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September 9, 2012

Ketch's 10 Thoughts From The Weekend




You wanted a report last week, well … you got it.

For the last decade or so, I've always given grades in the aftermath of Texas football games, but I decided that I was unhappy with a process that featured rankings for each position group, a process that became almost impossible during the last two seasons.

In being challenged to bring back the report card feature, I decided to upgrade the process. Gone are the old grade standards and in arrives the new. Gone are position rankings alone and in are more specific evaluations.

It's long overdue… it's Report Card 2.0

Championship-level

Quandre Diggs: No player changed the game more than Diggs on Saturday and he did in different ways throughout the game. His diving interception likely took points off the scoreboard for New Mexico while his teeth-rattling hit on B.R. Holbrook essentially insured that the Lobos never would score. Also, when the Texas offense was going through a little bit of a lull, it was his highlight-reel punt return that set the Longhorns up at the doorstep of scoring. More than anything else, Diggs is on the field for his coverage skills and there hasn't been a better Big 12 corner in the first two weeks. Has he allowed more than 25 yards receiving all season?

Kickoff coverage: I'm not sure it has ever been better during the Mack Brown era than what the team has done in the first two weeks in this department.

Nick Rose: See the kickoff coverage. Not only is he kicking the ball deep, but he's getting a ton of height on his kicks. Just keep it up, young man.

Standout stuff

Manny Diaz: His defense seemed confused at times, but how can you bicker with a shutout when you consider that the program has had only two since the start of the 2006 season, both coming under Diaz's supervision? Whatever nitpicks exist over tackling and third down defense have to be viewed with a proper dose of perspective.

Donald Hawkins: Of all the linemen on the field this weekend, Hawkins was the one I watched the most and you couldn't help but notice how well he's holding down the fort at left tackle. This guy is only getting better and I'm not sure when the Longhorns last had a tackle prospect with this kind of upside on the field.

Jordan Hicks: I believe the junior is playing better than Keenan Robinson or Emmanuel Acho did last season.

Jackson Jeffcoat: It's incredible to think how good he's looked so far this season without the benefit of a true off-season weight lifting program. He was the best defensive lineman on the field in both games this season.

Daje Johnson: Along with D.J. Monroe, he adds a level of explosiveness that just isn't apparent elsewhere within the offense. In his first game as a college player, he took a shovel pass from David Ash to the house. His role will only increase from this point moving forward.

Special teams: The Longhorns won every single phase of the kicking game, as they mixed in a blocked punt, a big return, outstanding kicking and dominant coverage.

Solid game, winning play

David Ash: A look at the stat sheet shows a nice set of numbers, as Ash accounted for three touchdowns, zero turnovers and led the offense to points on almost every drive he was in the game. The stat sheet doesn't show the dropped interception early in the game or a near disaster when he recklessly lost a fumble that went out of bounds or the lack of a developed multi-layered passing game under his watch. The sum of all the parts added up to a very nice performance, but the evolution of his game is still in its infancy stage.

Joe Bergeron: It was a workmanlike effort for the sophomore from North Mesquite, but the big fella never truly seemed to find a groove as the lead ball carrier. Against New Mexico, you'd like to have seen a few explosive runs mixed into the performance and those really weren't there.

Mike Davis: The junior didn't have a lot of opportunities, but he cashed in one of his three catches for a touchdown with one of the best post-catch moments of his career thus far.

Ashton Dorsey: He hasn't received as much attention as almost all of his DT teammates, but I thought he played the best game of the group on Saturday night.

Marquise Goodwin: He's not making much happen in the passing game, but his blocking from his receiver spot has been exceptional and worth singling out.

John Harris: That catch he made in the fourth quarter was so good that he deserves special recognition and perhaps a few more chances in the passing game moving forward.

Alex King: One punt and a net of 51 yards. Check, please.

Case McCoy: In a mere quarter of action, the junior did a very nice job, which is what you want to see in the fourth quarter against New Mexico. It was a quality 2012 first impression.

M.J. McFarland: All young players need confirmation that the work they put in is starting to pay off and I thought that happened a little with the redshirt freshman last night. The coaches had him on the field early in the game and he eventually added his first career touchdown late in the game. He took a step forward on Saturday.

