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February 23, 2014

Ketch's 10 Thoughts From The Weekend

In the opening scene of the greatest sports movie ever made, Norman Dale walks into his new job in the quiet of the morning and finds himself alone, staring at the trophies that represent the glory of a past that he will soon fight head-on. After being out of work for a decade, there's a slight intimidation to the weight of the task at hand, even if Dale doesn't have the slightest clue about what awaits him.

As a net drapes underneath a basketball that highlights the school's 1949 County Runners-Up status, you get a sense for what it means to walk into the thick of real-life Indiana basketball where glory on the hardwood in any shape you can grab it means absolutely everything. In a way, it's the type of thing you've dreamed your entire life about as a coach and it took Dale all of about 10 seconds to find those trophies in the main hallway of the school as he entered his new situation.

It's the type of situation I would imagine Charlie Strong was in when he first arrived as the new Texas head football coach. Can you imagine walking into the football facilities on the first day of the new job and staring at that 2005 crystal football? Can you imagine walking into your new office and seeing Earl Campbell's Heisman Trophy? Can you imagine that quiet moment when you're in a world that is completely your own and you realize the opportunity of a lifetime that has been handed to you?

The beauty of that opening scene in Hoosiers is that the quiet stillness of a small moment of perfection is interrupted within seconds with a school bell that signals a rush back to reality that includes simply trying to find your way to the principal's office. As soon as that metaphorical bell rang for Strong in the first week of January, the true task in front of Strong revealed itself to be as complicated and nuanced as the days are rapid and fleeting.

George: Oh, there you are. I thought we'd go 20 minutes on, 10 off and 20 on.

Normal Dale: I had a different schedule in mind.

George: Look mister, these boys got a routine that they're used to and if you throw a new coach and newfangled ideas at them, you might get them all confused. We'll ease into it real slow. Hell, our first game is less than two week away.

Norman Dale: First of all, let's be real friendly here. My name is Norm. Secondly, your coaching days are over.

George: Look, mister, there's ... two kinds of dumb, uh ... guy that gets naked and runs out in the snow and barks at the moon, and, uh, guy who does the same thing in my living room. First one don't matter, the second one you're kinda forced to deal with.

Coach Norman Dale: Translate. That some sort of threat?

George: I don't know why Cletus drug your tired old bones in here, he musta owed you something' fierce. Fact is, mister, you start screwing up this team, I'll personally hide-strap your ass to a pine rail and send you up the Monon Line!

Coach Norman Dale: Leave the ball, will you, George?

Like Dale's job in Hickory, the only way for Strong to achieve the type of bottom line results that will ultimately define success or failure is to completely change a culture that needs a little convincing that changing the culture means more than simply switching up a few Xs and Os and changing the pregame speech on game days. This isn't about asking a group of young men to play zone or man-to-man defense, as much as it's about breaking the colts and forcing them to embrace a way of life that is completely different than any they've ever known.

Culture change isn't easy and if it was, Strong wouldn't be here right now. Hell, if it was easy, Mack Brown might still have a job in Austin that includes a working whistle.

The hard truth of the matter for those that live around these parts is that the Texas Longhorn way is broken and Strong was hired to fix it. The players that remain don't really have any idea what it takes to be great. Oh, they think they do … they think they've got it right … and some of them probably think this new guy from Louisville (of all places) is out of his mind. Again, if these lost football souls truly knew what level of commitment it took to be great, Strong wouldn't be here.

Of course, culture change doesn't begin with seven-on-seven drills or film study as much as it begins with the basics, which in this case includes treating every class, every workout and every facet in life like it's October in Dallas. It sounds like so much of a movie script because there's a corny truth to the principles that guide Strong's ethos, so much so that the members of the local barbershop gossip group probably believe his intentions are a little misguided. Just coach the damn team, right?

Except that's just not Strong's way. It might be the way of a number of other coaches in the college game, but Strong's way is woven into his core beliefs as a human being. It's about his program being built by his principles in life and that means his approach is unbreakable because asking him to do otherwise would compromise him. Actually, I'm fairly certain that the word compromise isn't one that exists very much in Strong's vernacular.

