Archive for October, 2011

Carolina/State Week

Posted in acc sports, college football with tags , , , , on October 31, 2011 by cueball

Not that anyone has really noticed, but this is the week of the North Carolina/North Carolina State game.

Before the season this game seemed to be pregnant with meaning. Butch Davis was coaching the best defensive front seven at UNC since the heady days of Mack Brown and Tom O’Brien would be trying to continue his mastery over UNC for a fifth consecutive win.

Instead, we have a North Carolina team, though bowl eligible, that is a hollow shadow of what might have been if Butch Davis had not been fired (12 months too late) and if the defensive backfield was not a youthful mess beset by injuries.

NC State on the other hand is…Honestly, I have no idea. I have been too busy following UNC football and preparing for the basketball season to pay any attention to the happenings on the red-bricked plain of the NC State campus. Seriously, why would I watch any NC State football this year. I just looked at the standings and apparently they are really bad. Of course, this could be the one game of the season they actually put together a complete performance and give Mike Glennon more then 3 seconds to throw the ball.

So which will win out: A more talented UNC team trying to break a 4 game losing skid against NC State or an NC State team tying to win 3 of its final 4 games to become bowl eligible.

So, eightball, I need you to tell me about the state of Wolfpack football.


Monday Morning Quick Takes

Posted in college football, football, sports with tags , , on October 31, 2011 by cueball

I hope to make this a permanent feature.


  • I don’t think the Indianapolis Colts are intentionally tanking the season to draft Andrew Luck.  They are just a horrible team.  However, I do not think they are actively trying to improve through personnel decisions or changes in what and how they are coaching.  They are just going to let this horrid team play out the string and see where things land.
  • There are lots of people playing professional sports and they can be broken up into two categories.
    • Category 1 – Professional athletes.  These are the people who have pride in their work as athletes.  They stay in shape during the off-season.  They show up ahead of time to prepare for games and practice.  They play and they practice hard.
    • Category 2 – Athletic people picking up a paycheck.  Playing a professional sport is barely even a job for this group.  It is simply a way to get paid.  The off-season is a vacation.  They’ll get in shape when the preseason training starts.  They show up to games and practice, usually right on time without a minute to spare.  They get up for the big games in front of big TV audiences, but the rest of the games are diversions.
  • Why is it during every college football season we get to the 2nd or 3rd week in October and the talking heads (most of whom don’t watch college football) start hyperventilating at all the undefeated teams still left?  This happens every year and the same thing always happens:  The teams playing above their heads and past their skill level all lose and the teams that are the best all keep winning.  Unless they play each other.  The system sorts itself out, usually.  If I were the BCS administrators, I would not be worried about a season ending with 5 undefeated teams.  I would worry about the season with 5 1-loss teams at the top of the rankings.
  • When did coaches decide they were part of the show?  The Ryan brothers haven’t met a camera or microphone they didn’t like.  Often to their own team’s detriment.
  • Lane Kiffin has yet to accept any blame for any loss or probation that has occurred under his watch.  Lane, buddy, I agree, your guy might have actually been out of bounds with a second left, but publicly calling a referee a liar for not granting you a timeout you didn’t call is childish.
  • The  NCAA conference realignment dance is now degenerating into what it was destined to all along:  Where will Notre Dame football and its NBC contract land?  The only two conferences that will let Notre Dame keep its NBC money are the Big 12 and the Big East.  The other conferences mentioned in the Notre Dame sweepstakes (Big 10, SEC, ACC) are comfortable enough where they are to actually have the audacity to try and dictate terms to Notre Dame.
Post on UNC v. NC State football game coming later today.


Posted in acc sports, college basketball, college football, sports with tags , , , , on October 27, 2011 by cueball

In the beginning there was the Southern Conference.  The thirteen schools who would form the Southeastern Conference (SEC) left the Southern Conference in 1932 to make travel easier. All the schools were west and south of the Appalachian Mountains. The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) schools stayed in the Southern Conference until 1952 when the seven original members left to focus on basketball.

