What if College Football Coaches were Star Wars Characters?
The latest installment of the “Star Wars” franchise hits theaters Friday and Athlon Sports has been exploring the different ways in which the universe created by George Lucas can be applied to the world of college football. It’s always fun to compare real life figures to movie counterparts. While the initial idea was just to use coaches, there are a couple of bonus non-coaches that are too perfect not to include.
Han Solo: Urban Meyer, Ohio State Buckeyes
Everybody needs a good mercenary for hire and there are few in the galaxy better than Han Solo or Meyer. Ruggedly handsome and well-traveled, both of these individuals seem to make the impossible come to life. Both men have employed questionable tactics in battle — Han did shoot first & Urban clearly didn’t need that much time with his family — but it’s impossible to argue with their resumes and overall body of work. Also, 12 parsecs is all the time (distance?) Meyer needs to turn around a program; that’s the same amount of time (distance?) that it took Han Solo to make the Kessel Run. We will even forgive the fact that a parsec is a unit of length, not time.
Chewbacca: Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Aside from being a giant, Chewie and Paul have the distinction of being two larger-than-life characters who do march to the beat of a different drum, look, and sound just a little different than everyone else around them. The triple-option is college football’s version of “aarrr wgh ggwaaah” and nobody owns it better than Johnson. There is never a question about their presence in a situation and nobody is going to tell them how to do anything they don’t want to do. It’s impossible not to love either guy or at the very minimum, recognize how important they are to the overall quality of the product.
Obi-Wan Kenobi: Bill Snyder, Kansas State Wildcats
This was one of the easier decisions for this exercise. While Kenobi spent much of his life as an esteemed Jedi, he also spent a healthy portion being viewed as insane. No, seriously, Owen Lars, Luke’s uncle, tells Luke “that wizard is just a crazy old man.” The Wizard of Manhattan is often thought of as crazy, but few men are more respected and are better teachers of young men. Snyder may be viewed by some as outdated and past relevance, but his ability to turn young padawans in to Jedi has earned him this association.
Luke Skywalker: David Shaw, Stanford Cardinal
Sometimes people need time to become the legend they are going to be and David Shaw is a guy whose legend looks like it is still growing. Not only does Shaw focus on identifying the good in people, Shaw has shown an incredible ability to bring that together to achieve success previously thought impossible. Both men had an intense desire to grow and learn on the job, even if things got a little difficult along the way. When the odds were stacked against them, both found ways to shine and somehow make sure the credit went everywhere else. Humble greatness is rare in life in and in our heroes, but these two men embody that quality at the highest level.
Master Yoda: Nick Saban, Alabama Crimson Tide
Another no-brainer here. Outside of Yoda, you won’t find another being in the galaxy with the ability to answer your question without answering your question. Bill Belichick might give Saban a run for his money, but the NFL does not turn to New England like college football turns to Alabama during times of crisis. Saban rarely sees anything as a victory and just as easily could have lectured Obi-Wan about using the term so liberally following the First Battle of Geonosis.
Darth Vader: Bob Stoops, Oklahoma Sooners
Few, if any, college coaches ever come back when it looks like recruiting and ability to win on the field have gotten away from them like it appeared to get away from Stoops after Sam Bradford left. The number of times Stoops has been fired in the years since Oklahoma’s last national title game appearance is downright astonishing for a guy who has, arguably, the most complete team in this year’s College Football Playoff. Stoops has been in power a long time, but there were always those who remembered the good he did and just knew it was a matter of time before he got back to his Jedi Master ways. Redemption stories are beautiful and Stoops has almost finished his off like Vader finished off the Emperor and brought order back to the galaxy.
Count Dooku/Darth Tyranus: Jim Delany, Big Ten Conference Commissioner
Dooku wasn’t inherently evil. In fact, he was a Jedi master. Aside from being one of the most respected Jedi on the planet, Dooku was influential in politics. He ultimately fell to the dark side because he believed the Sith’s vision for the future aligned with the more ordered galaxy. Delany has led the way on several reforms in collegiate athletics, but also was instrumental in the creation of the BCS, college football’s own Death Star.
Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious: Mark Emmert, NCAA President
The only thing easier than this call is listening to Dan Rubenstein’s hit podcast for SBNation, “Easy Call.” Sidious may have been a Sith overlord, but he was also a masterful politician who sold people on a bill of goods that they may or may not have needed. The merits of the NCAA are up for debate, but few people have as much power and control as Emmert. He is, without a doubt, the Supreme Chancellor of college football.