Panton’s 2015 Re-Issue Shows Big Things Can And Do Come In “Little” Packages

Courtesy:  eOne

Courtesy: eOne

As each day passes this month, Phil’s Picks is presenting its annual “Best of” lists.  That mass of lists launched yesterday with the year’s top new EPs.  Today, we move from EPs to albums.  Today’s list doesn’t focus on new albums, but album re-issues.  Make no bones about it, every year, hundreds of albums are re-issued both on CD and vinyl (as well as digital platforms).  So they are just as valid as being considered in any critic’s year-end lists as anything else.  Keeping that in mind, today Phil’s Picks is offering its list of the year’s Top 10 New CD Re-Issues.  This year’s list is topped by Diana Panton’s 2015 album I Believe in Small Things.  Also included in this year’s list of top re-issues are titles from Rich Robinson, Black Sabbath, Pain of Salvation and others.

As always, the list includes both the Top 10 records and five extra honorable mention titles for a total of 15 records.  Keeping that in mind, here for your consideration are the Phil’s Picks 2016 Top 10 CD Re-Issues

 

1) Diana Panton – I Believe In Small Things

 

2) Rich Robinson – Woodstock Sessions Volume 3

 

3) Rich Robinson – Through A Crooked Sun

 

4) Rich Robinson – Llama Blues

 

5) Allen Stone – Radius

 

6) Junkstars – This Means War

 

7) Faith No More – Album of the Year

 

8) Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath

 

9) Black Sabbath – Paranoid

 

10) Black Sabbath – Master of Reality

 

11) Pain of Salvation – Remedy Lane: Revisited, Re-Mixed and Re-Lived

 

12) American Hi-Fi – American Hi-Fi

 

13) Michael Jackson – Off The Wall

 

14) Pete Seeger – Pete

 

15) Shooter Jennings & Hierophant – Black Ribbons

 

 

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PBS Kids’ new ‘DTN’ DVD Is Another Enjoyable Collection For Audiences Of All Ages

Courtesy: PBS Distribution

Courtesy: PBS Distribution

Meteorological winter is still many weeks away.  But don’t tell the people at PBS and PBS Distribution.  That is because the companies released earlier this month a new winter-themed collection of episodes from PBS’ hit animated series Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.  The collection—Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Daniel’s Winter Wonderland—was released Oct. 11.  The four-episode collection is small, needless to say.  But it boasts its own share of positives beginning with its lessons.  That will be discussed shortly.  The stories that are used to teach the noted lessons are just as important to note in this set’s presentation as the lessons themselves.  Last but hardly least of note in the collection’s presentation is the inclusion of the live action segments with each episode.  Each element is important in its own right to the collection’s presentation.  All things considered the collection in whole proves to be yet another enjoyable collection of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood episodes for audiences of all ages.

PBS and PBS Distribution’s latest collection of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood episodes is yet another enjoyable collection of episodes from the hit animated PBS/PBS Kids for audiences of all ages.  That is due in no small part to the lessons that are taught throughout each of the collection’s four featured episodes.  One of the key lessons that is presented in the set’s featured episodes is that of trying things that are difficult.  It is not the only lesson that is presented in these episodes, either.  The set’s final episode, “Baking Mistakes” teaches an equally important lesson about making mistakes and learning from them, and the set’s opener, “A Snowy Day” teaches a relatively simple lesson about dressing properly for cold weather.  What is interesting here is the manner in which those behind the set’s creation tied that episode into “Daniel’s Winter Wonderland” and “Neighborhood Nutcracker,” the set’s other winter-themed episodes.  That leads into another of the key elements to note in this collection’s presentation, the stories used to teach the set’s lessons.

The lessons that are taught in Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Daniel’s Winter Wonderland, are a collectively important part of the collection’s presentation.  That is because they are lessons that are key to children’s personal and social development.  While the lessons featured in this collection are clearly important to the set’s presentation, they are not its only collectively key element.  The stories that are used to teach each of the featured lessons are just as important to note as the lessons themselves.  DTN’s (as it will henceforth be known in this review) writers crafted a relatively simple story for “A Snowy Day.”  The story sees Daniel and Miss Elena playing outside in the snow.  Before they can play though, they have to find the right attire to keep them warm.  They get the right clothes but then eventually go back inside so that they can warm back up indoors.  Again, it’s a relatively simplistic story.  But it is one that will entertain and educate.  That story leads directly into the story for “Daniel’s Winter Wonderland.”  This episode’s story takes Daniel and Prince Wednesday back outdoors with Daniel’s dad to a really big hill where Daniel and Prince Wednesday learn about doing things that seem hard (and maybe intimidating).  From there, the group goes ice skating.  Daniel and Prince Wednesday learn in both settings that even if something seems hard (or intimidating, technically), approaching those hard things a little bit at a time can make them less hard to do.  That lesson is directly approached in the third of the set’s episodes, “Neighborhood Nutcracker” when Daniel has to take over for Prince Wednesday in his neighborhood’s presentation of The Nutcracker Ballet in the ballet’s lead role.  The story at the center of the set’s final episode, “Baking Mistakes” stands starkly apart from the set’s other stories because it technically has nothing to do with the set’s other three episodes.  It finds Daniel and Prince Wednesday making cookies with Baker Aker.  The group makes some mistakes along the way, but learns that it’s okay to make mistakes because that’s how people learn.  This is a story that could apply just as much during colder weather as in warmer weather.  That being the case it still makes the story fit with the collection’s other stories.  Keeping this in mind, and the stories at the center of each of the set’s other episodes, the whole of the set’s stories proves to be just as important to this DVD’s presentation as the lessons that are taught within each episode.  Even as important as the lessons and stories are to the disc’s presentation, they are not the collection’s only key elements.  The live action segments that are included with each episode are just as important to the collection’s presentation as its stories and lessons.

