Mother always told me there are three things you should never talk about at the dinner table: politics, religion, and Big 12 football coaches. Since I can't talk about them at the dinner table, I figured I'd voice my opinion right here.
Because this is my first article, I'm not sure comparing college coaches to a religion would be in the best interest for my well-being. So, let's discuss politics and Big 12 football coaches! Three terms come to mind when thinking of Big 12 football coaches and U.S. presidents:
- Chief of State. A well-known title for the U.S. president, but also what Alabamians believe is the title that goes to the coach that wins the Iron Bowl. Both job titles make the employee the face of whatever they're running, and both are expected to be role models for their people.
- Passion. No, not the kind Bill Clinton showed Monica Lewinsky. Both jobs require strong enthusiasm for what they do.
- Rule-Breakers. Let's be honest, every president and every coach breaks the rules in some form.
With these three terms in mind, it becomes pretty obvious that Big 12 coaches are just reincarnated U.S. presidents.
In order of the standings during the 2014 football season...
Head Coach: Art Briles
President: Abraham Lincoln
Despite not being a man of God, Abe was raised as a Baptist. Coincidence? I think not.
Before Abe took office, our nation really wasn't that impressive. There was a lot of internal fighting over politics while the rest of the world was laughing at the U.S. Then Abe stepped in, and was here to shuck fit up. Abe changed the landscape across the United States, not just at home, but worldwide. He took over a struggling country, and by the time he died, he had essentially ended the internal bleeding and gave the Union the CPR it needed prior to crumbling.
How does this relate to Art Briles? 2014 Iowa State football would've given 2000 Baylor football a run for their money. Since taking over in 2008, Art Briles has made the team from Waco a force to be reckoned with across the entire nation, much like Lincoln did for the U.S. during his presidency.
Head Coach: Gary Patterson
President: Gerald Ford
Gary Patterson wouldn't even be in this article if the Big 12 wasn't desperate for teams in 2012. Gerald Ford wouldn't be in this article if Richard Nixon would've done a better job hiding his tapes.
Both also overcame challenges that would've had most grown men sitting in a corner crying. Many thought it would take a few years for TCU to become a Big 12 power, but it took just three years for Patterson's Horned Frogs to finish tied for first atop the conference standings. Ford lasted just three years in office and of course had his own political challenges...he didn't even sign up for being President, he got thrown in there.
Both parties are generally agreed on as being nice, laid back guys. Ford was not very demanding as a President - Patterson not very demanding as a coach, as seen by his lack of campaigning for his Horned Frogs to be a part of the College Football Playoff last season.
Head Coach: Bill Snyder
President: Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan (77) is the oldest U.S. president EVER by over seven years. That's still 83 years younger than Bill Snyder, but it's still pretty old.
Reagan was also a wise man, much like Snyder. He brought peace to the whole world by ending the Cold War, started a movement to cut nuclear weapons, and the creation of Reaganomics dropped unemployment rates significantly, going from 19.9% when he took over to 9% when he left. Then, Reagan left office and our country has slowly dropped to a Ke$ha-style hot mess since.
But the mess was even hotter for Kansas State when Bill Snyder retired from coaching at the age of 143. Fortunately for them, he came back at 147 because he saw Kansas State fall harder than the teardrops on Taylor Swift's guitar. Simply put, they suck when Bill Snyder isn't around.
Bill Snyder has again revitalized Wildcat Nation, much like Reagan revitalized the United States.
Head Coach: Bob Stoops
President: Franklin D. Roosevelt
You can't get more patriotic than FDR. The dude had polio and was elected for four terms in office.
"What?! My teachers said you could only be elected two terms!"
Right? Well, FDR loved America a ton. So much so that he grabbed the nation by the ear and dragged 'em out of the Great Depression. Then he heard about this "Big Bad Nazi" regime somewhere out east and decided to go to war with them.
You won't find a louder voice for the Big 12 than Bob Stoops, and he shows it when attacking the big bad (Mid)South(West)Eastern Conference. If he could have a handicapped cage match vs. every SEC coach, he would accept it and fight until unconsciousness. Bob Stoops is a Big 12 boy, and will do everything he can to defend the conference. Love him or hate him (you aren't the only one), you have to respect the passion he has for the Big 12.
Head Coach: Charlie Strong
President: Ulysses S. Grant
Yes, the general from the Civil War. He was a president, too.
Grant didn't take crap from anybody. Neither does Strong. In fact, it's still debated which number is higher - the amount of casualties caused by Grant during the Civil War, or the amount of players Strong has kicked off his team.
