So, for those of you that may not know, or don’t read the site often, along with being a sports junkie (especially college football), I am also a big fan of politics. I consider myself a conservative, although we welcome liberal Big 12 fans to our site as well :-). Needless to say, I was very intrigued by Thursday night’s debate. After soaking up the full two hours and watching more post-show commentary that is healthy, I began thinking about each of the 10 candidates on stage for the primetime debate and how they might compare to the 10 coaches in the Big 12. Since the numbers (10 and 10) were dead even, I immediately thought to myself, I’ve got to make this work. So, I decided to match each of the 10 candidates from the prime time debate with each of our Big 12 coaches, a who’s who based on style, personality and more! Let me know what you think.
The order will be based on the candidate standings going into the debate.
1) Donald Trump – Baylor’s Art Briles: Both men view themselves as rebels, and can be very outspoken. Art Briles was, by far, the best sound byte of all the coaches from Big 12 Media Days. He was funny and engaging, but also serious and firm. As for Trump, the sound bytes just never end. Additionally, Briles does not pander to anyone, i.e. improving his non-conference schedule, despite the requests from Commissioner Bowlsby and others. Both men find themselves as ‘the hunted’ at the top of the polls and standings. If only Briles had “The Donald’s” hair …
2) Jeb Bush – Iowa State’s Paul Rhoads: Besides having a slight physical resemblance to one another, both have similar personas. Bush played it close to the vest on Thursday night and was, for lack of a better word, boring. While Rhoads can get fired up in his post-win celebrations (see: Oklahoma State in 2011, Iowa in 2014), he can also be very dry in press conference settings. Rhoads had the shortest appearance on the podium at Big 12 Media Days.
Plus. Bush has, by far, the most campaign dollars coming in, and Rhoads is a man that will begin operating in a newly renovated Jack Trice Stadium, which brings increased expectations. Can each man handle the heavy weight on his shoulders?
3) Scott Walker – Kansas’ David Beaty: Both men certainly have the pedigree and background to succeed … but can they do it on the biggest stage? Walker has had a successful run turning around Wisconsin, while Beaty has proven himself through the high school ranks and as an assistant with Kansas, Rice and Texas A&M. But, can Walker translate to legitimate national contender? And can Beaty translate to successful Power 5 head coach? Walker was average on Thursday night … Beaty’s time will come. Both have plenty of time left.
4) Ben Carson – Texas’ Charlie Strong: Now before you jump all over me for putting the two black guys together … there’s more to it. Both are very smart, but stoic and humble men. Both would prefer to let their actions speak, rather than their words. They seem to each prefer the details of the job (governing/coaching), rather than the social/political side. Both are considered middle of the pack contenders. And yes, OK, both are black. That didn’t hurt the comparison.
5) Mike Huckabee – Kansas State’s Bill Snyder: They are the respective elder statesmen of the bunch. Huckabee ran back in 2008, and Snyder has had two different stints as head coach in Manhattan. They are both underrated and have a good sense of humor. But, both are also middle of the pack candidates that many believe can make some noise, but won’t end up on top. In addition, Mike Huckabee used to be a fat guy, and Bill Snyder coaches fat guys. Too much of a reach?
6) Ted Cruz – West Virginia’s Dana Holgorsen: Both these candidates have firm beliefs to succeed (Cruz = hard conservative, Dana = airraid offense) that they are defined by. Also, they are each capable of providing that killer sound byte or going off the rails a bit when needed. They both have big expectations, but are more style than substance. Cruz is a freshman senator with few accomplishments since getting to DC, while Holgorsen has yet to have that big-time season in Morgantown that many have expected. Lastly, Cruz has degrees from Princeton and Harvard. Hologorsen went to Iowa Wesleyan … which is pretty much the Harvard of Mount Pleasant, Iowa.
7) Marco Rubio – Texas Tech’s Kliff Kingsbury: They are smooth, have enough of the swag, and the good looks that make them look their respective parts to a tee. But, both are unproven candidates. The power brokers involved (RNC / Tech administration) desperately want each individual to have success and become the future. But, it might just be a couple years too early for these guys. Time will tell. Both have ties to other countries, Rubio of Cuban descent and then Kingsbury, who … um … played a season with NFL Europe.
8) Rand Paul – TCU’s Gary Patterson: These guys are both a bit different from their competitors. Rand Paul has some more libertarian views when it comes to handling the Middle East crisis, and Gary Patterson made his name as a defense-first coach residing in a heavily offense-first conference. Both men have some spunk and attitude that they do not overdue, but use effectively when needed. (Although I think Rand Paul overdid it a bit on Thursday night to try and make a name for himself).
9) Chris Christie – Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops: Two brash individuals, that some refer to as bullies. Neither man cares for the media. While they’ve had success doing in “their way”, both are open to change. Christie tried to show off more of an authoritative, yet likeable feel on Thursday night. While Stoops has revamped his coaching staff, admittance that things went stale in Norman. Christie gets a lot of crap for allegedly shutting down the George Washington Bridge, while Stoops has been getting a ton of crap for not shutting down an offense in years (he will remind you of the Sugar Bowl though).
10) Josh Kasich – Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy: These guys have made a living viewing themselves as underdogs and have found ways to succeed. Kasich, after a stint in the media, went back into politics and helped turn around his adopted-home state of Ohio. While Gundy has turned around his alma mater in a way no one believed was possible. The downside for each man is similar: a surly attitude at times, that can turn off the big money men (donors / T. Boone). But, their wit, intelligence and success is enough to look past the negatives. We like John Kasich here at Heartland College Sports … why? Because his Fox News program that ran from 2001-2007 was titled: Heartland with John Kasich. That’s our kinda guy!
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