NFL Mock Draft 2014

It was one of my most popular posts from last year so why not go ahead and post another one this year? This years NFL draft has been different from years past since they pushed the date for the draft back a month. All it’s really done has given us more time to fall in and out of love with prospects and make scouts think they should take any other QB then Bridgewater. But enough of that. Remember I don’t project trades. This is a mock draft based off on how the order stands right now!

1. Houston Texans – Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina – They should take Bridgewater.  And I’ll stand by that until it’s proven otherwise. They are a playoff team with good QB play. Clowney doesn’t make them a playoff team. Word is they will move down and get Manziel. That is still a mistake as long as Bridgewater is available.

2. St. Louis Rams – Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson – We say this every year it seems here lately, but Bradford has one more year to prove himself. And I think he will. You pair Watkins with that receiver corps we will be looking at one tough offense to stop.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M – They have to put butts in the seats. An electric offensive player will do that. I’m not high on Manziel. But I think he will be better then Bortles.

4. Cleveland Browns – Blake Bortles, QB, UCF –  I don’t like him but from some reason scouts have fallen in love with the potential he has. Apparently that means more then 3 years of actual game tape of being great with Bridgewater.

5. Oakland Raiders – Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo – The Raiders have needs every where. But I don’t see them going QB here even though Schaub is not the answer. If Mack had played for a big time program he’d be the best player in this draft. I think he’ll be better then Clowney.

6. Atlanta Falcons – Dee Ford, DE, Auburn – They need a pass rusher! NEED! Barr from UCLA is an option. But I generally believe they move up to get Clowney. If not they may move down because this is a bit of a reach.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M – If they stay with Glennon (I think they do) this will be when they prove it by drafting him a receiver instead of taking Bridgewater.

8. Minnesota Vikings – Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville – They will go QB. It just depends on which one is still left to decide which one they take. This is an instant upgrade for the offense.

9. Buffalo Bills – Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn – I’m not a fan of players getting to the combine and being a work out champions and then moving up draft boards. And that’s why I’m not a fan of Greg Robinson.

10. Detroit Lions – Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan – Let the run on offensive tackles begin. Although I do like Jake Matthews more then Lewan.

11. Tennessee Titans – Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State – They lost their best corner in free agency. So now they have to get one to replace him. Dennard has a chance to be something special.

12. New York Giants – Jake Mathews, OT, Texas A&M -Eli still has some good years left and they need to make that offense more potent. With the receivers being so deep this year they can wait until their next pick to get one of those.

13. St. Louis Rams – Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh – One scout said Donalds the best player he has seen in the last 20 year in the draft. That might be a tad high in praise but he is really good.

14. Chicago Bears – Timmy Jernigan, DT, FSU – They need help on the interior line pretty badly. Just missing out on Donald they get the next big body available.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers – Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State – If Gilbert is off the board I think they go o-line here. For some reason that seems to always be a need for them.

16. Dallas Cowboys – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Safety, Alabama – What a name. And I’ve been saying for 3 years now the Cowboys would draft a safety. Maybe this year I’ll be right.

17. Baltimore Ravens – Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame – Last year they struggled to run the ball. I’d like to blame the o-line for that right now and not Ray Rice.

18. New York Jets – Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU – They need receiver help. No matter how bad Vick and Geno Smith are, they need some one to target when they throw all those interceptions.

19. Miami Dolphins – C.J. Mosely, ILB, Alabama – Best player available for them. o-line at this point would be a reach.

20. Arizona Cardinals – Calvin Pryor, Safety, Louisville – If they can get another young safety to pair with Mathiu and they can find their stride that defensive backfield will be pretty dangerous.

21. Green Bay Packers – Morgan Moses OT, Virginia – Another team that seems to always need o-line depth due to injury.

22. Philadelphia Eagles – Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State – They need to add a receiver to help replace their lose at that position.

23. Kansas City Chiefs – Marqise Lee WR, USC – They have a win now attitude so they have to get the most polished receiver in the draft to help their offense.

24. Cincinnati Bengals – Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA – Barr is a do it all type player. He will definitely help them in them get to the QB.

25. San Diego Chargers – Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech. – They need secondary help and Fuller could ene up being a real steal if he can always play to his abilities.

26. Cleveland Browns – Jason Verrett, CB, TCU – If they can find someone to play close to Haden’s level on the other side of the field this great defense will only get better.

27. New Orleans Saints – Kelvin Benjamin, WR, FSU – They need to add some receiver depth here and help that offense get past the Seahawks defense.

