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October 8, 2012

Time to move on

Get over it.

If there's a memo that Mack Brown has to make sure gets passed around this week, this is it. As painful of a loss as Saturday night might have represented, the reality of this Big 12 season is that there probably aren't any great teams in the league this year, but there sure a lot of good ones.

Seriously, the Longhorns aren't anywhere near being a great team and they almost took down a top-10 team. Their defense can't tackle and the kicking game is suddenly lacking, but they are as good as anyone else in the Big 12.

They just didn't play well in the fourth quarter as a team and ultimately that's what can't be repeated again in the future because a lot of games in this league are going to go down to the final 15 minutes. The Mountaineers won the game because they didn't miss field goals, botch snaps, lose sight of the play-clock and fail to get stops when it mattered most.

Texas is going to lose games this season. West Virginia is going to lose games this season. Kansas State is going to lose games this season.

The issue is how many will each team lose? I've said all season that a team with two conference losses could very win the championship because playing on the road in this league is going to be a bear.

What happened on Saturday was a matter of losing margin of error, as it's possible that the Longhorns might have just used up a lot of theirs. Another team just like the Longhorns will be facing them in the Cotton Bowl this weekend, which is why Saturday is so important.

Before this brutal three-game stretch (that is really a brutal four-game), my thought was that going to 2-1, regardless of where the wins and single loss might come from, would likely leave the Longhorns in a prime position to do some big things down the stretch. This Saturday is bigger than last Saturday, but if the Longhorns can do a better job of closing the deal they'll be right in the thick of things.

Therefore, if you see a Longhorn player this week, ask him about this week instead of the last one because win or lose, the West Virginia game will just be something that happened, as this week's outcome will be the one that starts to define this season.

No. 2 - The grades are in: West Virginia Report Card …

Championship-level

David Ash: The Longhorns might have won this game if they had trusted their sophomore quarterback a little more. In completing 22 of 29 passes for 269 yards and a touchdown, Ash played a cleaner game than the likely Heisman winner, but he just didn't make enough plays on this night with the coaches dialing up the ground game every time the end zone was within sight. Ash had a winning performance against a top-10 team, there just wasn't enough around him at a similar level.

Alex Okafor: All you could ask of Okafor is that he create a few big plays and get to Geno Smith and that's exactly what Okafor did in forcing two strip sacks, one of which was recovered for a touchdown and the other was recovered deep in West Virginia territory. Oh, and he blocked a field goal, too.

Chris Whaley: If he can bottle up what he did on Saturday and bring that every week, the sky is the limit. The junior defensive tackle played like his hair was on fire, recording seven tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and a fumble recovery. Those seven tackles led all Longhorn defensive linemen.

Standout stuff

Malcom Brown: Where has this kid been all season? Outside of Whaley, there was no better defensive tackle on the team on Saturday night than the true freshman from Brenham. He needs to start playing a lot more.

Johnathan Gray: There was one explosive run from the ground game all night and it came from the true freshman, who led the team with a 6.2 yards per rush. When Gray touched the ball six times in the third quarter, the Longhorns had the lead. When he touched it only two times in the fourth quarter, the offense dipped. His missed block in pass protection in the fourth quarter led to one drive ending, but that play eventually had little to do with the final outcome.

Jeremy Hills: He doesn't get a lot of touches, but he makes good things happen when he gets them. Hills finished the game with a team-best six receptions for 67 yards. His nose for first down marker was critically important in the first half.

Jackson Jeffcoat: Despite seeing constant double teams and chips from backs out of the backfield, Jeffcoat made his presence felt throughout, finishing with four tackles, a sack and a recovered fumble for a touchdown. He was one of the few players that played better than the stat sheet might suggest.

Daje Johnson: It's not his fault he didn't touch the ball in the final 47 minutes of the game. All he did was set up a touchdown with a 46-yard catch and run, while totaling 54 yards on three offensive touches.

Alex King: The Duke transfer was asked to put only one time and he ripped off a 47-yard punt with no return.

