which can only be described as "haunting."

Standing in the Shadows of Love - The Four Tops
The great Levi Stubbs and gang. Best of the Motown groups. So much of the success of the Tops (aside from the dynamite songwriting of the Holland-Dozier-Holland team) comes from Stubbs's incredibly expressive voice. Aside from "Bernadette," this is probably his best performance. Didn't I treat you right, now, baby, didn't I? When you needed me I always there, now, wasn't I?

Separate Ways (Worlds Apart) - Journey
Anyone who doesn't like Journey, quite frankly, isn't welcome to sample the fruits of I guess when you really look at this tune, it's a helluva breakup song. But I've just listened to it too many times, with my fist pumping and a big goofy smile on my face, in order to really think of it that way.

Walk Away, Renee - The Left Banke
Achingly beautiful, although it's probably more of an "unrequited love" song than a "breakup" one. It was apparently written by one bandmate about another one's former girlfriend. Or sister, or something. Whatever, folks, it's about longing. The lead singing is a little too nasal for me to really love it, but that's more than made up for by the tasteful harpsichord, lush arrangement, and Zombies-esque vocal harmonies. A gem of a tune.

Needles and Pins - The Searchers
Once again, a favorite of mine, which loses some points because it appears to be taking place significantly post-breakup, as the singer has run into his former lover some indeterminable time after they've split. As can probably be culled from some other choices and statements I've made on here, I'm a sucker for big-ass moments of catharsis in pop songs, and it don't get much better than the wailing at the end of the bridge: "Why can't I stand up and tell myself I'm stronggggg ... BECAUSE I SAW HER TODAY!" Good times.

Overs - Simon and Garfunkel
Yeah, it's a bit lesser-known, but it expresses one of my all-time favorite, sad break-up sentiments, about a couple in the sad, slow process of growing apart: "We might as well be apart / It hardly matters, we sleep separately / And drop a smile, passing in the hall / But there's no laughs left, 'cause we laughed 'em all / And we laughed 'em all in a very short time." Just the thought of having "no laughs left" ... ugh, it's chilling.

Dyslexic Heart - Paul Westerberg
All about a dude who just keeps getting mixed signals from a chick he's into. I just love the extended use of personification (or its equivalent - whatever) here, as his "heart" keeps "looking" at what she's doing, and he just can't figure it out. "You keep swayin' / What are you sayin'? / Thinkin' 'bout stayin'? / Or are you just playin', makin' passes / Well my heart could use some glasses."

Please Don't Go - Stevie Wonder
Gorgeous, up-tempo song from my personal favorite Stevie album, Fulfillingness' First Finale. "Please Don't Go" is up-tempo to the point of almost sounding happy, until you realize it's about a girl who's leaving the protagonist, and you hear his continued pleas, like "Tell me why, baby, would you want to make me cry?" It's one of the best songs by one of the greatest musical artists of all-time, made at the absolute zenith of his powers.

Bonus Indecipherable Song

I Want it That Way - Backstreet Boys
I still don't know what the hell this song is about. Exactly what way does he (or... they?) not want it? You got me. Great melody, though.

TIER 2 - Close, But No Cigar (again, alphabetically by artist)

You're Gonna Miss Me - The 13th Floor Elevators
I have nothing to add to Evan's statements that is either relevant or true. Except to add that this is a nice little bit of reading about the band. And yes, in the picture, the guy on the far left is blowing into a jug, with a microphone there to pick up the, uh ... "woo" ... sound. But hey, the sunglasses make him look like a total badass. Yeah.

No Reply - The Beatles
Right after recording this, someone told John Lennon, "You know, that's the first song you've written that kind of completes a story. It resolves itself." Or something to that effect. You get the gist. In the song, John's lover seems to be trying to cut off all contact with him, as he "try(s) to telephone" and "(goes) to your door." And guess what he gets? Look at the title, folks. Anyway, he takes to following her or something, and he calls her on her lies, accompanied by George and Paul in some fantastic harmonizing. He knows what's up. And guess what he gets again? You dumbass.

I Want You - Elvis Costello and the Attractions
Creepy as all get-out, with an odd structure, too: it starts off with a few couplets of standard-issue lovey-dovey tuneage, then takes an abrupt turn into the darker story of a man who tries to coax out of his mate the fact that she has been cheating on him. The bitterness is downright palpable. An undeniably fantastic, emotional tune, but you feel kind of dirty after listening to it. And you know what? Sometimes that's okay.

Go Your Own Way - Fleetwood Mac
Who better to write and perform a classic song about breaking up than a band who, at the time of the recording, consisted of two couples who were mid-breakup, and a, uh ... fifth guy. Anywho, this tune is angry and bitter and resentful ... it's just damn tasty to listen to, even a quarter-century later. Not quite as angry and bitter as my single favorite Mac song, "The Chain," but still, you know, right up there. As a sidenote, people always talk about the riff at the center of the song - you know, the one that starts off the tune before the acoustic guitar obscures everything - but I actually think Mick Fleetwood's creative drumming holds everything together. Maybe I'm crazy.

Breaking Us in Two - Joe Jackson
A portrait of a relationship that's dying, as the couple tries to decide if it's really worth fighting for the relationship, or if they should just give up and sever ties. Filled with "maybe if"s and "could we be much closer?"s, but the narrator keeps coming back to the refrain, "Always something breaking us in two..." It just ain't working. Heartbreaking. Bonus points because it just might have the single best vocal melody out of this entire bunch of songs.

It's Too Late - Carol King
Yep, a classic. It basically takes place just after the last song left off: the wondering and soul-searching about whether or not the relationship can be saved has ended, and "it's too late" beat out "maybe we can work this out." It's a shame too. Those kids were good for each other. Best or second-best track on a classic album (1971's Tapestry) which feels like putting on a warm sweater sometime around Christmas. Do I sound like a girl? You bet I do.

Stay - Lisa Loeb
She's hot.


No, seriously.

And the song's good, too. I don't care what anyone says.

Go Now - The Moody Blues
About as atmospheric as a pop record can get, plus, as a bonus, there's nary a sign of the flute and other masturbatory orchestrations which plagued (in my opinion) some of the Moodyseses later work. As anyone who knows me can tell, I'm an absolute sucker for harmonies in pop songs, and this one has near-constant backup "oohs" and "ahs." In fact, lyrically, there's really nothing special about this one, as the message is clear and repeated numerous times: the singer's a complete vag, and he's telling his newly-former-girlfriend to beat it, "before you see me cry." Woman. But the song is still damn fun to listen to.