The older brother, SEC,  is drawn to the simpler more direct and regimented sport of football that was making money hand over fist with its huge crowds.  The younger brother ACC without the shackles of expectations is drawn to the freedom and expressive nature of the newer more exciting basketball as it muse.

The SEC is the older more serious brother who had to go out and make money for the family and the ACC is the younger brother who goes off to get an MFA and spends his time staring at a computer screen trying to be a writer before stumbling upon a couple of characters to base a successful series of pulp mystery books that make him a lot of money.

However, money is the reason both exist and have grown.  As football grew, so did the SEC’s excellence and concentration on it.  The ACC’s existence is  almost solely because of basketball. The four (Duke, UNC, NC State, Wake Forest) “Tobacco Road” schools were all beginning to excel in basketball and making lots of money with it and the old Dixie Classic Basketball tournament.

The two conferences have differences in perception academically and socially based on the two sports that they traditionally represent.  The SEC is perceived as a football playing money machine who has no time for intellectualism. The ACC is seen as a basketball playing academic dilettante who is who is too above the fray to truly dirty itself with football.  The ACC while managing to do a lot of the same things that the SEC does (make money hand over fist), only in basketball, has managed to appear more sophisticated and socially progressive then its football dominated brother.

These differences in perception are not only due to the two sports but also to their geography. Both conferences are made up primarily of state-supported institutions, however as the century moved along, the states that make up the ACC became more interconnected with the northeastern parts of the country because of growing interstate road and rail systems. Therefore, they moved into a more modern, less agrarian based economy quicker then did the states in the deeper south. That meant they had more of a need of a populace with a higher education making funding for education important. However, the schools of the SEC were in the poorest states in the country and did not have (with the exception of Georgia) the need (or political will) to put money into higher education because of the continued geographic isolation caused by the Appalachians.

This mountain range has played an important part of the history of the two conferences by shaping their views of potential expansion and television markets.  The SEC towards the south and west and the ACC to the north and east.

Having said all that, there are schools in each conference that are more culturally akin to the majority of schools in the other conference. So, how would I make up the two conferences to place the right schools with the right cultural fit? I’m glad you asked. Here are my revamped ACC and SEC lineups:



UNC Alabama
Duke Auburn
Wake Forest LSU
Vanderbilt Tennessee
Maryland Florida
Virginia Arkansas
Georgia Mississippi
Miami Mississippi State
Boston College Clemson
Pittsburgh Virginia Tech
Syracuse Texas A&M
Georgia Tech South Carolina
Kentucky Florida St.

Georgia Tech and Kentucky could go either way. Georgia Tech is an original member of the SEC but has the academic/social arrogance of the ACC. Kentucky has the lawless disregard for NCAA rules that make the SEC so much fun, but it also is a basketball school first and foremost. Who would not want to see Georgia and Georgia Tech play for more then pride in football every year and who would not like UNC, Duke, and Kentucky playing basketball once a year.

Miami is another interesting case. While a football factory with a lawless disregard for NCAA rules, it is also a small private university with big academic ambitions. UCONN was thrown in solely to balance out the conferences and with the knowledge that either they or Notre Dame ends up in the ACC in the next two years.

Desert Island Songs

Posted in music, Uncategorized with tags , on October 25, 2011 by cueball

One of my favorite podcasts to listen to is Sound Opinions with Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot out of WBEZ in Chicago. They talk about music. They have a recurring bit called the “Desert Island Jukebox.” One or both will pick a song that would be one of their few possessions if they were stuck on a desert island.

Here are my picks for my desert island jukebox.  Here is the Spotify playlist.


Moonshiner is an American folk song with murky origins. The version I picked is by one of my favorite bands of all time Uncle Tupelo. Uncle Tupelo was a group of guys from Belleville, IL who were the progenitor of which was a punk-like take on traditional American, folk, and country music. I love the haunting nature of song. The final refrain is my favorite:

let me eat when I’m hungry
let me drink when I’m dry
two dollars when I’m hard up
religion when I die
the whole world is a bottle
and life is but a dram
when the bottle gets empty
Lord, it sure ain’t worth a damn

Highway 61 Revisited

The opening stanza alone makes this one of the great songs.