Solid game, winning play

Joe Bergeron: The good news is that when Bergeron was inside the five-yard line, he closed the deal by finding the end zone four times. The bad news is that Bergeron led the team with 17 carries on Saturday and broke five yards on only three of those runs. His yards per rush on the 17 touches look like this: 1, 2, 2, 1, 2, 4, 1, 2, 2, 12, -3, 5, 2, 6, 4, 3 and 1. Bergeron was solid, but as the focus of the Texas game-plan at times, the Longhorns needed even more from him. One issue I have with Bergeron's running style is that he doesn't always hit the open backside lanes when they present themselves.

Josh Cochran: I thought the sophomore tackle played a pretty solid game, but the Longhorns needed him to own the line of scrimmage and that's not what happened on Saturday. The pass protection was usually clean, but the most important task was wearing West Virginia out over four quarters and Cochran didn't do that, which was disappointing.

Quandre Diggs: The sophomore corner was targeted six times and allowed only two catches for minimal yardage before being flipped to the other side of the field for the final defensive series in the game, where he allowed a critical reception to Stedman Bailey. Still, he played a quality game, even if he wasn't on either of the top two West Virginia receivers for almost all of the game.

Marquise Goodwin: I don't even think you can blame him for fumbling the ball in the second quarter because he got rocked back to his birth year. His play on kickoffs was standout stuff and I'm not sure the coaches took advantage of him enough on the offensive side of the ball.

DJ Grant: The senior flashed a couple of times, especially on his 26-yard catch that set up a touchdown.

Bryan Harsin: Truth be told, the offense had a solid game that included zero turnovers, but against one of the worst defenses in the country, he just didn't dial it up correctly when it mattered most. The decision to feature Joe Bergeron held back the explosiveness of the offense, as playmakers like Jaxon Shipley, Mike Davis, DJ Monroe and Daje Johnson didn't touch the ball enough. In a game that needed touchdowns, the Longhorn offense generated only one from the end of the second quarter until the very end of the game.

Donald Hawkins: The junior tackle played a much better game than he provided last week in Stillwater, but he didn't really mash anyone in the running game.

Trey Hopkins: See Cochran. I thought the junior guard played a pretty solid game, but the Longhorns needed Hopkins to own the line of scrimmage and that's not what happened on Saturday. The pass protection was usually clean, but the most important task was wearing West Virginia out over four quarters and Hopkins didn't do that, which was doubly disappointing.

Desmond Jackson: He flashed once on a huge second quarter sack, but he didn't do much outside of that.

MJ McFarland: The middle of the field was wide open all evening and there were a couple of times when passes that could have gone to a wide-open McFarland went elsewhere. Still, he received more reps, got open numerous times and cashed in once on a 24-yard reception.

Offensive ideology: The Longhorns played on offense like a team that believes it can line up and mash folks and the truth is that they are not there yet. Pretending otherwise might have cost the team a chance to win this game because it kept it from attacking the true weaknesses of the West Virginia defense.

Jaxon Shipley: He caught five passes for 58 yards, but probably could have had 15 if the coaches had wanted to attack West Virginia's true defensive weakness.

Mykkele Thompson: The young defensive back needs to be living in the weight room, but he played hard and played without too many major sins on his ledger.

Kenny Vaccaro: The senior safety actually played very strong at times, but he didn't make any difference-making plays and his inability to stay with Tavon Austin on a couple of fourth downs was a problem. This was actually one of the best games he has played all season, but he's not making enough big plays to go along with the little ones.

Mason Walters: See Cochran and Hopkins. I thought the junior guard played a pretty solid game, but the Longhorns needed Walters to own the line of scrimmage and that's not what happened on Saturday. The pass protection was usually clean, but the most important task was wearing West Virginia out over four quarters and Walters didn't do that, which was triply disappointing.

Reggie Wilson: The stat sheet wasn't kind to him, but I thought he was as active as he's been at any point on his career. He did lose a sack in the second quarter because of a penalty on Ashton Dorsey for hands to the face.

Incomplete

Mike Davis: The team's best downfield passing threat received zero downfield passing targets. His three receptions for 20 yards was dictated by the offensive game plan and not lackluster play.