Soma - Smashing Pumpkins
This is one of the Pumpkins' trademark "this baby's gonna start out real slow, lull you into a false sense of security, and then beat your ass with guitars that have been overdubbed 40 times (That's true, by the way. Yes, 40.)" type of song. My old buddies James Tuttle and Mike Gregory used to compare this song to an orgasm - I'll stay away from comment on that, except to say that the theory is, well ... creative. IRRegardless, this has remained one of my favorite songs throughout the years, a standard semi-power ballad, semi-anthemic 70's-style intricate RAWK song. Does that make sense? I hope so. Quasi-interestingly, the piano on this track was played by REM bassist Mike Mills.

Best moment: the guitar solo. If you are of the opinion that mere instruments can not adequately mirror the emotions present in the best vocal performances, then please do me a favor and listen to the guitar solo from "Soma" within the context of the rest of the song. It's the most emotionally-expressive instrumentation that I can think of.

I'll Be Around - The Spinners
Smooooooooooth. It's virtually impossible ... no no, I'm gonna say it: it's impossible to hear this song on the radio and not sing along. This theory was proved when The Crew came up in November 2003, and while on the way to Greektown this song came on the radio, and we were, of course, singing along. And then Evan and I turned and inexplicably looked into the car next to us, where a guy was singing along to the exact same broadcast. Hey, he's only human. But anyway, this is a pretty standard "We've broken up, but I still carry a torch for you, so if this new cat every leaves, you know, I'm still here" number, performed by what is possibly the most underrated Motown band. Possibly. And you gotta love that chorus.

Bonus Bilingual Selection

Crying - Roy Orbison
A fantastic, fantastically sad song from the guy with the sunglasses and the sad-sounding voice. Pretty famous because he hits that really high note in the chorus. But the thing about the tune is, there's a spanish version from the movie "Mulholland Drive" that is positively exquisite, titled "Llorando," which is, predictably, "crying" in spanish. If you can find it somewhere, take a listen. It's even more emotional than the Orbison version. Even if you have no idea what the chick is saying.

The Top Ten (at least, at this moment)

10.) I Can See for Miles - The Who
I once read someone say that this song was like the beginning of all that 60s psychedelia bullshit in music. Not sure I see that one, doctor: this mofo is as straight-up rock as straight-up rock can get. Maybe it just comes from the pseudo-mystical lyrics. This baby's jacked up with raging guitars, a healthy amount of anger, and spastic drumming from a 20-year old who was probably coked out of his mind at the time. That sounds pretty fucking rock and roll to me. What's the song about? Well, Mr. Narrator knows his woman is cheating on him (or something), because he's ... psychic (or something)? Who the fuck cares: it rocks.

9.) Lover, You Should've Come Over - Jeff Buckley
This cat could frickin' sing. With a simultaneous love for intricate, lengthy, guitar-driven rock songs and extreme vocal theatrics, Jeff Buckley always gave his tunes something the listener could latch onto and really appreciate. This is a basic "We've broken up, but I'm not over you, and I'm not sure I ever will be" song, but Buckley brings his usual uber-passionate vocal stylings to the table, as well as a sensitive set of lyrics. 'Cause, I mean, let's face it: he was a total wuss. Still, I think one of the greatest compliments you can give a musician is that no one else sounds quite like them, and that's certainly true of Buckley. And other than the transcendent version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," I think this is his best song.

8.) Without You - Harry Nilsson
100% classic. Yes, it's wimpy. Yes, he sounds like a girl, exemplified by Mariah Carey's nearly-indistinguishable (and, therefore, pretty pointless) cover version which came out 25 years later. And yes, you've probably heard it 100-150 times in your life. But it remains emminently listenable, mainly due to its simplicity, in both production and writing. I love this song.

7.) All in Love is Fair - Stevie Wonder
Well, it's one of Stevie's best (if not the best) ballads, which consequently makes it one of the greatest ballads of all time. This song is simply heartbreaking, mostly because of his astounding vocal performance. When you really sit and examine everything about the song, nothing in particular jumps out at you: nothing in the lyric is profound or even non-perfunctory, there's nothing bombastic or revolutionary about the production, and the instrumentation is of Stevie's usual, competent quality. So what the hell is so special, then? It's all in the delivery, man. An amazingly emotional vocal performance.

And as an aside, if you're reading this, and you don't own Stevie's seminal album, Innervisions, well, then there's just something wrong with you. Of course, if I had my druthers, everyone in the world would own the five albums starting with 1971's Music of My Mind and ending with 1976's Songs in the Key of Life. The world would be a better place, I'm telling you. *Off of soapbox*

6.) Bell Bottom Blues - Derek and the Dominos
Everything Evan said, and then double. And interesting that Evan brought up the backup vocals on the chorus; for the longest time, I was con-fucking-vinced that that was Paul McCartney. Take a listen - it sounds exactly like him. Weird. I remember listening to this song over and over and over again throughout one of the most difficult nights of my life. You can probably guess what was happening.

I was pulling an all-nighter studying for a statistics midterm.

I am not making that up.

5.) Can't Stand Losing You - The Police
"White reggae," anyone? Oh shit, that was the title of their second album. On Outlandos d'Amour, The Police were still semi-noticeably punk-influenced ... well, as punk-influenced as a band can be when they 1.) play their friggin' instruments as well as The Police do, and 2.) have a lead singer who is desperately trying to sound like the guy in the Jamaican bar who forgot that he's white. For me, the signature song (and my favorite Police song) is this one, a rollicking, angry tune about ... holy shit, a breakup. It's incredibly desperate and aggressive, and a damn good time to listen to. The opening bassline alone is worth the price of admission, but everything else is awesome, too. Oh, and in the interest of full disclosure, I fell like I should mention that Stewart Copeland is my favorite drummer of all-time. That cat could do things with the hi-hat that friggin' Einstein wouldn't be able to figure out.

4.) I'm Sad Because My Goat Just Died Today - The Frogs

Just wanted to see if you were still paying attention.

4.) Black - Pearl Jam
Yep, we all know this one. You know, back in the day, when Pearl Jam rocked and didn't take themselves too seriously, what with the whole TicketMaster crusade and everything. The more I listen to this song, the more I think it's a big ol' power ballad being played by a bunch of guys in backward caps and flannel shirts. And that's okay, if the power ballad in question is as enjoyable as this one. The best part is clearly Vedder's warble-screamed verselet beginning with the "I know someday you'll have a beautiful life" stuff. Awesome.