28. Carolina Panthers – Jordan Mathews, WR, Vanderbilt – There really isn’t a bad receiver pick to be made here. They just need to pick one of them.

29. New England Patriots – Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame – They too could go receiver here but I see them adding some beef to the d-line.

30. San Francisco 49ers – Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana – Adding another option in the passing game will really help that offense move forward and beyond Boldin’s career.

31. Denver Broncos – Lamarcus Joyner, CB, FSU – Denver needs to continue to add secondary help. Joyner is a play maker who can play safety and corner back.

32. Seattle Seahawks – Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota – Your Superbowl champions add some talented beef to that d-line.

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Final 2013 NFL Mock Draft

1. Kansas City Chiefs – OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M – Nothings changed here. They are still shopping Albert and it seems only the dolphins are listening.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars – DE Ziggy Ansah, BYU – I’m not a fan of this pick but this is what seems to be coming out of Jacksonville. This guy has the ability to be a star. But he also has the ability to be a bust.

3. Oakland Raiders – DT Sharrif Floyd, Florida – So many needs for the Raiders and not enough picks. They cleaned house of pretty much all d-line talent. This is a no brainer.

4. Philadelphia Eagles – CB Dee Milliner, Alabama – As much as I can’t see them passing on Oregon linebacker Dion Jordan, they do to make the smarter pick in Milliner.

5. Detroit Lions – OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan – With their only good offensive linemen, Jeff Buckus, retiring they have to draft some o-line help.

6. Cleveland Browns – QB Geno Smith, West Virginia – They want to trade down. But until they do I have to expect they pick a player here. The only player I really know that they like at this point is Smith, though, I do believe this to be a terrible pick.

7. Arizona Cardinals – OT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma – Pretty simple here. The Cardinals select the best available offensive linemen. Whether it’s at guard or tackle.

8. Buffalo Bills – OG Chance Warmack, Alabama – Everything I’m reading is saying they go o-line here. Warmack is the best available.

9. New York Jets – OLB Barkevious Mingo, LSU – It’s said that Rex Ryan loves this guy. So this be who he probably picks. With the resigning of Pace, I wonder if that defers this pick any?

10. Tennessee Titans – OG Johnathan Cooper, North Carolina – Even with the big signing of Levitre they go guard to further sure op that o-line.

11. San Diego Chargers – OT D.J. Fluker, Alabama – Another one of those “bit of a reach” picks. But they severely need a tackle right now.

12. Miami Dolphins – RB Eddie Lacy, Alabama – I won’t be surprised if they trade this pick to the chiefs. But if they don’t I believe they get a capable running back.

13. New York Jets – WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia -They NEED offensive play-makers badly! This is their chance to get one of the best in this draft.

14. Carolina Panthers – DT Star Lotulelei, Utah – He’s better then Floyd. But his heart condition scares away most teams. He’s proven for the most part it won’t be a problem and the Panthers will be grateful he fell to them. He fills a need and will probably be a superstar.

15. New Orleans Saints – OLB Dion Jordan, Oregon – With them going to the 3-4 they need to add some pass rush specialists that can get to the QB. Jordan is the best on the board.

16. St. Louis Rams – S Kenny Vaccaro, Texas – It’s either corner or safety here for the rams. And with receiver being deeper then safety, they take a safety first.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers – OLB Jarvis Jones, Georgia – This pick just fits. With James Harrison gone they need to add some youth there at that spot. Jones will fit right in to the Steeler way.

18. Dallas Cowboys – S Johnathan Cyprien, FIU – They want Kenny Vaccaro but they just miss out on him so they jump on Cyprien, who has been climbing boards lately.

19. New York Giants – DE Bjorn Warner, Florida State – It’s either DE or TE. Either way it’s an end. History says they will pick a DE. But Eli likes his TE.

20. Chicago Bears – ILB Arthur Brown, Kansas State – They have to replace Urlacher. Brown will play better than what Urlacher did last year. His play really declined. Don’t be too surprised if you see them take Manti Te’o of Notre Dame. At least I wouldn’t be.

21. Cincinatti Bengals – ILB Alec Ogletree – If they going running back I wouldn’t be shocked. If Lacey falls to here they will probably get him. Keep an eye out for Houston CB Hayden.

22. St. Louis Rams – WR Deandre Hopkins, Clemson – This fills a huge need but they will most likely trade down a pick a receiver later in the draft.

23. Minnesota Vikings – ILB Manti Te’o, Notre Dame – All signs point to Te’o getting selected here. The Vikings really seem to like him.