The O-line: There were a couple of breakdowns, but for the most part it played the definition of a solid game. The line didn't dominate as a group against a team that many thought it would, but it did control the line of scrimmage over the course of four quarters.

Adrian Phillips: There weren't any busts in coverage on this night and he was pretty solid in run support. He made some progress from one game to game two.

Kendall Thompson: The young East Texan flashed on special teams and defense on Saturday night, which is exactly how you earn more playing time moving forward.

Kenny Vaccaro: He wasn't nearly the difference maker he was a week ago, but he had a good, solid night.

Incomplete

Malcolm Brown: The first time he touched the ball, it was as a receiver out of the backfield and he picked up 23 yards. He only touched the ball twice more following that play.

Freshman receivers: There's not enough passes to go around right now to Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley, so it's tough to get a feel for where the freshmen are right now.

Bryan Harsin: The last two games feel like a feeling out processes and it's tough to tell how much of what we've see is limitations or him not yet putting his foot on the gas.

D.J. Monroe: Two touches after a very strong opener.

Jaxon Shipley: The passing game just isn't in a position to feature him as a diverse passing game weapon.

Needs Improvement

DeMarco Cobbs: This is a guy that was a difference-maker in practices and it's not translating to games yet.

Defensive tackles: I was a little surprised that such a team strength was a non-factor in the game. The entire unit produced two tackles for loss and nothing else of real substance. Chris Whaley didn't show up on the stat sheet. Neither did Brandon Moore.

Steve Edmond: Consistency is the issue here. His performance on Saturday was just a little too uneven.

D.J. Grant: The Longhorns don't need him to produce like David Thomas, but they do need him to help in the passing game and convert a few first downs per game. He only had one play of note, a third and five situation where he picked up 18 yards. A five-yard false start penalty right after an electric special teams play pretty much makes that a wash.

Nick Jordan: 1 for 2 on the night, missed from 45 yards out.

Alex Okafor: He recorded a single unassisted tackle all night.

No. 2 - Quick impressions from the second weekend of action in the Big 12 …

IOWA STATE: Man, I really dig Paul Rhodes and you just know that beating Iowa on the road registers as one of the top wins in his tenure in Ames. Steele Jantz wasn't great with his two interceptions, but he did enough at quarterback to lead his team to a victory. Basically, the Cyclones are a little less awful than the Hawkeyes.

Learn the name: Senior receiver Aaron Horne looks like the No. 1 wide receiver on the team after two games and he caught six receptions for 73 yards and a touchdown against the Iowa defense.

KANSAS: Meet the worst team in the Big 12. Seriously, what could be worse than losing to Rice at home? Dayne Crist is a JAG if there ever was one.

Learn the name: Sophomore running back Tony Pierson is the only real bright spot on the Kansas offense. The East St. Louis product has two straight 100+ yard games.

KANSAS STATE: K-State's Masked Man is right, hurricanes really don't exist in Manhattan, Kansas. Goodness gracious, the Wildcats beat down The U… like they stole something and in the process they served notice to everyone that the Wildcats might just be a serious contender in the Big 12. Collin Klein is so underrated that it's not even funny. Meanwhile, the KSU defense locked Miami's offense down to the tune of 43 yards on 29 carries. Stud canes freshman Duke Johnson was held to 22 yards.

Learn the name: Freshman quarterback Daniel Sams came into the game late and scored two touchdowns on three carries in replace of Klein when the game was out of control. It was just a snapshot in a late-game blowout, but that guy's explosiveness will eventually be a huge handful for Big 12 teams. Bet on it.

OKLAHOMA: Damien Williams is becoming THE MAN at running back after another 100-yard game on 10 carries against Florida A&M. Oh, and did I mention he four touchdowns on those 10 touches? Yeah, they might have found their guy. Kenny Stills continues to look like a No. 1 receiver. Outside of that … it was a Florida A&M with a bunch of suspended players.

Learn the name: Oh, you'll know this one … Jamarkus McFarland had two sacks against FAMU and has three in his first two games.

OKLAHOMA STATE: Exposed. They are going to score some points this season, but their defense is wretched and they have a freshman at quarterback that is going to make freshman mistakes. His three picks against Arizona and the 59 points the defense gave up were major red flags.

Learn the name: Junior tight end Blake Jackson didn't catch a pass in the opener, but he caught six passes for 105 yards on Saturday night.