DJ Monroe: Was it the doghouse again or neglect by the coaches or both? Zero offensive touches.

Brandon Moore: I'm not sure he played enough this weekend after returning from the flu to draw a true grade.

Needs improvement

Mack Brown: From a game management standpoint, Mack's decision-making left a lot to be desired. First, he went for it on fourth-and-4 from midfield with the game tied at 7-7, which gave West Virginia a short field that it turned into a touchdown. Later in the game, he went for it on fourth-and-13, which was just a poor decision with a low probability of success. Finally, with the team down by 10 points in the final two minutes, he should have been thinking of how to get 10 points, not seven. As soon as they got into field goal range, the Longhorns needed to kick the field goal so that they would have enough time left to score if they did recover the onside kick. Instead, Jaxon Shipley scored a touchdown with 15 seconds left and virtually assured the Longhorns had zero chance of winning, onside kick success or not.

Carrington Byndom: The junior from Lufkin really struggled against Stedman Bailey, allowing six catches and two touchdowns on only seven targets, and this does not include the final touchdown of the game when it appeared the team was either in some sort of non-working zone or he just let him go. Regardless, he was finally flipped to the other side on the final series of the game.

DeMarco Cobbs: He barely played from what I can tell and seems to have fallen behind younger players in the snap distribution.

Ashton Dorsey: Dorsey was solid from what I can tell, but he didn't have a big imprint on the game other than a penalty that wiped out a Reggie Wilson sack.

Steve Edmond: Oh boy, this sophomore has emerged as the face of the linebacker issues, as his inability to see the field, get off blocks and out of traffic, and make plays has really been a problem. There were times when he might as well have been a ghost out there in the run defense. Texas can't be a good defense without Jordan Hicks if Edmond can't defend the run well.

Dominic Espinosa: Regardless of whose fault it might have been, twice Espinosa sent shotgun snaps to David Ash that weren't cleanly handled and that cannot happen in a game of such magnitude.

Anthony Fera: You have to make that kick, period.

Tevin Jackson: He didn't play a lot, but he almost allowed a last-second touchdown pass in the second quarter and was saved only by the turf monster.

Kickoff coverage: For the second week in a row, the coverage on kickoffs has been tide-changing. The right side of the kickoff team (Sheroid Evans and Josh Turner) was exposed for not maintaining lane integrity on the opening kickoff. When they replaced Evans on the next kickoff, his replacement (Bryant Jackson) ended up being guilty of the same thing. The decision to kick for height instead of distance comes back to haunt the special teams on occasions and last night was one of those times. Just let Nick Rose kick the ball through the end zone.

Adrian Phillips: The truth is that he played better on Saturday than he has at other times this season and he actually had a fairly strong second and third quarter, but he was involved in too many negative big plays, both in coverage and as a tackler. It was his busted coverage that allowed for Tavon Austin to brake free for a long touchdown reception in the first quarter.

Ryan Roberson: If the Longhorns are going to be a true smash-mouth team, they have to have fewer negative plays from the fullback position.

Kendall Thompson: There were a few occasions when he flashed in the West Virginia backfield, but too often he was out of position to make plays at the second level of the defense, which led to major run defense issues. He's one of a handful of players that needs to get better or else this defense is in big trouble.

No. 3 - Quick impressions from the third weekend of action in the Big 12 …

Kansas: The good news is that they looked as good in the first quarter as they have all season. The bad news is that after they took a 14-7 lead in the first quarter, they were outscored 49-2. Baby steps.

Kansas State: Just when you thought the Wildcats might have an off-day against a rival, they responded back from a slow first quarter with an open backhand up the side of KU's face for the final 40 minutes or so of that game. They gave up more yards of offense than they'd prefer, but make no mistake about it, they overwhelmed the Jayhawks (as they should have) for four quarters. They have a lot of really good players.

