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Land of the Un-Beaten


The college gridiron season is upon us once again, and as expected we’re on our way to another controversial postseason. In this finale of the "pre-playoff BCS era", we could very well see a handful of unbeaten teams come bowl time.  Some schools have challenged themselves in the scheduling this year while others either have a walk in the park, controlling their own fate. Many teams will be on the cusp of a title shot but with a host of the elite schools with weak schedules this season, some unbeaten will be on the outside looking in.

Leading the way as the undisputed pre-season #1 is Alabama. Nick Saban's Tide has been by far the most dominant team in college football the last few years. Despite a slip up to Johnny Football, and the Aggies last year, Bama regained poise and tackled a second straight National Championship, 3rd in the last 4 years. Even with the usual suspects in the SEC atop the rankings, Bama's only true test may come at the end of the season in the SEC Championship game where they could be on a collision course with preseason #5 Georgia. The Bulldogs, led by heisman hopeful Aaron Murray, didn't lose much to the NFL draft last year. If healthy, Mark Richt’s dawg pound could potentially run the table in the SEC, including knocking off Bama, staying unblemished for a chance at the title.

Further North in the big 10, the Ohio State Buckeyes went undefeated last season with ease but unfortunately weren't bowl eligible.  Newly released from the bowl ban, they have a favorable schedule. If you're betting on anyone staying perfect this year put your money on Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes. 

Immortality could be up for grabs out west as well. The high powered offense of #3 Oregon will no doubt lead the PAC-12 in scoring again this year, the question is will the Ducks muster up enough offense against #4 Stanford when they both square off November 7th in Cali. The winner of this showdown may in fact be left with a donut in the loss column, tossing themselves in the discussion of who should play for the ship.

Over in the big east the team controlling their own destiny is Teddy Bridgewater and the Louisville Cardinals.  Back in January, Bridgewater threw for nearly 300 yards for 2 TD’s, as he and Louisville scampered impressively past a highly favored #3 Florida Gator team in the Nokia Sugar Bowl . This season the cardinals have the breeziest schedule of any top 10 team, with a list that features not a single top 25 opponent. With many of the other top 10 teams battling each other and falling off by the way side, Louisville could find themselves unbeaten and slide right in the driver seat of at least a BCS bowl bid. Although their strength of schedule may keep them out of the coin toss to play in the grand finale, Louisville will certainly earn honorable mention if they can end unbeaten.

After all the jockeying for BCS ranking positions is over, as usual we undoubtedly will be unsure as to who truly deserves an opportunity at the National Championship. The one thing everyone seems to firmly agree on is that a College Football playoff cannot come sooner. Santa and the NCAA front offices will somewhat grant our wishes next year with the introduction of a 4 team playoff. While this season strength of schedule may be the worst nightmare of many schools, snext year coaches, athletic directors, players, and fans everywhere will watch the fate of college football’s crown decided between the hash marks.

 Written by Functuay of Iamtheinfluenc.com

Lyfe Jennings "Boomerang"


Kendrick Lamar's Wake Up Call to HIP HOP

Days after rapper Kendrick Lamar’s controversial lyrics surfaces, a wide eyed aura still lingers over the hip-hop world. Lamar along with Jay Electronica were featured on Big Sean’s track titled “Control” where the trio all spit an individual freestyle verse. Sean blazed his verse first before Kendrick unleashed an epic fury of bars this era of hip-hop has never heard. Just as Lamar starts to increase his flow, in the meat of the verse he starts to name drop a handful of well-known mc’s in the game. In the verse he says "I'm usually homeboys with the same n***** I'm rhymin' with but this is hip-hop and them n***** should know what time it is and that goes for Jermaine Cole, Big K.R.I.T., Wale, Pusha T, Meek Mill, A$AP Rocky, Drake, Big Sean, Jay Electron', Tyler, Mac Miller...I got love for you all but I'm tryna murder you n*****." In the entertainment world sadly the first interpretation is usually the most negative. The responses by fellow rappers are gaining in numbers by the day. Some of them feel it’s nothing more than a bonafide diss track aimed at the competition while others believe it’s simply a wakeup call and challenge to the hip-hop world to bring back good music.

After breaking down the “Control” lyrics by Lamar, you’ll definitely hear where the controversy stems but there are still a few other interesting bars not really getting a whole lot of notoriety. Earlier on in his verse Lamar reference’s himself along with JayZ, Nas, Eminem, and Andre 3000 as being one of the best MC’s which certainly could be cause for rebuttal. However further along in his verse he goes on to say he has love for the aforementioned rappers he’s supposedly dissing. Also not really being mentioned is contorted throughout the controversial rhyme are some cleverly delivered puns, metaphors and vicious analogies, many of which probably still have mc’s puzzled. 

 As expected, pouring in has been the responses by several rappers, some of which are unequivocally irrelevant, nonetheless where there is opportunity there are opportunist. There were actually a few that hold some weight, like that of Nas, one of those “Best MC’s” that Lamar named. After hearing the track and asked his opinions, the rap vet said “Wow! I love hip-hop right now.” Also when asked was he offended he simply said “I’m a listener”. Diddy offered his opinions as well via instagram with some humor that mocked Kendrick’s line about being the King of New York. Two of the rappers mentioned in the track, Meek Mill and Wale both were asked as well their views on the track. They both virtually said the same thing in separate interviews, “sh*t I would be offended if he didn’t mention my name in that sh*t. I don’t feel any type of way, what people should look at is who he didn’t mention. Those n***** should be offended. At the end of the day it’s all sport, a lot of us cool but we here to compete too, this hip-hop.” Big Sean, the artist who actually released the track, had intentions of adding this song to his latest album however it didn’t make the cut. In his interview about the track he let it be known that he and Lamar are actually friends and his verse was a not a diss but simply what hip-hop is all about. He also went on to mention that after Lamar sent back his verse he wasn’t offended and actually feels his verse is just as good or better than Kendrick’s, how many would agree with that I’m not sure. Other rappers targeted in the track like Drake, Pusha T, Mac Miller and Tyler have yet to respond or comment.

When this cloud of controversy and misinterpretation clears, will this track have been enough of a wakeup call for hip-hop? There are so many questions attempting to be answered after Kendrick Lamar’s “Control” verse but the one no one is asking is where do we take hip-hop from here? Whether or not it was intended to be a diss track or just a self-motivating rant, as lovers of hip-hop we can only hope it serves as the demonstration that helped rejuvenate real hip-hop music. Undoubtedly hip-hop has evolved and will forever evolve with creative minds and the introduction of new styles but what has not evolved is the quality of its mc’s. Mentioned in Lamar’s verse are what many are calling this new wave of artist like J.Cole, Wale, Drake and a few others but throughout the rest of hip-hop are what could be talented rappers making “popcorn music.” Simply put, just music created for entertainment purposes to make money but has no real passion, flavor, essence or thought into it at all. Artist and labels are only thriving and relying on the real artistic ability behind the scenes of the beat makers, producers, and song writers, hook singers etc. laying down all the brilliant groundwork. Rappers are not perfecting their craft like before and labels are not demanding better music. How long will we be listening to hot beats laced with lyrics lacking substance? Only time will tell if the consistency of real hip-hop will rise again until then, regardless of how you feel about control, Kendrick Lamar one; everybody else zero.

 Written by Functuay of Iamtheinfluenc.com

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