TEXAS TECH: How terrible is Houston? Seriously. Seth Doege was nearly perfect with 300+ yards and five touchdowns. The Red Raiders defense looks much-improved through two games. Keep an eye on this group.

Learn the name: Former Austin-area star Kenny Williams is emerging as a playmaker at running back for the Red Raiders.

TCU: Who knows what pounding Grambling into the ground means, but TCU was as dominant as they could possibly be in gaining 500+ yards of offense and allowing less than 100 on defense. TCU quarterbacks were a perfect 17 of 17 for the day.

Learn the name: Junior Josh Boyce was a playmaker last year and he started off his 2012 season with four receptions for 102 yards and two touchdowns. He's good.

Post-Week 2 Big 12 Power Poll

(Last week in parenthesis)

1. West Virginia (1)
2. Kansas State (5)
3. Texas (3)
4. Oklahoma (4)
5. TCU (7)
6. Baylor (6)
7. Texas Tech (8)
8. Oklahoma State (2)
9. Iowa State (9)
10. Kansas (10)

No. 3 - College football thoughts: From A-to-Z …

A: All My Ex's live in Texas:Here's a look at how some of the top Texans playing outside the state of Texas fared on Saturday:

Bralon Addison (WR/Oregon/FB Hightower): 2 receptions for 16 yards vs. Fresno State
Emory Blake (WR/Auburn/Austin High): 2 receptions for 31 yards vs. Mississippi State
Knile Davis (RB/Arkansas/FB Marshall): 16 rushes for 63 yards and a touchdown vs. La-Monroe
Justin Gilbert (CB/Oklahoma State/Huntsville): 3.5 tackles and 1.5 tackles vs. Arizona
Cobi Hamilton (WR/Arkansas/Texas High): 6 receptions for 99 yards and a touchdown vs. La-Monroe
Chuckie Keeton (QB/Utah State/Cy Creek): 22 of 36 for 216 yards, 2 TD and 0 INT; 17 carries for 86 yards vs. Utah
Marcus Murphy (RB/Missouri/DeSoto): 6 carries for 43 yards vs. Georgia
Damion Square (DT/Alabama/Houston Yates): 2 tackles and a fumble recovery vs. Western Kentucky
Stepfan Taylor (RB/Stanford/Mansfield): 14 carries for 69 yards and a touchdown, three receptions for 29 yards vs. Duke
DeAndrew White (WR/Alabama/North Shore): 1 reception for 15 yards vs. Western Kentucky

B: Beast-Mode: UCLA running back Jonathan Franklin rushed for 217 yards and tallied 59 yards on three receptions against the Huskers on Saturday. For the season, he's already racked up 431 yards in two games.

C: College Station Reality Check: No, the Aggies aren't anything more than a run of the mill SEC team at best, but give them credit for a few things from Saturday. First of all, the atmosphere for their opener against Florida was really strong, there's just no way to deny that. Second, they were a little better looking as a complete team than I expected to see, especially on the defensive end. Third, they have a player in Johnny Manziel, who is a smaller version of Nebraska's Taylor Martinez. All of that being said, the jury is still out as to whether or not this team is a bowl team, but I wouldn't rank them below Auburn in the SEC West today.

D: Hey John L. Smith, don't get too comfortable with your job in Arkansas because it's very likely that a loss to Louisiana-Monroe at home will ensure that your grasp on the head coaching job remains very temporary. Of all the things that happened this weekend, Tyler Wilson getting beaten into the ground and the Razorbacks leaving at home was one of the things I least expected to see. If Wilson doesn't return to the field soon, it's possible that a season that was once thought to be full of national championship possibilities is staring at a 2-4 start with a home game against Alabama along with road games at Texas A&M and Auburn looming in the next month.

E: Easy on the hyperbole: Yes, Brent Musburger, I'm talking to you. Goodness gracious, he called Johnny Manziel "sensational" before the Aggies had even put a touchdown on the board. Seriously …

F: Fonzy could never say it, but I can… I was wrong about Mark Richt's Georgia Bulldogs. After a somewhat sketchy opener last week, I thought the Bulldogs were ripe for an upset on the road in Columbia, but that was one heck of a gutsy performance by Aaron Murray and Co. Maybe they are the team to beat in the SEC East this year and maybe … just maybe … they'll take care of business in ways that Richt's teams haven't in the last few years. Saturday was a good start.

