Federal Agents Mad ‘Cause I’m Flagrant: Seventh BCS Bowl, BlogPoll Ballot, Parlay Picks and Classic Music Video of the Week

To take our minds off of NFL replacement refs (and even as a Bears fan that loathes the Packers with every fiber of my being, I can’t take joy in such an abominable outcome from Monday night’s game), let’s move onto some other news:

(1) Seventh BCS Bowl: Progress for the Little Guys or More Consolidation of Power for the Big Guys? – The powers that be of college football are reportedly going to add a seventh bowl to the top tier of games (widely presumed to consist of the Rose, Cotton, Orange, Sugar, Fiesta and Chick-Fil-A Bowls) that will be a part of the new playoff rotation and host the highest ranked champion of the “non-contract” conferences (the Big East, Conference USA, Mountain West, Sun Belt and MAC). Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com is reporting that industry sources believe that this new seventh bowl will make approximately $20 million per year in TV money. For the sake of comparison, the Rose Bowl will be receiving $80 million per year and the Please Choose a Freaking Site Already So I Can Stop Calling This the Champions Bowl will likely receive the same.

Whether this new seventh bowl is a good deal for what Dodd calls the “Gang of Five” depends upon what starting point you’re comparing it to. This sounds like progress compared to the prospect of simply a merit-based selection process to the “Access Bowls” that will have at-large slots in the new college football postseason (where the Gang of Five could have been frequently completely shut out of any top tier bowl games). However, it’s worse than the current BCS system for that same group since this is effectively consolidating what has been two separate bowl bids (the Big East champ AQ bid and the top 12 non-AQ conference champ auto bid) into one bowl bid. Dodd’s report also suggests that the Gang of Five champ will be locked into this seventh bowl game (hereinafter referred to as the “Gang of Five Bowl”) as opposed to being rotated around among the other Access Bowls, which means that that power conferences can still take up most (if not all) of the slots in those other games. Essentially, the Gang of Five Bowl looks like a mini-Contract Bowl that will need to find another tie-in instead of selecting from the Access Bowl pool, only that it still will be part of the semifinal rotation. (Dodd suggests that a third or fourth place team from a power conference could be interested in that tie-in, while an AP report says that either the Big 12 or Pac-12 could end up sending a team to this game.)

On paper, the Big East ought to be winning this Gang of Five bowl slot in most seasons, but it’s still quite a fall from a money perspective if Dodd’s financial figures are correct. Currently, the Big East is receiving at least $17 million per year for having an AQ bid in today’s BCS system, which is a figure that will almost certainly go down for the conference if the new Gang of Five Bowl is worth $20 million (as that revenue will need to be split up between the Gang of Five conferences and whichever other conference signs a tie-in). However unlikely it might be that Gang of Five school ends up finishing ranked higher than the Big East champ in the future, it’s still not an iron-clad that the Big East has now (or what the other power conferences continue to have). Once again, this scenario is better than the Armageddon situations facing the Big East a week or two ago, but still a downgrade from the current BCS system for them. We could arguably say the same thing about all of the other Gang of Five conferences. Nearly a year ago, when the playoff was still a dream and the talk was merely about “removing AQ status”, I wrote that it was a matter of semantics and the practical effect would be that the Big East and non-AQ conferences were actually going to be the ones being screwed. For the leagues outside of the Big Ten, SEC, Pac-12, Big 12 and ACC, the destruction of the BCS system was a “be careful for what you wish for” event and now everyone sees why.

(2) BlogPoll Ballot

It continues to be ugly for the Big Ten in terms of elite teams. This might be Northwestern’s time to shine with a 1995-esque run to the Rose Bowl.

(3) College Football Parlay Picks (odds from Yahoo! and home teams in CAPS)

WASHINGTON (+6.5) over Stanford – There’s some weird juju going on in Seattle this week. I’ll take the points for the home team in the land of rain and caffeine.

Penn State (PK) over ILLINOIS – I’ve seen many debilitating Illini losses like the one that occurred this past Saturday night against Louisiana Tech over the past 15 years. The most frequent response from the team in that type of situation is to head into a complete tailspin for the rest of the season. Both Ron Turner and Ron Zook could never, ever, ever limit the collateral damage of a bad loss to just a single game, so the deck is stacked against Tim Beckman here. Of course, the postseason ineligibility of Penn State and Ohio State is setting up the Big Ten Leaders Division to have Illinois-Indiana on October 27th become a critical matchup for the conference championship. My apologies in advance to the rest of the college football world.