Get your ass to class. Work your ass off in the weight room and on the field. Keep your ass out of trouble.

That doesn't mean that you go to class when you want. That doesn't mean that you coast in workouts on Friday because you went out on Thursday night. That doesn't mean that not getting caught is staying out of trouble.

What exactly is there to compromise? If you believe as Strong does that the only way to be a champion on the field is to perform like one on the other six days of the week, there's really not any reason to spend a lot of time worrying about those that can't apply themselves or feel like they can cheat the process. Strong wants a team full of junkyard dogs and in his mind you're either a junkyard dog all the time in all areas of life or you're just a pretender that hopes the switch can be found.

If that means that you've got to kick Buddy and Whit out of the gym because they fight against the change, well, so be it.

There's no bending of that principle for Strong … ever. Even if you disagree with the methods, you have to understand what the end goal is and that the process of getting there can't be faked. Charlie Strong's vision of team-building is his way … not Mack Brown's way … or Nick Saban's way … or your way.

This is his way and you have to allow him that freedom to instill his way or you needed to hire someone else.

Of course, the complexities of team building and team uniting with the group of players already on campus is just one layer of Strong's complicated task.

You know, in the ten years that I coached, I never met anybody who wanted to win as badly as I did. I'd do anything I had to do to increase my advantage. Anybody who tried to block the pursuit of that advantage, I'd just push 'em out of the way. Didn't matter who they were, or what they were doing. But that was then. You have special talent, a gift. Not the school's, not the townspeople, not the team's, not Myra Fleener's, not mine. It's yours, to do with what you choose. Because that's what I believe, I can tell you this: I don't care if you play on the team or not.

If there's one complexity about the modern era of college football that the mainstream public probably doesn't understand enough, it's the difficulty of staying out in front in the world of recruiting.

In the days leading up to National Signing Day earlier this month, a lot of discussion took place about the realities of Strong's challenge to keep the program's head above water in the final weeks, as he tried to finish things off with an exclamation point, while doing so with one hand tied behind his back. As he tried to convince players in shotgun wedding style that they could trust their futures with him, his counterparts leaned on 12-24 months of relationship sweat equity, which is a hell of a weapon to possess in any realm of life, but especially in the sales game.

The feeling was that Strong simply needed the clock to expire on the Class of 2014 and that everything would be fine in the following recruiting years because … well … he has 12 months to make it fine. When Mack Brown arrived in 1998, that's exactly the way it was. Hell, when Strong took his job at Louisville, that's probably exactly the way it was.

Yet, as many Texas fans learned this week, that's really not the way it is around these parts and at this level of college football. One of the reasons Mack Brown failed down the backstretch of his career is that he was extremely slow to adapt to a brave new world of college football that requires college programs to juggle recruiting in a way that college basketball coaches have been doing for years, except with 85-man rosters instead of one nearly 1/6 the size. In the last six weeks, Strong not only had to close out the 2014 class and get things rolling with the 2015 group, but he also has to kick-start things in the 2016 and 2017 classes.

College football recruiting used to be basic addition and subtraction, but it is entering its trigonometry stage and there's very little time for adjusting because every day spent learning/planning is a day spent wasted while the other guy is already in the execution stage of his plan. It's like trying to get onto the track at the Daytona 500 out of the pits without the luxury of a lane that allows time to build up the speed it takes to hang with the pace of the other cars. If you tippy-toe through the process, you're going to cause a wreck.

When Texas fans fretted all week about this weekend's Junior Day, the foundation of the anxiety was centered on the reality that many of the players that are just now learning who Charlie Strong and his coaches are already have relationships with the competition that will be impossible to overcome in some instances, as earlier recruiting has ensured that a number of doors are less than wide-open. Think of it like this … no one would ever accuse Mack Brown of being a forefather in the game of multi-year recruiting, but even he got in the game early enough last year that nearly a year's worth of relationship equity had been built by the time he was forced to resign in December.