G: Good coaching matters. Look at UCLA two games in. Look at Arizona. Having the right head coach in place is all that matters in college football.

H: Heisman Tracker After Week 1 1. Geno Smith (QB/West Virginia) 2. Jarvis Jones (LB ? Georgia) 3. Marqise Lee (WR/USC) 4. De'Anthony Thomas (RB/Oregon) 5. Jonathan Franklin (RB-UCLA)

I: If I had a vote that mattered… (last week in parenthesis) 1. Alabama (1) 2. LSU (2) 3. Oregon (4) 3. USC (3) 5. West Virginia (5). 6. Georgia (7) 7. Florida State (8) 8. Michigan State (9) 9. Clemson (10) 10. Kansas State (NR)

J: Joke of the weekend: The Big 10. Seriously, that entire conference just needs to shut its mouth and hope that few were watching this weekend because that league performed in a way that would make the Big East proud. Wisconsin loses ugly to Oregon State. Nebraska laid an egg in La-La land. Penn State blew a game it should have won against an average ACC team. Michigan was pushed into a fourth quarter game at home by Air Force. Illinois lost by five scores to Arizona State. Oh, and Iowa scored six points in a loss to Iowa State.

K: Keep an eye on these games next week: Alabama at Arkansas (what kind of disaster area is Arkansas going to look like after this game?), Florida at Tennessee, USC at Stanford and Notre Dame at Michigan State.

L: Laces out! It was all that Dan Marino's fault, everyone knows that. If he had held the ball, laces out, like he was supposed to, Ray would never have missed that kick. That's all I could think when Sam Ficken missed four field goals, including a possible game-winner as time expired, in a 17-16 Penn State loss to Virginia. Is Anthony Fera actually Marino in this situation? Man, I felt terrible for the kid. Karma 2 Penn State 0.

M: Mirage of the weekend: Oh, it could have easily been Arkansas as a top-10 team or Wisconsin as a top-10 team or Oklahoma State as a top-25 team, but I'm going to go with Taylor Martinez's throwing ability coming out of week one. After passing for 300+ yards and multiple touchdowns last week, Martinez was 17 of 31 for 179 yards and an interception against UCLA. Worse than anything was his passing in the second half when he completed 4 of 14 passes for 30 yards and a pick. Yikes.

N: Nobody needs to be getting carried away with Notre Dame right now, and that includes me. While the Irish looked pretty impressive against Navy in the opener, a three-point win at home against Purdue has me tapping the breaks quickly. We'll learn a lot about the Fighting Irish next week against Michigan State.

O: One-Man Gang: Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones was a man amongst boys on Saturday in Columbia and is an early candidate to win every defensive award that he's up for this season, as he collected eight tackles, an interception, a sack and a forced fumble. Really and truly, he was the difference in the ball game down the stretch. And to think he came very close to ending up a Longhorn …

P: Play of the weekend: Now THIS is a Hail Mary .

Q: Could we possibly have a quarterback controversy in Columbia, South Carolina? I'm guessing Connor Shaw's job is safe, but after fill-in Dylan Thompson completed 21 of 37 passes for 330 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions against East Carolina on a day when Marcus Lattimore was held to 40 yards on 14 carries, the Ol' Ball Coach has more to think about at his old position than he did coming into the game.

R: The biggest reminder that football is only a gameoccurred in Tulsa where Tulane safety Devon Walker fractured his spine after a nasty collision with a teammate. CPR was actually done on the field for "precautionary measures." All I know is that I saw that hit and was truly scared something worse than a broken spine could have happened. Prayers and well-wishes go out to the young man.

S: I'm still trying to make sense of what happened in East Rutherford with the No. 2 USC Trojans. That was really a five-point game going to the fourth quarter against a team that Northwestern beat down pretty good early in their game last week. I'll try not to overreact to a single performance, but we can't put them on the level of LSU or Alabama for a while. They just haven't earned the respect they are receiving this season.

T: Troll Moment of the Weekend: How about Steve Spurrier in the post-game after a blowout win over East Carolina? "We had 50 plays at halftime. That Clemson coach would be proud of us, wouldn't he?" remarked the Ol' Ball Coach.