24. Indianapolis Colts – CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State – It’s always nice to get the number 2 corner in the draft at the 24 pick.

25. Minnesota Vikings – WR Justin Hunter, Tennessee – Signing Greg Jennings was big. Now they draft someone to help give the offense another passing option.

26. Green Bay Packers – S Matt Elam, Florida – If Elam’s size can hold up in the NFL this will be a steal. He runs good and likes to lay kill shots. Good in coverage but if there is one knock on his game it’s that he doesn’t always wrap up.

27. Houston Texans – WR Keenan Allen, California – It’s pretty certain they select a receiver. The best receiver available will most likely be Allen at the time of their selection.

28. Denver Broncos – DE Tank Carradine, Florida State – With no torn ACL Carradine would have gone in the top 15. But with the loss of Dumervil they need to add a defensive end. They may still sign Freeney. But even if they do I still see them going defensive end.

29. New England Patriots – WR Terrence Williams, Baylor – The toughest team to predict. They need a receiver and Williams has the measurables and ability to be good.

30. Atlanta Falcons – CB Desmond Trufant, Washington – They need a corner badly. So they take the best available.

31. San Francisco 49ers – DT Jesse Williams, Alabama – a Luxury pick for a team with no real needs. They might draft for a potentially great 3-4 defensive end. But this is still quite high to be drafting for that.

32. Baltimore Ravens – ILB Arthur Brown, Kansas State – If a safety falls they will grab him up. But I don’t think one does. Some are saying tight end here as well.

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2013 NFL Mock Draft 1.0

As you will see I don’t have a team drafting a QB in the first round. Mainly because none of them are worth a first round grade. I could see a team moving up late into round 1 to get an early jump on Geno Smith or Barkley. But who really wants a poor man’s Mark Sanchez(Barkley)? There is a lot of depth in this year’s draft but not a lot of already made stars. If you are drafting early and don’t need offensive or defensive line help then you’re probably going to be reaching for talent.

1. Kansas City Chiefs – OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M – I’m not a fan of this pick. They franchise tagged Brandon Albert but all signs still point to them choosing Joeckel. There may be a few reasons why, though. One being they need the o-line help. Two being that he and offensive tackle Eric Fisher of Central Michigan are the only clear cut “locks” in this draft.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars – DT Sharrif Floyd, Florida – I may be wrong here. Chances are high. Rumors have the jags selecting Geno Smith. If they do, get ready for another long year in Jacksonville. Floyd seems like a lock here. He’s flown up draft boards and he’s a local. It’s the second best thing the owner could do. The first be bringing in Tebow.

3. Oakland Raiders – OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan – So many needs for the Raiders and not enough picks. I don’t expect Palmer to still be on the team by time they pick. If Floyd is still on the board the Raiders will take him since they pretty much cleaned house on the defensive line. No matter how this draft goes it’s going to be a long year for the Raiders. They need so much help on defense and offense.

4. Philadelphia Eagles – CB Dee Milliner, Alabama – With the transition to the 3-4 defense this year the Eagles will need to revamp their defense. Their biggest position of need is Linebacker, but with linebacker being quite deep this year and corner being not so much; they go corner.

5. Detroit Lions – OT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma – With their only good offensive linemen, Jeff Buckus, retiring they have to draft some o-line help. This is a bit of a reach. But it really helps a big need.

6. Cleveland Browns – WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee – If Milliner isn’t available they will be looking to probably trade down. They need a receiver to help build around the offense. But they could easily still get Patterson around pick 15.

7. Arizona Cardinals – OG Chance Warmack, Alabama – Pretty simple here. The Cardinals select the best available offensive linemen. Whether it’s at guard or tackle.

8. Buffalo Bills – ILB Alec Ogletree, Georgia – They could go anywhere. They are pretty much starting over of defense but they also need some offensive line help. Most have them going QB but with the signing of Kolb I just can’t see them drafting a QB yet. Kolb buys them a year. If he pans out then they won’t need to draft one next year. If he doesn’t work out then they will be drafting one next year. Probably a better one then is available in this year’s draft.

9. New York Jets – DE Ziggy Ansah, BYU – This is most likely what will happen but I’m not too high on Ansah. He produced at BYU but he made more of a mark in his work outs. Vernon Gholston anybody? The Jets should stay away. But they won’t.

10. Tennessee Titans – CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State – at 6’2” and a sub 4.4 forty it’s hard to see Rhodes getting out of the top 10. I’m actually high on Rhodes. He fits many schemes well and has a chance to be a lot like Mr. Sherman up in Seattle.

