We've been here before. It's a bye week, and I have let my mind wander to disastrous results. So I posed a question to the world - if college football conferences were bands, who would they be?
It seems easy at first, but there are lots of little nuances to consider. The members themselves, a band's history, style, song choices, tone, musicianship, the ups and downs, sophomore slumps, all of it. Just like bands, conferences evolve and devolve, they change, they go through hot and cold streaks.
I promise you a lot more thought went into this than it probably deserved. If you have problems or gripes, leave them in the comments and we can hash it out. Or you could always take to twitter. I like to talk.
Not every conference is included. This decision was arbitrary. If I missed a conference and you have a good one, write it up and include a song example. Thanks and let's go!
They haven't been truly relevant in awhile. But they're extremely active, they're weird, they're not for everyone, they do inspire and bring some value to a mixed up and crazy world. The ACC deserves a band with kitsch, surrealism and outright strangeness wrapped up in a macabre suit that is just flashy enough to keep people glued to the television set. Devo is that band.
Mark Mothersbaugh is a Midwest guy like me, he's one of the most self-aware dudes out there. He paints on 'Yo Gabba Gabba', he does music scores, his sister has an art gallery in Akron where he has some crazy work featured. Those red hats from the ‘Whip It' video aren't that far off from some of the Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech helmets we've seen lately.
Also considered: Cake, B-52s, Talking Heads, Dan Deacon
Big 12: Old 97s
They rock hard. They're gritty. They rattle off completely memorable nights that make you think, ‘whoa why am I not going to see them more often?' There are times when they get buried under flashier and more current live acts, but they're always out there doing their thing no matter how the landscape changes and shifts.
Plus, they're from Texas. This one seemed pretty easy.
Also considered: The Jayhawks, Drive-By Truckers, Uncle Tupelo
Big East: Oasis
This one comes piggybacking off a tweet from the incomparable Michael Levin. He proposed Oasis for the Pac-12 based on inconsistency and the idea they think they're better than they are (‘bigger than the Beatles!'). While it was enticing, I started going down the rabbit hole with Oasis as the Big East. Lots of promse: check. Controversy: yup. Disillusionment: mhm. Collapse and explosion: you betcha.
Liam and Noel still haven't truly reconciled. It's possible they may never will. And thanks to teams like BC, Syracuse, Pitt, Virginia Tech, Miami, etc. there's a lot of bad blood out there and relationships that will never be the same at the expense of fans of the conference who just want to see them play. Instead, everyone is just drinking a lot.
Also considered: Guns ‘N Roses, Brian Jonestown Massacre, At The Drive-In, The Police
Big 10: Phish
You know what you're going to get with the Big 10. Games are going to feel like they take forever. They go on and on and on. Some people are keen disciples, but when you watch a bunch more football, you notice, well the Big 10 isn't that good and isn't that exciting. I mean the fundamentals are there, and there's some nice cuts.
You remember the '95 Rose Bowl, yeah man, I was there. Naw dude, I got a VHS tape of it in my basement I'll pop in every now and then when the wife is away.
There's something to be said for prolificacy, but come on man, I don't need to hear ‘AC/DC Bag' again and ‘Run Like An Antelope' is from 20 years ago. Sooner or later Wisconsin-Iowa isn't classic; it's just sad.
Also considered: moe., String Cheese Incident, Yonder Mountain String Band, Bèla Fleck
MAC: Neutral Milk Hotel
The cradle of indie rock is a perfect fit for the cradle of coaches and football. The MAC is a lot of fun, spawns a tree that sprawls all over the college football landscape and doesn't have a very deep catalog. But you know, there's something truly beautiful there.
Plus there's this whole DIY effect to MAC football; just as you never know when Jeff Mangum is going to show up at any given time, you never know when you're going to be treated to an epic Thursday night #MACtion throwdown. So you're always watching. Waiting. On guard.
Also considered: Guided By Voices, The Dismemberment Plan, Built To Spill, Sleater-Kinney
It's the future, man. Show up and get on board or get out of the way. We got synths, we got chrome, we got Chip Kelly headphones in, Close To The Edge on deck.
If you miss a monster score or a solo, just wait a few minutes, it'll happen again.
Also considered: Genesis, Rush, ELO, Emerson, Lake and Palmer
SEC: Otis Redding
Far from overrated. Classic. I will have no argument here. The brand is weathered and has seen a lot of changes over the years, but it's still crisp, clear and wonderful.
Why be different when ‘Try A Little Tenderness' is so instantly recognizable and perfect?
Also considered: James Brown, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Stevie Wonder
Sun Belt: Mastodon
Because, f*ck you. It's the Sun Beast.
Also considered: Andrew WK, Pantera, GWAR, The Sword