Oh, God said to Abraham, “Kill me a son”
Abe says, “Man you must be puttin’ me on”
God says, “No”, Abe say “What?”
God say “You can do what you want Abe but
The next time you see me comin’ you better run”

Well Abe said, “Where do you want this killin’ done?”
God say, “Out on Highway 61”

Its Dylan, so what else can I say.

3 Dimes Down

Drive-By Truckers are one of the best bands in America and one of my favorite bands of all-time. They have a discography filled with brilliantly written songs about the “other” America. The parts of the country often called “fly-over” country during presidential elections. The small towns and forgotten stretches of highway that have missed the technology revolution. This song is as good as a Raymond Carver short story. It is a snapshot of a road house bar in a small town somewhere in the South. No single lyric does it justice.

Lawyers, Guns, and Money

This song reminds me of Hunter S. Thompson. Invoking the good doctor or Raymond Carver are two the highest compliments I can bestow.

Children’s Story

Rick was such a good lyricist. Like 3 Dimes Down, it is a wonderful short story. It is a funny and deadly serious song.

He was only one teen in a madman’s dream
The cops shot the kid, I still here him scream
This ain’t funny, so don’t ya dare laugh
Just another case about the wrong path
Straight and narrow or your soul gets cast

California Stars

A song written by one of the best (Woodie Guthrie) and played by one of the great bands of the early 21st century (Wilco). This is the second of three appearances by Jeff Tweedy. It is a beautiful song in its simple melody and piano lead.

3 A.M.

Everyone has been there. It’s 3 in the morning and you are tired and things aren’t going the way you want to in your life. This sounds like Edwin McCain was sitting at a bar at his kitchen table with a glass and a half empty bottle of Jack beside him “pouring his heart out” on the page. He is talking about the life that has him traveling and playing for people some who could not give a damn about his music and thinking about the woman he left behind.

And I will play just as long as you will listen
Now I’m in no big hurry to get back on the road
Sometimes in this lifestyle
I feel like there’s so much that I’m missing
Well I’m missing you
It’s just that I’m… so far from home
It’s 3 a.m.
I’m awake and my heart is still dreaming
It’s 3 a.m.
Outside I hear the souls still screaming

Paul Revere

When they first started the Beastie Boys were three snotty punks who liked rap music. This is the best song of their pre-Paul’s Boutique era. This is another short story song that takes you to another world. This world is a wonderful and lawless place.

It started way back in history
With Adrock, M.C.A., and me – Mike D.
Been had a little horsy named Paul Revere
Just me and my horsy and a quart of beer
Riding across the land, kicking up sand
Sheriff’s posse on my tail cause I’m in demand


In his third entry on the list Jeff Tweedy. It is a song about being a young hot mess. No prospects and nothing left. Whose fault is? Is it yours? Is it the unfairness of the crappy world? Yes, to all of the above.

You know you’re just a mama’s boy
Positively unemployed
So misunderstood
So misunderstood

Voodoo Child (Slight Return)

Like any Bob Dylan song, there isn’t much you can say that has not been said. It is a brilliant blues song with brilliant guitar work and it is my favorite Hendrix to listen to over and over.

Cult Of Personality

It was 1989 and I was a kid in Shelby, NC listening to all the music I was supposed to listen to. Then one night, Vernon, Corey, Muzz, and Will showed up on the Arsenio Hall show and everything changed.

What Will You Say

Jeff Buckley is one of the greatest unrealized talents in music history. He never knew his father, singer-songwriter Tim Buckley, but his voice and his writing were eerily similar. He only released on studio album before his death, Grace, that is one of the ten best albums of the 1990s. This song is only available live on Mystery White Boy. It is a brilliant exposition of anger at his dead father. It is wrenching and heartbreaking.

Father do you hear me?
Do you know me?
Do you even care?
What will you say
When they take my place?