U: U.G.L.Y. You ain't got no alibi, you ugly, hey! Auburn quarterback Kiehl Frazier might have been the worst player in the country on Saturday, as he literally handed Mississippi State so many turnovers that folks were comparing him to Santa Claus on Twitter. He finished a very misleading 13 of 22 passes for 125 yards, while accumulating three interceptions and two fumbles in a 28-10 loss.

V: Vote of confidence: One week after an afterthought win against North Texas, the Tigers flexed a little muscle against the Pac-12 Washington Huskies by chocking them out in a 41-3. That was exactly the kind of dominant performance I was looking for.

W: Ohio State sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller is absolutely worth the price of admission down in Columbus. The only difference between Ohio State and Central Florida on Saturday was Miller, who completed 18 of 24 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown, while adding 141 yards and three touchdowns on 27 run attempts.

X: Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas might just be the biggest X-factor in college football when the ball is in his hands. Although he's not touching the ball enough, he still scored two touchdowns and racked up 102 yards on seven carries from the running back position on Saturday. His 51-yard touchdown might have been the most exciting play of the weekend. That dude is Mr. Electricity.

Y: Youth is served: One week after a show-stopping performance in front of the entire nation against Michigan in Jerry World, freshman running back T.J. Yeldon rushed for 25 yards on six carries against Western Kentucky. So much for that Heisman Campaign.

Z: Zoolander look of the day It was likely the first time I saw a score of the Texas Tech/Texas State game on Saturday night and wondered … a. How did Texas State pistol-whip Houston? B. What was the guy who voted Texas State into the Top 25 last week thinking?

No. 4 - Ho-hum, the Texans open up with a cakewalk win in week one …

As an outside observer, I found the season-opening performance from the Houston Texans to be a little curious. On one hand, they beat the daylights out of the Dolphins and were never in danger of losing the ball game … NEVER. On the other hand, there were times when they looked a little blah and were booed by the home crowd.

Welcome to the world of the NFL elite, a world where 30-10 wins can be judged as slight disappointments. The only problem with the Texans is that they didn't look ready to win the Super Bowl in week one, but there was a lot of good for them to build on.

The defense forced four turnovers and the offense lost none. Andre Johnson was Andre Johnson. Matt Schaub looked like a guy you'd give an extension to. Brian Cushing and J.J. Watt were monsters.

At the end of the game, the only real nitpick was a running game that averaged only 2.4 yards per carry.

The best news is that the stars remain healthy and this won't be a team eating the cheese this week.

No. 5 - It's the sport of kings, better than diamond rings, That's why we're here to sing, football Sunday in the snow, referee's whistle blows, We've been warriors toe-to-toe…

AND FINALLY THE FIRST SUNDAY OF THE NFL SEASON ARRIVED!!!!!!!

… No team was more impressive on Sunday than San Francisco winning on the road in Green Bay. My pre-season Super Bowl champs didn't look very invincible, but the 49ers defense damn near did.

… There was playoff intensity in Green Bay and Denver today. I love the NFL.

… Peyton Manning looked pretty good to me.

… Adrian Peterson is the freakiest freak I've ever covered in my profession. What he did on Sunday in coming back from a ripped up knee in record time was just silly. That cut on his first touchdown run probably shouldn't be made by a mere mortal with two perfectly healthy knees. He truly is an all-time great.

… I'm sorry, but RGIII scares the hell out of me. Excuse me, but rookies from spread offenses are not supposed to post 300+ yards and a win on the road in New Orleans in his first pro game. Damn, the Cowboys are going to have to deal with him for the rest of the decade. Double damn.

… Rookie quarterback rankings: 1. RGIII 2. Andrew Luck 3. Russell Wilson 4. Ryan Tannehill 5. Brandon Weeden

… There wasn't a worse pro football player in the NFL yesterday than Weeden. He was absolutely responsible for that loss, along with Pat Shurmur, who made the decision to start him and to not go for two after their final touchdown.

… Mike Vick was given a gift on Sunday. He was awful.

… Matt Stafford looked like Chris Simms against Colorado in the Big 12 Championship game in the first half against St. Louis.

… It was just one day, but Matt Ryan and Julio Jones sure looked like guys that deserve all the hype.