Iowa State: Man, can Paul Rhodes coach, or what? Don't look now, but the Cyclones are 4-1 this season and they pulled off the upset this week with a new quarterback in tow, second-year Dallas-native Jared Barnett, who was the player that I thought should have been the starting quarterback at the beginning of the season. All he did was step in and throw for three touchdowns in his homecoming. Meanwhile, the defense forced five turnovers. I've said it all year, winning in Ames will not be easy this season.

Oklahoma: For the first time all season, Oklahoma looked like the team we thought it could be at its optimum level. The Sooners look like a team making progress in all areas. This is a dangerous outfit.

TCU: Without Casey Pachall, this team is just too young and not ready for a Big 12 schedule. Unless Gary Patterson gives Pachall a short sentence, this season could be headed down the tubes.

Texas Tech: Hey Red Raiders, you have been weighed, you have been measured and you have been found wanting.

Post-Week 5 Big 12 Power Poll

Note: Last week's rankings are listed in parentheses

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

No. 4 - College football thoughts: From A-to-Z …

A: All My Exes live in Texas:Here's a look at the top 5 performances from Texans playing outside the state on Saturday:

1. Stepfan Taylor (RB/Stanford/Mansfield): 31 carries for 142 yards and 2 TD vs. Arizona
2. John Hubert (RB/Kansas St/Waco Midway): 10 carries for 101 yards and 4 TD vs. Kansas
3. Rex Burkhead (RB/Nebraska/Plano): 14 carries for 119 yards vs. Ohio State.
4. James Sims (RB/Kansas/Irving MacArthur): 28 carries for 115 yards and a TD vs. Kansas State
5. Emory Blake (WR/Auburn/Austin High): 10 receptions for 118 yards and a touchdown vs. Arkansas

B: Big 10's Ohio State Problem gets bigger: Braxton Miller is drinking from a goblet that the other players in the Big 10 don't have access to and the Buckeyes just might run the table in Urban Meyer's first season. All that's left at this point are road games at Indiana, Penn State and Wisconsin, along with home games against Purdue, Illinois and Michigan. That's very doable.

C: Coach Boom having the last laugh: A month ago, Gainesville's panic meter was stuck between a 6.0-7.0 for the first few weeks of the season and many, including myself, wondered if he hadn't bitten off more than he could chew in head coaching job No. 1. Heading into the second week of October, he looks like the early choice for SEC Coach of the Year and possibly a candidate for national honors as well. His Gators are tough as leather and getting better each week. He can park his car on the street again if he wants to.

D: Defensive Player of the Week: As tempted as I am to give the award to Florida safety Matt Elam for playing with attitude and for making the play of the game with his strip after a long pass play, LSU linebacker Kevin Minter was credited by the Florida stat crew with 20 tackles, three tackles for loss, two sacks and a forced fumble. Wowzers, that's just too awesome of a performance to ignore.

E: Eating Crow: Yeah, I was way off in the Big 12 on Saturday. Not only did I flip-flop on my pick of Texas over West Virginia, but I also had Texas Tech over Oklahoma. Ugh. The good news is that I did have South Carolina and Ohio State.

F: Fool's Gold: Two weeks ago, I told everyone not to buy into the "FSU is back" mantra that was flowing because of a win over another flawed ACC team. I tried to warn everyone that this was a team that lost four games in 2011 and that that the losing to bad teams trait still existed. The Seminoles vindicated my thoughts on Saturday by stealing defeat from the jaws of victory at NC State. That's so FSU to blow a 16-0 lead on the road with the world at your fingertips.

G: Giving credit where credit is due: It would have been easy for Penn State to get sucked into the karma vortex after starting the season in horrific 0-2 fashion, but the Nittany Lions have run off four straight wins and saved the remainder of their season. The match-up against Ohio State in three weeks might be the unofficial Big 10 championship.

H: Heisman Tracker After Week 3 1. Geno Smith (QB/West Virginia) 2. Braxton Miller (QB/Ohio St.) 3. Manti Te'o (Linebacker/Notre Dame) 4. Tavon Austin (WR ? West Virginia)

I: If I had a vote that mattered… (last week in parenthesis)

1. Alabama (1)
2. Oregon (2)
3. South Carolina (3)
4. Florida (10)
5. Kansas State (5)
6. West Virginia (9)
7. Notre Dame (NR)
8. Ohio State (NR)
9. Georgia (4)
10. LSU (5)

J: Johnny Football Saves the Day: Johnny Manziel was a roller coaster all night, but when he needed to find magic in the fourth quarter, he sprinkled some pixie dust and helped the Aggies steal a game they probably should have lost. I'm telling you, he's Taylor Martinez 2.0.

