Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Frank Beamer is the Coolest and the BCS Is Dead (Almost)

The head coach of the Hokies isn't the only one dancing today as a presidential oversight committee, led by Virginia Tech President Charles Steger, finally granted approval to a four-team playoff system for college football.

In an interview with the Daily Press, Steger told David Teel, “The ACC presidents were unanimously in favor of the four-team playoff, and I wanted to be sure they [Athletic Director Jim Weaver and Beamer] were comfortable with it. Frank’s the one who’s got to coach the team. Not me. He’s very supportive."

And why wouldn't he be? The Hokies are consistently on the cusp of being a top team, but usually fall just on the outside of the national championship picture.

Therein lies the biggest criticism of Beamer, he can't win the big one.

You know the rest of the drill, Frank Beamer is class personified. He's nice to a fault in the minds of many, and there aren't a lot of public sports figures these days criticized for being loyal and considerate of one's opponents.

Those detractors are few and far between, a product of the semi-professional SEC and the envious eyes fixed upon its success by the rest of the college football world.

Hokies certainly aren't immune to that, and there is a crazed group of folks who whisper too loudly for my tastes that Beamer will never win the national championship and can't get Tech to that level during his last handful of seasons in Blacksburg.

I get that to some extent. I want a national championship too and Frank wants it more than anyone. There have been plenty of eggs laid by the Hokies on the big stage and maybe he won't win the big prize, but that's no reason to hasten his retirement.

The man is Virginia Tech football. His record is 209-98-2. He has never had any recruiting violations or academic scandals. If anything, maybe you could say he's given troubled athletes too many second chances. Oh for shame!

There's only one thing hanging over his legacy, and it's the empty trophy case in the Merryman athletic center reserved for the national championship trophy.

This case overlooking the practice field is reserved for the national championship trophy.

People are quick to blame Frank for that emptiness, but they forget he's the only reason it's there in the first place.

Now, the four-team playoff format brings new hope to those not confident in Tech's ability to finish in the top two spots of the BCS.

The BCS is dying and we will all dance on its grave and welcome the purer playoff that gives more teams a chance to win the national championship.

Really it's all about money, but don't tell Frank. He's first in line to dance a jig.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Remember Fiona Apple? This And Other News

When last I posted, I painted a rather bleak portrait of the mainstream music scene as it stands today.

I insinuated that the youth of the world are vapid people that listen to strange, disposable sounds. That they possess the attention-span of a gerbil after having their brains warped their entire lives by the warm glow of modern technology.

This is true.

But that isn't to say that there isn't a lot of good music still being put out there.

I'd like to take this chance to re-affirm some faith in the current music industry by highlighting some upcoming releases that are very exciting.


Fiona Apple is best known for the controversial music video for her 1996 song "Criminal", from her debut album Tidal. 

Subsequent releases saw her evolve a unique style featuring her soulful, emotive voice alongside tasteful piano playing and arranging.

Her latest album, The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than The Driver Of The Screw, And Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do, features some bare arrangements that serve to highlight Fiona's voice and emotion.

It's a very powerful album and also very weird, both of which are good things in my book.

Her single, "Every Single Night" is beautiful and arresting while the music video is at once the coolest and strangest thing I've seen in a while.

Another promising project comes to us from Glen Hansard.

Formerly of The Frames and The Swell Season, Hansard marks his solo debut with the release of Rhythm and Repose. 

Sepia tones and suspenders mean folk gold and hipster cred.

It's a very folksy album with fairly restrained vocals that give way to some powerful moments such as on the song "High Hope". 

Hansard has melted our hearts before with his work in the film Once, and his other collaborations with former love interest Markéta Irglová.

Glen's distinctive Irish voice lends a certain tenderness to everything he sings and he's still playing that old guitar with the hole in it. Very folksy indeed.

Both albums will be released 6/19. In the meantime, you can stream them both over at NPR's First Listen.


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