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The RS Top 25: Ranking the Music from College Football’s Best Towns

The quest for the National Championship begins, and these artists are in the hunt for the title

Florida State Seminoles, BCS Championship

Quarterback Jameis Winston of the Florida State Seminoles celebrates Vizio BCS National Championship Game victory.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The 2014-15 college football season kicked off on Thursday, so for the next five months, get ready to hear plenty of discussions about just who should play for the National Championship.

In previous years, that decision was left to the computers, which compiled rankings from various polls, considered strength of schedule and crunched inverse numbers in order to put the two best teams on the field for the BCS Championship Game. Not surprisingly, this solution left much to be desired…and not just because sports and algorithms have about as much in common as, well, football and futbol.

This year, things are a bit different: We've finally got a College Football Playoff. But that doesn't mean the polls aren't still important – witness the unveiling of this season's first AP Top 25, which ranked the best teams based on little more than speculation and preseason promise. We read it and thought to ourselves "You know what? This looks easy."

Using that poll as a template, we've created the RS Top 25, our rankings of the best musical acts from this year's college powerhouses. Turns out, it's not as simple as it seemed – some schools have enough famous musical alumni to fill a library, while others required a bit more work (and some stretching of the rules).  No poll is ever going to be perfect.

But, hey, at least we didn't use any math. From George Clinton to Jimi Hendrix, and just about everyone in between, here's our first Top 25. 

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21. Texas A&M / Lyle Lovett

Lyle Lovett graduated from Texas A&M in 1980 with a double major in German and journalism. He specializes in wry country-inflected songs rather than anthems suitable for the Aggies football team – but "That's Right (You're Not from Texas)" can work in a pinch. Just don't tell native son Johnny Manziel.

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22. Nebraska / Matthew Sweet

Johnny Carson is an alumnus, but Lincoln is the home of Matthew Sweet, criminally under-appreciated alt-rock/power pop guitarist who cut a string of great albums in the '90s, beginning with 1991's standout Girlfriend. Here's the title track from that album…just try not to play air guitar while listening.

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23. North Carolina / Superchunk

Chapel Hill is home not just to the North Carolina Tar Heels, but a thriving indie rock scene – in large part because of local band Superchunk and the record label they founded, Merge. "Mower," their 1992 classic, both exults in violence and regrets it – not unlike football fans who know about the effects of concussions.

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24. Missouri / Sheryl Crow

Before she broke through with 1993's Tuesday Night Music Club, Sheryl Crow was a standout at Mizzou, where she not only sang in a local band (the awesomely named Cashmere) but was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta and worked as a "Summer Welcome" orientation leader. Speaking of welcoming, here's her hello to the world, "All I Wanna Do"

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25. Washington / Jimi Hendrix

Seattle has not exactly been deprived of great rock acts (Nirvana, Heart, Mudhoney, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, to name five), but native Jimi Hendrix remains the king. Shouldn't they play his version of the national anthem before every Washington Huskies game – actually, every single sporting event in the city?

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