Ohio State (+3) over MICHIGAN STATE – The Buckeyes are really the only team that could possibly be a factor nationally for the Big Ten at this point… except that they aren’t allowed to win anything. It’s unfortunate for the conference since I believe that Urban Meyer is everything as advertised as a coach.

(4) NFL Parlay Picks (odds from Yahoo! and home teams in CAPS)

Browns (+12.5) over RAVENS – Maybe it’s just me, but this feels like a patented Admiral Ackbar “It’s a trap!!!” game for Baltimore.

RAMS (+3) over Seahawks – Rams are much better competitively than their scores would indicate and, if there’s any justice in the world, there are going to be some karmic repercussions to Seattle here.

Bears (+3) over COWBOYS – I’d feel much better about this game if it was being played at Soldier Field, but it still comes down to a tale of two bad offensive lines and which defense can take the most advantage (and I sincerely believe that the Bears have the edge there).

(5) Classic Music Video of the Week: Mo Money Mo Problems by The Notorious B.I.G. featuring Mase and Puff Daddy

This is one of my favorite songs of any genre of all-time with a video that’s a fantastic time capsule of the late-1990s with its Tiger Woods-Fuzzy Zoeller reference in the intro, shiny jumpsuits and a posthumous appearance by the late Biggie Smalls. Speaking of which, if you ever have a couple of hours to kill on Netflix, you could do worse than checking out Nick Broomfield’s 2002 documentary Biggie and Tupac that sets forth the evidence that former Death Row Records CEO Suge Knight was responsible for the deaths of both Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur. Broomfield essentially looks and sounds like someone that you would expect to see on BBC World News, so it was quite a scene when he challenges Suge face-to-face in a prison courtyard (which was a sequence that the cameraman was apparently too scared to film, so he kept shooting the sky). Hopefully, the Illini won’t play the same type game that they did last week or else I might be flipping this documentary on pretty quickly.

Enjoy all of the games (and may the White Sox hang on for dear life)!

(Follow Frank the Tank’s Slant on Twitter @frankthetank111 and Facebook)

I Once Got Busy in a Burger King Bathroom: B1G Orange Bowl News, BlogPoll Ballot, Parlay Picks and Classic Music Video of the Week

Between the Bears and Illini, the respective quarterbacks of my teams have thrown a total of 8 interceptions over the past 6 days.  I’m not in a state of mind to make jokes about this right now, so let’s move on:

(1) Orange Bowl Tie-ins with Big Ten, SEC and Notre Dame – Lost in the shuffle of Wednesday’s massive news of Notre Dame joining the ACC as a partial member was this quote from Jack Swarbrick:

That’s a pretty significant development in the otherwise trickle of substantive news regarding the new postseason system since the powers that be agreed upon a playoff format.  The new ACC/Notre Dame partnership reportedly allows for Notre Dame to take an ACC tie-in for bowls other than the Orange Bowl (provided that Notre Dame is within 1 win of the ACC team that it’s replacing).  The Orange Bowl itself, though, is an ironclad tie-in for the ACC with the opponent now apparently coming from a pool of Notre Dame, the Big Ten and SEC.  Seeing that Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and SEC commissioner Mike Slive are far from shrinking violets, I’d expect them to be negotiating the following parameters:

(a) The Rose, Champions and Orange Bowls will rotate semifinals in a manner where none of them will ever host the semis in the same year. (This is likely more of a demand from ESPN than from the conferences.)

(b) When the Rose Bowl is hosting a semifinal, Big Ten #1* goes to the Orange Bowl.

(c) When the Champions Bowl is hosting a semifinal, SEC #1 goes to the Orange Bowl.

(d) If Notre Dame is ranked higher than Big Ten #1 or SEC #1, as applicable, then the Irish go to Orange Bowl instead, except that Notre Dame may only replace each of the Big Ten and SEC once in a 6-year cycle.

(* This should go without saying, but the #1 pick means the top selection from the conference that isn’t playing in the semifinals.)