The lessons are stories that are presented throughout Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Daniel’s Winter Wonderland are both key elements in this DVD’s presentation.  That is because collectively they both entertain and educate audiences of all ages.  As important as they are to the collection’s presentation, they are not its only key elements.  The live action segments that are included in the collection are just as important to its presentation as the previously discussed elements.  It seems like it isn’t that important on the surface.  But in the bigger picture, they are doubly important.  That is because they serve both to help drive home the lessons that are taught within each episode and they also serve to help make the viewing experience exactly the same as it would be if families were watching the episodes on television.  This means that even if families don’t get to see these episodes on TV, they can still see them on DVD and have the experience be just like it is on television.  Again, it seems like something of a non-factor.  But in the grand scheme of things even something so minor can make a big difference.  Keeping that in mind, the live action segments that are included with this set’s featured episodes prove clearly to be just as important to the collection as its lessons and stories.  When all three elements are taken into consideration together they show in whole why this collection is yet another enjoyable Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood collection for audiences of all ages.

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Daniel’s Winter Wonderland is hardly the series’ first collection of episodes.  Even with that in mind, it is still another enjoyable collection of episodes from the hit animated series for audiences of all ages.  That is due in no small part to the collection’s featured lessons.  When the set’s featured lessons are coupled with the episodes’ stories, that pair will entertain and educate audiences of all ages.  The live action segments that come with the episodes put the finishing touch on the collection.  That is because not only do they drive home the lessons taught in each episode but they also enhance the collection’s viewing experience.  They do so by making the viewing experience feel as if audiences are watching the episodes on television instead of on DVD.  It might not seem like much on the surface, but it plays a big role in the grand scheme of everything.  The importance of each discussed element to the collection’s presentation should be clear by now.  All things considered, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Daniel’s Winter Wonderland proves, again, to be another enjoyable experience for audiences of all ages.  It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store.  More information on this DVD is available online now along with all of the latest Daniel Tiger news, games and activities at:

 

 

 

Website: http://pbskids.org/daniel

 

 

 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/danieltigertv

 

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Tessitore, Blackledge Talk 2016 College Football Season In Media Conference Call

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN Sunday College Football Broadcast Team: L – R: Todd Blackledge, Holly Rowe, Joe Tessitore. Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN’s Joe Tessitore and analyst Todd Blackledge sat down with members of the media this week to talk about the 2016 college football season and all things college football.  The pair talked with the media about their thoughts on the season’s major Heisman candidates, coaches’ QB choices, and what they think are some of the season’s most anticipated matchups.  The in-depth conversation is noted in full below.  Tessitore and Blackledge will join fellow reporter Holly Rowe this  Sunday, September 4th as Texas and Notre Dame face off live on ABC.  Coverage of the game is expected to begin at 7:30pm ET.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, everyone, for joining today’s call, and welcome to the start of the college football season. As mentioned, today we have Joe Tessitore and Todd Blackledge and John Moline, who will be working together this season. Holly Rowe will join them throughout the season as their reporter. Joe and Todd will be in Austin on Sunday night for Notre Dame and Texas on ABC. As a heads up, we will have a transcript of today’s call so we will be sending that out this afternoon. We’ll get things started by tossing it over to Todd who will give some opening thoughts on the season. Joe will do the same and then we’ll get right into questions. Todd, why don’t you take it away.

TODD BLACKLEDGE: All right, well, it’s good to be with everybody here this morning, and obviously looking forward to the start of another great college football season. I think the thing that I’m most excited about, and I think everybody at ESPN is, just the magnitude of the opening weekend, the games that are making up the opening weekend spanning over a couple days is it pretty impressive and worth getting excited about, and I just can’t think of any better way to kick off college football than to have this type of a presentation right out of the gate.

I think the College Football Playoffs and the excitement around that and the importance of strength of schedule has had an impact, and certainly this first weekend of games, we’re going to find out a lot about teams.

I think it’s great as a team to play a high-caliber opponent early. I think it motivates you and it adds energy and juice to your preseason practice and your training camp, and a loss in a game this early against a high-quality opponent does not remove you from the championship picture. So I think it’s a win-win for everybody, particularly the fans, and for Joe and Holly and I, we’re thrilled to be in Austin on Sunday to call the Notre Dame-Texas game. A lot of intrigue around that game and probably as much as any one particular spot at the quarterback position on both sides of the field.

You know, we’re probably going to see four guys in the game. I don’t know how much we’ll see of each guy or what the rotations are going to be, but I think both head coaches have talked about playing two guys, and in the case of Texas, I wouldn’t be shocked if we don’t see a third guy in there in a wildcat type situation in special situations.

First games there’s a lot of intrigue, a lot of mystery, a lot of wondering how guys are going to respond on a big stage, and we’re excited and thrilled to be there to cover it.

THE MODERATOR: Joe, why don’t you give your thoughts on the opening of the season.