3.) For No One - The Beatles
This is such a sublimely melancholic tune, minimally produced and notable because, cripes, how often before this song (or before Revolver in general) were Beatles tunes out-and-out sad and depressing? Shmerg, any ideas? Anyway, it's a breakup song, as tuneful and enjoyable as any other Fab Four record, despite the depressing lyrics and somber arrangement. An exquisite french horn solo shows up twice to accentuate the feel of the song, and damn, it is just the right touch. Love it.

You stay home
She goes out
She says that long ago she knew someone, but now he's gone
She doesn't need him

2.) The Last Polka / Selfless, Cold, and Composed - Ben Folds Five
Hey, look at that! I cheated! Relax, kiddies, I have a very good reason for doing so: I wanted to. You want to force me to pull a Sophie's Choice between these two songs? Well, I'd probably kill you. That's right, just murder you right then and there. That's my answer and I'm sticking to it.

Anyway, about the songs. I left off "Song for the Dumped," which I have to say really surprised me. I guess it just doesn't do for me what it once did. These two have just held up better for me. About "Polka": I said it before on here, but it's ten times as true in this case: I have NOTHING to add to Evan's comments. It's probably still my favorite Ben Folds/Ben Folds Five song, for all the reasons Evan laid out. The energy (there's nothing quite like being there live and seeing Ben beat the shit out of the piano on this song, at all the appropriate moments), the narrative, and the exact verse that Evan cited. It's fantasgreat (TM Nipples), in every way.

Where as "Polka" is more aggressive, "Selfless" is much more resigned. The jazz-fueled piano stylings here are as inapposite from "Polka" as a song could get. In the tune, the narrator is lamenting how his partner (or former partner) seems distant now. She doesn't seem to hate him or resent him - she nothings him, and knowing that someone feels that way about you is about the worst feeling a person can have. He cites some examples before going off and railing against her, begging her to show some kind of emotion toward him, "Just one sign that would show me that you give a shit."

"But you just smile politely, and I grow weaker and I..."

1.) I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself - Dusty Springfield
Quite frankly, I don't feel that I can really say anything that will do this song justice. Sad but slightly hopeful, with bombastic production, and Dusty's magnificent voice... Mmm, it all comes together for a helluvan affecting song. Hey, it's my favorite.

Wow ... that was ... long. I don't think any of us knew what we were getting into there.


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

College Football Week in Review #3

Yeah. You know the drill by now.

1. Big Ten Talk

Games I watched at least a quarter of:

Ohio State
As CFN said, this was a doozy: a combination trap game/hangover game. The Bucks had to avoid the lingering affects of a heartbreaking loss to Texas, while simultaneously trying not to look ahead to the big matchip with Iowa the next week. Things got off to a scary start, as SDSU's first play from scrimmage was a bubble screen that turned into an 80-yard touchdown, but after that the OSU defense stiffened considerably, only allowing 99 more yards the rest of the game.

Troy Smith started his first game at QB since the Michigan game, and, in my opinion, he's still an unknown. He makes more plays than Zwick, but he takes more risks (if I see him rifle one more slant pass into double coverage, apparently thinking "I'll just chuck it as hard as I can, and worse case scenario is it ends up incomplete," then I'm gonna hang myself). And the passing offense as a whole just didn't look sharp, either. Bright side is, through three games, San Antonio Pittman looks like a solid RB. Not spectacular, but Jonathan Wells-level adequacy. Hey, it's better than what we've had the last two years.

Anywho, big game this weekend. Can Iowa win on the road? Can OSU put the Texas loss fully behind them and start playing some high-quality ball? We'll see.

Michigan State
Okay, seriously, was there ever any doubt that they'd win that game? I mean, leading up to it, not, like, during the game. This is what MSU does: they beat highly-ranked opponents and fuck up against crappy teams. It's been going on for years. Take this little bit of info, from our best friend, Stewart Mandel at cnnsi:

"Since 1997, the Spartans -- try not to blink when you read this -- have gone 9-1 against top-10 opponents. Unfortunately, when it comes to foes ranked No. 11 or lower over the same time period, they're a somewhat more modest 46-43. For years, Michigan State fans have endured a roller-coaster of exhilarating highs and embarrassing lows. Knock off No. 6 Michigan one week, lose to Indiana the next (2001). Beat 9-0 Wisconsin 49-14, then lose 37-13 to 3-7 Penn State (2004)."

I mean, I knew they had "Jekyll and Hyde"-ish tendencies, but Jiminy. And I read somewhere else that, out of those 9 wins over top-10 teams, they've lost the very next game six times. Bizarre. So I guess, in a way, their follow-up game this week against Illinoize in the true test of whether or not this MSU is "for real," or at least, as "for real" as an MSU football team can be. Then they have Michigan coming into East Lansing the week after that. Big couple of weeks for MSU football.

Throttled Eastern. Whatever.

Picked up an OK win at North Carolina, 14-5. Since North Carolina played Georgia Tech super-tough the week before, does that mean this win is more impressive for the Steeking Badgers? I haven't got a fucking clue. I still don't trust John Stocco. I still like Brian Calhoun. Barry Alvarez is ... there. Still. For a couple more months. We won't know anything tangible about this team until Big Ten play starts.

Games I didn't watch at all:

Lost at Cal, but kept it tighter than a lot of people thought they would. In fact, the Illini led 17-7 at halftime. I guess things royally fell apart in the second half. Could give MSU a scare this weekend in Champaign. RIDE THE SPAGHETTI!!

Somewhat suprisingly, they beat the snot out of Kentucky in one of those psuedo-rivalry games that get the participants all jacked up, but fail to interest, well, anyone else in the county. After beating Nicholls State by 4 and Central Michigan by 7, this performance came out of nowhere, and quite frankly, I'm not even sure it actually happened. Do we have any actual documentary evidence of this, you know, occurring?

Beat Northern Iowa 35-21. Whatever.

Big Ten play may be rough for Randy Walker's boys, as they gave up 245 rushing yards to Northern Illinois's Garrett Wolfe two weeks ago, and 290 yards on the ground to pass-happy Arizona State on Saturday. What the hell will Wisconsin do to them?

As of right now, the Boilers are 4-point underdogs going up to the homerdome to face tha goofers. I'm shocked by that, but whatever. Anyway, Purdue got a better-than-it-looks 31-24 win over an improving Arizona team late Saturday night. No one noticed, and no one cared. I still say this team is gonna be nasty. Ray Edwards may be the most underrated player in the Big Ten, now that Drew Stanton is getting pimped like he's a North Caroline basketball player. Can't wait to watch that Minny/'Due game. BOILER UP! EVERYBODY GOTTA BOILER UP!