The upshot of this would be that ACC #1 will be playing either Big Ten #1, SEC #1 or a highly-ranked Notre Dame team in the Orange Bowl in any given year, which will likely yield a media rights payout for the ACC that will be in line with what the Big Ten and Pac-12 are receiving for the Rose Bowl and the SEC and Big 12 are receiving for the Champions Bowl.  Thus, any chicken little beliefs that the ACC is going to end up playing subpar opponents in the Orange Bowl are going to go by the wayside.  For the other side of the Orange Bowl, in a 6-year cycle, Notre Dame would be capped at 2 appearances while both the Big Ten and SEC are guaranteed 1 invite each under this arrangement.  This would meet Notre Dame’s goal of having a strong relationship with a top bowl while having the flexibility to go to other “Access Bowls”.  In the meantime, the Big Ten and SEC effectively have backup tie-ins for their #1 selections, which means that those conferences are going to be swimming like Scrooge McDuck in a vault full of new postseason money.  If the above scenario occurs, this is looking like a great deal for everyone involved.

(2) BlogPoll Ballot

Nothing too crazy here except that I dropped Nebraska, Arkansas, Wisconsin and Oklahoma State like bad habits.  Last week was pretty ugly for the Big Ten.  The conference is going to need Michigan State to come through against Notre Dame.  Speaking of which…

(3) College Football Parlay Picks (odds from Yahoo! and home teams in CAPS)

MICHIGAN STATE (-6) over Notre Dame – Michigan State along with bowl ineligible Ohio State are probably the only 2 Big Ten teams worthy of cracking the top 10 in the rankings this year based on the early returns.  Weird stuff typically happens in favor of Sparty whenever they play the Irish in a home night game.

MISSOURI (-4) over Arizona State – Arizona State rolled up a lot of points last week, but let’s face it, that was against an Illinois team without a functioning quarterback.

BYU (-3.5) over UTAH – I’m sure Utah is going to be pretty focused for this rivalry game after last week’s debacle, but I don’t think it will be enough.

(4) NFL Parlay Picks (odds from Yahoo! and home teams in CAPS)

PACKERS (-150 total yards) over Bears – GAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!

Raiders (-1) over DOLPHINS – The ’72 Dolphins might have to pop champagne for Miami’s first win this season.

SEAHAWKS (+3) over Cowboys – Coming off of a huge division win, this is exactly the type of game that Tony Romo loses.

Ravens (+1) over EAGLES – I know that you can’t take too much away from the first week of the season (as evidenced by the Bears and Packers), but I have a hard time passing up taking points with Baltimore.

(5) Classic Music Video of the Week: “The Humpty Dance” by Digital Underground

All that I’ll say about this song is that I know these lyrics as well as I know the Pledge of Allegiance:

Enjoy the weekend!

(Follow Frank the Tank’s Slant on Twitter @frankthetank111 and Facebook)

The ACC Has the Luck of the Irish: How Notre Dame’s Move Affects the College Sports World

There has been one phrase that I’ve repeated many times on this blog over the past two years because so many college football fans continuously refuse to believe it: the ACC is much stronger than what people give them credit for.  I don’t say that as someone that is even a fan of the ACC at all (as it would bring me great personal joy to see Duke get relegated to the Southern Conference), but rather as an observer that when the academic leaders that ultimately make conference realignment decisions have a legitimate choice, they would vastly prefer being in an academically prestigious conference.  That is something that the ACC has always had in its favor (notwithstanding the hypocrisy of fake grades) and is a powerful counter to the lure a even a few million more dollars per year that could theoretically be obtained in other conferences.  This has culminated in the ACC grabbing the most powerful brand name in college sports (albeit on a partial basis): Notre Dame.

It doesn’t surprise me one bit that Notre Dame would bolt the Big East for the ACC as a non-football member.  From the Irish perspective, the ACC looks more like the Big East that the Domers originally joined in the 1990s (which had Miami, Boston College, Virginia Tech, Pitt and Syracuse at the time) than the Big East does itself today.  With the Big East getting shut out of the top level of conferences in the new college football postseason structure, the ACC provides “power conference” membership for Notre Dame’s basketball program and non-football sports without actually having to join a power conference for football.  Notre Dame is an institutional fit with many of the ACC schools as an elite private university, as well (which always played into the Domer bias against the Big Ten as a league that is made up of massive public schools with the exception of Northwestern).  The stipulation that Notre Dame play 5 ACC football games per year might not be optimal for the Irish, but it’s certainly doable since the ACC provides such a large slate that the Domers have chosen to play on their own, anyway.  Boston College and Pitt have long been almost annual Notre Dame opponents, while Miami, Syracuse, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Wake Forest and Florida State are all schools that the Irish have scheduled recently.  The ACC also allows Notre Dame to continue playing schools on the East Coast where much of its alumni base is located (which was a major detraction from the Big 12’s own non-football membership offer to the school).  On virtually every level (institutional fit, maintaining football independence, a football scheduling arrangement that they could live with, East Coast exposure, competitive basketball and Olympic sports), this was the best situation that Notre Dame could have received.

