College Football: Big-Name Programs and Their Summer Movie Counterparts
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Even though it may seem like we will never get there, college football season is less than two months away.
When football-crazed fans aren’t reading the latest preseason magazines or earning mythical Heisman Trophies in NCAA Football 13, they may be going to the movie theaters to pass the time.
While it may not seem like it at first glance, a trip to the cinema can bring you closer to football than you once thought. All you have to do is envision the action on the screen as one of your favorite (or least favorite) squads.
With that in mind, here are eight of this summer’s leading movies and their college football counterparts.
Oregon: The Avengers
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The Avengers kicked off the summer blockbuster season with a two-hour display of shiny toys, flashy suits and loud explosions.
Of course, nobody would consider the Marvel flick Oscar material, but it was a very entertaining way to spend a few hours.
The only college football team that wears outfits that could rival Iron Man’s suit or Captain America’s shield is the University of Nike, ahem Oregon, Ducks. Just as moviegoers wouldn't mistake The Avengers for Casablanca or The Godfather, college football fans wouldn't mistake Oregon with an Alabama or LSU.
But they sure are fun to watch.
With Phil Knight playing the role of Samuel Jackson’s Nick Fury, S.H.I.E.L.D. and Nike have a team of brightly garnished superheroes ready to take on the villains (and other Pac-12 teams) of the world.
Boise State: Brave
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Brave is centered on a plucky underdog princess who has her fate pre-written for her by the powers of tradition and her mother.
Stop me if that sounds familiar, Boise State fans.
Ever since their 2007 Fiesta Bowl victory over powerhouse Oklahoma, the Broncos have entered every season knowing that their fate is predestined already, thanks to the BCS computers and exclusionary power conferences—meaning that’s great if you go undefeated, but there is no chance you are getting into our national championship game.
However, Princess Merida was able to use a spell concocted by a mysterious witch to alter her fate (with predictably bumpy consequences).
Perhaps the playoff system sitting on the horizon is Boise State’s best chance of finding a spell of its own.
Notre Dame: The Amazing Spider-Man
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Wait, there’s another Spider-Man movie coming out this year? How many has that been now?
The web-shooting hero is always going to have a sizeable following of fans, but the plot is becoming more familiar with each re-making of the franchise.
While I am not here to play movie critic (for the record, I enjoyed this year’s version), audiences could probably recite the Spider-Man back story in their sleep at this point.
In a similar fashion, college football fans could probably recite the preseason prognostication for Notre Dame in their sleep as well.
Every year, we are spoon-fed the same plot about how this is the season that Notre Dame returns to glory. Lou Holtz will always be there to make sure of it.
Yes, the fanbase is there and the history is there, but, for many folks, it is getting somewhat tiresome.
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Ted is a movie that basically revolves around an obnoxious talking bear. However, it has garnered some critical acclaim and a large following, as evidenced by its time spent at the top of the box office rankings.
When it comes to Seth MacFarlane (of Family Guy fame), fans seem to either love his material or hate it.
Just like MacFarlane, the Florida Gators have a sizeable constituency. However, many others see the Gators as one of the most obnoxious fanbases in all of college football (seeing as how I am a Buckeye fan, I certainly won’t judge—something about living in glass houses).
Despite this perceived obnoxious-ism (pretend that’s a word for me), Florida and MacFarlane have passionate fanbases that are hard to ignore. And, just like Ted surpassed expectations at the box office, the Gators may just surprise some people this year on the field.
USC: Men in Black 3
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In Men in Black 3, Agent J must travel back in time to stop an alien assassination of his fellow agent that will change history.
USC probably wishes that it could go back to a time before sanctions took away valuable scholarships, victories and a Heisman Trophy.
However, like Will Smith in Men in Black, the Trojans may have just the man to finally put the Reggie Bush saga in their rear view mirror. Lane Kiffin has USC ready to make a run at the national title in its first year of bowl eligibility following its sanctions.
He is even reeling in prominent recruiting classes, scholarship losses be damned. A national championship this year would virtually eliminate any remaining memories of forfeited bowl games for Trojan fans.
It’s almost as if Kiffin has the chance to use one of those “neuralyzing” flash sticks that Will Smith keeps handy in case civilians see any aliens.
Alabama: The Dark Knight Rises
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Was there ever any doubt that the reigning king of college football would be paired up with what is expected to be the king of this summer’s movies?
The Dark Knight Rises sees Christian Bale return for the third time in his famous Batman role to take on the seedy criminals that threaten Gotham.
Nick Saban is hoping that this college football season also marks his return for the third time to a familiar role—head coach of the National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide.
Despite his heroics, Batman is an incredibly polarizing figure in his world. Some see him as a vigilante bent on destruction and anarchy, while others see him as a hero.
As for Saban, it’s safe to say he does some polarizing of his own. Opposing fans will claim that he is the exact type of seedy character that Batman despises (oversigning, his spotty time with the Dolphins, his surly personality), but many Alabama fans would worship the ground he walks on.
No matter what side you are on when it comes to Saban (or Batman, if you are actually a resident of Gotham), it’s hard to argue with either’s results.
Ohio State: Moonrise Kingdom
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Moonrise Kingdom was a movie that brought in big stars with impressive resumes in hopes of creating some buzz. It may not be the type of film you are used to seeing Bruce Willis or Bill Murray in, but you can’t deny its star power.
Despite what many see as a movie with plenty of substance behind it, Moonrise Kingdom clearly never really had any hope of finishing at the top of the box office this summer.
Ohio State made waves this offseason when it hired some star power of its own. Urban Meyer has taken his championship pedigree to Columbus in hopes of leading the Buckeyes away from the tattoo-stained clouds that have surrounded the program the last couple of years.
However, just as Moonrise Kingdom was never going to compete for box office glory this summer, Ohio State, thanks to an NCAA-mandated bowl ban, may as well not even bother checking the BCS standings this year.
Washington State: Magic Mike
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Ignore the fact that Magic Mike is about stripping for the time being because, as far as I know, Washington State isn’t. Besides, it would have been too easy to make some type of joke here, seeing as how Washington State goes by the name Cougars.
Instead, focus on IMDb’s line in its brief summary of the movie Magic Mike:
Mike, an experienced stripper, takes a younger performer called The Kid under his wing.
Washington State is hoping that it has its own (non-stripper) version of a Magic Mike in Mike Leach. Given a couple years, Leach has the ability to take his young players and make the Cougars a force to be reckoned with in the Pac-12.
Just look what he did at Texas Tech.
So enjoy the summer blockbusters as you countdown to kickoff. Just make sure you don’t enjoy your rival school’s movie too much.