Penn State/Minnesota
For the 17,00th consecutive year, Minnesota enters conference play undefeated, with no one having a single clue how good they are, because they played absolute SHIT in the non-conference. This year, Penn State joins them. The two teams are 6-0, beating the crap out of Central Michigan, Cincinnati, Florida Atlantic, Tulsa, ITT Tech, and DeVry. Prove that they didn't.

Other Shizzle

2. Oklahoma Stinks
Because it can't be said enough.

Also, it bears mentioning that just about the worst thing possible happened for the Sooners this past Saturday, in regards to their hopes for this season: Rhett Bomar improved dramatically, even looking like an actual, honest-to-God quarterback, seemingly alleviating what was thought to be OU's single biggest concern. Yeah. And they still lost by 17. All is not well in ... Oklahoma.

Norman, that's it! Norman.

3. Yes, Virginia, you're still a fraud
Cuhhhhhhh-rap. Way to stick it to Syracuse, boys, with that last-second field goal. Whatever. I'd rank N.C. State ahead of them every day of the week and twice on Sunday. That is, if N.C. State could ever figure out a way to win a close game. Ooh, I have an idea: DON'T TURN THE BALL OVER!! DON'T GET SO MANY STUPID-ASS PENALTIES!! YOU FRIGGIN'- wait, where was I? Oh yeah, Virginia. I don't think there's any way that any of the voters who keep sticking this team in the top 25 every week have ever watched the Wahoos play. THEY'RE NOT GOOD. Repeat: NOT GOOD. That is all.

4. Classic ... when?
ESPN Classic's "Classic Now": for all those people who said "You know, these old sporting events are okay, but what I REALLY love are the stupid asides made by Mike Gleason or whoever right before or right after the commercial breaks! They should do an ENTIRE SHOW of that stuff!"

5. Everyone should hate the polls
Okay, let's do a little (NERDS!) math here. Or some kind of mathematical/philosophical theorizing here. Ahem:

Let's suppose that Team A loses at home to Team B.
Then, let's assume that Team B loses at home to Team C.
Teams A and B are each 2-1, while Team C is 3-0.

Where would you rank the three, based on that information?

C, then B, then A, right? Of course you would.

However, if you substitute "Michigan State" for "Team C," "Notre Dame" for "Team B," and "Michigan" for "Team A," apparently the answer comes out in reverse, at least, according to the dumbass pollsters. Why? Because Michigan was #3 in the preseason, while Notre Dame and Michigan State were unranked.

This, of course, is reason #67,417 -- or, perhaps more accurately, the 67,417th manifestation of reason #1 -- why the preseason polls are a complete fucking joke. (And shit, we're not even getting into the idiocy of how Iowa is still ranked ahead of Iowa State in one of the polls.) Preseason polls color everything that happens during the season, and it's bullshit that they have this much influence when they're essentially guesses about what will happen, and, even worse, they're often relatively baseless guesses. Of course, maybe it's even deeper than that, and it's just that the voters are THAT FUCKING STUPID. I guess we'll get a better idea when the Harris Poll comes out next week or in two weeks or whenever the shit that thing gets released.


Desert Island Records Presents: Top 10 Break-up Songs

There is absolutely no reason why anyone, especially a contributor to, should discuss anything other than football right now. Or maybe Hurricane Katrina, because I don't think enough people are talking about it. (By the way, isn't it great that Arizona State hosted the LSU game a couple weeks ago? Brilliant!)

This is precisely why I've decided to throw in a compeletely random topic as a post for today: Top 10 Break-up Songs. This isn't some way to achieve catharsis after an emotional break-up of my own. It just seemed like a good topic.

The songs in this list will all be related to break-ups in some way. Some take place before the break-up, some take place post-break-up. Some songs are written from the perspective of the instigator, some from the dumped, some are sad, some are angry, one is bemused, and one is even happy. All are fantastic.

So without Freddy Adu, here is the list of my Top 10 Break-up Songs:

10.) The Thirteenth Floor Elevators - You're Gonna Miss Me
This is the song that Rob blasts in the opening scene of High Fidelity, which begins right after Laura dumped Rob. I admit that I'd never heard the song before the movie so I can't claim that I'd always loved this song or something. Maybe it's because it's in the movie, maybe it's something else, but either way I love the rawness and simplicity of this song. The wailing of the singer when he belts out the "AWWWWWWWW you're gonna miss me baby" in the chorus smacks of genuine pain.

Favorite Line(s):
You're gonna wake up one morning as the sun greets the dawn
You're gonna look around in your mind, girl, you're gonna find that I'm gone
You didn't realize
You're gonna miss me, baby.

9.) Led Zeppelin - Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You
Like most Led Zeppelin songs, the song is appealing for its instrumental aspects more than its lyrical. In fact, the lyrics are actually pretty boring. But no one ever claimed that Robert Plant was a master wordsmith; he's just a fantastic rock singer. The vocals and instrumentals match perfectly in this very gritty, bluesy ode to independence. One of my favorite Led Zepp songs.

8.) The Temptations - Ain't Too Proud to Beg
One of the songs on this list that is set pre-break-up. Great, classic song about a man who's willing to do anything and everything in his power to keep the woman he loves from leaving him.

7.) Take That - Back for Good
A song about a man who is surrounded by stuff that painfully reminds him of the girl he was once with and he makes a plea to her to forgive him for anything and everything he may have done wrong and take him back. As in Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You, lyrically, this song is nothing to write home about. I guess the song sounds alright, but the instrumentals aren't anything specifically memorable. In fact, I can't really explain why I like this song so much but I just always have. Maybe the sentiment is just easy to relate to. I'm a sucker for songs that are tied to good movies and television shows, so its inclusion in the series finale of The Office underlining a critical moment in the plot line with Tim and Dawn probably helped solidify my affection for this song.

6.) Fleming & John - Ugly Girl
Here is our "bemused" entry. An absolutely fantastic song about a girl who runs into (1) a guy who recently dumped her and (2) his ugly girlfriend at a grocery store. The protagonist of the story becomes befuddled, amused, horrified and certainly shocked. The song discusses the thoughts that ran through her head as she tries to rationalize how she could have gotten dumped for such an ugly girl. Very funny and descriptive. The lyrics are solid and the instrumentals provide a good, catchy backdrop for the song.

Sidenote: I saw Fleming & John when they opened up for Ben Folds Five at the Newport in Columbus in... 2000? The song is all the more amusing after having seen the lead singer up close and in person. I don't have a thing for redheads, but this girl was beautiful, charming, and captivating. If the lyrics indicate something that actually happened to her, the guy is an idiot.