As Strong begins his 12-month journey to put together a top-10 recruiting class, the truth is that he does so with yet another hand-tied-behind-his-back challenge. Nothing is going to change the fact that Kevin Sumlin, Bob Stoops, Art Briles and even Nick Saban in some cases have nearly a 12-month head start of legwork. To use another Daytona 500 reference, Strong is entering the race to 500 miles only after his main competition has already been on the track for 250 miles.

It's only a little better with the best 2016 prospects. When Texas fans looked at this week's Junior Day visit list and witnessed only a sprinkling of the state's elite 2015 prospects, it wasn't an indictment on Strong as much as am opened view through the looking glass of the realities that await this program for the next two years.

"Sun don't shine on the same dog's ass every day, but, mister you ain't seen a ray of light since you got here."

Up until Saturday, I kind of thought this quote kind of summed the first six weeks on the job that Strong has experienced.

There's been complaining about his methods, the recruiting deck continues to be highlighted in a way that forever showcases the obstacles he's forced to deal with and the locales talk about him on message boards with unforgiving tone at times.

The only thing missing was the town-hall meeting to vote on his job security, only to have Quandre Diggs show up out of nowhere to state, "I play, coach stays. He goes, I go"

But, I thought things changed a little on Saturday, as Strong and his staff offered up a first glimpse to high school athletes around the state (and the rest of the nation for that matter) as to what his program is all about and the universal response was very positive. It was only a first step in a process that has more steps than I can count, but it was a step forward nonetheless.

Consider the comments from 2016 Port Arthur running back Kameron Martin, who seems like a future Charlie Strong junkyard dog in the making:

"Coach Strong just preached today. I loved it," Martin said. "He was organized, he's about business, and he's about to build a great team this year. He's a winner. And the whole staff are winners too."

Consider the comments from Aledo 2015 athlete Ryan Newsome:

"He put three chairs for me, my mom and my dad. He said 'I just winged it.' He just wanted to talk to me and couldn't wait for me to walk all the way down there. It was funny. He really didn't care if anyone was walking by."

Consider the comments from an anonymous recruiting voice:

"Coach Strong is very respectful in the way he's doing it. The main thing, anybody could tell, the vibe I got wasn't good (in conversations with the previous staff). I just didn't feel it. ... The atmosphere just felt staged. almost too set up. It kind of felt dead. Ninety-nine percent of that was just representing how the program was dying down, that they needed a change. Now that these guys are here, it's different. I'm anxious to see how the season goes this year."

Strong has only been in Austin for about six weeks, but I've already decided what I like about him the most … his unflinching belief in his plan … his way … his vision.

The tasks that have revealed themselves to him would be enough to make most men flinch, but Strong's confidence is unflappable and his belief in his plan seems unbreakable, which is a good thing because turning this thing around will require exactly those sets of beliefs. Brick by brick, Strong is laying the foundation of his vision.

Whether his vision leads to championships or not remains to be seen, but the most difficult part of change is always in the beginning and it felt like on Saturday that Strong and his staff put a little of the beginning pains behind them and as he mentioned during the day, the Texas football program took a step forward on Saturday.

"#LonghornNation just got a little bit Stronger! #letsride," Strong posted on Twitter.

Let's ride, indeed. Just don't complain about the bumps on the road or you might just find your ass getting thrown out of the car out of pure principles.

Welcome to Texas football … the new Texas football.

No. 2 - Five more Hoosiers quotes that I wanted to use for various reasons …

"My practices aren't designed for your enjoyment."

Yes, I can hear Strong telling the Longhorns this in the first week of spring football.

"I know everything there is to know about the greatest game ever invented."

Said by every Texas fan on the Internet.

"You know, if everyone is as nice as you, country hospitality is gonna get an awful name."

Strong while reading Orangebloods.com one hour into the job.

"You are in the Army. You're in my Army. Every day between three and five."

