As we approach the final month before the start to college football season, we’ve been in the thick of the mythical #ListSZN (List Season), where players across the country are placed on watch lists for everything from the Heisman Trophy to the Broyles Award for the nation’s top assistant coach. However, the lesser known side of #ListSZN is the tsunami of posts from sports blogs that inevitably fall under the category of (group of teams or players) as (group of people from (pop culture reference)).
Want to know which ACC school most resembles your favorite character from The Office? How about which NFC North team is which Ghostbuster? You’re in luck. Wait. What’s that over there!? Is that a list of Arizona Diamondback players as various facial expressions of former Nickelodeon and School of Rock star Miranda Cosgrove? I’ve never felt more complete.
Well, guess what? We’re upping the ante.
Presenting: a list of Big 12 schools as other stupid lists.
Kansas - The Big 12 as Vegetables
Nobody really knows why this list exists, because nobody really asked for it. It’s not that anyone inherently hates comparing things to vegetables, but it’s just not something most people would even consider to be worth comparing. You’re going to end up reading the list because it’s a list, but you’re really not going to gain much of anything out of it. In retrospect, the list’s primary function seemed to be just a way to burn some time on a Saturday afternoon, while hopefully not ending up with a computer virus from the ads that inevitably plague sites that would make a list like this.
Oklahoma State - The Big 12 as Characters from The Office
One of the most endearing shows in television history, The Office featured a ton of ultra-relatable characters that have allowed the show’s legacy to live on well past its peak in the late 2000s and early 2010s. We’ve seen lots of lists comparing just about everything to characters from The Office, but they’ve slowed down a little bit as the series finale begins to fade out of the rearview mirror.
The list is likely to have some high peaks (Michael, Dwight, Jim, etc.) and some low valleys (Toby, Angela), but will overall be a better-than solid list that’s a lot of fun along the way. It’ll probably never have the same draw as something like the Avengers or Stranger Things, but even a poorly thought-out Office list will still be at least mildly entertaining, and the best ones will probably end with you starting the show on Netflix for the 9th time.
Texas Tech - The Big 12 as Kardashians/Jenners
Despite not having any real marketable “talents” to speak of (with the exception of social media marketing), the Kardashian/Jenner bunch is probably the most influential family in pop culture. They know their looks will sell virtually any product, and are more than happy to take advantage of that.
This list would initially seem fairly entertaining, given that the family’s entire brand is their looks, but then you’d quickly realize that the comparisons end up being pretty much the same, and that you learned basically nothing.
Texas Tech has produced some great players and a few great seasons, but their Air Raid offense and flashy uniforms rarely amount to more than an above average season and bowl game, and have recently more towards average-or-below as other teams have adapted their defenses to stop their pass-heavy attack.
Hell, they even paraded around their own eye candy as a head coach before he fell ass-backwards into a significantly more lucrative gig. Wait...
Kansas State - The Big 12 as Brands of Accounting Software
It would take a special person to find this list remotely interesting enough to click on in the first place, but upon reading it, you’d actually end up finding it to be somewhat entertaining and informative in a subject that you probably don’t know much of anything about. You don’t know a single difference between Quickbooks and NetSuite ERP, but thanks to your knowledge of the Big 12 schools, you perfectly understand the nuances of each software package and have actually purchased a license to the one that pairs with your favorite school after blacking out for a few minutes.
TCU - The Big 12 as Tacos
A decade ago, this list was sort of fun, but wouldn’t really turn any heads. However, tacos, both traditional and street-style, have become so popular it’s almost(?) a cliche. Much like this list and TCU football, tacos have a high floor and high ceiling. It’s basically impossible to mess them up, and can be an elite dining option at their best.
No matter what group of teams you’re comparing, you’re pretty much guaranteed to find a bunch pairings that make total sense, and couple that don’t really fit because even the worst taco on the list is probably better than the team it’s being compared to.
Baylor - The Big 12 as Presidential Candidates
Congratulations. You’re the list that nobody wanted in the first place, still doesn’t want, and will never, ever want. This list is so toxic that we’d rather just ignore its existence entirely. However, it’s here now, and if we have to look at it, then you do too.
Iowa State - The Big 12 as Brands of Cheap Beer
Cheap beer is the alcoholic beverage of both the blue collar, hard-working American and the broke college student alike. It’s the drink you grab when you’re not trying to attract attention to yourself, but just there to enjoy the company and maybe play a couple drinking games.
This list is a lot like that. It probably won’t garner as much attention nationally as one about craft beer or fancy cocktails, but the people that do care about this list are deeply passionate about it. Even a few craft beer snobs will still read it and actually be surprised by how much they enjoyed the list.
West Virginia - The Big 12 as WWE Wrestlers
The list knows how to party, and is totally unapologetic in its love for professional wrestling. Lots of people may think the WWE is super quirky and fake, but no other list on the internet is more comfortable in its own skin than this one.
Mountaineer fans know what people think of them, but they embrace it. Country Roads, coonskin caps, and clear grain alcohol are part of the stereotype of West Virginia fans and most of them are happy to embrace it.
Texas - The Big 12 as Characters from Friends
Good god not this again. Listen, we get it. Friends was super popular when it was on TV, and still gets a ton of run on Netflix. And yes, it did have some great moments that do hold up, even after multiple rewatches, but we all know damn good and well that those returns start diminishing pretty quickly by the time Rachel and Joey threaten us with a romantic entanglement on the second watching of the show’s ten seasons.
Friends is going to be popular for a long time, and so will lists about its characters, especially if the long-rumored reboot ever happens. People will always click on this list, even though they know going in that they’re only really going to be happy if their favorite team is Joey or Phoebe. Why? Because it’s Friends.
Oklahoma - The Big 12 as Members of the Avengers
The Marvel Comics Universe, specifically the Avengers franchise, has become an absolute juggernaut over the past decade. In just a quarter of the time, the MCU has literally doubled the revenue of the Star Wars franchise, an unstoppable revenue behemoth that had a thirty year head-start. Superheroes have become such a popular subject that hundreds of millions of people faithfully see virtually every MCU movie that makes its way to theaters, regardless of whether they had actually heard of the superhero before.
Naturally, lists comparing teams to superheroes, and specifically the Avengers, have become enormously popular, and inspire debate among casual and serious fans alike. The MCU is here to stay, and is going to be added to for the foreseeable future, so we’re going to continue to see more of these lists, and we’re probably going to read all of them with the same giddy excitement as we read the first one. Sure, not everyone is happy to see these lists since there are so many of them, but they’ll still read it anyway because superheroes are awesome, and we want to make fun of whoever ends up with Hawkeye.