Favorite Line(s):
Does she tell you what you want to hear?
And I bet that she could grow a beard
I'd feel better thinking you were queer
It's not fair, I can't compare
To an ugly girl.

5.) Justin Timberlake - Cry Me a River
This is probably the only song on this list that could be described as a (pound my vag?) "guy power" song. It's a song about the sour break-up between Justin and Britney Spears (I think we're all still recovering from that one!). I don't really know what happened in the break-up, nor do I care, but the song is really just a big "fuck you" to Britney for cheating on him, lying to him, and then crying about it when he wouldn't take her back. Good for him.

Favorite Line(s):
You told me you loved me
Why did you leave me, all alone
Now you tell me you need me
When you call me, on the phone
Girl I refuse, you must have me confused
With some other guy
Your bridges were burned, and now it's your turn
To cry, cry me a river

4.) Jackson 5 - I Want You Back
Here is the "happy" break-up song. I don't know what to say about this song other than it's just one of my absolute favorite songs of all time. The instrumentation is fantastic: one of my favorite bass lines of all time, a poppy piano, solid funk/disco guitar, and a great lead vocal performance. And keep your ears open for Tito's inspired back-up vocals at the end of the song.

This is one of those few songs that can make me good no matter what the mood (think: No Doubt's rendition of It's My Life).

3.) Ben Folds Five - Song for the Dumped
Selections for this list don't get any easier than this one. If you don't know the song, then just read the lyrics below and then, for the love of God, buy the album.

Favorite Line(s): I'm just going to throw all the lyrics in here because the whole song is so good...
So you wanted to take a break
Slow it down some and have some space
Well fuck you too!

Give me my money back
Give me my money back, you bitch
I want my money back

Wish I hadn't bought you dinner
Right before you dumped me on your front porch

Give me my money back
Give me my money back, you bitch
I want my money back
... and don't forget my black T-shirt

2.) Ben Folds Five - The Last Polka
This song gets the edge over Song for the Dumped for a couple simple reasons. First, I think this song is, on the whole, better. Second, this song has my favorite line from a Ben Folds/Ben Folds Five song and is without a doubt one of my favorite lines from any song (see below). The first thing that always strikes me about this song is the passion. Ben sets the piano on fire with exceptional, and exceptionally fast, playing. The interludes are blazing and powerful though at times he reels back the speed and hammers on the keyboard for musical emphasis. Jesse's drum segues are inspired and powerful. I can't sum up Sledge's bass work on this song in any other way than to say it's a perfect complement to the drums and piano.

Favorite Line(s):
She said "You've been pushing me like I was a sore tooth.
You can't respect me 'cause I've done so much for you."
He said "Well, I hate that it's come to this.
But, baby, I was doing fine. How do you think
That I survived the other 25 before you?"

1.) Derek & The Dominos - Bell Bottom Blues
It's rare to find a song that gives me goosebumps when I listen to it. It's even more rare to find a song that gives me goosebumps when I think about it (although, the rarity decreases after I've had a few drinks). This is one of those songs. It, like most Clapton songs, is a very bluesy rock song featuring Slowhand's exceptional guitar playing and the most emotional vocals I've heard Clapton ever belt out. Back-up vocals can be very effective when used properly and this song features one of my favorite back-up vocal performances of all time, sung by bass player Carl Radle.

This song was recorded during Clapton's infatuation with George Harrison's wife, Pattie. It sucked for Eric, but the experience yielded a bevy of amazing songs like this one and the timeless Layla. The emotion on this song is palpable.

Favorite Line(s):
Do you want to see me crawl across the floor to you?
Do you want to hear me beg you to take me back?

Honorable Mentions
Journey - Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)
Paul Simon - 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover
Tenacious D - Kyle Quit the Band

Post a comment and tell me what you think. Am I way off base? Nope. Did I miss one? I most certainly did not, but leave a comment anyways.

Jack - I know you want in on this...

Monday, September 19, 2005

Spackle and Shine

Never question the brilliance of Brock'S pack jokes, they always work. Plus, he looks like a Brock. I'm WAY overdue for a post, and with a weekend of football in hand, it's time for some musings.

OSU: Wow am I glad we scheduled SDSUSDAUSASSDU in the week after Texas. The hangover was there, in a big way. I'm guessing the team feels a lot like the rest of us: we needed the taste out of our mouth - it was runny and salty.....FROM TEARS you perverts. Goodness, we aren't pre-teens with a Marcus Vick oral fixation. Anywho, OSU came in a tight formation and rub-offed everyone around them. In summary, a win is win. Sidenote: scooter and I were at a wedding during the game, but we found a TV in the upstairs of the church which we kept going to in order to check the score.

MSU/Notre Dame - Am I the only one who thinks Brady Quinn throws behind his receiver every time? I swear he constantly does it. And yes, I couldn't be happier ND lost. HOWEVER! The media is trying to put this spin on it as if it's fantastic than they pulled it to overtime. Almost like they're trying to convince us that they were correct in saying "Notre Dame is great this year". Guess what Notre still lost. HOORAY!! HOT CARL!!

Basically, all the other games I watched, the better team won. BC was just too slow for FSU, Florida was better than Rocky Top, and Oklahoma just isn't good. Also, if Texas doesn't make it into the title game this year, they never will.

NFL: so the Browns won in Green Bay? weird
The Lions got pummelled by the Bears? What public square do they hold executions on in Detriot? I'd like to come up and watch Joey's head be removed.
Culpepper - wow, wow, wow. I watched a good part of that game. Without exaggerating, it was the WORST QB/O-line performance I've ever seen, ever. And yes, I watched the first game of the "new browns" in '99 against Pittsburg with Ty Detmer at QB.
In case you missed it, Steve McNair through a TD pass in the Titan's win yesterday. The interesting part was the massive omega he flashed to celebrate. DELTA QUEENS REJOICE!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Hey there, kiddies. Well, for the second straight week, some wacky shit went down in the college football world, and I'm here to give you my undoubtedly pointless and stupid observations about the weekend that was. So saddle up, I guess, and grab a beverage of your choice.