11. San Diego Chargers – OT D.J. Fluker, Alabama – Another one of those “bit of a reach” picks. But they severely need a tackle right now.

12. Miami Dolphins – RB Eddie Lacy, Alabama – Signing Brent Grimes fills the need at corner. Now they go get the best back in the draft to replace Bush.

13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – DE Bjoern Werner, Florida State – I am one that believes this pick gets traded to the Jets for Revis. If that happens look for the Jets to draft a pass rushing linebacker.  But if none of that happens then the Buccaneers have to go defensive end to help get some pressure on the QB.

14. Carolina Panthers – DT Star Lotulelei, Utah – He’s better then Floyd. But his heart condition scares away most teams. He’s proven for the most part it won’t be a problem and the Panthers will be grateful he fell to them. He fills a need and will probably be a superstar.

15. New Orleans Saints – OLB Dion Jordan, Oregon – With them going to the 3-4 they need to add some pass rush specialists that can get to the QB. Jordan is the best on the board.

16. St. Louis Rams – WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia – They have got to get Bradford some help. And With Jackson gone at running back, this offense is going to be looking for a lot out of Bradford. It’s boom or bust time for the former number one overall pick.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers – OLB Jarvis Jones, Georgia – This pick just fits. With James Harrison gone they need to add some youth there at that spot. Jones will fit right in to the Steeler way.

18. Dallas Cowboys – S Kenny Vaccaro, Texas – If I could let you draft a new owner, I would. But for now Safety is the biggest need. If he isn’t available look for them to go OG Jonathan Cooper of North Carolina or DT Sheldon Richardson of Missouri.

19. New York Giants – TE Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame – This is more of a need then anything. They have some spots to fill at linebacker and defensive end as well. But those positions have depth in this year’s draft. Tight end, not so much.

20. Chicago Bears – ILB Arthur Brown, Kansas State – They have to replace Urlacher. Brown will play better than what Urlacher did last year. His play really declined. Don’t be too surprised if you see them take Manti Te’o of Notre Dame. At least I wouldn’t be.

21. Cincinatti Bengals – DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri – This pick really centers around on if they sign Andre Smith. If they do, like most reports are saying they will, then they draft for defense. They would like to go linebacker but none of the ones left really fit their system. If they want to reach for one they may go with Kevin Minter of LSU.

22. St. Louis Rams – RB Giovani Bernard, North Carolina – Not a popular pick I know. But like I said earlier. It’s time for us to really know what Bradford is and isn’t. The best way to know that is giving him the tools to succeed.

23. Minnesota Vikings – DT Sylvester Williams, North Carolina – We are getting to that point in the draft where what’s left is really about 50 players with second round grades. So what teams take from here can be strictly off of need or on pure potential. This is a need here for the Vikings.

24. Indianapolis Colts – OLB Barkevious Mingo, LSU – With them still being a 3-4 defense they have to add an edge rush to replace Freeney, whom they cut from the team. If Mingo decides not to take plays off in the NFL like he admitted to do in college, he will be a fine choice.

25. Minnesota Vikings – ILB Kevin Minter, LSU – Many are linking Manti Te’o here. I’m not. Yes it will be an interesting pick and it would be a great story and whatever else you can come up with. But this is the NFL. You stick to your board. Minter grades higher and will most likely be a better pro.

26. Green Bay Packers – S Matt Elam, Florida – If Elam’s size can hold up in the NFL this will be a steal. He runs good and likes to lay kill shots. Good in coverage but if there is one knock on his game it’s that he doesn’t always wrap up.

27. Houston Texans – WR DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson – It’s pretty certain they select a receiver. Now which one is the question? I am higher on Hopkins then I am Keenan Allen of California. But that doesn’t mean the Texans are.

28. Denver Broncos – DE Tank Carradine, Florida State – With no torn ACL Carradine would have gone in the top 15. But with the loss of Dumervil they need to add a defensive end. They may still sign Freeney. But even if they do I still see them going defensive end.

29. New England Patriots – WR Keenan Allen, California – This pick is for their huge need at receiver. But they also have a huge need at corner. But with corner having depth in this draft, look for them to go receiver early.

30. Atlanta Falcons – CB Desmond Trufant, Washington – Speaking of that cornerback depth…. With Atlanta losing out in signing Grimes back and most likely not trading to get Revis they about have to draft a corner.

