We’re less than a month away from college football! Unfortunately that also means the season isn’t actually here yet. But what has arrived is DC Comic’s latest installment in their futile attempt at matching Marvel’s cinematic success: Suicide Squad. While this movie had a lot of promise going in, it has since received many less than favorable reviews, and peoples’ confidence in DC has somehow plummeted further. But what if they remade the Suicide Squad with college football head coaches? I’d like to explore that alternate universe and submit those of whom I think we’d make for the best casting choices.
OH AND SPOILERS FOR THE SUICIDE SQUAD MOVIE, GOT IT? COOL.
Ok, let’s get into it.
Amanda Waller – Chris Peterson
Amanda Waller is very good at her job. She’s a ruthless, stone-cold killer who will ask you to murder your entire family if it’s in the interest of national security, and then blow your head up if you don’t comply, but that’s what makes her good at her job. She must assemble a team of very bad people, get them to work as a cohesive unit and do things that would be hard for even the heroes of that comic book universe, and oh, she also has to keep them from escaping or quitting or mutinying because they’re all bad guys. At one point at the very end of the movie, after she’s been captured by the villain and her brain used to seek and destroy covert military bases, she just shows up out of nowhere to stop the Suicide Squad from peacing out with their freedom, prompting Will Smith’s Deadshot to say something to the effect of, “How the hell are you not dead?”
Similarly, Chris Peterson is very good at his job. The man brought Boise State out of nowhere, shocking the world when the Broncos upset the Oklahoma Sooners in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl with the entire nation watching. And it wasn’t just the fact that they did it, but how they did it. The Broncos pulled some shit straight out of a comic book, scoring on a hook and ladder miracle play with with seven seconds left, scored on a trick-formation play on fourth down in overtime, and then won the game on a statue of liberty two-point conversion. It was pure, comic-book levels of incredible.
Chris Peterson has since moved on from building a national power out of Boise State to the PAC12’s Washington. Now, in his third year with the Huskies, Peterson’s team is already flying up the preseason rankings, with huge expectations for 2016. Chris Peterson is very good at his job, much like Amanda Waller.
The Joker – Jim Harbaugh
This seems like the most obvious choice. It isn’t just that Harbaugh seems crazy, but he’s a type of “look-at-me” crazy that strongly resembles the Joker’s many different incarnations across various comics. No matter what Harbaugh does, good or bad, big or small, we simply can’t look away. We have to pay attention to what the man does, whether it be scrimmaging shirtless with his recruits or picking fights on Twitter. It isn’t just insanity, it’s insanity you can’t look away from.
However, maybe the strongest evidence to this is what Chris Hatch said when discussing this story earlier, saying, “Harbaugh would appear to be the guy who would send you a dead rat in the mail”, which is frighteningly accurate.
Harley Quinn – Les Miles
This seems to make sense to me. Miles has ties to Harbaugh, with the two of them being Michigan men. This would lead to a special kind of allegiance to Harbaugh that Miles wouldn’t have with the rest of his team. However, Miles would also be willing to help out everyone else while simultaneously trying to get them all to do dumb, crazy stuff just for the sake of it.
“Have to play the field position game and punt here.”
“Nah, fake it. They’ll never see it coming.”
“Les, we’re on our own 35 and it’s 4th and 13.”
“Aw come on, man up and fake the damn thing.”
This is what Harley Quinn spends a good majority of the movie doing, and is something I can absolutely seeing Miles taking part in.
Deadshot – Rich Rodriguez
Deadshot is a very strange character in this movie. He’s clearly motivated by his daughter, but he also kills people for a job. His daughter doesn’t like that he kills people but also loves him unconditionally. He goes through the entire movie not wanting his daughter to think he’s a “piece of shit”, but still just kills people and talks about killing people when he gets free. It’s all very strange.
However, there’s a connection in all of this. Ever since his exit from Michigan, Rich Rodriguez has been on a quest to prove to the college football world that he, also, isn’t a piece of shit. It’s safe to say he’s managed to do so, turning Arizona into a strong competitor in the PAC12, and winning conference coach of the year in 2014. It’s also unclear if RichRod would be a part of another dismantling of a former national power if given the chance. Although while Deadshot would almost assuredly go back to being an assassin when freed, I doubt Rodriguez would try to ruin his reputation once more.
Rick Flag – Mark Richt
Flag plays the role of commander of the suicide squad. The somewhat reluctant leader who takes commands from Waller and carries them out to the letter. He’s also in a romantic relationship with the Enchantress’s human host, archeologist June Moone, something that leads him to turn to the Suicide Squad from an “I need your help standpoint” rather than an “I’ll blow your head off if you disobey me” standpoint. He also has many moments with Deadshot in which the two realize they’re somewhat similar, despite really not liking each other.
In many ways, I see Richt being the commander that both hates, and is forced to work with, this unit. Richt is known for running an excessively tight ship, and much like Flag, he would likely have to deal with some less than savory behavior from his crew if he wants to get the job done. In many ways you could even compare Richt’s new job at Miami to this role as well. Wow, this has some layers to it.