(From a purely personal standpoint, I want to see Illinois and Notre Dame play a Big Ten/ACC Challenge game annually at the United Center.  The Illini have been looking for better opponents for its annual Chicago game while the Irish are now going to need a presence in that market since it won’t be playing DePaul anymore.)

What surprises me is that the ACC offered this deal to Notre Dame in the first place.  ACC commissioner John Swofford has long taken the position that the league should only be made up of all-sports members along with members such as UNC that believe that they are every bit as powerful on the college sports landscape as Texas, Michigan and USC, so it can’t be emphasized enough that this is a dramatic change.  Unlike the perception in much of the media that this move was “Notre Dame choosing the ACC”, the reality is that this was the ACC choosing to move off of a previously intractable position.  The ACC might have been spooked by the constant rumors that the Big 12 would poach schools such as Florida State or Clemson (along with adding Notre Dame as a non-football member itself) as a result of the Big 12’s new TV deal.  On that front, the ACC schools agreed to what will likely be an impenetrable wall of a $50 million exit fee for each school.  That is honestly an even bigger deal in the long-term than the Notre Dame move since it effectively the ACC from its football cash cows bolting to other conferences.

What effect does this have on conference realignment?  At least when it comes to the “Big Five” power conferences, I believe that it stops it in its tracks.  Notre Dame and Texas are the two schools that have the ability to create dramatic shifts toward 16-team superconferences on their own, but both of them look to be settled for the foreseeable future.  The ACC itself has no need to expand further either on the football front or in a non-football manner.  15 members for basketball and Olympic sports don’t cause any material issue for scheduling and Notre Dame has always been the only school that the ACC would have ever offered partial membership to.  Therefore, Big East Catholic schools such as Georgetown and Villanova aren’t going to find a lifeline in the ACC.  Notre Dame also doesn’t impact the football side at all, so there is no need to expand beyond 14 there, which means that Big East schools such as Rutgers and UConn aren’t going to find a lifeline in the ACC, either.

The SEC and Pac-12 have always been the two leagues where Notre Dame’s potential movement would have the least amount of impact, so the ACC move doesn’t really require a reaction from either of them.  In the case of the Big Ten, it likely doesn’t change their thinking, either.  If the Big Ten wanted to expand to 14 or 16 without Notre Dame (and I never believed that they did unless Texas was coming along instead), then it would have occurred two years ago concurrently with the move to add Nebraska.  A school such as Rutgers is going to have to build a substantial resume both on-the-field (in terms of competing for top tier bowls) and off-the-field (in terms of actually delivering its home market for TV purposes) in order for the Big Ten to take any interest.  At this point, the Big Ten isn’t taking any “project” schools – it only wants elite programs with top-level financial underpinnings from the get-go and there aren’t any out there outside of the Big Five.

The Big 12 has an interesting dilemma as to whether they stay at 10 or expand to 12.  Now that it’s clear that the Big 12 isn’t going to be taking any ACC schools (which should have been obvious to the rationally-minded among us a long time ago), many conference realignment observers (including me) believe that Louisville is next on the list for the Big 12.  The problem for Louisville, though, is that there continues to be a lack of consensus around who would be school #12 and the Cardinals simply aren’t enough of a brand name to justify a league going to and stopping at 11 schools in the way that the Big Ten did with Penn State.  I’m sure that all of the Big East schools that the Big 12 could conceivably add (Louisville, Rutgers, Cincinnati, UConn, USF) are burning up the phone lines to Bob Bowlsby’s office, but I don’t see the Big 12 biting.  My personal view has long been that BYU paired with Louisville would be the best viable Big 12 expansion opportunity out there, but (1) that may not add enough revenue to justify expansion and (2) even if it would be revenue beneficial, BYU’s independence and demand for certain TV rights for BYUtv can get in the way.  As a result, I think the Big 12 is going to stay put for awhile.