31. San Francisco 49ers – DT Jesse Williams, Alabama – a Luxury pick for a team with no real needs. They might draft for a potentially great 3-4 defensive end. But this is still quite high to be drafting for that.

32. Baltimore Ravens – ILB Manti Te’o, Notre Dame – So many possibilities for a team that won a championship and then decided to rebuild. I’ll just list you some other possibilities here. Even though I’m not high on Te’o, he has helped his stock since his pro day. Look also for Brandon Jenkins of Florida State, Eric Reid of LSU, Jonathan Cyprien of Florida International, Damontre Moore of Texas A&M, or Justin Hunter of Tennessee.

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Originally posted on CollegeFootballTalk:

The Jerry Sandusky child-sex abuse scandal has cost Penn State on numerous fronts, from its once-sterling reputation to stifling NCAA sanctions to myriad points in between. One of those cost points, suffice to say, is financially.

In an update to the costs related to the scandal as of November of last year, the university revealed late this past week that it has thus far spent $27,663,423 (pictured) dealing with the fallout of Sandusky’s crimes. A sizable portion of those costs are related to legal fees as well as the use of consulting firms.

According to the Patriot News, the breakdown of those costs is as follows:

– $13 million for internal investigations and communications, including the Freeh Report;

– About $7.5 million in the university’s legal defense;

– $3.95 million for the legal defense of other individuals, including former Penn State President Graham Spanier and others;

–…

View original 152 more words

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Importance of media for Democracy

In the United States today, many people stay informed using all forms of media from newspapers to television stations. Media is essential to upholding a government for the people. Media allows citizens to stay informed, use this information to vote on issues they believe in, and (for the most part) have a wide array of opinions and perspectives to choose from when first deciding for them on a given issue.
For democracy to exist, a citizen must stayed informed in order to make the best decision possible based on their beliefs and customs.. In this country, we are allowed a great right, and that is the right to decide for ourselves our own opinions of issues. We can decide where we stand on any issue including abortion, gun control, and gay marriage and any issues alike. Not every human in this big world has that very right. In some countries, it’s a privilege while in other countries; it’s not even considered an option by the government to allow for free thinking. In our country, we have more of a social responsibility type of media that allows people the freedom of speech with certain unwritten boundaries ethically and morally. In other types of governments including communist’s forms of government, the government monitors all forms of media and it’s quite difficult (if at all possible) to protest the choices of authority. We, as Americans, seem to take this for granted that we have this god given right to make choices on our own and protest when something isn’t our belief when there are many that have no choice and fear for their life in their cry out against government policy.
I believe 24 hours of news is always a good thing. The ability to stay informed at any point you would like to is key in our understanding of the government, whether that be local, state, or federal and their policies applied in our daily lives. Talk radio allows for another perspective potentially and gives us the ability to hear about issues when we may not have access to any other types of media. The fairness doctrine allowed them be more opinionated and not have to allow for a certain percentage of their programming for controversial issues of what was supposed to be public importance. Freeing this time allowed the radio stations to have fewer restrictions and allow for more personal opinions on the issues of what the owners thought were important. The advancement in technology seems to be on an infinite climb with more and more capability each day. As long as it allows for more opinion and for more citizens to stay informed, I believe it is good for democracy.
Although more media is good (as long as it’s news and not just complete opinion), there is a certain unhealthy stench that seems to dwell around overly-biased networks and companies. In my opinion, they seem to twist words and take out of context certain quotes to fit their beliefs and to make their audience feel better about their choices. I personally have a problem with this type of portrayal or individuals in the media and I honestly don’t think it’s best for the government and democracy of this country. It’s quite difficult to find news that’s not biased. I agree with sharing your opinion but not to the point that you seem to brainwash people into believing what you do and people believing certain ideas just because they come off of a certain network. And this applies to both sides; conservatives and liberals.
These new innovations allow all of us in this country to be very well informed if we choose. From television, phones, computers, and another type of device used for media, we are allowed to search freely and decided our own opinion due to our type of government. Not all of these people have this freedom, so we should not take this for granted and stay informed for a better society in our country. Although networks tend to be biased, we at least have the option to survey each network and determine what best fits our beliefs. Stay informed, America.

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Brandon’s Top 10 Albums of 2012, and a BLOG REVIVAL!

Holy Hell it’s been about a month since anyone posted!  We’ve all been busy with our lives; finals, jobs, vacations, holidays(if you’re like me, video games and working out take up most of your day) etc etc.  But with the Hot Stove sure to heat back up in January, and Spring Training around the corner, you can bet Landon and I will be posting quite often.