K: Keep an eye on these games next week: South Carolina at LSU, Kansas State at Iowa State, Stanford at Notre Dame and Texas at Oklahoma.

L: Looking down the road: If you scan the new top 10, the team that feels like the biggest fraud is Oregon State, but there's nothing about a slate over the next four weeks that includes games at BYU, vs. Utah, at Washington and a home game against Arizona State that should scare the Beavers too much. They could realistically be undefeated on November 10 when they head to Stanford.

M: Mauled: South Carolina pretty much manhandled Georgia from the opening snap. That was equally emphatic and impressive. The next two games on their schedule will define just how great this season might become, but they look as good as anyone not named Alabama.

N: Nobody was watching, but …Oregon absolutely beat the hell out of Washington in late-night West Coast action. The Ducks are clearly the class of the West, but their schedule is brutal down the stretch because four of their final six games are on the road, including dates at Arizona State, USC, California and Oregon State. If they run the table, they deserve a seat in the national title game no matter what.

O: Old Man Saban: No person this week came off more like Grandpa Simpson than Nick Saban did while complaining about the hurry-up offense and wondering if everyone was risking player safety by not controlling it more with regulation. Sounds like someone expects to see Oregon in the national title game.

P: Put your shirt back on: This actually happened

Q: Quote of the weekend: "We still control our own destiny in the ACC," FSU coach Jimbo Fisher after blowing a 16-0 lead and a potential national title game appearance against NC State.

R: Real talk: There shouldn't be an ACC team within a 10-foot pole of anyone's top 10 and Clemson certainly shouldn't be anywhere near it.

S: Snap judgment I might have been wrong about Notre Dame. Perhaps they aren't a top-5 type team, but after destroying Miami 41-3, it's time to give the Irish a little love. At the very least, I think they would clearly be the best team in the ACC and possibly even the Big 10. In fact, I'd love to see an Ohio State/Notre Dame game this year because it might give us a true best team from the Midwest. Through five games this season, the Irish still haven't trailed at any point in any game.

T: Truth or fiction: You knew midway through the third quarter that the first team to 10 points in The Swamp was going to win that game?

U: U.G.L.Y. You ain't got no alibi, you ugly, hey! Final: BYU 6 Utah State 3

V: Voldemore Update: The offensive coordinator that will remain unmentioned enjoyed the weekend off from his perch in first-place in the Big 10 Legends Division. I kid you not. Go look it up.

W: Wanted: Dad of elite quarterback willing to take bribes: As bad as this season has been for John L. Smith, he's got some serious scoreboard on Gene Chizik after his lost-in-the-woods Razorbacks took Chizik's bunch to the woodshed. Hold on Gene, it's not going to get easier the rest of the way this season. It's a bad season when the highlight of the year at the half-way point might be an overtime win over La-Monroe.

X: X-Factor: There were guys with bigger numbers on Saturday, but Florida running back Mike Gillislee was the difference between two very even SEC teams. His 146 yards and two touchdowns on 34 carries was grown-man stuff in a grown-man game.

Y: You heard it here first… South Carolina beats LSU in Baton Rouge. That's a special Gamecock squad.

Z: Zoolander look of the day: This one is easy. It was flipping over to ESPN2 after the Texas/West Virginia game concluded and learning that FSU was on the brink of disaster. I had stopped paying attention to that game two hours ago.

No. 5 - Monday night in Gotham…

With Jets blood in the water, my expectations for Monday night is pain and a whole lot of it.

The Texans are the best-looking team in the NFL to these naked eyes after the first month of the season, but they really haven't been tested in a game thus far. Therefore, with the Jets playing for their season in front of the entire country, I expect the Texans to send a message.

