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Big 12 Football Coaches as Actors

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Instead of performing on the field, what if football coaches starred on the silver screen?

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone loves a good movie, TV show, mockumentary, or "Netflix Original Series." The reason these productions are so successful, or addicting in the case of Breaking Bad, is often because of the performances of the main characters. The bigger the star in the main role, the better the performance, and the more successful the show is. Now, if that "main character" is a head coach, it starts to sound a little bit like football, right?

So.... If head coaches are similar to famous actors, which actors would the Big 12 football coaches be?

I should probably go over the criteria used to create this list:

  • Career Trajectory- The most important factor in this list. Actors are matched with coaches based on how their careers compare.
  • Personality- Actors, not unlike football coaches, have strong and distinct personalities.
  • Looks- While picking only dead ringers would be fun, they often times are not the best matches.

Before we get started, here's a couple from outside of the Big 12 just for fun.

Bo Pelini: Peter Stormare

This one is actually a perfect match, as the two not only look alike, but Stormare plays a rough, mean villain in nearly every movie he's in (Fargo, 22 Jump Street, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters). Does he have a cat though?


Jimbo Fisher: Toby Flenderson

A better example of a perfect look-a-like combination is Fisher and Flenderson. I don't need to remind you that nobody likes Toby.

And now, from the top of the predictions, here are the Big 12 football coaches as actors.

Art Briles: Will Smith

Though these two don't win points in the look-a-like category, they are nearly a perfect match.

Will Smith's career started with a bang and hasn't slowed down one bit. Everything this guy does is a hit... Well, except for his kid-friendly rap songs. Smith was raised a Baptist, and routinely donates to Christian organizations as well as the Church of Scientology (wut?). Jaden Smith has decided to follow in his father's footsteps, and has already appeared in several movies alongside his dad.

Art Briles basically poops sunshine and rainbows when it comes to winning football. He has had almost immediate success at every stop in his career, from resurrecting a miserable Houston program, to pulling Baylor out from under their TARP of mediocrity (much to the displeasure of @DanBeebe). Briles, also a Baptist, is like that nice, funny guy who doesn't need to drink to have fun at the party. His son, Kendall, not only played football at Houston like his father, but is now the offensive coordinator for a Baylor offense that looks like a slightly watered-down version of Oregon's high-flying circus on turf.

You could say that Art Briles and Will Smith are a match made in the Wild Wild West (Texas).

Gary Patterson: Kyle Chandler

Kyle Chandler, known most for his incredibly popular TV show Friday Night Lights, has always been a solid actor. Friday Night Lights is a show about how west Texas is so boring that the only thing folks have is high school football. This hit show catapulted Chandler into being a household name, even though he is more of a quiet, reserved guy.

Patterson, much like Chandler, benefited from a run of success before becoming nationally known. Friday Night Lights is essentially Patterson and TCU's time before joining the Big 12 (the show actually ended around the time the Big 12 grabbed TCU. Coincidence?). Patterson is known across the country as a great head coach, and is usually an extremely quiet, laid back guy. The future looks bright for Patterson, as his team enters the 2015 season with a top five ranking, a Heisman candidate in Trevone Boykin, and a 99.5% chance of demolishing Iowa State on October 17th.

Honorable mention based on looks only: Gimli

Bob Stoops: Alec Baldwin

Is there anyone on the planet that has a more smug, annoying sneer than Bob Stoops and Alec Baldwin?

Self-important glare aside, Alec Baldwin has been a remarkably successful actor both in television and on the big screen. Known for playing icy, smart-ass characters, Baldwin has had quite a successful run in Hollywood. He is also known for some off-screen drama as well, like being kicked off a flight for refusing to put away his cell phone because he was playing Words with Friends, or for assaulting a photographer for recording his family while leaving the hospital. The man isn't afraid to fight for what he loves, which is apparently his family and smartphone apps. Additionally, he has three younger brothers who are actors as well. The young Baldwin brothers are remarkably less successful than Alec, which is rather similar to....

The Stoops brothers. Bob Stoops is the oldest of three brothers, all of whom are involved in coaching at the collegiate level, but the younger two have been much less successful. Bob has had a tremendous run as the head coach of the Sooners, whose status as a perennial contender in the Big 12 has remained largely unchanged. He is also known for making waves off the field, like when he repeatedly attacked the SEC and Nick Satan Saban, or was being courted by several NFL teams on different occasions.

Mike Gundy: Christian Bale

"Come after me! I'm Batman, I'm 40!"

Christian Bale is a well known actor who has starred in roles ranging from a serial killer to superhero. The Dark Knight series is what he is most recognized for due to him delivering one the best performances of any actor in that role, even though he constantly whispered in a harsh, gravelly tone. Despite all the on-screen successes, Bale is remembered for his up-and-down personality, an explosive temper, and his ability to deliver long angry rants at people who are almost completely undeserving of a verbal ass-kicking.

Mike Gundy is just like Christian Bale in two key areas: on the field successes and a legendary off the field rant. Bale is actually one of the most successful actors on this list, much like Gundy is one of the best coaches in the conference (record wise). He has led the Cowboys to nine bowl games in 10 years, and has finished with a losing record only one time - his first season. Despite all of that, Gundy will always be known for his 2007 rant where he berated a reporter over her story on OSU quarterback Bobby Reid (click here to relive that legendary moment).

Charlie Strong: Samuel L. Jackson

In terms of careers, these two are vastly different. Samuel L. Jackson has been in so many movies that his filmography has its own Wikipedia page. He performed in eight films in the year 2008 alone! His career has been widely successful, as he is now the highest all-time box office star, earning over $70 million per film.