Pat Moorer in off-season workouts.

"I would hope you would support who we are. Not, who we are not. These six individuals have made a choice to work, a choice to sacrifice, to put themselves on the line 23 nights for the next 4 months, to represent you, this high school. That kind of commitment and effort deserves and demands your respect. This is your team."

Strong to Texas fans at some point in the 2014 season.

No. 3 - Scattershooting on the Longhorns …

… I thought one of the biggest developments of Saturday's Junior Day was the position the Longhorns put themselves in with Rowlett defensive end Charles Omenihu, who ranks as a three-star in the current Rivals rankings, but is regarded as a four-star prospect and the state's No. 2 defensive end in the current Lone Star Recruiting Rankings ( see his video on HUDL ) . As Omenihu left Austin, he could barely contain his excitement about receiving the offer from the Longhorns and not only did he list the Longhorns as a strong leader for his signature, but he seemed to spend the entire night re-Tweeting encouraging comments about his offer on Twitter. Oh, and he changed his profile picture to a photo from Saturday that features him wearing a Longhorns jersey and he changed the backdrop to his page so that it features a photo of DKR (the stadium).

… With the news that Omenihu is leaning to Strong and Co., a case can be made that the Longhorns are currently in a leadership position with the state's top two defensive ends, with Ennis standout James Lockhart being the other.

… Overall, I kind of liked the patience that the staff displayed in offering only seven 2015 prospects: Omenihu, Aledo athlete Ryan Newsome, Houston Westfield offensive lineman Toby Weathersby, Houston Lamar cornerback Holton Hill, Missouri City Ridge Point DB Jordan Tolbert, Huntsville offensive lineman Ronnie Major and Rockwall-Heath safety/linebacker DeShon Elliott. One of Mack Brown's calling cards was to offer lower-rated prospects that he knew would say "yes!" in an effort to create the image of rolling momentum, even if it wasn't truly what it seemed to be. That was especially true when Brown first arrived and built his first true recruiting class in 1999, which actually worked really well at the time in helping corral a number of top 25-type prospects. One of the things that few people ever knew is that Texas originally offered so many kids in the summer of 1998 because the Texas staff believed it wouldn't have a lot of momentum following the season, which proved to be false. In taking their time this weekend and showing restraint with offers, it offered a picture of a coaching staff that doesn't seem to be concerned with creating a false sense of momentum because it believes it won't have to settle in recruiting.

… Not a lot is known about Huntsville offensive lineman Ronnie Major because he's kind of sat under the radar over the last few months after committing to Baylor, but I have a feeling that he's going to be one of those kids that ends up seeing his recruiting stock take off after he commits to one of the big boys of college football, which is something Strong joked about on signing day. It doesn't always happen, but there are times when it does and in this case, when you take a look at the 6-6, 290-pound Major, you can see the kid dripping wet with athletic upside and raw ability. Honestly, I can't wait to see more of Major in the next 12 months because I think Art Briles and Joe Wickline are on to something. In a state this big, you're going to miss some guys, especially when they don't make a huge effort to launch their profiles into new stratospheres, but we know about Major now.

No. 4 - Well, the Jayhawks were quite emphatic on Saturday night …

I'm not sure what to say about the beatdown delivered in Lawrence on Saturday night, but I will share a few random thoughts I had during the game:

a. I think we witnessed first-hand why my Sixers are in full-tank mode in the NBA with hopes of possibly landing either Andrew Wiggins or Joel Embiid, as both of those dudes put on an NBA Draft showcase video against the Longhorns … especially Wiggins.

b. I thought Wiggins looked like a young Leon in Above the Rim.

c. If the Jayhawks can channel that first half in the post-season, Bill Self might win another national championship in about six weeks.

Basically, the Longhorns have to pick themselves back up, dust off their britches and get back on the horse on Wednesday at home against Baylor. With a 20-7 overall record and a 9-5 record in conference play, there's no reason to sit around worrying about Saturday night. The Jayhawks merely did to Texas what Texas did to them a few weeks ago, but probably in even more emphatic fashion.