JOE TESSITORE: Good morning, everybody. This is Joe Tessitore. Thanks for your time. I think Todd brings up a great point in talking about the opening weekend and the influence of the College Football Playoff now that we’re a couple years in and realizing what it’s done scheduling-wise. I think everybody realizes it’s the best opening weekend the sport’s ever had. But when I look through, and Derek, you asked for season overall thoughts here, I look at the schedule even beyond opening weekend, and I feel like everywhere you turn, you see these potential College Football Playoff eliminators or games that will help us decide some things. I think the season is filled with them, it’s just that we have this overflow in week one that makes it so exciting, but whether it’s Bama-LSU, Clemson-Florida State, Michigan-Ohio State, I feel like we have that everywhere you turn.

I also think the sport is really blessed and it continues to be this way, and we know some of the ways college basketball is panned, but the returning established stars, when you have Fournette, McCaffrey and Deshaun Watson and Baker Mayfield and Dalvin Cook, I was just doing a Heisman special the other day, and I started putting this list together and everywhere you look, you have these established stars and these known qualities, and I think that’s good for the sport and really good for the fans.

I can’t get away from what Nick Saban and Jim Harbaugh have been up to this off-season, and the fact that we have these two huge names in coaching with all the other big names, but with Saban, does the legacy and the dynasty grow even bigger would be one of the big headlines I’m looking forward to this season, does Harbaugh deliver on the hype.

As for the hype for our game, on a personal note, I’m absolutely honored and thrilled to work with Todd and Holly, and I think I speak for Todd in saying that with what Holly has been through this year and this off-season and the fight and the courage and what she’s shown, and I know her battle has been a little public, to see Holly on Sunday night in primetime on ABC, a game like this, Todd, I know we’re all going to be just so thrilled to have that group together, and she’s the absolute best in the business, as is Todd, at what he does. I’m thrilled to be a part of this team now.

I think the Notre Dame-Texas game personally, more could be revealed in this game than perhaps any other opening weekend game out there because I think Notre Dame, of course, top-10 team but very much perceived as a team with enough new talent to reload in spots where they need it and a team capable of putting it all together for a run to the playoff, but yet there’s still a lot that has to be decided.

Todd talked about the quarterback battle. I want to see who emerges at wide receiver and fills some of that void at tight end, who steps up on the defensive line where they do have some players that are back again and others need to step up.

And for Texas, you feel this buzz this off-season as this is the point of the breakthrough and the true freshman quarterback, but yet Swoopes is still there and the big dominating tandem in the backfield. But there are still the issues from last year that you want to see resolved, the run defense. Yeah, they’re a year older. Yeah, there’s a new offense, an exciting young new offensive coordinator, but is it too big of a leap to go from where they were to now what’s expected, and I think very early on on Sunday, we may start to get some of those answers, and if we do in a positive direction, this is going to be a thriller on Sunday night.

I’m very excited, and with that, Derek, I guess we can open it up for some questions.

Q. Question for Todd: Coach Strong is still not really releasing who he’s going to start as a quarterback in the game on Sunday, and Coach Kelly said he’s going to play both guys. What’s kind of the strategy behind do you think coaches trying to keep some of that stuff mum until the last possible second?

TODD BLACKLEDGE: Well, you know, I mean, I guess if you can do that, what you can do in college football a little differently than you can in the NFL, (inaudible) preparation. Now, the positives of Notre Dame is they’ve had all off-season. It’s not like it’s (inaudible) week where they’ve only had four or five days to do preparation work for two quarterbacks or two different styles of quarterbacks. So they’ve had extra time. I think just as (inaudible) quarterback is going to be is I would imagine Notre Dame’s defensive staff led by Brian VanGorder has probably spend as much time studying and dissecting film from a year ago to get familiar with the offensive plan and system that they might see from Sterlin Gilbert’s offense in the ballgame. More so than which guy is taking the snaps, I think they’ll spend more time being concerned about the style of offense and maybe the tempo of the offense that they’re going to face.

Q. Todd or Joe, when is the last time that you actually saw a two-quarterback system be effective and actually work, keeping both guys happy?

TODD BLACKLEDGE: Well, I mean, I think you have to look at what Ohio State was able to do. I mean, last year was not great (inaudible).

THE MODERATOR: Todd, your phone is breaking up a little bit here. Why don’t we go to Joe.

JOE TESSITORE: It’s funny, Todd and I got on a conference call last week, and one of the things we started discussing was Brian Kelly’s success at Cincinnati, and we really started focusing in on that, where Coach was very comfortable in having two talented guys and guys that in the circumstances created that, but still, they did have success at times when they were using a two-quarterback system. It can be done. The reason why it’s being done may not be the same, but obviously they’re blessed with the talent that’s there.

But I don’t know, I think one of the great curiosities of this game and opening weekend is to see how this will play out. But there have been spots of success, and Brian is a coach who has been one of those guys in recent years of college football who’s actually done it.

THE MODERATOR: Todd, let’s try to go back to you and see if we can hear you a little bit better.

TODD BLACKLEDGE: Yeah, I mean, I’m not — as a former quarterback, obviously I’m not a huge fan of playing two quarterbacks. But by the same token, I’m not necessarily all in with the idea that if you — the adage if you have two quarterbacks then you really have no quarterbacks, because again, in today’s world of college football, I think you have to have at least two guys ready to take first-team reps and ready to play at a high level because of the effectiveness of quarterback run game in offenses today.

