Wednesday, January 9

Going back to the "Simpsons" well:
Your Favorite Football Team's Analogue,
2008 Election Edition.

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.


Anonymous said...

Zell Miller and South Carolina. Both totally nuts for thinking they matter more than they do.

Josh M. said...

Excellent - and good call on Thompson, although I do think he gives a fuck about winning, he just doesn't give a fuck about running.

For an actor, it's surprising he can't even look like he cares about the campaigning bullshit, which is very endearing to me. He always has that look in his eyes: "This goddamn thing isn't over yet? And Christ, I have to stand up here next to these fake assholes? Can't we just vote already? McClane!"

He probably doesn't end every thought with "McClane," but he does in my head. I want him to win just to see if he can fit it into a State of the Union address.

Anonymous said...

Very nice. You cease to amaze me, Doug. It looks like your 2008 Election coverage will be just as solid as your CFB coverage, if not more so.

How about Ohio/Pennsylvania governors as Tennessee & Mizzou, respectively? Ohio has sent former governors to the White House, but that was a long time ago. They seem to have all the talent in the world, as is needed to gain the top seat in such a powerful state/SEC but they just havn't been able to produce a national contender lately.

Pennsylvania Governor should be a spring-board to the White House but they have been absent on the national scene-- pretty much forever. Ed Rendell and Tom Ridge arose to national prominance, but not in a Presidential sense. Mizzou is the only FBS team in MO, but they continue to allow other states to pillage homegrown talent. This was the best team in the program's history and they couldn't quite get there.

Keep up the good work!

Reed said...

What about the dudes who've dropped out? Here's a quick crack at 'em:

Joe Biden - Louisville. Came into the campaign looking like a big-time contender, but the season was over as soon as it began. (Syracuse/"Obama is clean" comment)

Chris Dodd - UConn. Not only is he from Connecticut, he did and said all the right things in a totally unspectacular way, so nobody took him seriously. But perhaps they were right because in the end, neither managed to earn any votes. (Actually, I hate this one - UConn is totally the new kid on the block and that doesn't fit with Dodd.)

Sam Brownback - Boston College. Closest ties are to rich Jesuits. Also, nobody likes or pays much attention to Sam Brownback or Boston College.

Tom Tancredo
Tommy Thompson
Jim Gilmore
I don't know a damn thing about any of these guys.

Anyway, great job on this. You nailed it.

Faulkner said...

The field on both sides royally sucks this year. Thinking Duke would be a good fit.

Will said...

So that's what Duncan Hunter looks like!
I'd seen the name but thought it was made up, like a GOP Alan Smithee.

I'll throw one into the ring here:
Alan Keyes-Georgia Tech
Delusions of grandeur well beyond what they've ever pulled off, whiny and annoying, and no chance of being #1.

Though as someone who's a fan of (but not yet solidly for) Edwards, I hate you went with the school he started out attending as the association. If anyone can think of a semi-successful program that finished in the top 10 or top 5 in the early 2000s and then had a big change in coaching philosophy, that's Edwards

Anonymous said...

I disagree with the Obama/Clinton designations. Clinton is obviously LSU - mean, hungry, and with more tricks up their sleeves than anyone else in CF. Both always dig in and go for the extra point and somehow (despite losing multiple times) always manage to run the table as the best in the game. And yes, the Clinton campaign even has their own Dorsey in the form of Big Bill.

Obama is obv. Hawaii (and last season's Boise State) - flashy, upstart from the WAC, enchanted fans, CF's heartbreaking story of overcoming all the odds. Should they/he get a shot at the big time?

Anonymous said...

Newt is like The U. They may win the whole thing, they may not even try. More talented than everyone else, brilliance is there but may not ever have any real effect. Intellectually and athletically superior to Everyone Else, on an almost annual basis. Opponents are scared of him/them putting it all together.

Anonymous said...

FYI, Doug, you've made the campus links page. Now you've really hit the big time.

Kanu said...

Genius, Doug, genius.