Oh, by the way, we're leading off this week with a different, one-time-only topic:

1. The Fantasy Auction
Okay, I definitely lost the auction, as did Todd. Our teams are heaps of shit, what with his thoroughly mediocre WRs and felon RB, and my reliance on Marc Bulger and Julius Jones. Oh yeah, and my kicker got hurt on Sunday, too, and is out indefinitely (by the way, did anyone else notice that The Nuge missed a 28-yd field goal? I don't care - I'm still ashamed of Scooter for not going after Rich Creamy Nugent). As of right now, I'd have to install Nipples as league favorite, even with his tandem of honkey receivers, since they're both probably gonna put up better-than-average numbers. I mean, Doo-ante Culpepper can't keep playing that badly without Moss, can he? IRRegardless, a little dose of LT will certainly cure what ails ya, especially with a side of Portis/CuMar. But I guess League Favorite 1A would have to be Ryan, and actually, he might actually have a better shot than Jeffy. He got Manning, T.O., and Tony Gonzalez, fer Christ's sake. But yeah, Todd and I are definitely league anti-favorites right now.

Except for Scott. Examining his roster right now, I'm beginning to wonder whether or not I hallucinated him being there. Did he actually draft that team on purpose? For serious?

2. Big Ten Talk
As per usual, my thoughts on Big Ten games in which I watched at least a quarter of play on Saturday:

Ohio State
I'm still having trouble thinking about it. Knowing that we were better than the #2 team in the country for about 48 out of 60 minutes is of little consolation. I could get into more, but ... ugh, like I said, I don't know if I'm up to thinking about it too much yet, except to say:

  • Gotta be happy with the defense, for the most part. The line performed admirably in the face of what is probably the best OL in college football. And, after the first two drives, the LBs hemmed in Young, so that he gained precisely squat on the ground after the first seven minutes of the game. The DBs got beat a little bit too much by an amalgam of Texas receivers who were all either mediocre or inexperienced, but on the whole they looked good.
  • Theodore Reginald Inge, Jr. was a complete and total non-factor. He seemed inexplicably jittery, with a few early drops. He finished with 2 catches and 1 rushing attempt, netting a total of 7 yards. Seven. That. Is. UNACCEPTABLE.
  • I don't envy Tressel the decision of what QB to go with. The 2-QB system, entirely predictably, just isn't working. You know why the platoon didn't work? BECAUSE IT NEVER DOES. However, neither guy really stepped up and took the job. Smith had a great TD pass to San Antonio, but made precious few plays other than that. Zwick looked competent and fairly confident, and he made a great read on that should-have-been TD pass that Hamby dropped. But otherwise, he was adequate at best. Like I said, neither guy distinguished himself. Tressel has, however, made the decision as to who will start on Saturday. We'll see how this works out.
  • I'm choosing to stop thinking about it. Dids, anything to add?

What the hell was that?

No, seriously, what the hell was that? The Hock-eyes got their beaks handed to them by an Iowa State team who's ... yeah, I mean, they're rivals, but if this Iowa team is as good as advertised, there's no way they should be losing, let alone getting their ASSES BLOWN OUT, by a Cyclone team who's probably gonna be in a dogfight to win the shitty-ass Big Twelve North. Shame on you, Hawk-animals.

And don't give me any of that "Drew Tate got injured" bullshit. Yeah, the backup whoshisface looked thoroughly unprepared, but the Hawkeyes weren't showing any signs of being able to move the ball on ISU when Tate was in there, anyway, so that excuse is bullplop. Way to get cornholed, Iowa. I hope they took the husks off first.

Hey, whatever. They pounded another inferior team, this time a Colorado State squad that looked disinterested and, well, just bad. As usual, we won't know anything concrete about the Goofers until their first Big Ten game.

I hope people got a chance to watch this one on ESPNClassic Saturday afternoon. Simply put, it was a wild shootout where neither team had a prayer of stopping the other. I normally sing the virtues of defense and smashmouth-edness (it's a word now, deal with it), but this was a lot of fun to watch. It helped that I was eating grilled brats, drinking beer, and in a general mood of giddiness leading up to the OSU/Texas game. But it was a lot of fun to watch.

And if you don't know what happened, Northern Illinois was down 7 and marched 80 yards in about 50 seconds, a textbook 1-minute "2-minute drill," scoring a TD with seconds left. Coach Joe Novak decided to go for two and the win rather than head to overtime. Given that it was a road game and ALL the momentum was on the Huskies side, I love the call. They had the NW D on their heels, and if you watch the play, if the NIU receiver hadn't fallen down, the Huskies probably head back to DeKalb Saturday night with a "W" in the ledger. Instead, as it stands, they're probably the best 0-2 team in the country. Well, they're in a dogfight with the team in the paragraph numbered "5," anyways.

Well, with everyone doubting their defense, the Wolverines stepped up after a frighteningly easy first drive by the Notre Dame and shut down the Irish's offense for the better part of the last 3 1/2 quarters. The problem? Against a good (but not great) defense, Chad Henne looked like a Linus without his security blanket. He's lost the luxury of lofting the ball up along the sideline and having Braylon Edwards run under it and make spectacular catches. We at the MWB have been saying this since last season ended: you don't just replace a guy like Edwards. And it doesn't help that the media has pulled the same thing with Steve Breaston as they did for Teddy Inge ... some preseason publications had Breaston as one of the nation's top-10 receivers and, for Christ's sake, he just isn't. And neither is Inge. They're both electrifying return men, but neither is even particularly close to being the best receiver on his own team.

The big thing to be worried about? Notre Dame didn't play very well the last three quarters of that game. In fact, there were times in the fourth quarter when it seemed like they were begging Michigan to come take the game away from them, and the Wolverines just couldn't capitalize on the numerous 2nd-half opportunities they had. The plus side is, of course, the defense, which showed a little backbone after getting pushed around early. Still, Michigan's gotta want that one back.

As for the games I didn't watch at all...

Penn State
It was Cincinnati. Cincinnati almost lost to Eastern Michigan. Still, I guess the offense did hit 42 points. In Big Ten play, they'll be lucky to see half that many points per game.

Michigan State
Blah. Nothing happened to change anything that I said last week. We'll know a helluva lot more about them after this weekend's trip to South Bend.

Whoopee, you beat Akron. The shocking thing was, the Purdue D, with all 11 starters returning, looked ridiculously sluggish against the Zips, allowing over 360 yards passing. I know they miss OSU and Michigan, schedule-wise, but I want to see if this team can actually pull out a close game before I go throwing them on the top of the Big Ten heap with OSU, Iowa, and Michigan (and I'm hesitant to put Iowa there anyway).


I didn't even realize they had played. Oh, they beat San Jose State 40-19. That's, uh ... that's great.

After taking out the Mighty Chippewas, it looked like Indiana was getting a break going up against tiny Nicholls State. And then the Loosiers nearly got upset, winning 35-31.

35-31. Nicholls State. What the Christ?