So, where does Charlie Strong come into the picture? Strong's young career is off to a promising start. He led Louisville to four bowls in as many seasons, including an upset win in the Sugar Bowl over yet another overrated SEC team Florida, and is now in his second year at Texas. This comparison, however, is more about personality and style than career similarities. Both Strong and Jackson are identical in the fact that they are tough, hard-nosed individuals. Strong is known for pushing his players and not being afraid to get rid of the ones he doesn't like. Jackson, like Strong, seems to not have any form of an inside voice, and simply prefers to yell instead. I like to picture Strong yelling at his players the way Jackson yells at Brett during the hamburger scene in Pulp Fiction.

Dana Holgorsen: Robert Downey Jr

What makes these two men such a great match? Well, to put it simply, Holgo is basically a younger Robert Downey Jr.

Lets start with the latter first. Downey Jr is a wildly successful actor, starring in blockbuster films like Sherlock Holmes and The Avengers. But his success didn't happen overnight. Initially, his career was off to a promising start, with films like Chaplin and Natural Born Killers. This success, however, lead to a wide range of incidents with the law involving drugs, alcohol, and parole violations among other things. The amount of charges he piled up would have been enough to make Jimbo Fisher blush. Long story short, RDJ has put the past behind him, and found a winning formula for his future.

It's this winning formula that Dana Holgorsen is missing at West Virginia. In his first season as head coach at West Virginia, he led the Coal Miners, Couch Burners, Riot Bowl Members, Mountaineers to the Orange Bowl where they clobbered Clemson. Since then? His teams have gone 18-20. Many have claimed WVU's struggles are directly related to Holgorsen's out-of-control Red Bull addiction, and his desire to look like a homeless dude. He's essentially a poor-mans Bill Belichick, but without all the cheating. Can Holgo curb his addictions? Will that be enough to propel West Virginia to being a top-tier team in the Big 12? Stay tuned, folks.

Bill Snyder: Betty White

While it may seem astounding that Betty White continues to be a force in today's pop culture, one look at her career explains why she's still around. She's been doing TV, radio, and making movies since the 1970s for pete's sake! It also shouldn't surprise anyone that Bill Snyder's teams are still competing at a high level, despite having a team almost entirely composed of walk-ons, junior college players, and farm boys from Kansas.

These two icons are alike in many different and interesting ways. Both watched the Cubs win their last World Series, saw the invention of the automobile, and sat behind FDR in the third grade. Though each had great initial success from the 80s to the early 2000s, both had times when their careers needed reviving. After Golden Girls, Betty White's career fell off sharply until she resurrected it again 10 years later. This is similar to Snyder, who retired in 2005 only to return four years later due to the Wildcats' struggles without him. Both have also adjusted to the times nicely over the years. Betty White continues to be hilarious, and rather dirty, in her appearances on comedy shows like the Roast of William Shatner. Snyder has also adjusted to the pace of football these days, and even had a running quarterback a few years ago!

Kliff Kingsbury: Ryan Gosling

This one's for the ladies.

Though I still don't think either one of these two gentlemen is on the same level as Fred Hoiberg, they both look astoundingly alike and have had similar careers as well. Ryan Gosling made women everywhere melt in The Notebook (men, I hope you have never been forced to watch that movie), but has had minimal success in his works since. This affected Gosling enough to force him to take a break from acting in 2013, and many wonder if he will ever reach his potential as an actor.

After setting multiple records at Texas Tech, Kliff Kingsbury was drafted by the Patriots in 2003. After bouncing around the NFL and CFL, he eventually ended up at the University of Houston as an assistant coach. His rise to head coach at Texas Tech was marked by high-powered offenses, broken-hearts, and mothers swooning for Kliff on recruiting visits. His first season went well, a promising 8-4. Last season, however, was a bit of a train wreck. There are some people who doubt he can actually coach, and the pressure on him to perform is mounting. Except among TTU's female fans who simply want eye candy on the sidelines, of course. Will his run as a head coach be defined by nothing but his dashing good looks (as Gosling's career has been thus far)? If coaching doesn't work out, at least he could model for Calvin Klein.

Paul Rhoads: Adam Sandler

Finally, coming in at 9th, we have the coach of the Iowa State Cyclones, Paul Rhoads. Rhoads, our passionate, motorcycle-riding, guitar playing, fearless leader most emulates Adam Sandler.

Adam Sandler once made some really great movies. Happy Gilmore, Big Daddy, and Billy Madison were movies that made us laugh and feel good all at the same time. Though his initial success was exciting, his recent work has been quite pathetic. Films like Pixels, Grown Ups 2, and Click were downright terrible. Yet, fans continue to go see his movies because they remember that once upon a time he actually made them laugh, while Sandler continues to make money despite performances drenched in mediocrity. Starting to sound familiar?

Paul Rhoads' early success was exciting, and helped breathe life back into a football program searching for an answer after Gene Chizidiot's pathetic tenure. Dramatic wins at Nebraska (okay, that game was uglier than the east end of a west bound horse), at Texas, and against Oklahoma State got fans invested and "Packing the Jack" once again. Since 2012, however, the moderate success achieved those first four seasons has disappeared despite Rhoads cashing in on a long-term contract. Fans have continued to stay excited about football, and the improvements made to the football facilities have been incredible. Hopefully this means Rhoads and his Cyclones will return to being good average once again.

David Beaty: Man in Blue Hat #3

Who is David Beaty? Beats me. Hired in 2014, Beaty spent time as a wide receivers coach and offensive coordinator at Rice, Kansas, and Texas A&M. He owns a head coaching record of 0-0, and has a Wikipedia page that's all of five sentences long. He seems like a pretty neat dude, and Kansas is excited about his potential. Hopefully he works out so Kansas fans can stop calling for the Jayhawks to hire back Mark Mangino. If it doesn't work out, I'm not sure KU fans will notice anyway. I wonder if Bill Self can coach football...