You know, the offenses that are really prolific, you either have an NFL-type quarterback who can make every throw, or you have an element of quarterback run, and when you do that, you put the guy at risk. So again, I live in Ohio, and watching what Ohio State did on their way to a National Championship, you know, they ended up going through three quarterbacks because of injury, but the key was that each one of them was ready to step up and play at a high level when their number was called.

So early in the season you start out by saying, okay, look, we’re going to play two guys. But eventually I think they’ll work into one guy as a starter, but you want to make sure that other guy is not only happy but ready to play at a high level when his number is called, because you are one play away from being a starting quarterback if you’re a backup.

Q. I kind of want to go along those same lines but take it a step further with the SEC specifically. It seems like the conference kind of has a rep of we’ve got talent coming out of the ears at every position, developing players except for quarterback. Is that kind of a fair analogy, and if you think it’s true, why do you think it’s true?

TODD BLACKLEDGE: Well, I don’t know if it’s a fair analogy or not. Certainly maybe other positions have developed quicker or they’ve put more guys in the league that are playing at a high level, but I think quarterback play is kind of cyclical. I think there are times when it may be down in a league like the SEC, but there’s other times when it’s pretty good. I just think that that league, one of the things that’s different is the defenses are very good in that league, and the type of defensive talent that you face week in and week out is a little bit different for a quarterback than playing in some other leagues across the country.

I think that has something to do with it, but I just think overall it’s cyclical. I don’t think they do a bad job of developing quarterbacks. I just think it might be a little bit more difficult to play week in and week out at that position, as well.

JOE TESSITORE: I think Todd is right when he points to the defense as being part of the explanation. I also think that every conference takes on a certain offensive identity as to what’s the norm, and we know what that’s been in the Big 12 in recent years, and you’ve seen certain coaches who were holding out on that now give way and conform. Gary Patterson finding great success with what he did at changing offensive coordinators in recent years, Texas now going down that same road. Some of those same things aren’t asked of quarterbacks in the SEC. It’s not the same conforming culture of offenses in the SEC.

Yes, for some quarterbacks you’ll see those stats, be it with what you see out of Chad Kelly or perhaps even Trevor Knight at Texas A&M this year, knowing what they are going to ask of him in that offense, but with others managing the game, playing two back play action with the emphasis on power run, you’re not going to see some of the same stuff. But undoubtedly what Todd said with the level of defense and the front sevens that they’re facing every week, it’s a different beast.

Q. Todd, if you don’t mind momentarily skipping ahead to week two, Pitt-Penn State, first time in 16 years, renewal of a rivalry, two things: Number one, do you think this game should be played every year? Number two, can you share some of your memories from whether this likely or definitely may be the best Penn State (inaudible) in the history of the series in 1981?

TODD BLACKLEDGE: Yeah, in answering your first question, I wish they would play every year. I know logistically they may not be feasible, but to me one of the greatest things about college football and the thing that sets it apart from the NFL is rivalries. When I was at Penn State, the Pitt-Penn State game was as good a rivalry game as there was in college football, and it had its own niche, that Friday after Thanksgiving, the battle of route 322, a lot of the in-state competition, even though I was an Ohio guy, I found out pretty quickly how important that game was.

Also, when I was at Penn State at that time in the early ’80s, the talent on both of those teams, the NFL caliber talent was unbelievable. It was a great rivalry to be a part of. I wish that they played every year.

The memories I have of the ’81 game, and I’ve done a few interviews about it already this year, this summer, I have very distinct and fond memories of that game. It was a bizarre game. They were ranked No. 1. We came in with two losses, but we were a really, really good football team, and we were ranked No. 1 earlier in the year and got beat by Miami and then lost again to Alabama. But we knew we were capable of playing with Pitt even though they had a great team. And yet it didn’t look like that early on. We were down 14-0 at the end of the first quarter, and I think I’m correct in saying we had minus one yard of total offense in the first quarter and just showed no signs of being able to stay on the field.

And Pitt was driving again early in the second quarter, and we got an interception on a beautiful play by our safety Mark Robinson down by the goal line, and that just kind of stopped the avalanche for a minute, and we were able to tie it up before halftime 14-14 and then it was a completely different game in the second half.

Our defense forced turnovers and our offense came up with big plays in the passing game, and we ended up scoring 48 unanswered points to win 48-14.

It was a crazy game, a great game for Penn State. Yeah, I have great memories of that because we also — we didn’t have to go back to school right away because it was Thanksgiving break, and I remember going with my family and Kurt Warner and some other guys to Klein’s Restaurant downtown Pittsburgh, and just an incredible weekend capped off by that game.

Q. Rightfully Clemson and Florida State get most of the media attention that comes out of the ACC but I’d like to get North Carolina’s week one matchup with Georgia and the effect that that game will have on the Tar Heels’ season.

JOE TESSITORE: I broadcast last year’s opener for North Carolina, which I think we look back and shake our head at now, but this is actually a team that I like a lot, and I think obviously with what they’re facing week one, that would be a signature win non-conference-wise that could really propel them to something special. But I just look at their offense, and there is so much talent on that side of the ball, and I think Trubisky could be even better for them than what we’ve seen in recent years. I think Hood is one of the most underrated running backs in the country, and Hollins on the outside is a big-bodied receiver. Switzer is as dangerous in the slot in the return game as anybody is in the country. Any time he touches the ball, he could really go. They’ve got returning guys on the offensive line, so they’re going to be very consistent and dangerous offensively.