… I guess the pre-season really does mean nothing. Just ask the Jets, who went from geek to totally chic at the flip of an opening game switch. Or maybe Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bills really are that bad…

… Chris Johnson: 11 carries for FOUR yards. I know some fantasy owners are pissed this morning.

… How important is the NFL Draft? I'm so used to Jerry Jones and Co. bombing the draft that it's sometimes easy to forget what it feels like when a draft actually works and while the back end of the 2011 Draft was a bit of a disaster for the Cowboys, there's no question that the first three picks were absolute home runs. The additions of Tyron Smith, Bruce Carter and DeMarco Murray completely changed the outlook of this franchise.

… Finally, I will add that I've basked in the glow of Dallas' win over New York more than any game that I can remember in a while. The win was so unexpected that an element of fulfillment as a fan actually exists … kind of reminds me when the Cowboys whipped the 13-0 Saints in the Superdome back in 2009.

No. 6 - No, I didn't forget about you …

… Rory McIlroy is pretty much clowning the rest of the field these days. He's out there looking like The Mack.

… Serena Williams is so good. Down 5-3 in the third set, she just clamped down and suffocated Victoria Azarenka her like a python on a rabbit. As soon as she broke Azarenka to get the match back on serve, it was over. She's been incredible as of late.

… Am I nuts or was the most irritating member of LMFAO sitting in Azarenka's cheering section at the US Open? Do I even want to know? No way she was winning the US Open with that dude in her section.

… Yes, I'm rooting for Andy Murray on Monday afternoon.

… Andre Ward is boxing's newest Hit King .

… We're less than a month away from the MLB post-season and I don't have a clue as to who should be the favorite going in. It feels like the team that goes in the hottest might take it again this year. Keep an eye on the Braves.

No. 7 - Tweet tweet: The best on my timeline this week …

10. " Week 1 just turned into "The Change-Up 2" starring Aaron Rodgers and Tony Romo. "
@HPbasketball

9. " Wonder if Larry Scott kept the receipt after that Colorado purchase? That's a BAD football team!!"‬‬
@MoveTheSticks

8. "3,999 followers, this feels like Y2K eve except I'm not sitting on a pile of Simpsons DVDs with a shotgun "
‏@briangaar

7. "Ogletree??????? Hey one more TD and Kim Kardashian will be knocking on your door...SMH"
‏@NYGSpellman

6. "Salt n Pepa said it best. "Here I go, here I go, here I go again (again?) Girls, what's my weakness? (Men!)" @gkketch #fantasy football!"
@MrsMcJudgerson

5. "Texas A&M should have put up a billboard that says, "Hey Florida. Just a reminder, we think female cheerleaders are gross.""
@DanBeebe

4. "Your customers know you should have resigned @tysonchandler. RT @mcuban Your customers don't know what they don't know. Its your job to know"
@NotBillWalton

3. "Billy Gillespie used his resouces to try and get my job in 2009 at UH. Why did he do it? Total asshole! Why?"
‏@TomPenders

2. "Austin High students behind me chanting "We like redheads... Clap clap clap-clap-clap". Oh, high school boys."
@JuliaMoralesYNN

1. " Apologies to the writers for being late to today's pregame session. My pedicure appointment ran a little late."
‏@RaysJoeMaddon

No. 8 - Pop goes the culture because the culture goes pop.…

… Got Hitched: Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds were married in South Carolina this weekend.

… Movie Trailer of the week: The Iceman

… True Romance 2: Clarence Whitman and Alabama Whitman smooch in cuffs .

… The most forgiving woman in the world: Rihanna takes the cake .

… Sign that the apocalypse is upon us: Jeremy Renner with his version of Medellin. This is Abe Lincoln Vampire stuff bad.

… Declaration: I. Don't. Get. Tom. Cruise. At. All.

… Hottie of the Week: I really do have a weird thing for MIley

… God Bless Twitpics: Adrianne Curry being Adrianne Curry

… No. 9 - The List: Sorry Dude, but it had to be done… The Eagles

It's kind of funny how music can leave a forever imprint on your life, how it can mark important events in your life in a way that you sometimes you can't realize in the moment.

When it comes to the The Eagles, the music becomes really personal. It's not so much that they are my favorite band of all-time, as much as the music and the band always seemed to arrive at important moments in my life as if they were the players on my own personal life soundtrack.