My main reason to revive the blog before the new year is to talk about my top 10 favorite albums of this year.  As always, someone will think I’m an idiot(I know at least one person is going to crucify me for not including Deftones “Koi No Yokan”), and honestly, I wish the list was a bit more varied, but to be honest, 2012 wasn’t full of that many great new artists;  Hardly anything on the pop rock/pop-punk front, no good new rock bands, no Cee Lo Green-esque R&B standouts, Immortal Technique didn’t release a new album(and Drake is still making music), so rap was pretty dead, stupid shit like Fun clogging the airwaves, but I digress.  Without further ado… my favorite albums of 2012.

10.  I Am War – Outlive You All (hardcore/metalcore)

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I got into the world of modern metal in 6th/7th grade-ish, which was around 2003 for me, so naturally I listened to the now classic albums by bands like Atreyu and Bleeding Through in their prime state.  Almost a decade later, the front-men of both bands have combined to create I Am War, a pure and simple(and most importantly, not forced and tired sounding)hardcore/metalcore band that doesn’t break any barriers, but is a refreshing reminder that not everything “hardcore” these days comes from the same kids who worshiped Whitechapel 5 years ago.  Plus, I’ve always been a big fan of the tone and enunciation that Alex Varkatzas’ voice has, and it’s good to hear him use it like it’s 2003 again.

Key Tracks:  “Uninvite Me to Your Facebook Party”, “The Poisoning”, “I Don’t Know Anything”

9.  The Faceless – Autotheism(death metal)

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FINALLY MICHAEL KEENE; FINALLY YOU MAKE AN ALBUM THAT ISN’T JUST TRYING TO FIT AS MANY NOTES INTO A SONG AS POSSIBLE.  Some of you are probably thinking “Whoa buddy, lay off the caps”, but that would mean you would have not have heard 2008’s “Planetary Duality”, also known as the Michael Keene Finger Olympics.  For Autotheism(great album name, by the way), Keene added some KILLER musicians to the fold(the one and only Evan Brewer, of Animosity and the one album wonder Reflux; also the criminally unknown Wes Haunch on guitar) and added the perfect amounts of things like clean vocals, acoustic guitars, and Microsoft Sam.  It took 4 years, but Keene has matured as a player and a songwriter, and isn’t that bad of a singer, either.

Key Tracks:  “Autotheism I:  Create”, “Autothiesm III: Deconsecrate”. “The Eidolon Reality”

8.  The Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten(alternative rock, punk, Americana)

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In an age full of post-grunge nonsense and cliché modern rock clogging the radio, The Gaslight Anthem delivered a brilliant true rock record.  You could easily get away with playing this on the radio and introducing some Shinedown fans to some good music for a change.  For anyone who hasn’t heard this band, think Hot Water Music fronted by Bruce Springsteen.

Key Tracks:  “45”, “Handwritten”, “Howl” 

7.  Glass Cloud – The Royal Thousand(metalcore)

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Comprised of ex-Sky Eats Airplane and ex-(of less importance)Of Mice And Men vocalist Jerry Roush and the brilliance of The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza guitarist Josh Travis, The Royal Thousand puts genericore wonders like the aforementioned Of Mice And Me, Attack Attack!, and Asking Alexandria in their place.  The band isn’t breaking into any kind of new ground, but is simply sprinkling some much needed fertilizer atop the lawn of the more than stagnant 5th generation metalcore crowd.  Roush’s voice is soothing and menacing, and Travis’ signature playing breathes new life into the genre and is sure to attract Danza and The Plot In You listeners alike.  This also might not be the last time we see Josh Travis on this list…

Key Tracks: “White Flag”, “If He Dies, He Dies”, “She Is Well and Nothing Can Be Ill”

6.  Every Time I Die – Ex-Lives(metalcore)

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Buffalo’s Every Time I Die has given us such gems as Hot Damn! And Gutter Phenomenon, and don’t disappoint on this early year release.  It’s everything you’d expect from Andy Williams and The Brothers Buckley; fat nasty hook riffs with a Southern twang, the catchiest breakdowns this side of the Mississippi, and Keith Buckley’s always quotable one liners.