Katana – Mike Leach
Going strictly off of the movie, Katana is a sword-wielding (well, katana-wielding, but that seems obvious) fighter that is there to protect Flag from the squad turning on him and killing him. The katana she uses consumes the soul of those it kills, and was used on her husband, whose soul she can still communicate with through the sword. She also doesn’t say much, and when she does, it’s in Chinese, so the rest of the squad doesn’t really understand her.
This feels very Mike Leach to me, in multiple ways. For one, I wouldn’t really put it past him to both communicate with dead souls and keep said souls in a sword he carries on his person at all times. Secondly, in this group I could see him saying very little and just being along for the ride. And finally, I feel like anytime he did open his mouth, it would be some anecdote to a thing that none of the rest of the squad really understands or cares to go in-depth on, and he would likely get as many blank stares as Katana does throughout the movie.
Captain Boomerang – Steve Sarkesian
Captain Boomerang is an interesting part of the Suicide Squad because he’s literally just a guy who throws boomerangs and uses said boomerangs to do bad things. He allegedly robbed every bank in Australia at least once and moved to the US to expand his body of work. He also spends a good portion of his time being drunk and cracking off one-liners, or convincing other members of the squad to be disorderly. His overall usefulness is very low, because after all, he is a guy who pretty much just throws boomerangs and that’s it.
Sarkesian fits this bill in that he spent a good majority of his last coaching job both drunk and saying dumb/funny things. He’s also clearly not the most qualified coach on this list since he did get fired from his last job for being drunk during a game, which is exactly how Captain Boomerang would coach. Also, an interesting anecdote: Captain Boomerang’s nemesis is the Flash. Sarkesian was also recently foiled from continuing his line of work by an entity whose primary colors are also red and gold. How interesting.
Diablo – PJ Fleck
Diablo spends the majority of the movie refusing to kill anyone because he’s afraid of how much power he possesses. He has the power of a demon inside him, you see, and this allows him to shoot fire out of his hands and also turn into a giant flaming demon-monster thing at one point. He finally decides to use his powers when he’s motivated into doing so by Deadshot, and later has to himself motivate the team to finish the job.
I have a theory that PJ Fleck didn’t look at many of the vacant coaching jobs this past offseason not just because he’s happy where he is, but because he’s secretly very worried about what he could do if given a better squad than the one he has now. The man had Western Michigan believing they could actually upset the Ohio State Buckeyes until right after the game had started and they realized just how out of their depth they were. If given a team that could actually do so, with Fleck at the wheel? This is what I imagine the football version of Diablo finally deciding to use his powers and incinerate everyone looks like. This also shows that he’s a master motivator, and would easily be able to fire up the rest of the squad to finish the job.
Killer Croc – Paul Johnson
Killer Croc is this giant guy who also looks like a crocodile and this makes him very scary and is what leads the human jailers to keep him locked underground. He also doesn’t say much, however when he does, his lines are excellent, full of wit and humor. He mostly focuses on fighting, swimming and fighting, or sitting quietly while the other, more outgoing squad members crack one-liners with each other.
What makes Paul Johnson so much like Killer Croc is he’d be very apt to not say anything in this group, and only fire off the most timeliest of one-liners. There’s a specific scene in the movie where Harley Quinn is explaining how everyone in the squad is ugly on the inside, before excusing Croc from that group to add that he’s also ugly on the outside. He responds by scoffing at her and saying, “I’m beautiful”. That is Paul Johnson.
Enchantress/June Moone – Bobby Petrino/Bobby Petrino
Ok, so Enchantress is actually a witch that is very old and has lived on Earth since a time when man-kind worshipped her existence. She eventually possess the body of June Moone, a very smart archeologist who suddenly is given the ability (or curse) of turning into the Enchantress. When this is attempted to be weaponized by Amanda Waller, the Enchantress finds a way to turn on her and the squad, spending the rest of the movie being the antagonist before ultimately being defeated.
Bobby Petrino the coach is very good at what he does. He won games at Louisville, then Arkansas, and is now winning games at Lousiville again. Bobby Petrino the person did some very dumb things while at Arkansas, resulting in bobby Petrino the coach getting fired but then eventually rehired down the line at Lousiville. Petrino the coach is June Moone: smart, good at the job, and able to work with the squad. Petrino the person is the one who will ultimately do something dumb that the rest of the squad has to fight through. You see how this goes.
Slipknot – Pat Haden, I guess
Slipknot only really exists in the movie to show that the bombs Waller implants in the squads’ necks actually work. He doesn’t even get a proper intro; just one line from Flag who’s like, “Oh yeah this is Slipknot he climbs good don’t write this down it’s not important”. He’s then talked into trying to escape by Captain Boomerang, and subsequently gets his head blown off by Flag. He has a more compelling backstory in the comics, but boy, it is very uncompelling in the movie.
If Sarkesian is Boomerang in this instance, then Haden is Slipknot for sure. Look at it this way, in the time since Sarkesian was fired at USC, Haden underwent health issues and had to leave his post as both USC athletic director and a member of the college football playoff committee. That’s the IRL version of getting your head blown up by a nano-bomb, probably.