The upshot is that despite the general storyline that the Big East is reeling once again, the actual impact of Notre Dame leaving the conference isn’t necessarily going to be that great.  Any major impact to the Big East would come in form of collateral damage of all-sports members such as Louisville and Rutgers leaving, which appears to be unlikely at this point.  Now, that’s not the say that the Big East should be happy about anything that has gone down today.  From a perception standpoint, Notre Dame was the last link that the Big East had to the college sports power table, which is now gone.  Notre Dame was also the main back channel that the Big East had to communicate with NBC/Comcast, who is widely speculated to be interested in the league’s new TV contract.  The Big East isn’t going to receive as reliable information on that front, which comes at an inopportune time with the conference’s exclusive negotiation period with ESPN now in effect.

Meanwhile, new Big East commissioner Mike Aresco faces the question of whether the league should replace Notre Dame with another non-football member, a full all-sports member, or no one at all.  Regardless of the Notre Dame situation, the Big East needs to find a 14th member for football.  However, that 14th member likely needs to come from the West, which precludes an all-sports invite to that school.  (My money is on Air Force eventually coming around as a football-only member with rival Navy already in the fold.  The leadership at the BYU, AKA the leaders of the LDS, is too infatuated with independence right now.)  If the Big East adds a non-football replacement, I’d put St. Louis University high on the list as a large market urban Catholic school that already has a long history with several of the Big East’s legacy Conference USA members.  Butler is also a great option on paper (although not quite the institutional fit that SLU presents).  That could result in some further shifting around in the Atlantic 10 and the midmajor conferences below it.  As a result, Notre Dame’s move to the ACC is more likely to trigger conference realignment aftershocks in the non-power conferences that don’t even play FBS football than any movement within the Big Five.

Speaking of which, one question that I have seen from a lot of people today is whether the Big East Catholic schools will split off and form their own league as a result of the Notre Dame defection.  I don’t see that happening with the irony being that with each defection from the Big East that is in part because it is an unstable hybrid conference, the remaining members end up needing the hybrid more than ever.  The Big East Catholic schools might end up finally leaving if Louisville and UConn find other homes, but until that happens, the Big East is still a superior basketball league compared to a split Catholic-only conference.  Now, maybe the Big East Catholic members believe that they can control their own destinies better by forming their own league, which is certainly a consideration.  That would certainly cause complete chaos among the midmajor conferences as much of the Atlantic 10 would definitely position themselves to get into the new Catholic league, which would then result in a massive chain realignment reaction.  As a pure financial decision, though, a hybrid Big East is still worth more to all of its current members than what they would have in a split situation.

The ultimate bottom line is that the ACC raided the Big East and Notre Dame got exactly what it wanted.  Something tells me that we have already heard that story several times before.

(Follow Frank the Tank’s Slant on Twitter @frankthetank111 and Facebook)

(Image from Rankontur)

Notre Dame to Join ACC as a Non-Football Member

There are multiple breaking reports this morning that Notre Dame will move its sports other than football and basketball from the Big East to the ACC.  Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune reports that there will be announcements made today in both South Bend and North Carolina, while Brett McMurphy of ESPN says that the deal entails Notre Dame playing 5 ACC schools per year in football.  I’ll have some more thoughts on this later, but you can discuss this huge conference realignment news in this thread in the meantime.

(Follow Frank the Tank’s Slant on Twitter @frankthetank111 and Facebook)

Someday Love Will Find You: The Longhorn Network, BlogPoll Ballot, Parlay Picks and Classic Music Video of the Week

There’s a post-Labor Day rush of thoughts on football of all stripes and types.  Let’s get to it:

(1) Longhorn Network Carriage – Anyone that has followed conference realignment over the past couple of years understands the importance of the ESPN-owned Longhorn Network.  In my opinion, it’s the single greatest factor that is keeping Texas in the Big 12, and in turn, Texas has the ability to cause a greatest earthquake out of any school on the college sports landscape (even more than Notre Dame) if it ever chooses to move.  Therefore, it’s key to keep an eye on Longhorn Network carriage in the State of Texas and its environs.

Last week, the Longhorn Network finally signed up AT&T U-Verse as its first of what would considered to be “major” cable carriers after a year of being on the air.  From those who recollect the carriage disputes in the Midwest when the Big Ten Network was formed, it took about a year for the top cable carriers such as Comcast to add the channel (with the one major difference being that DirecTV had the BTN from day one).  Getting AT&T on board is an important step for the LHN, but there’s still a lot work to be done in order to get the network onto what I would consider to be the most critical ones for its long-term survival: Comcast, Time Warner Cable and DirecTV.  With each week that goes by during the football season, the leverage that ESPN has in negotiating with carriers diminishes.  If ESPN can’t strike more deals by the time that the LHN airs its next football game, the chances of anything else occurring before next football season drop precipitously, which is where the long-term viability of the LHN starts truly coming into question.