It is what it is.

No. 5 - About the Texas baseball team …

Just so everyone knows, Dustin McComas and I have a bet on this year's Texas baseball team. In a staff email exchange this week, McComas mentioned that he can't commit to attending the Rivals Five-Star Challenge in Baltimore in June because there's a chance that the Longhorns will be playing in a Super Regional that weekend.

In fact, he declared that he expects the Longhorns to be playing baseball the weekend we'll all be in Baltimore and offered to put his money where his mouth is, which means that if the Longhorns are playing in the Super Regional that weekend, I owe him lunch at the wings joint of his choice. Anything less than that and he's taking me out for wings … it's that simple.

After less than two weeks of play, I'm not really sure what to think about the bet we made. In a three-game series against Stanford over the weekend, there was a lot to like about the team and a few reasons to think the word love is rarely mentioned.

The pitching was pretty damn good on Friday and Saturday, while the bats showed some promise as well, especially Mark Payton, who continues to hit everything in sight into a spot where the other team isn't.

It's just that I never had the sense this weekend that I was watching a next-level team full of players that have major league upside. Of course, it's possible that this is a work in progress that will evolve into what I claimed to not see over the course of the upcoming weeks and months. Hell, it's possible I don't know my throwing hand from my tailbone as it relates to this discussion.

However, my initial reaction to watching this team for a few days on the Longhorn Network (hey there!) is that Dustin will be taking me to Pluckers on his dime in June.

No. 6 - Six snap impressions from the NFL Draft Combine …

a. Tuesday marks the 25th anniversary of Jerry Jones buying the Dallas Cowboys and he's already marking the occasion by confessing that if he had it to do all over again, he'd have waited a year to fire Tom Landry because it makes perfect sense that he would want to change the dynamics that created the only real success he's ever known as an owner. For instance, does he make the Herschel Walker trade if Landry is his coach? Probably not, but what does that matter, right? In revisionist Jerry-Land, the Cowboys win three Super Bowls no matter what because of his presence in the situation. Have I mentioned lately how much I hate being a Cowboys fan right now and how little optimism I own for the future? Yes? Well, get ready to hear it a lot in the coming years as his ineptitude reaches two decades running.

b. Hearing that Mike Davis couldn't work out in Indianapolis because his medical exams revealed some sort of foot injury seems like exactly the kind of development he didn't need as a player trying to convince teams that he's worthy of a top 100 spot in this draft. The stakes at his pro day workout will be incredibly high.

c. If Johnny Manziel is one of the most competitive people on the face of the earth, then why is he not throwing in Indianapolis? If he's 10-feet tall on the football field, exactly how tall are LSU defenders? Just a few random thoughts I had while listening to him speak on Friday. All question-asking aside, his short-shuttle time of 4.03 highlights the strength of his athletic skill set, much more so than straight-line speed or anything else.

d. Michael Sam can play on my football team, as long as he can rush the passer. From a mental make-up standpoint, I'd take 53 guys wired like him on my team.

e. With the second pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, the St. Louis Rams select Auburn offensive tackle Greg Robinson.

f. Mike Evans made some money this weekend. That guy is going to be a steal if he makes it out of the top 10.

No. 7 - Eternal Randomness of the Spotty Sports Mind …

... Nice job, Dale Jr. I was rooting for you the entire way...well.. once True Detective ended.

... Although Herb Dean once again had an itchy trigger finger in stopping his second consecutive pay-per-view main event before anyone was truly ready for it to be stopped, I thought Ronda Rousey was incredibly impressive in turning Sara McMann into Michael Spinks on Saturday night. All Rousey does is whip whatever competition that is put in front of her in whatever circumstances presented. My God, Dana White must love her.

… Speaking of love, I'm not afraid to admit that I have a bit of a crush on Rousey, and I find her pre-fight scowl to be incredibly sexy.

… Oh, and in case you missed it, my interview with Rousey on YSR this week was pretty damn entertaining, if I do say so myself.