I expect them to punish the Jets. I expect them to expose what's left of the Jets' defense. I expect an emphatic win. I expect Apollo Creed to bleed in the middle of the ring in Rex Ryan's arms.

Texans 34 - NY Jets 10

No. 6 - 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…

… The best days of the NFL season for Cowboys fans are days when the Cowboys don't play. Seriously, with the Eagles AND Redskins both losing, that's about as good as it gets.

… Hot damn, Andrew Luck is good. He stood toe to toe with Aaron Rodgers and proved to be the better man on this particular Sunday, his fourth as an NFL starter. The Colts won the freaking lottery.

… 16 years ago, current Indianapolis head coach Chuck Pagano recruited Reggie Wayne to the University of Miami. This week, Wayne was the only Colts player allowed to visit Pagano in the hospital, as he prepares to receive treatment for treatable leukemia. What happened next was straight out of a Disney movie, as Wayne recorded one of the best performances of his career in a truly inspired effort, as he caught 13 passes for 212 yards and a touchdown. Incredible stuff.

… I don't want to overreact, but the Packers aren't winning the Super Bowl this year. They just don't seem to have it, although the rush of injuries on Sunday didn't help.

… Cory Redding played as well for the Colts on Sunday as I've ever seen him in the NFL. He was the best player on the field at times.

... Attaboy, Drew Brees.

… Tom Brady is pretty good at football, huh?

… The Bears defense is pretty scary right now.

… Jamaal Charles might just run for 1,500 yards this season if he stays healthy. For a while on Sunday it looked like he was headed for another 200+ yard game.

… Atlanta might not be the best team in football, but it is in the very short discussion. That was a gritty little win down in Washington

… Mike Shanahan called the concussion that Robert Griffin picked up on Sunday a "minor one." Someone tell him that there's no such thing.

… Remember when Wes Welker was getting phased out of the Patriots offense?

… Baltimore/Kansas City set football back 30 years on Sunday.

… Welcome to the NFL, Josh Gordon.

No. 7 - Post-season baseball musings…

… Baseball was barely on my radar on Saturday and Sunday. I didn't even known there were two Sunday night games until Sunday night.

… Go Reds. I can't root for the rest of the teams in the National League. Too many still bleeding wounds.

… I'd be lying if I said I knew what to say to Texas Rangers fans right now, so I'm not even going to try.

… Seems fair that the A's were better than the Tigers at the end of the season, but now face an 0-2 hole in their series against Detroit because they were forced to start on the road. Nice job, Bud.

… I decided that I don't like the wild-card game on Friday when I clearly started to understand the cruelty of a three-hour, winner-take-all format that can be decided by a single mistake by an umpire. In a five- or seven-game series, so many things can happen that it's tough to lay the final result on a single call, but in a one-day situation, you absolutely can. What happened in Atlanta on Friday was an injustice that was only made worse when Joe Torre played the BS-game of pretending like it was the right call immediately after the game in denying any and all appeals. Yes, the Braves vomited all over their uniforms at times prior to that botched call, but they were playing their way back when a call that should have been fixed with a crew huddle was made. Saying that was an infield-fly rule is akin to saying Golden Tate caught the football in Seattle.

… That was pretty trashy stuff from Atlanta fans. Even Ohio State fans are embarrassed for them.

… I like to hate on Chipper Jones because … well … I'm a Phillies fan and hate is part of what we do, especially when a guy like Jones has been a two-decade rival, but damnit, what happened on Friday was not right. For a career such as his to end in such a nightmarish, scab-referee fashion was tough to watch, even for a guy that likes to pretend he's a Chipper hater. When it was over, he owned the whole night like a man who understood that the game was bigger than him, refusing to pass the buck to the umpires at the expense of an error from him that kick-started the day's nightmare. Tip of the cap, Chipper. The game is not better off without you.

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

… Movie Trailer of the Week: Maybe the best trailer I've seen all year .

… Song of the day: The sexiest Bond theme ever?

… Declaration: I'm done with American Idol and will not watch this season.