3. And he turns water into wine, and pre-teen girls into sex objects
Did you guys see that Marcus Vick held the mighty Duke Blue Devils to 35 yards of total offense? No wonder this guy gets so much hype. I guess it runs in the family: I heard his brother and Drew Henson saved an entire school bus full of small children and puppies from crashing into a hospice center. And then they smote all the non-believers.

4. Oklahoma Stinks

Yep, that's it.

Okay, you want more? Fine. That team has no leadership, no toughness, and certainly no quarterback. They're a team full of china dolls, and we all knew this; for the past few years, they've been great at blowing the doors off of second-rate squads, but the second a legit team (not named Texas) would step up and smack them in the mouth, they'd back off like the pussies they are. Adrian Peterson is the lone exception, and anyone who watched that game knows that he single-handedly won it. By the way, yes, they were playing a Tulsa team that had gotten demolished the week before by Minne-freaking-sota. If Texas loses to Oklahoma this year, it'll be the worst loss of Mack Brown's career, and he should probably be fired. Yeah, I said it. This Oklahoma team is THAT bad.

5. Fight for maroon and gold, down the field for CMU
In a game where the losing team put up a whopping 524 yards of total offense, Central Michigan outgunned Miami (OH) 38-37 on Saturday. Anything notable about the game? No, not really. CMU took the lead on a 60-yard TD run with 1:44 left, and had to block a game-winning field goal attempt in the final seconds to preserve victory. Just another tight, awesome game. A lot like...

6. Isn't it just GREAT of them?
So everyone was saying about Arizona State, who agreed to host their game against LSU, in light of the tragedy that's befell the gulf coast. As Evan pointed out, um, what's so great about it? They would have been major-league assholes if they hadn't agreed to host the game. Yes, it was a classy move on their part, but let's not start nominating ASU's athletic director for the Nobel fucking Prize here.

Oh yeah, and this was another fantastic game, one with a spectacular, emotional finish. So there were assloads of great matchups, well-played games, and fantastic finishes on Saturday. But, if you've been reading the paper, watching the teevee, or listening to sports radio ever since Saturday, you've undoubtedly noticed that no one cares about any of that. What do they all care about...?

God dammit, Michigan. Now I have to listen to every frickin' media outlet talk about how awesome it is that Notre Dame is relevant again. And I have to listen to bullshit about how Charlie Weis is a genius, and Brady Quinn is awesome, and "isn't college football more interesting when Notre Dame is good?", and blah blah fucking blah. This collective fellating of the Irish is tiresome after like 3 days. Imagine the hoopla there'll be if they're undefeated when an undoubtedly-undefeated USC team comes into South Bend in a few weeks. I think every one of the Sports Reporters would die on the spot, with big dumb grins on their faces. And the vast majority of the national media will be too busy jacking off all over the two teams to notice that Notre Dame really isn't that good, or that we're not quite sure how good USC is, after losing so many defensive players from last year. BUT WHO CARES ABOUT THAT???!?!!!? NOTRE DAME IS GOOD AGAIN, KEEEEEEE-YIIIIIIII!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have to go throw up now.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


Okay, so one weekend of that most holy of sports is in the books. Did we learn anything? While Dids was out on a blind date with a racoon, would Torgs and I be able to hold up after twelve consecutive hours of drinking? Is there any way we could analyze anything that happened Saturday after about 7:00 p.m., which was just about the time when we started feeding cheese fries to each other at the bar by dangling hunks of it over each other's mouths? I'm not sure I have any answers to these questions, so I'm just gonna say what I think about college football.

It looks like ... YES! It's SHAMELESS GIMMICK time!!!

So, stealing liberally from ... Jesus, too many people to count, Dids and I are gonna start a (hopefully) weekly little do-dad here titled...


Catchy name, I know. You're gonna be wearing "Things I think about college football and maybe from time-to-time about other shit too" t-shirts, and eating "Things I think about college football and maybe from time-to-time about other shit too"-O's for breakfast before you know it. Now that's good for your colon. Plus, then maybe we can shorten it up and acronymize it, since that seems so cool nowadays, and call it "TITACFAMFTTTAOST." Then we'll all feel like we're in some kind of secret club, as we talk about TITACFAMFTTTAOST in front of people WHO WILL HAVE NO IDEA WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT!! It'll be SO COOL!!

Okay, maybe not.

Anywhoo, it bears mentioning that TITACFAMFTTTAOST will begin every week with Big Ten talk. So, without further grundulation, onto this week's list...

Pretty nice week here, with the 10-0 start (Purdue was off). While yes, the majority of the conference played games against absolute laugher opponents, at least our power teams, you know, WON GAMES, and in reasonably impressive fashion, unlike the Big XII. But that's for later. Anyway, good week. And this upcoming one is gonna be YOOGE, what with OSU/Tay-hass and ND/Michigan. Hopefully we'll have more on that later in the week. I will say, right now, that CFN's predictions are already up: they have OSU defeating Texas 19-17 and No-trah Dame pulling the stinky pinky in Ann Arbor, 27-23. I think those are just Fiu's picks; CFN always ends up by week's end having like 1,800 different predictions up there from different people who write for them. Also, Zemek has written up one of his always-interesting "Perspective Pieces" about the latter game. I often don't agree with his views on what's "pretty" or "entertaining" about the game, but the cat can frame a matchup like nobody's business. Anyway, there that is.

Okay, onto this past weekend:

Ohio State
That was a shockingly easy game. Well-times blitzes rattled Josh Betts throughout the first half, and he had obvious happy feet by early in the 3rd. The DBs covered and the linebackers were, well, the linebackers. All part of a solid game from the Silver Bullets, who held Miami to 165 yards of offense before the "Red Hawks" went on two long oh-by-the-way drives in the last seven minutes against the second-teamers.

As for the offense, I'd say the implementation of the spread is pretty much complete. I figure, what, 60-70% of all offensive plays run were out of the shotgun? And I liked the playcalling for Zwick: primarily bubble screens and other short passes to the wideouts. When you've got the talent at receiver that we do, I'm all-for getting them the ball early out on the edges and letting them do what they can do. Plus, as we said this weekend, if defenses are gonna pay that much attention to Theodore Reginald Inge, Jr. this year, then yes, San Antonion Holmes (as opposed to San Antonio Pittman) is gonna have a yooge year. He's nearly as fast, has better hands, and is a far better route runner. Add in White Anthony Gonzalez and 1st-team All-Carlos Huerta Team member Roy Hall, and this WR corps is certainly an embarrassment of riches. And, like I said, I'm not embarrassed.