Key Tracks: “Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space”, “Holy Book of Dilemma”, “Revival Mode”

5.  The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza – Danza IIII – The Alpha, The Omega(death metal, metalcore)

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It’s sad to see them go, especially since they just hit their stride with Danza III, but at least we have the aforementioned Glass Cloud carrying on part of their unique sound in spirit!  I won’t spend too much time gushing over Josh Travis like I did in The Royal Thousand mini-review, but the dude is on a whole other level writing and tone wise.  He doesn’t just sweep pick or do some insane tapping to sound cool or to seem technical, the guy was just built to tear up his guitar.  This is in full effect in the final Danza effort, and is a fitting end to a band who to be honest, were not that good until he joined (Go listen to Danza II and then give 3 tracks of Danza IIII a spin, if you don’t believe me).

Key Tracks:  “You Won’t”, “Death Eater”, “Paul Bunyan and the Blue Ox”

4.  Zelliack – Noir Tone EP(R&B, pop-rock, soul)

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One of my favorite vocalists ever, Mr. Elliot Coleman(ex-Sky Eats Airplane, ex-TesseracT) shows off his pipes on something you wouldn’t expect from a guy who recorded this:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9g0bLUItHaw

Tasteful melodies, a soothing, soulful voice, and funk hooks galore are in store on this short but sweet EP.  Given Coleman’s departure from TesseracT earlier this year, and the release of the single “Smoove” a couple of months ago, hopefully 2013 will bring something new(hopefully a full length) from this pleasant and refreshing project from Coleman and Zack Ordway(who can play, by the by; check out the solo to the first track).

Key Tracks:  “Autumn In Analog”, “These Hands”

3.  Southern Air – Yellowcard(alternative rock, pop-punk)

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Most people know about my infatuation with Yellowcard, which has been going on for about a decade now.  A lot of people are probably surprised I didn’t pick this for the number one spot, like sites such as Alter The Press! did.  And while it may seem like I’m just trying not to be predictable or cliche, the truth is; while “Southern Air” is a fantastic album, I was slightly underwhelmed.  2011’s comeback effort “When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes” was a rebirth in the truest sense of the word.  For “Southern Air”, it sounds like a band trying to establish a new sound, as evident by songs like “Here I Am Alive”, a song that has grown on me, but one I was originally not fond of.  I’m just scared they’re trying to go the All Time Low route, and will eventually forget the sincerity and energy they brought to MTV about a decade ago.  All that being said, the production is fantastic, the energy hasn’t been lost yet, and Sean Mackin, Ryan Mendez, and Longineu Parsons III are, like always, on top of their games,and are extremely more talented than the pop-influenced bands you’ve come to know.

Key Tracks:  “Awakening”, “Sleep In The Snow”, “Southern Air”

2.  Between The Buried And Me – The Parallax Pt. II: Future Sequence(metalcore, progressive, every genre under the sun)

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There isn’t much I can say about this album that I already haven’t…  http://menoftheround.wordpress.com/2012/10/15/album-review-between-the-buried-and-me-the-parallax-ii-future-sequence/

Key Tracks:  “Lay Your Ghosts to Rest”, “Extremophile Elite”, “Telos”

And now, surprising to no one who knows me, my favorite album of the year:

1.  Periphery – Periphery II:  This Time It’s Personal(metal, progressive)

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A brilliant cacophony of darkness and light, beauty and the beast, yin and yang, etc etc.  Once a SoundCloud bedroom project of guitarist Misha Mansoor, Periphery have evolved from wannabee Meshuggah ripoffs to one of the more versatile and crisp sounding bands in the metal scene.  The triple guitar assault of Mansoor, Jake Bowen, and Mark Holcomb(who’s presence is heard loud and clear all over the record) composes brilliant layers of ambient, tight leads and syncopated grooves while still retaining their trademark(whether that be good or bad)melodic vocals, giving the brilliance of vocalist Spencer Sotelo plenty of room to breathe.  Periphery know how to groove with the best, give you the cleanest of clean passages, give you soulful yet poppy chorus’, all while showing off their virtuoso level playing on every instrument.  If you can’t workout to “Facepalm Mute”, you aren’t a true metal fan.  If the ending chorus to “Luck As a Constant” doesn’t give you goosebumps every time, you don’t have a soul.  This album is pretty much as flawless as can be for fans of progressive metal who don’t mind variety over pure brutality.

Key Tracks:  “Luck As a Constant”, “MAKE TOTAL DESTROY”, “Mile Zero”

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College Football Talk

LSU sucks. They let everyone (other than Bama fans) down when they failed to close out a game they had proved to be the better team in. LSU’s QB played his best game to date and the defense, until the last drive of the game, played stellar defense. But in the end Bama was able to pull it out and piss off the rest of the world that doesn’t want to see an SEC team in the championship game. Personally what I am waiting for though is the LSU fan base to start calling for Les Myles job. It happens anytime they end up not for the title.