Defensively, need to step up. Need to keep developing. Didn’t see much defense last year, but you’ve got to hope that year two under Chizik, guys having more experience, they’re just better. But I think North Carolina is sneaky good and very capable week one against the Dawgs, especially if the Dawgs are finding their identity offensively a little bit, depending on what we see at quarterback.

I think nobody should be fooled thinking that Georgia is lacking talent. That roster and that recruiting has never turned itself off.

But I actually think, and we were talking about this, as good as this opening week is, if you were to tell me what games do you feel like are undoubtedly final-possession games, that’s very high on the list. I think that’s going to be a highly competitive game that is played to the wire on Saturday.

Todd and I having a Sunday game, God, I feel like this is a great luxury for us. On Saturday we get to watch football and enjoy this thing. That’s definitely the game I’m going to be locked in on Saturday afternoon. I’m looking forward to it.

TODD BLACKLEDGE: Yeah, I would just echo that I think that that’s a great opportunity game for North Carolina. They finished with a lot of confidence. They had a really solid season last year, and they’re going against a team that a lot of people are going to go in and well, think, Georgia is more talent, SEC, blah blah blah, but Georgia has a lot of answers — they have a lot of questions to figure out on both sides of the ball. If anybody has been around Alabama at Nick Saban’s defense and Kirby Smart’s defense, it’s not a simple system, and it doesn’t happen right away, and so it’s — I think it’s going to take them a little bit of time to get real comfortable in some of the things he wants done defensively. They’ve got questions an offense, and as Joe mentioned, a lot of talent, but I see North Carolina going into that game as a very confident football team and looking at that game as a chance to really kick this season off in a positive way.

Q. You guys were talking a little bit about big name quarterbacks. Obviously with the Auburn-Clemson matchup, Deshaun Watson is a player that everybody is going to be watching. What are you looking to see out of players whose names are already in the Heisman conversation?

TODD BLACKLEDGE: Well, my biggest thing, when I think of a guy coming off the kind of year that Watson had last year, and he was fun to watch. I had him in the semifinal game and he was spectacular, he was great in the final. You know, the biggest thing is, okay, how does he take the next step in his development, and really the thing that’s really impressive about him beyond his skill set is his poise. His poise for a young player was pretty impressive, very unshakeable. And so the biggest thing now is, okay, how does he progress, how does he take the next step in decision making, in how quickly he sees and recognizes things on the field, taking a little bit more command of things.

And the only thing I would worry about with a guy like that is that he doesn’t try to do too much, that he doesn’t try to get outside of himself and do too much and try to make every play, but that doesn’t really fit his personality. I wouldn’t expect that to be a problem for him. But can he get better? Yeah, he can get better, and that’s pretty scary for people that are going to play him.

I just like everything about him. I like his skill. I like his athleticism, and I really like his poise and his demeanor playing that position.

JOE TESSITORE: Was your question specifically Watson in terms of expectations with the Heisman hype, or did you want me to go beyond Watson?

Q. Watson, but also beyond Watson.

JOE TESSITORE: Todd is going to give you a far better breakdown on the field and he just did and what to look for from him personally, but just as somebody who tracks the Heisman voting through the years and Heisman campaigns through the years, the thing with Deshaun is he comes into the season in a very unique position because we always have the candidates who in advance of the season come in with a certain level of status, where if they do what’s expected of them, if their teams and the individual have similar seasons to what they just had, undoubtedly they’ll be in the front row in New York.

This year it’s Watson with two running backs. It’s Watson, Fournette and McCaffrey who carry that status going into the season. Deliver on what you’re supposed to do and what you’ve already done, and you’ll be in the front row in New York.

What we’ve been noticing when we track the Heisman in recent years is with the internet voting and everybody voting online after the championship games, he who moves last moves best. You don’t want to be out in front of the Heisman race early. You want to make your move in November and surge. His biggest Heisman defining moment will come on October 29th at Florida State against another Heisman candidate just a notch below him in terms of perception in tears, against Dalvin Cook. And then in the month of November, up until he plays in the ACC Championship game, Deshaun is going to have a lot of games where he’s expected to win easily, to put up stats, but nothing that’s going to grab everybody’s attention. It’s Syracuse and Pitt and Wake Forest and South Carolina. So come the week after that, it’s Leonard Fournette and the question of can he finally get over the Alabama mountaintop on November 5th in a game that’s very similar in my eyes to the Florida State-Clemson game in sort of a de facto in-conference playoff eliminator.

So I think Deshaun is going to be just fine, but October 29th will define whether he’s in that lead seat heading into November of the Heisman race, but then Leonard Fournette is going to have an opportunity, as he did a year ago but then was overtaken by Derrick Henry, to then take the next step back and surge ahead.

But he’s in phenomenal shape, and he’s a young man that I had the chance to broadcast last year, and I can remember broadcasting the Orange Bowl a few years ago with Clemson and Ohio State, and the coaching staff, because he was an early enrollee, being able to talk about him, and sitting there telling all of us, oh, no, the best guy is coming in in a week. Well, we get the best guy in about a week and a half, and boy, he’s delivered on every bit of that. I’m just excited to see him play.