… Daniel Cormier beat "Irish" Terry Conklin worse than James "The Grim Reaper" Roper did back in the day.

… Rory McDonald fought his ass off in getting back on track with the win over Demian Maia. I'm not sure he should get the winner of Hendricks/Lawler, but I'd love to see him take on Carlos Condit in a Fight of the Night rematch 2010 … winner gets the title shot, assuming that Condit beats Tyron Woodley in a few weeks.

… Stephen Thompson is fun to watch fight in the Octagon. How about a fight between Thompson and Tyron Woodley, if Woodley loses to Condit?

… Welcome to the ACC, Jim Boeheim. Let me go on the record with my disapproval of Boeheim's temper tantrum that cost his team more of a chance at winning at Duke than any charging call that was made against his players. Had a player pulled the stunt that Boeheim pulled, the sports public/media would have spent days raking him over the coals, and I can't imagine what his reaction would have been if that had been one of his players that sent the Blue Devils to the free throw line four times in a two-point game with his antics, but I suppose costing your team a chance to win is a little like accepting money in that only the coaches are allowed to do it.

… Good job good effort, USA Hockey.

... Good bye, sweet Olympics Bear

… The Phillies should be embarrassed for being bitter, vindictive snitches over the situation with Oregon State's Ben Wetzler … the team's fan-base certainly is. I can't believe he's going to sit out 11 games this season over this.

… Good for Jason Collins. Good for the NBA.

… Get ready for the bitching, Russell Westbrook because it's coming. Boy, is it coming …

… Craig Sager has nothing on Clyde Frazier, who I'm pretty sure slaughtered a cow this week.

No. 8 - If I had a vote that mattered (Oscar-style) …

With one week to go to until Oscar Night, I can kick my feet up and wait for the big night come to be because after putting away Philomena on Friday night, I can officially claim to have seen every movie this year that was nominated for any of the major categories.

Yes, in 2014 I have proven to be the ultimate movie nerd, a person my wife is embarrassed to claim because I'm the type of husband that will go see Judi Dench at the Great Hills 8 movie theater by myself on a weekday because once I start something and get this close, I'm not going to stop until I get there.

Therefore, as I put together my final thoughts together in this extremely strong year in cinema, I will do so knowing that it isn't done half-ass.


Best Picture

Will win: Gravity
Should win: 12 Years a Slave
Final Medalists: 12 Years a Slave, The Wolf of Wall Street and Gravity
If I could add one: Lone Survivor

Final thoughts: No offense to any other movie in the field, but this should be a Super Bowl XLVIII-level blowout with 12 Years a Slave taking home the trophy, as it is truly a special film with career performances across the board. It is brutal, exhausting and unflinching, which is exactly why it will probably finish as the bridesmaid.

Best Actor

Will win: Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyer's Club)
Should win: Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave)
Final Personal Medalists: Ejiofor, McConaughey and Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street)
If I could add one: Joaquin Phoenix (Her)

Final thoughts: I've gone back and forth on this category the most because I can make a strong case for any of the top three, but the bottom line for me is that 12 Years a Slave is the truly special film of this year and Ejiofor is its soul, but let's keep it real … this is McConaughey's year and I don't have any problem with that. It'll be an all-time moment when Wooderson takes home the gold.

Best Actress

Will win: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
Should win: Blanchett
Final Personal Medalists: Blanchett, Sandra Bullock (Gravity) and Judi Dench (Philomena)
If I could add one: Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks)

Final thoughts: Blanchett winning seems to be the biggest sure-thing going, as she's won every award under the son and probably doesn't have a true No. 2 contender. Honestly, Blanchett lapped the field.