Looking around the landscape of college football, it seems everyone thought one unbeaten would fall. That didn’t happen. So we pretty much have the same thing we had the last week. reminds me of a certain election we just had….  I don’t see any major upsets happening this week. Maybe Texas A&M can pull a shocker at Bama. But I don’t think we see that. Boston College maybe does us all the favor and loses. because if there are 3 unbeatens and Notre Dame is one of them, they won’t be in the title game. Could you imagine the backlash from all that? Notre Dame… The holy grail of college football. The prize school… not getting special treatment and getting into the title game? If that happens, you might see the playoff come in a year early.

Week in review

No. 16 Texas A&M at No. 15 Mississippi State – I was afraid losing would get contagious for Mississippi state. Hopefully they can stop the bleeding. But it’s going to be tough.
 TCU at No. 21 West Virginia – Man, West Virginia… You sure do know how to fall of the face of the earth.
 No. 23 Texas at No. 18 Texas Tech – I thought higher of Texas Tech then how they showed against Texas. I guess that’s why I lost when I picked them.
 No. 20 Nebraska at Michigan State – Bell went off like I thought he would. But unlike what I thought Nebraska pulled out the win. They look like your Big 10 champs, sadly.
No. 4 Oregon at No. 17 USC  – Some one said the west can have their video game, I’ll take the real football in the SEC. I wonder if those same people realize Oregon could beat the SEC this year?
No. 1 Alabama at No. 5 LSU – LSU sucks.
No. 24 Oklahoma State at No. 2 Kansas State – If anyone thought Ok State really had a chance, I’m sorry. But you were wrong.
No. 22 Arizona at UCLA – UCLA is going places under Mora. I look for them to really make some major strides. Great win for them.
Fine Fifteen
15. Standford – Looks like a QB controversy at Standford. In midseason none the less.
14. Oklahoma – When you think about it, they have only lost to 2 undefeated teams.
13. Texas A&M – Look for them to give a bigger fight to Bama then one would think.
12. South Carolina – In time they will lose again. Probably to Clemson. That’s why they are behind them.
11. Clemson – they have the same problem FSU does. They play in the ACC. They are better than most of the teams on this list but won’t be able to prove it till the bowl games.
10. LSU – I won’t punish them to harshly for losing to the number 1 team in the land (by most polls) but they really did make me mad.
9. Oregon State –  Still not certain they can beat the higher class of the Pac 12. But they have kind of become the higher class of the Pac 12 without beating any of the higher class of the Pac 12.
8. Florida – I don’t like them this high. But somehow they win games they shouldn’t. If I played QB for Missouri They would have beaten Florida.
7. Georgia – Beat Auburn so you can beat Bama and leap-frog everyone and play for the title. real talk.
6. Florida State – They could beat everyone I put behind them and I’m almost certain they could beat anyone ahead of them.
5. Louisville – Undefeated and looking to stay that way. If everyone ahead of them loses it will be hard to keep them out of the title game
4. Kansas State – It will all even out and you will be the number 2 team. Just wait.
3. Oregon – They were unstoppable against an SEC caliber defense. That should scare those of the south.
2. Alabama – They don’t look so good when a team actually challenges them. But they did pull it out. Can’t wait to see them play Georgia.
1. Notre Dame – Look I know. I’m the only idiot that has them this high. They will end up losing so they will fall soon. But right now they have played the better teams and won.
Weekend pick off
No. 10 Florida State at Virginia Tech – VT has fallen so far this year. FSU seems to be on a road to the top. FSU wins big.
 No. 24 Northwestern at Michigan – If Robinson plays than Michigan wins. If not then Northwestern will probably win. But as of right now Robinson is playing so I choose Michigan.
 No. 15 Texas A&M at No. 1 Alabama – I would love to see Texas A&M win this game. But they won’t. Bama by 2 scores.
No. 11 Oregon State at No. 14 Stanford – We learn this week if Oregon State is that good or just good. Stanford has their own problems at QB so I go with the idea that they are just that good. Oregon State wins.
No. 21 Mississippi State at No. 7 LSU – LSU won’t have a hangover. And Ms State won’t stop the bleeding.
No. 2 Kansas State at TCU – Kansas State wins. Kleins concussion and all.
 Vanderbilt at Ole Miss – Ole Miss keeps on their improving and beats vandy.
 Missouri at Tennessee – If Franklin plays like he can then Missouri wins. But I don’t think that he will. So I got Tennessee.
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