Now if you could find one to fit Al Gore I'd really be blown away.

Anonymous said...

Al Gore is Rutgers. RU "invented" College Football, Gore "invented" the internet. But had dream years that ended with double OT losses with everything one the line. Gore in 2000, hanging chad anyone?, Rutgers' 2006 2OT loss to WVU in the last game of the season. I'm sure we can think of a few other things.

Anonymous said...

Oh man love the John McCain one!

Astronaut Mike Dexter said...

Interesting -- I would've picked Al Gore to be Auburn, based on the whole denied-a-fair-shot-at-the-big-one thing.

Of course, Tommy Tuberville did a lot more complaining about that than Al Gore ever did -- but if it helps, you can be pretty sure that within 12 months, Tubbs will be claiming he invented the spread offense.

Anonymous said...

Just one more, in case he throws his hat in.

Michael Bloomberg - Hawaii
Yes, he can slide into the big time, but only because he didn't go up against anybody. And he'll get exposed when he does go up against the big boys.

Josh M. said...

Well, at least the Auburn fans eventually quieted to a dull roar...

Anonymous said...

George W. Bush equals the BCS. Totally fucked up. Only gets it right once in a while due to pure luck. Knows that the system (foreign policy/Iraq) needs to be fixed/changed but continues down the wrong path ignoring the problems.

Unknown said...

will, I really like your Alan Keyes description but that applies more to South Carolina than GT. At least Tech has won big, as opposed to South carolina

Will said...

Ok, revision time: Tech could be Mike Gravel.
Gravel did some great things (reading the Pentagaon Papers for example) but they were decades ago.
Tech used to be great in football...but it was decades ago.

Wonder if Keyes has a "chicken curse" too.

Anonymous said...

Damn you for being so right about Oklahoma.

Anonymous said...

You could replace George Bush-Ohio State with George Bush-Miami, and I think it would work better.

Both peaked in 2001, have been plagued by scandals and gaffes, and are currently irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

Fuck you and your Bush comparison

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said... Fuck you and your Bush comparison"

Stay classy, Columbus!

Jvo said...

Awesome. Please add Auburn as Al Gore to the main article.

Anonymous said...

Arnold Schwarzenegger: USC

Perhaps the candidate with the most going for him. Movie-star charisma, money, and a famous and beautiful wife who happens to be a member of one of the most politically connected families in the US. Both won it all in 2003 and 2004 despite many having doubts about his/their qualifications including being in the Pac-10. So far, he’s proven to be competent, moderate, and has a good track record of getting things done. Yet, he always seems to come up against an entirely unexpected and insurmountable obstacle preventing him from winning it all whether it’s losing to 41 point underdog Stanford (2007), lowly UCLA(2006), Vince Young. or that pesky requirement that all presidents must be natural born citizens. Perhaps the only real annoying thing about him is the way he repeatedly mispronounces California and the repetitiveness of the fight song.

Anonymous said...

Karl Rove: Big 10 Commissioner Jim Delany

Willing to do everything and justify anything to get his guy/conference in a position to win even at the expense of the US/college football.

Anonymous said...

Please dont taint LSU's marvelous season by bringing up anything remotely clinton. Its bad enough we in the South have to live down billy and al and jimmy. The shame at those three losers being from the South is almost too much to take. Add in the foolish Breck girl from North Carolina...whew! I was happy to see carpetbagger hilliary leave to go to NY, but I REALLY thought NYers had SOME intellegence..but hey they are the same ones that voted in the "senior" senator also.

Anonymous said...

Auz Arcs, why would you say that's a Columbus fan? Perhaps it's a Bush lover who thinks Bush should have been compared to a nationally respected team. I suppose you believe all the crap the author posts too.

Reed said...

Phew. I was worried I was ripping you off when I posted this today. I rooted around in here because I knew you'd done something similar, but couldn't find it yesterday. Glad to see it's not a direct plagiarism. I'm sure I'm ripping somebody else off.