Today, Grant is considered one of the most "meh" presidents ever. He didn't do anything significant, he wasn't a bad president, but no one really recognizes him in that position. Strong has only had a year to do something significant, and he didn't take over the best team in the world, so you can't blame him for finishing 5th in the Big 12. But at the same time, he coaches football at the University of Texas... He should be able to get any recruit in Texas that he wants. Strong's done a great job recruiting so far, but hasn't had any time to experience success on the field.
Strong should be a great coach, but hasn't done anything great, or bad, yet. That seems pretty "meh," just like Ulysses.
Head Coach: Dana Holgerson
President: John Quincy Adams
Both rock the "homeless man in a suit" look really well. Seriously. Google image "John Quincy Adams", and you'll think you just googled "Dana Holgerson black and white."
Both have also had roller coaster careers. John Quincy Adams, at the time, was considered a failed president because politically, his ideas were unrealistic. For example, he was the first president to want to end slavery, which made everyone, at the time, think he was a lunatic.
Much like Holgerson was considered crazy when he created a play where his fast receiver would just run by his quarterback and take a toss from two yards directly in front of the quarterback, because the quarterback couldn't throw an accurate pass more than five yards downfield. Well, joke's on everyone else, as that play propelled Tavon Austin and Holgerson to a successful inaugural Big 12 season. Jaws dropped as this simple play made quarterback Geno Smith put up video game statistics, despite doing absolutely nothing 99.999% of quarterbacks are expected to do. I wonder if that's why his NFL career has been a disappointment?
The rollercoaster continued for Dana, as he couldn't reach the postseason the following year (because he had to create more than one play), but the team rose the following year and made a bowl game, despite having a rough finish after losing star quarterback Clint Trickett to retirement.
Head Coach: Mike Gundy
President: Richard Nixon
There are constant rumors of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith getting divorced, and it's no different in football and politics. Richard Nixon was about to lose his job, then he was safe, then he was about to lose it again, but then he was safe once more. Finally, he was forced to resign. It's nearly identical, but different positions, for Gundy. Every offseason comes with rumors that Gundy and the OSU athletic department don't see eye to eye and Gundy won't be coaching at Oklahoma State the following season.. Yet, he keeps coming back year after year. Will there ever be a divorce at Oklahoma State or is it pure speculation?
Head Coach: Kliff Kingsbury
President: Bill Clinton
Kliff has already admitted that he flirts with moms to get recruits to come to campus, and his Wikipedia page can easily be confused for an Abercrombie and Fitch model page. Clinton only became president because everyone knows the pick-up line "Recognize me? I'm the President of the United States" is only successful if it's true.
Both would be great to party with. But odds are you'll have to jump on a grenade for them if they're playing their favorite childhood game.
"Pick Up Chicks."
Head Coach: David Beaty
President: John F. Kennedy
I'm skipping the political side of this. JFK was a pretty good president. David Beaty only has zero wins as a head coach.
But Beaty is exciting. His speeches have given the Kansas fan base hope again, and the same was done when JFK was elected president.
JFK was part of the first televised debate against Nixon when he was running for president. Many believe the reason he won that election was his demeanor compared to Nixon. It's the first television debate, who are you going to vote for? The fun, energetic man, or the awkward and weird-looking guy? Well, Kansas AD Sheahon Zenger consistently chose the awkward looking guy before finally settling on Beaty. If Beaty can walk the walk and talk the talk, Kansas may eventually be a fun team to watch again.
Head Coach: Paul Rhoads
President: Herbert Hoover
No, Hoover did not create the vacuum - and this has nothing to do with anyone sucking.
Both are Iowa boys. Both are hot and cold.
Opinions vary on Herbert Hoover. You either love him or hate him. Those who hate him claim he's responsible for the Great Depression. Those who love him look at his social changes (White House Conference on Health and the Protection of Children, President's Organization for Unemployment Relief) and don't believe he could've done anything to prevent the economic downfall.
Truth is, no one's right. Rhoads' 5-21 record his last 26 games is, simply put, pathetic. But look at the impact he's had on Iowa State. One could argue if it weren't for Rhoads, we wouldn't be discussing the SEZ right now. If Rhoads wins 2-3 games his first year in 2009, would there have been as strong of a push for the SEZ? Probably not. But eventually, an SEZ would've happened, I think. Whether it would've been this early or not, we'll never know. What we can admit, however, is that Rhoads has positively changed the football culture at Iowa State.
In addition, Hoover was one of the most hated presidents ever during his time in office. It wasn't until over 40 years later that he started getting positive recognition for his impact during his presidency. Hopefully it will only take about 40 more days for Iowa State fans to realize how lucky they have it with Paul Rhoads. Hopefully...