My impression is that ESPN’s asking price for LHN is too high for the market to bear, but the problem is that the asking price is effectively what ESPN has to have in order to make only a minimal amount of profit (or even just to break even) after taking away all of the expenses of running the network.  If ESPN lowered the asking price much further, then it would be locking in long-term losses that would send Mickey Mouse and his shareholders into a bloody rage.  As a result, ESPN is likely going to have to go back to Texas to renegotiate its rights fees if these carriage disputes continue much further.  While Texas could theoretically sit back and tell ESPN, “F**k you, pay me” (which is effectively what the Longhorn Network contract states), the LHN is still an extension of the program’s brand even if it technically doesn’t own the channel.  The university ultimately doesn’t want irate alums and donors calling every week about why the LHN isn’t on their cable systems (as many of them actually mistkanely believe that the school owns the channel as opposed to ESPN), so it behooves the school to bend on rights payments if it can translate into greater carriage down the road.  Plus, if you look at the linked LHN contract, the real potential financial windfall for Texas comes from when the LHN hits profitability targets and a lucrative revenue sharing arrangement kicks in.  That windfall is realistically only possible if the LHN gets broad distribution across the State of Texas.

(2) BlogPoll Ballot

The clear lesson of the first week of the college football season is that Alabama is a holy terror of a scary team.  It looks like Alabama-LSU in November will be yet another national championship elimination game that might not end up being an elimination game.

Note that I got onto this week’s BlogPoll “Straight Bangin’ Award”  list for those biased against their favorite schools since there were actually some poor souls out there that put Illinois on their ballots.

(3) College Football Parlay Picks (odds from Yahoo! and home teams in CAPS)

Purdue (+14.5) over NOTRE DAME – The Boilermakers are going to sneak up on some teams this year.

Nebraska (-5) over UCLA – I have a feeling that enough Husker fans are going to head out to Pasadena to make this a fairly hospitable atmosphere for the road team.

Illinois (+4) over ARIZONA STATE – The Illini offense (particularly the offensive line) was pretty shaky last week, but the defense is impressive and can keep this game close.

(4) NFL Parlay Picks (odds from Yahoo! and home teams in CAPS)

Bills (+2.5) over JETS – Unfortunately, I think the Tebow Starter Watch is going to begin immediately.

PACKERS (-4.5) over 49ers – There’s a lot of interesting analysis out there suggesting that the 49ers are going to come back to Earth this season and I’m starting to buy it.  As a Bears fan, I have seen the great defense/untrustworthy quarterback combo rear its head for most of my lifetime and can easily see a drop off for the 49ers similar to what Chicago experienced from 2001 to 2002 and 2006 to 2007.

Colts (+9.5) over BEARS – I’m not that concerned that the Bears are going to lose this game outright, but as long as the team’s offensive line has more holes than the Soldier Field sod, there are going to be a lot of close calls.

(5) Classic Music Video of the Week: “Separate Ways” by Journey

Back in 2005, my Chicago White Sox adopted “Don’t Stop Believin'” as a corny theme song for the season and rode all the way to a World Series Championship (the first that either Chicago baseball franchise had seen since 1917).  Journey front man and self-described San Francisco Giants fan Steve Perry had enough time on his hands to show up to both the White Sox World Series clincher in Houston and the team’s ticker tape parade despite having no previous connection to the team.

“Don’t Stop Believin'” has enjoyed a fairly stunning renaissance since that time that was supercharged by its prominence in the closing moment in The Sopranos finale* and then the pilot episode of the shrill Glee.  It is now the most downloaded song of all time and has been ensconced in the top 100 list on iTunes every week for several years (which is remarkable for a 30 year old song).

(* If you haven’t already spent a couple of hours going through the legendary “Definitive Explanation” and second-by-second analysis of the final scene of The Sopranos, it’s well worth the time.)

One would think that this would be Journey’s greatest achievement, but the reality is that it’s not even close.  Please see the following:

It always slays me that Steve Perry and company are dead serious in this video.  There’s not a hint of irony or self-deprecation (or self-awareness, for that matter).  This is nothing less than the Citizen Kane of all music videos (or Vertigo, if you prefer).

Enjoy a wall-to-wall football weekend!

(Follow Frank the Tank’s Slant on Twitter @frankthetank111 and Facebook)