Best Supporting Actor

Will win: Jared Leto (Dallas Buyer's Club)
Should win: Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave)
Final Personal Medalists: Fassbender, Leto and Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street)
If I could add one: Ben Foster (Lone Survivor)

Final thoughts: I'm actually a little pissed that Leto is going to win because I consider Fassbender's beyond power performance as villainous Edwin Epps to be the single greatest piece of acting I witnessed all year. The story goes that he passed out after one of the more emotionally investing scenes of the movie and the director didn't even notice it until he re-watched the take. What Fassbender gives in 12 Years a Slave is a performance that created one of the most deplorable characters in cinema history.

Best Supporting Actress

Will win: Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave)
Should win: Nyong'o
Final Personal Medalists: Nyong'o, Julia Roberts (August: Osage County) and June Squibb (Nebraska)
If I could add one: Scarlett Johansson - Her

Final thoughts: As you can see I'm bitter about what I believe will happen to 12 Years a Slave, but I believe the voters will get this one right. If anyone takes the award away from her, it'll be Jennifer Lawrence, which would truly be a case of style over substance because you can't put what each of these two were required to give in their performances in the same discussion.

Best Director

Will win: Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity)
Should win: Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave)
Final personal Medalists: McQueen, Cuaron and Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street)
If I could add one: Spike Jonze (Her)

Final thought: I'll say it one final time … there's one truly special movie in the field.

No. 9 - Pop goes the culture because the culture goes pop …

… Hottie of the Weekend: Christie Brinkley at 60… wowzers

… Weekly Candice Photo (NSFW) : Hot in Victoria's Secret February 2014

… History of Rap 5 : Justin and Jimmy do it again

… Miley Link of the Weekend: Miley makes Hey Ya into a country song

… O RLY?: Hall & Oates' 'Rich Girl' wasn't about a girl after all

… News-team, assemble : One day after Anchorman 2 is back with a 763 new jokes

… Oh, boy : Iowa man loses job and jobless benefits because he reportedly used a forklift to get his Twix candy bar out of a snack machine

… Florida Man : Bradenton man in custody after shooting his TV

… Be better, Aussies … : Sarah Hyland Got Felt Up Down Under

No. 10 - The List: Dave Matthews Band (Listen Via Spotify)

I consider this one of the more challenging lists I've put together in the last few years for a number of reasons, but the primary one is quite unique to this band in particular.

More than any group I've focused on, their best work is highlighted best when played live. As someone that has been to a pair of Dave Matthews Band shows over the years, I can attest to the fact that there's something about the music that comes alive when it is played live … something you can't exactly channel when listening to studio albums.

Of course, the tricky part is that every live version of every song is a bit of a snowflake with no two live performances quite sounding the same. Therefore, picking my favorite DMB songs proved to be quite the odyssey, especially when I brought the acoustic performances to the table.

It all was very fluid and unique, and I'm not sure if my list would be exactly the same if I spent another week listening to nothing but live performances. Anyway, let's get down to it.

Last five songs out: The Space Between , Christmas Song , Grey Street , The Last Stop and If Only

10. Dreamgirl

When I was chasing a girl a decade ago that loved DMB, this was the song that I really connected with and it actually had nothing to do with the girl I was chasing. I just like the song and it had to make the list.

9. Seek Up

One of many songs from the Remember Two Things album that could have made the list, I found myself gravitating to this song in the stripped down acoustic live sets that Dave had with Tim Reynolds (see linked above).

8. You and Me

One of the few songs from the post-LeRoi Moore Era that received serious consideration.

7. Two Step

I was told very early in the week that this song needed to be in the to 10 or I would be in trouble.

6. Typical Situation

One of my favorite songs from the band's iconic Under the Table and Dreaming album.

5. Warehouse

Yet another song from the 1994 album Under the Table and Dreaming.

4. Crash Into Me

One of the group's signature songs, it just felt like it needed to be in the top five.

3. Ants Marching

Perhaps the most recognizable song in the group's entire library.

2. Crush

My favorite song on the Before These Crowded Streets album.

1. #41

Another song that I prefer when it is stripped down and played acoustically. Just a masterpiece of a song.