Much shorter thoughts on teams whose games I saw at least a quarter of:

Well, we learned nothing. Except that the Hoosiers were one CMU dropped 40-yd TD pass from ending up in overtime with a lower-tier MAC team. A win is a win, I guess. But damn, I wish he had caught that ball.

Nice win for the Zookster. They got down and battled back valiantly, even though they've got, you know, NO talent there. Although the new QB seems pretty good. Basic? Vlasic? Ah, fuck. Pickles.

Yeah, we learned nothing. I mean, yeah, Laurence Maroney is really good. But we knew that already. "Some Minnesota running back rushed for 200 yards in their opening game against Buttfuck State Community College." We've been hearing that shit going back to the Tellis Redmon days. If anything, Gopher fans should be apprehensive because Brian Cupito looked even shakier than he looked last year. They shoulld have beaten the Golden (*cringe*) Hurricane worse. Like I said. We learned nothing.

You had to have the feeling, as Herby said during GameDay Saturday, that the Badgers had just heard too many people over the last few weeks predict that they were gonna lose, at home, to Bowling Green. I like BG, but my old high school's football team could run the ball on them, and my old high school's team is terrible. Still, you had to figure this Calhoun kid would be good. Maybe not "270 yds" good, but good. Again, let's see them -- and especially their "looked a step slow all day" defense and QB John Stocco, who oh-by-the-way starred in the 1985 classic My Science Project -- against a better defensive team than Bowling Green before we say "Holy crap, they're gonna be better than I thought!" Although I have to give the Badger D and coordinator Bret Beliema a ton of credit: they made some halftime adjustments that royally slowed down that BG passing game.

If you're a Michigan fan, you have to be scared of that D, and pretty much everyone up here is. Problems that have been systemic over the past few years don't seem to have gotten any better, as Northern Illinois rolled up 411 yards of total offense and, barring turnovers (of which the Huskies had 5), probably would have made the game VERY interesting. Quite simply, there are huge questions with this defense -- 211 rushing yards?!? -- and unless a bunch of them get answered this week, then Saturday's ND game has "38-35" written all over it, because...

... yes, the offense looks outstanding. I'm still not sure they can totally compensate for the loss of Braylon Edwards, but Jason Avant, and NOT Steve Breaston, has the best opportunity. He's like the San Antonio Holmes of Michigan: everyone has fallen in love with the flashier punt returner, and they've forgotten to give credit to the guy who's a BETTER RECEIVER. Oh well. Again, a lot of questions will be answered this weekend.

Now, for teams that I didn't watch...

It was Ball State.

Michigan State
It was Kent State.

Okay, a little more: Michigan State is gonna have the best offense in the Big Ten, one which may be top-10 nationally, AS LONG AS Drew Stanton remains healthy. They run the ball extraordinarily well, and Stanton's an underrated passer. Plus, they have outstanding unheralded receivers. But as good as their offense is, their defense may be just as bad. Teddy Inge made them look like they were fenceposts in the ground last year, and they've only gotten worse. But damn, they should play a few wildly entertaining games. Michigan fans in particular have to be terrified of that October 1st trip to East Lansing.

It was Ohio U.

But supposedly they have some super-stud freshman RB who will be taking the spot vacated by tremendous runners Jason Wright and Noah Herron the last few years. They'll do their customary "4-4, winning one game we shouldn't and losing one game we shouldn't" dance this year, culminating in a Motor City Bowl appearance. Whatever.

Penn State
Struggled wayyy too much with a garbage South Florida team. Where was all that new offensive whiz-bang? Will Michael Robinson still be the starter by mid-season, when the Lions will likely upset OSU, because that's what they do in Happy Valley? I have no idea. But the offense still looks shaky. We shall see.

2. Not a good weekend for the mid-majors who were looking to step up and bite the big boys. Aside from TCU's inexplicable manhandling of Oklahoma, the Little Programs That Could got pushed around for the most part on Saturday. Most noteworthy of which was Boise State getting their lunch fed to them by a Georgia team that no one knew what to do with going into the season. Some people are saying that the Broncos nearly undid everything they built up over the last 3 or 4 seasons ... I wouldn't go that far, but you can bet that people who were just recently convinced that BSU was a legit program are having serious second thoughts. How long will it take to win them back? The Broncos had to win TONS of games to get to this point, then they got a legitimate shot at a solid BCS-conference team, and they just got their asses handed to them. Let's wait and see how this plays out in the polls.

Elsewhere, the MAC, whose copious good press prompted GameDay to do an extended feature on "Which Big Ten team is gonna lose to a MAC team today?", absolutely craooed the bed in its three high-profile matchups with Big Ten schools. BG got shoved around by Wisconsin, Miami was never in the game against OSU, and Northern Illinois looked good but came up significantly short at Michigan. In fact, the only MAC team that won this weekend was Toledo, who throttled some I-AA school. Ouch.

Although props to Utah, for staying the course and beating another lower-level BCS conference team. I still don't know what to make of that team.

3. Word on CFN's front page and elsewhere is that Trev Alberts has been fired from ESPN. He was reportedly sick of being second-banana to Chris, Kirk, and Lee, and didn't bother showing up Sunday, leading to his ouster. Well, now you're no banana, Trev. And you've stuck Rece Davis alone with the loathesome Mark May. Poor Rece.

4. Not a good weekend for the Big XII. Outside of Texas's pasting of UL-Lafayette and Missouri's drubbing of I-AA Arkansas State, the Great Plains League did little this past weekend: Oklahoma lost to TCU. Texas A&M lost to Clemson and 9th-year senior QB Woody Dantzler ... I mean, Charlie Whitehurst. Kansas and Kansas State let Florida Atlantic and Florida International stay within two scores of them. Iowa State beat I-AA Illinois State 32-21. Nebraska beat I-AA Maine 25-7. Oklahoma State squeaked by I-AA Montana State 15-10. To their credit, Colorado picked up a solid win over Colorado State in what is possibly the most underrated rivalry game in the country. But man, what a shitty weekend for the "powerful" "Big" Twelve.

Oh, by the way, in the newest coaches poll, Oklahoma is still ranked, and TCU is not. I FUCKING HATE PRESEASON POLLS!!!!!

5. You can move the ball on USC's defense. Not sure if it makes a difference in the grand scheme of things, but, uh ... I guess if you can keep their offense off the field, you've got a shot. A little bit of one.

6. Tennessee may be just as overrated as we all thought. I know UAB has a solid team, but there's no way in hell they should have a 4th-and-goal, with under 2 minutes left, only down by 7, against the #4 team in the country.

I'm tired and hungry. I'm gonna go get a taco. Dids, Torgs, anything to add?