It’s another game Saturday night we’ll be dialing up late when we’re down there prepping this Texas-Notre Dame game that comes out of the chute at Auburn. But I look through the person of how the Heisman can be won, and that’s the way I see it for Deshaun.

Q. I want to go back to the Notre Dame-Texas game. What stands out to you about both Kizer and Zaire, and secondly, we’ve talked a lot about the offensive side of the ball, but defensively, who are a couple guys on both teams that you’re looking at to kind of keep your eye on for the game?

TODD BLACKLEDGE: Well, I’ll talk about the quarterbacks a little bit. I went out and watched Notre Dame practice last week, and they’re both impressive guys. I think that — I don’t think Brian Kelly is trying to play any games by saying, you know, what he said about the quarterbacks and playing two guys. Both guys are competitors, and they want to be the guy, but they’re two of Brian’s best playmakers. And not only best playmakers but most experienced playmakers. He’s got a lot of youth at wide receiver, and so those two guys have proven that they can play winning football for Notre Dame.

The idea of playing one and keeping the other one on the bench for 60 minutes, that’s not the best thing for that team. They’re both talented. It’s unique to me that one is right-handed and one is left-handed. If I had to distinguish between the two, I think Zaire is going to impact a game and affect a game more with his feet, and Kizer is going to affect a game and impact a game maybe more with his recognition of what the defense is, staying in the pocket, seeing over the rush and making throws down the field. Not that he’s not a good runner or a capable runner because he proved that, but I think he’s more comfortable staying in there and seeing the field and beating you that way.

They’re both very talented. They’re both bright. They both have proven themselves, and the question is now how do they break up the playing time between them on Sunday night, and at what point in the game do they decide or will they decide, hey, one of them gives us the best chance of going ahead and winning this football game. That will be the real interesting thing to see how they manage.

JOE TESSITORE: Defensively, I’m looking forward to getting your thoughts on the guys I’m going to mention when we go to practice down in Austin later this week, but I know Jefferson is going to get a lot of attention for Texas, but just even this weekend in doing some of my prep, I look at the five defensive backs that can be on the field for Texas, and I see size and athleticism, and I think Devante Davis is a guy as a corner with his size and his range and his physicality who NFL scouts are going to be drooling over in the coming years, but I look at Hall and Haines and all that talent in the defensive backfield, but then I ask myself, is the front seven, and really the guys up front, are they going to be capable of stopping the run against Notre Dame and putting the defensive backfield in position to have a big impact on this game, or is Notre Dame going to have their way in running the ball against Texas.

If I’m a Texas fan, whether it’s Poona Ford or somebody, Nelson or Boyette, I need to hear one of their names a lot on Sunday night. I need somebody there to just be flat-out better than they were. I know what that defensive backfield is going to give me with Texas, but I’m not quite sure what the big guys up front are going to deliver.

And then for Notre Dame, obviously there’s talent to replace both with the situation off the field at safety but also at linebacker with the talent that departed. But I think having Jones 94 and Rochell 90 up front, those could be some special players for them this year.

But the question marks for me would be defensively, the defensive line for Texas, and are they capable and can they step up in a spot like this.

Q. On the candidates for Heisman, are there any dark horse candidates you guys would consider? I know Fournette, McCaffrey, Watson, a lot of those guys are getting a lot of the main attention. Are there any dark horse candidates for Heisman that you guys might suggest?


TODD BLACKLEDGE: I’m going to let Joe talk about this, because I’ve told Joe before and I tell people, I personally — I don’t like talking about the Heisman until we get to the month of November. Just like I don’t like talking about who’s the top five or two whatever until we get to the month of October. But obviously I know that’s part of it, and people want to hear about it, and Joe specializes in it, so I’m going to let him throw out some names for you.

JOE TESSITORE: To Todd’s point, Todd obviously has more college football in his pinky than all of us combined on this call and years and years of seeing it, and he knows very well that you don’t win the Heisman in September or October, you only win it in November, and all you can do in September is really get into the starting gate of the Heisman, to then have the race be won.

But if you’re looking for names out there of guys that could potentially at least get into the starting gate that aren’t the obvious choices, and I would consider the obvious choices in the guys who are going to have those post positions already set for them to be Watson, Fournette, McCaffrey, and then J.T. Barrett and Baker Mayfield and Chad Kelly and Dalvin Cook and potentially Josh Rosen and Nick Chubb, depending on what happens opening weekend with both playing two very difficult non-conference games, UCLA and Georgia.

The longshot guys I would throw in there are the fact that the Baylor quarterback is going to be the Baylor quarterback, and there’s a certain status that comes along with that. So Seth Russell is back healthy. Luke Falk at Washington State should put up ridiculous stats. Royce Freeman at Oregon is one of these guys that’s grossly underrated and outstanding and talented. Barkley at Penn State is going to put up great stats at running back and out of the backfield and potentially could get a good upset win. If Tennessee is an SEC Championship contender, Josh Dobbs is going to get consideration depending on what they look like offensively. The two intriguing ones, quarterbacks for me, would be Greg Ward at Houston and Lamar Jackson at Louisville, the reason being is they’re both dynamic dual-threat guys who have the opportunity in Houston to have signature non-conference wins right out of the gate against Oklahoma, and for Louisville, the chance to either upset Florida State or Clemson and have really gaudy stats.