… Sign that the apocalypse is upon us : Rihanna can't say no to the guy that beat her like she broke into her house.

… Hottie of the Week: Keibs… drooooool , drooooool and more drooooooooool . It might be time to retire the award.

… 100-WORD MOVIE REVIEW: Taken 2 (C-)

If possible, Taken 2 is less-believable than the first one. All I could think was, "So, the same woman that barely gave him the time of day at the airport when he saved their daughter is now going to Istanbul on a moment's notice because he has work there and she needs a getaway?" I digress. Bottom line: People get killed in bunches and if that alone turns you on, you'll like it. If ridiculous plot points bother you, find another movie. I went for unintentional comedy and was greatly rewarded. The US Embassy scene is a Showgirls-worthy plot twist.

… If I had a vote that mattered (Oscar-style)…

(These are my up-dated Academy Award picks based on movies I have actually seen in 2012.)

Best picture

1. Moonrise Kingdom
2. The Master
3. The Dark Knight Rises

Best Director

1. Wes Anderson (Moonrise Kingdom)
2. Paul Thomas Anderson (The Master)
3. Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight Rises)

Best actor

1. Joaquin Phoenix (The Master)
2. Matthew McConaughey (Killer Joe)
3. Jack Black (Bernie)

Best actress

1. Jennifer Lawrence (Hunger Games)
2. TBA
3. TBA

Best supporting actor

1. Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master)
2. Matthew McConaughey (Magic Mike)
3. Bruce Willis (Moonrise Kingdom)

Best supporting actress

1. Amy Adams (The Master)
2. Shirley MacLaine (Bernie)
3. Kara Hayward (Moonrise Kingdom)

No. 9 - The List: Jodeci

If you're trying to crack the code to my music DNA, you have to go back to when I was in high school and Forever My Lady dropped when I was a sophomore because it was one of the biggest musical game-changers of my life.

My thirst and love for modern R&B music probably hatched with this group. I started making mixed tapes for girls because of this album.

This is special stuff for me.

Let's get to the list (listen via my Spotify playlist)

10. What About Us

You have to flip back and forth between sweet and dirty if you're going to run through the catalog of this group, and this song probably represents one of its more romantic post-Forever My Lady joints. Hey, I'm in need of love and you're in need of love, so what about us? It makes perfect sense.

9. Freek'n You

There's not a lot of standout stuff on the third and final album from the group, but there is no song that better portrays the places mid-90s R&B were going than this jam, which starts out with the line, "I want to freak you." Women absolutely love this song. Yes, they most certainly do.

8. I'm Still Waiting

There are four all-time R&B songs on the Forever My Lady album and this is the fourth one. The group just has a perfect sound throughout the entire song.

7. Cry For You

The first time my wife heard this song this week, she went into full lip-synching, copy-the-video mode. It has that impact on Jodeci fans.

6. Love U 4 Life

The best song on their third and final album, as K-Ci and Jo-Jo absolutely burned it up.

5. My Heart Belongs To You

My favorite song on the follow-up to their debut was never released as a single, but it's the lead song on the album for a reason… the group brings the heat. DeVante might have written the songs, but K-Ci and Jo-Jo just slayed the entire song. This song reminded everyone that loved the first album why thy loved the first album.

4. Come and Talk to Me

I must have listened to this song 10,000 times in high school. I might have made a mixed tape or three with this song included in the mix.

3. Lately

This live performance of a Stevie classic at TV Unplugged was the moment when you truly knew K-Ci and Jo-Jo had something special between them.

2. Stay

One of the great R&B songs from the 1990s, Plus, there's even a little Longhorn representation in the video. I might have included this song in a mixed tape or four.

1. Forever My Lady

This is the single greatest R&B song of the entire 1990s as far as I'm concerned. All these years later and it's still as hot as the day it dropped. This was my go-to song when it was time to make way with the ladies. Hell, if the wife and I were trying to make a baby tonight, this is the song I'd play.

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

No. 10 - And finally …

Texas won't beat Oklahoma unless the guts of its defense doesn't play much, much better. It really is that simple for me.


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