If Ohio State has just gotten bent over and humiliated by an SEC team on national network television, then that means another college football season has come to an end, leaving thousands of otherwise talented bloggers with nothing to write about. But not me, lawya! Whereas most people are scrounging around for ways to recap and rehash the bizarreness and frequent idiocy of the football season, I have another interest -- politics -- with just as much potential for bizarreness and idiocy, if not more. And now, in the spirit of that "Simpsons" post I did a couple years back that got this blog way more attention than it would've ever otherwise deserved, I bring you The 2008 Election Cavalcade of College Football: Your Favorite Presidential Candidate as a Football Team, or Vice Versa. Get ready to hate it all over again! . . .
Mike Huckabee: Kansas
Toiled in obscurity for years before deciding to aim for the stars this time around; in the beginning, the general consensus was, “Ha-ha, that’s cute, whatever,” but before long they were knocking off some of the established GOP/Big 12 powerhouses. Sudden success quickly drove the punditocracy into tear-down mode, insisting that these were lightweights who had no real substance or staying power, but both Huck and the ’Hawks just kept right on chopping heads. Granted, there are many hurdles left to overcome, but don’t be surprised if we end up stuck with them for the next few years.
John McCain: Penn State
Angry, but hey, they've earned it. Old, some would say past their respective primes; wasn’t all that long ago that both had virtually disappeared from the polls, but somehow they managed to claw their way back thanks to long-proven survival skills. Even those who don’t particularly like them have to admit that, for the most part, they’re class organizations; at this point, they may be destined for permanent just-short-of-elite-powerhouse status, but even then it’s oddly difficult to imagine life without them.
Fred Thompson: Alabama
Once they threw their respective hats into the ring, they were announced as contenders, with everybody just sort of assuming they had a shot at taking the title from the established powers. After a point, though, it started looking like neither one of them actually gave a fuck about winning. An easily saleable brand name and plenty of tough talk, but not a whole lot of proven substance at the moment. Yet somehow the hotties still follow in their wake just the same.
Rudy Giuliani: Notre Dame
Still coasting on reps that have been built on smoke and mirrors, and spent a lot of time getting patted on the back way beyond their actual merit — but in recent weeks their weaknesses have been very much exposed. With the “inevitability factor” shattered, both have settled into what looks like a bide-your-time-then-strike strategy (waiting for the New York and Florida primaries/“People better enjoy it now”) that nobody beyond a core group of delusional supporters actually thinks is going to work. Almost universally despised outside their own fan bases; trust me, Catholics aren’t exactly thrilled about being represented by either.
Ron Paul: Mississippi State
Written off as weird, ineffectual sideshows by The Powers That Be in their respective milieus; even some assholes who were formerly supporters turned on them in a big way. But that was before they jumped up and proved to the world that — oh, shit! — they know a thing or two after all. Buoyed considerably by fan bases whose dedication borders on the fanatical.
Mitt Romney: Oklahoma
Aside from that one triumph that’s already fading fast in people’s memories (the 2000 national title/the 2002 Massachusetts gubernatorial race), always gets just one or two steps short of the prize and then manages to blow it in a major way. Looks like a contender, sounds like a contender, yet in the end you’re always wondering, “How’d he manage to fuck that up?” Currently making a living out of finishing second in January.
Duncan Hunter: Florida International
Some people apparently convinced them they had a shot at the big time. These people are clearly nuts.
Aaaaand the Democrats:
Hillary Clinton: Michigan
Once the undisputed heavyweights, both are finding that life isn’t nearly as easy or fun as it was back in 1997; they’re far too popular and entrenched to ever disappear entirely, but they’ve been painfully slow to adapt to new realities and hot upstarts, to the point where current generations seem ready to write them off as dinosaurs. But they’ve won far too many battles to go gently into that good night, and just when you think they’re done, that’s when they jump up and whack you.
Barack Obama: West Virginia
Grew up without any of the advantages traditionally afforded to guys with their kind of ambition but still made it very near the top just the same. Some will criticize them as Johnny-come-latelies, relatively speaking, or say that they’re more gimmick than substance, or that they got where they are by beating weak competition, but c’mon, they’re just such great stories. Just as prone to a stumble or two as everyone else, but they typically bounce back in inspiring fashion.
John Edwards: Clemson
Attractive; high-energy; fan bases are an occasionally uncomfortable mix of blue-collar types and influential big-money boosters. Had that one really major accomplishment a while back, but how much of it was on their own merit and how much came from the fact that nobody really stepped up to challenge them? As much of a following as they’ve developed, there’s a sense that they still haven’t quite reached their potential; probably destined to remain somebody’s second fiddle.
Dennis Kucinich: Arizona
Not completely helpless; every now and then they’ll do or say something that’s actually pretty solid. In the grand scheme of things, though, their impact on the overall field is pretty negligible. If it weren’t for their association with ridiculously good-looking women (Samaire Armstrong, Jennie Finch, Kate Walsh, and Natalie Gulbis are all Wildcats), they’d probably be ignored completely.
Bill Richardson: Navy
Competent, inspiring even, but only really good at a limited number of things — and probably not enough of them to be truly ready for the big time. In the end, they’re valued more for what they are than what they actually do on the field of play, but still a whole lot of people’s second choices in terms of rooting interests.
Mike Gravel: New Mexico State
Operates using a style that any reasonable person would deem insane. Once upon a time they were actually solid enough to earn some real respect (a U.S. Senate seat/two straight Sun Bowl wins), but boy, that was a long time ago. These days you really have to be hunting to catch them on TV, and even then it’s only out of morbid fascination. Whatever they’ve done to elbow their way into the spotlight for this long, it won’t last.
Hate these selections? Got your own? I probably don't care, but you can put them in the comments anyway.
ADDED: One more, just to be an asshole.
George W. Bush: Ohio State
Looked unstoppable around 2002, but a couple high-profile humiliations later, it's anyone's guess as to what their legacy is going to be. Built up a lot of their swagger and aura of invincibility simply because nobody really stepped up to challenge them, but that only left them that much more unprepared and flat-footed when a truly tough opponent did step up to the plate. Connected with all sorts of embarrassing incidents and confusing scandals -- none of which have been able to take them down, to the rest of the country's frustration. Both inspire either astonishingly blind loyalty or seething hatred, with nothing in between -- but the haters are finding them easier to laugh at, while even the ardent supporters (a polarizing group themselves) are kind of wishing they'd just go away at this point. Bristle at being called "slow," but, well, if the shoe fits. Rumored to poop in styrofoam coolers.