There’s always going to be a Alabama playmaker. There’s been a recent voting trend in the Heisman of a default vote of best player on best team. Somebody from Alabama, whether it’s the quarterback, the featured running back, Calvin Ridley or even a defensive star will get consideration to at least get votes to get to New York.

And then real, real extreme longshots, I would tell you Trubisky at North Carolina; Brad Kaaya if Miami has a good year and makes it to the ACC title game. Patrick Mahomes at Texas Tech may be the most purely talented stat gatherer in the country; JuJu Smith-Schuster at USC, but they would have to find team success; Mike Weber at Ohio State now getting the ball and taking the reins from Zeke Elliott if they have great team success. And the outlier candidate that could make it to New York would be a guy like Jabrill Peppers at Michigan if they are national title contenders and he’s the showcase of what they do defensively.

But that would be the list that I put together preseason for some of our ESPN work that we’ve already done for the Heisman.

Peanuts Double Feature Getting Blu-ray Treatment This Fall

CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Media Distribution will re-issue two classic Peanuts TV specials again this fall.

Peanuts: A Boy Named Charlie Brown and Peanuts: Snoopy, Come Home will be released in a special new Blu-ray double feature presentation this fall.  The TV specials will be released in one complete collection on Tuesday, November 1st in stores and online.  Their upcoming joint release will two months after the two movies will be released in their own standalone Blu-ray packages.

The features’ standalone Blu-ray presentations will be released Tuesday, September 6th via CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Media Distribution.  The specials were have also been released a number of times on DVD both by themselves and with other Peanuts specials in recent years.

Courtesy:  CBS DVD/Paramount

Courtesy: CBS DVD/Paramount

PeanutsA Boy Named Charlie Brown is the first of the Peanuts specials to ever be aired.  It follows Charlie Brown as he unwittingly becomes his school’s representative in the national spelling bee.  It all begins as Charlie sets out to disprove his fellow students who believe that he can’t even win the school spelling bee.  Along the way Charlie Brown’s best friend Linus deals with the disappearance of his beloved blanket as he tries to help Charlie Brown prepare for the spelling bee.  And back home scheming Lucy plans to take advantage of Charlie Brown’s potential success by naming herself his agent.  Of course things don’t turn out quite as she, Charlie Brown, or anyone else expect.  But the special still leaves audiences with smiles on their faces and feeling such support for everybody’s favorite underdog.

Courtesy: CBS DVD/Paramount

Courtesy: CBS DVD/Paramount

PeanutsSnoopy Come Home presents a completely different story.  When Snoopy receives a letter in the mail, he suddenly leaves his doghouse and embarks on a cross-country journey.  The reason for Snoopy’s journey is a mystery to everybody including Charlie Brown.  That is until the contents of the letter are revealed.  What comes next is a deeply moving story that will move audiences of all ages to tears of joy.

PeanutsA Boy Named Charlie Brown and PeanutsSnoopy Come Home will both be available on Blu-ray on Tuesday, September 6th.  Both titles are expected to retail for MSRP of $24.99.

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Foghat To Celebrate New Album’s Success With Record Release Party

Courtesy: Foghat Records

Courtesy: Foghat Records

This past June, veteran rock band Foghat released its latest album Under The Influence. The album debuted on Billboard’s “Hard Rock Albums” chart at #17 and on its “Independent Albums” chart at #40. In celebration of the album’s success, the band has announced it will hold a record release party next month.

The band will celebrate the success of its new album Under The Influence with a record release party September 21st at New York’s famed BB King’s Blues Club and Grill.  Joining the band on stage at the show will be some of the figures who helped record the album. They include: blues guitarist Scott Holt (ex-Buddy Guy), Kim Simmonds (Savoy Brown) and Roger Earl.  The performance will mark the first time since 1970 that the pair has worked together.  The pair worked together from 1968 – 1970 and recorded five albums together in that time.

Simmonds discussed his friendship with Earl in a recent interview.  He spoke highly of Earl and his relationship with his former Savoy Brown band mate.

“I always had a great respect for Roger as a person and a drummer. He certainly helped make Savoy Brown the entity that it is…. It’s always nice to be around people that understand you and know you well,” he said. “Like when you go home to your parents and the family you feel comfortable because you know that your parents really know everything about you. I think it’s the same with Roger and myself. We know a lot about each other and that’s the sort of a comfort that you get from still being in touch with people. I suppose it’s like old school mates or something. In this case we are old band mates.”

Earl spoke just as highly of Simmonds when he discussed the duo’s friendship and working relationship.

“Kim gave me my shot when I was 20 years old and I joined his band,” he said. “I have very fond memories playing with Kim, and also it’s a gas that we can still be friends and make music together. Kim Simmonds is just spectacular on this record. Kim and I remained friends over the years. In fact, we jammed together; when we did the Rock Legends cruise last year. Kim got up and played a couple of songs with us, and I played on another day that Kim and Savoy Brown was playing. I played three or four songs with him. As a guitar player, he was always a great! And he is even better now! He’s a brilliant blues guitarist.”

Foghat is currently touring in support of Under The Influence. The band will be in Uncasville, Connecticut this Sunday, August 28th.  Audiences can keep up with the band’s tour schedule, news and more online now at:

 

Website: http://foghat.net

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Foghat

Twitter: http://twitter.com/FOGHAT

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Dance Gavin Dance Announces Dates For “Mothership Tour”

Courtesy: Rise Records

Courtesy: Rise Records

Dance Gavin Dance has announced the dates for its upcoming North American Tour.