Archives List

Blues/Jazz: Eva Cassidy, Janis Joplin (Listen via Spotify ), Norah Jones (Listen via Spotify), Amos Lee (Listen via Spotify), Toni Price (Listen via Spotify) and Stevie Ray Vaughan ( Listen via Spotify )

Classical: Beethoven ( Listen via Spotify)

Country: Gary Allen (Listen via Spotify), Garth Brooks, George Jones (Listen via Spotify), Robert Earl Keen (Listen via Spotify), Natalie Maines (Listen via Spotify), Willie Nelson (Listen via Spotify), Reba (Listen via Spotify ), Gary Stewart (Listen Via Spotify ), George Strait (Listen via Spotify), Keith Whitley (Listen via Spotify), Hank Williams Sr. ( Listen via Spotify). ) and Dwight Yoakam ( Listen via Spotify )

Electronic: Daft Punk (Listen Via Spotify

Funk: Chuck Brown, James Brown (Listen Via Spotify , Kool and the Gang and Prince (Listen Via Spotify (Part I) and Listen Via Spotify (Part II ? After Hours))

Metal: Metallica

Pop: Hall and Oats (Listen via Spotify), George Michael (Listen via Spotify), Billy Ocean ( Listen via Spotify ), Rihanna (Listen Via Spotify and Frank Sinatra ( Listen via Spotify )

Punk: The Clash (Listen via Spotify)

Random: Best of 2013 (Listen via Spotify), Cartoon themes, One-hit Wonders from the 1990's (Listen via Spotify), TV Themes and My Number 1's on Spotify

Rap: 2-Pac (Listen via Spotify), 8-Ball and MJG, Beastie Boys (Listen via Spotify), Biggie Smalls (Listen via Spotify), Eminem (Listen to Spotify), Ice Cube (Listen via Spotify), Jay-Z (Listen via Spotify), Kool Moe Dee (Listen to Spotify), Kendrick Lamar (Listen via Spotify), NWA (Listen to Spotify), Outkast (Listen via Spotify), Scarface (Listen via Spotify), Snoop Dogg Listen via Spotify , A Tribe Called Quest (Listen via Spotify), UGK (Listen via Spotify) and Kanye West (Listen via Spotify),

R&B: Aliyah, Boyz II Men (Listen via Spotify), Ray Charles (Listen via Spotify), Sam Cooke (Listen via Spotify), Al Green (Listen via Spotify), Whitney Houston (Listen via Spotify), Jodeci (Listen via Spotify), Mo-Town (Listen via Spotify), R. Kelly (Listen via Spotify), Otis Redding (Listen via Spotify), Lionel Richie and Jackie Wilson (Listen via Spotify)

Reggae: Bob Marley (Listen via Spotify)

Rock: AC/DC, Aerosmith (Listen via Spotify), Arctic Monkeys (Listen via Spotify), Beach Boys (Listen via Spotify), The Beatles, Bon Jovi (Listen via Spotify), Jeff Buckley (Listen via Spotify), CCR (Listen via Spotify), Eric Clapton (Listen via Spotify), Gary Clark Jr. (Listen via Spotify), Phil Collins (Listen via Spotify), The Eagles, Joe Ely (Listen to Spotify), Genesis (Listen via Spotify), Guns N' Roses Listen via Spotify), Heart (Listen via Spotify), Jimi Hendrix (Listen via Spotify), Elton John (Listen Via Spotify), Journey (Listen Via Spotify), Led Zeppelin, Stevie Nicks (Listen Via Spotify), Nirvana (Listen via Spotify), Roy Orbison (Listen via Spotify), Pearl Jam (Listen via Spotify), Tom Petty (Listen via Spotify), Pink Floyd, Queen (Listen via Spotify), Reckless Kelly (Listen via Spotify), The Rolling Stones (Listen via Spotify), Bob Seger, Bruce Springsteen (Listen via Spotify), The Strokes (Listen via Spotify), U2 (Listen via Spotify), Van Halen ( Listen via Spotify ), Jack White ( Listen via Spotify )
and ZZ Top ( Listen via Spotify )

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