As a kid, I can remember their greatest hits album always being one of the visible pieces in my mom's record collection. It's been more than 25 years and it's still as easy for me to see clearly. Years later, I was entering young adulthood when I attended The Eagles in concert at DKR and learned a lesson about getting hustled by women because of the distractions that they could create.

Surprisingly, there are a lot of events in my life where I remember their music being a piece of the narrative, but none stand out more than the events from December 10, 1986 … the day my life really did change forever because my mom and I moved from Waco to Austin that day. It's the day that I pretty much mark as the day that I unofficially grew up because it was just the two of us in a city where we didn't know anyone. As much of a headache that I had been for my mom before that date (my nickname was Dennis the Menace) , I knew that I needed to step up for her.

After a very tearful goodbye at the home of my great grandmother, we hit the road that Saturday and when we finally hit I-35, a song request from my mom came on the radio from a friend of hers, who was a DJ at the radio station she had previously worked for.

The song? Already Gone.

Let's get on with the list…

Just missed the cut: The Long Run, Tequila Sunrise, Wasted Love, The Best of My Love, Take it Easy, New Kid In Town, In the City, Love Will Keep us Alive

10. Already Gone

Hell, it's practically the Ketchum Family Song.

9. One of These Nights

There are times when Don Henley's lyrics and Don Felder's guitar play could make absolute magic together and this song is absolute proof of that fact. Plus, it has a Bee Gees feel to it, which makes it kind of unique to their book of songs. Felder's solo is fantastic.

8. Take it to the Limit

Randy Meisner wasn't the star of the group, but this is the song that makes him a star as far as I'm concerned. It's just a personal favorite.

7. Victim of Love

The Eagles are truly at their best when they mix a troubled love story with a bad-ass rocking jam session from the band and this song has all of that. Don Felder's guitar solo is top-notch.

6. Life in the Fast Lane

If there was ever a song to put on while getting ready for a night on the town, this is it.

5. I Can't Tell You Why

What can I say? I'm a sentimental sap and this song is right in my wheelhouse. This is Timothy Schmit's defining moment in the group.

4. Heartache Tonight

Just a flat out jam of a rock and roll song with Glenn Frey killing on the vocals and Bob Segar/Don Henley providing the backup vocals. For a group that sings some soft songs, this bad boy is t-o-u-g-h.

3. Witchy Woman

Don Henley absolutely kills this song, the guitar solo is hot and the high notes represent must-sing-along greatness. When I was a kid, I used to think this song was about Stevie Nicks.

2. Desperado

Since I was a kid, this has always been a personal favorite. It's a simple song with a story that easy to connect with.

1. Hotel California

This song really is their masterpiece and when they came out with the acoustic version for the When Hell Freezes Over album, they took an already iconic song and took it to the zenith. From Henley's lead vocals or the guitar solo, which ranks as one of the best in rock history, there's not much about this song that isn't perfection.

Previous Lists: 2-Pac, Beastie Boys, Beethoven, Biggie Smalls, Boyz II Men, Chuck Brown, Jeff Buckley, Cartoon themes, Eva Cassidy,Phil Collins, Sam Cooke, Joe Ely, Al Green, Guns N' Roses, Hall and Oats, HBO Shows, Jimi Hendrix, Whitney Houston, Kool and the Gang, Metallica, George Michael, Mo-Town, Bill Murray, Willie Nelson, Stevie Nicks,Pink Floyd, Prince, Outkast, Queen, Otis Redding, The Rolling Stones, Scarface, Sexiest Women of All-Time, Snoop Dogg . Gary Stewart , George Strait, TV Themes, UGK, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Hank Williams Sr.

Previous Lists on Spotify: 2-Pac, Beastie Boys, Beethoven, Biggie Smalls, Boyz II Men, Jeff Buckley, Phil Collins, Sam Cooke, Joe Ely, Al Green, Guns N' Roses, Hall and Oats, Jimi Hendrix, Whitney Houston, Metallica, George Michael, Mo-Town, Willie Nelson, Stevie Nicks,Prince, Prince (After Hours), Outkast, Queen, Otis Redding, The Rolling Stones, Scarface, Snoop Dogg . Gary Stewart , George Strait, UGK, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Hank Williams Sr.

No. 10 - And finally …

Six days until Nucky and Co. are back for season three of Boardwalk Empire.


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