The band’s “Mothership Tour” will launch September 22nd in Los Angeles, California and run through October 27th in Mesa, Arizona.  The tour, which is in support of the band’s upcoming 7th full-length studio recording Mothership also includes dates in New York, Michigan, North Carolina, and a number of other cities.  The Contortionist, Hail The Sun, and Good Tiger will share time on stage as support acts for the tour.  Good Tiger joins the tour in support of its own new album A Head Full of Moonlight, its debut record.  The complete schedule for the upcoming “Mothership Tour” is noted below.

 

MOTHERSHIP TOUR DATES

Sept. 22 – El Rey Theater – Los Angeles, CA
Sept. 23 – Social Hall SF – San Francisco, CA
Sept. 24 – Hawthorne Theatre – Portland, OR
Sept. 25 – Neumos – Seattle, WA
Sept. 27 – The Summit Music Hall – Denver, CO
Sept. 28 – Granada Theater – Lawrence, KS
Sept. 29 – Amsterdam Bar & Hall – St. Paul, MN
Sept. 30 – Portage Theater – Chicago, IL
Oct. 1 – Emerson Theater – Indianapolis, IN
Oct. 2 – The Crofoot – Pontiac, MI
Oct. 3 – Mr. Smalls Theatre – Millvale, PA
Oct. 4 – Lee’s Palace – Toronto, ON
Oct. 5 – La Tulipe – Montreal, QC
Oct. 6 – The Waiting Room – Buffalo, NY
Oct. 7 – Middle East Club – Cambridge, MA
Oct. 8 – Union Transfer – Philadelphia, PA
Oct. 9 – Webster Hall – New York, NY
Oct. 11 – Baltimore Soundstage – Baltimore, MD
Oct. 12 – The Norva – Norfolk, VA
Oct. 13 – Cats Cradle – Chapel Hill, NC
Oct. 14 – Masquerade – Atlanta, GA
Oct. 15 – Orpheum Theatre – Tampa, FL
Oct. 16 – Culture Room – Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Oct. 17 – The Social – Orlando, FL
Oct. 19 – Rocketown – Nashville, TN
Oct. 20 – The Ready Room – St. Louis, MO
Oct. 21 – Diamond Ballroom – Oklahoma City, OK
Oct. 23 – Scout Bar – Houston, TX
Oct. 24 – Mohawk – Austin, TX
Oct. 26 – Vinyl @ Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Las Vegas, NV
Oct. 27 – Nile Theatre – Mesa, AZ

 

More information on the “Mothership Tour” is available online now along with all of Dance Gavin Dance’s latest news at http://www.facebook.com/DanceGavinDance.

 

More information on Good Tiger’s debut album is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at http://www.facebook.com/GoodTigerOfficial

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Yanks, Sox Finish Off Weekend Series Sunday On ESPN’s SNB Broadcast

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

The Yankees and Red Sox go under the lights this Sunday on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell.

What is one of professional sports’ most storied rivalries will have its latest chapter written this Sunday night when the Yankees and Red Sox go under the lights on ESPN’s flagship MLB program.  The game will be the finale in the teams’ three-game weekend series.  The game is scheduled to begin at 8:05pm ET.  Masahiro Tanaka (6 – 2) is scheduled to get the start for the Yankees while David Price (9 – 6) will get the start for Boston.  Price’s last time on the mound was July 10th against Tampa Bay.  He was credited with the win in that game.  He was in prime form throughout the game, too allowing only 4 hits, 0 runs, 0 earned runs, 1 walk, and 0 home runs.  He struck out 10 of 29 batters, too.  This was all over 8 innings pitched.  That is just under half of the batters faced.  Teammate Brad Ziegler played a role in the win, too.  He kept Tampa Bay’s bats completely silent in the game’s final inning, striking out 2 of 3.

Tanaka’s last time on the mound was July 10th against Cleveland.  He had a rough time against the Indians, too allowing 7 runs on 10 hits over 4.2 innings.  He also allowed 3 earned runs, 2 walks, and 1 home run, striking out only 5 of 26 batters.

While New York is playing host to Boston in this weekend’s series, the numbers are pointed more in favor of the Red Sox.  This is even with Boston’s current 19 – 18 road record and New York’s 23 – 18 home record.  The Red Sox are currently in the midst of a four-game win streak and 7 – 3 in their last ten games.  The Yankees meanwhile are 5 – 5 in the team’s last ten games.  New York is   The last two of those games were wins for the pinstripers.

Dan Shulman will have the call for Sunday’s game.  He will be joined in the booth by analysts Aaron Boone and Jessica Mendoza for additional commentary.  Reporter Buster Olney will be on-hand for all of the latest in-game news and interviews.  Sunday night’s  broadcast will be preceded by Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown presented by Chevrolet at 7pm ET.  Karl Ravech will anchor the broadcast.  He will be joined at the desk by analyst Dallas Braden and ESPN MLB Insider Tim Kurkjian.

More information on Sunday’s MLB coverage is available online now along with all of the latest MLB headlines at:

 

 

 

Website: http://espn.go.com/mlb

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ESPNBaseballTonight

Twitter: http://twitter.com/BBTN

 

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.