Halloween is finally here! Time for all you guys and gals to dust off those cat costumes, Jason masks and Borat onesies to show up to class or work much more relaxed and probably less comfortably than you normally would on a Wednesday. In honor of this most festive holiday, I will be dressing up each of our Playoff Picture teams for the week as the movie character that (in my opinion) most accurately describes their team, season or program.
Cotton Bowl (#1 vs. #4)- Alabama vs. LSU
Right now, Alabama looks like a team who’s just made of a different material than everyone else. I mean they look human, but are they really human? It almost seems like they might be a machine that’s just been made to look like a collection of human athletes. That’s why Alabama is dressing up as The Terminator for Halloween. They aren’t unbeatable, but if you aren’t made from similar material, then you don’t stand a chance.
Jabba the Hutt seems like he should just be a fat, slow, plodding worm. He actually is all of those things, but he is also pretty scary. Han Solo is obviously afraid of him, considering he flies all over the galaxy on dangerous tasks to round up money just to pay Jabba’s fat ass back plus interest. Clearly he has money, because he has an arsenal of bounty hunters ready to do his bidding. He has slaves whom he feeds to an even bigger, more disgusting creature when he gets irked. All of this to say, even though he is a fat, slow, plodding worm, he can still kill you. That’s kind of like LSU. They aren’t fat or slow, but they definitely play a plodding brand of football. Likewise, several teams have already seen just how dangerous LSU can be. Also, Ed Orgeron has eaten a worm to motivate his team before.
Orange Bowl (#2 vs. #3)- Clemson vs. Notre Dame
Elle Woods started out life as your All-American California girl. She was reasonably smart, attractive, popular and well-liked. Then, the best thing that could possibly have happened to her happens. Her boyfriend, who she thought was “the one”, dumps her. Says she isn’t serious enough. Says she’s too much Marilyn, and not enough Jackie. Elle then decides to just go H.A.M. on the world, get her Harvard law degree, go to Washington and basically just be an all-around badass while maintaining all of her other positive traits. That’s pretty much Clemson’s season in a nutshell. They were already really good, but then they made a change at quarterback. The old quarterback left them (completely don’t blame him in this instance though), and they’ve transformed from really good to complete badasses. Although, I’m not sure Elle would approve of Dabo’s sweatshirts as a “fashion statement”.
Time for a confession on my part. I don’t like horror movies. They have always seemed kind of dumb to me. However, in the spirit of the holiday, it seemed only natural to dress up at least one team as a horror movie villain. This year Notre Dame will be dressing up as Michael Myers. Both entities are classically revered in their respective categories. Notre Dame is one of the old guard college football programs, and Michael Myers is arguably the most recognizable movie villain of all time. Also, just like Michael Myers, the Notre Dame football program always seems to resurrect itself to national prominence just as the national media seems prepared to bury their status as an elite program.
Rose Bowl- Washington State vs. Michigan
Washington State is one of the quirkiest Power Five programs. They have been consistently decent-to-good over the past decade, despite having below average Power Five talent and being tucked into one of the most difficult recruiting bases of any Power Five team. Oh, and their coach is also a complete whacko. Over the last year, he has given marriage advice in an on-air interview, munched down a banana on camera during a pregame coaches’ and officials’ meeting, told a story about chasing a raccoon to see where it lives in another on-air interview and had a bizarre painting commissioned of himself. Yet, he’s also kind of an idiot-savant when it comes to football. His offense, a direct descendant of Hal Mumme’s Air Raid, has been successful everywhere he’s coached. So, he’s kind of like Alan from the Hangover. Alan kind of screws up Doug’s bachelor party, but he also saves the day with his idiot-savant, “Rain Man”-style blackjack performance. Oh, and both of these guys are 100% a lone wolfpack.
Now that I’ve made a confession, it seems appropriate for me to bust out my first millennial moment of the column. Michigan is dressing up as Neville Longbottom for Halloween this year. Neville, despite being a pureblood wizard, starts off as the awkward, forgetful kid who either inspires pity or ridicule depending on how big of a douche you are. No one has probably ever pitied Michigan football, but they are a “blue blood” college football program that both has a coach that is considered one of the best in the game and has a plethora of talent at every position. At the beginning of this year, the Wolverines looked like they were going to be what they typically have been under Harbaugh: pretty good with some moments but overall underwhelming. But now, Michigan looks like they might finally be putting things together. That’s kind of like how Neville Longbottom hit puberty and suddenly is ruggedly handsome, rocks the hell out of a cardigan, talks mad shit to Lord Voldemort and cuts snakes’ heads off.
Sugar Bowl- Oklahoma vs. Kentucky
This little exercise was admittedly much easier for some teams than others, and Oklahoma definitely fell into the “more difficult” category. Ultimately, I decided that the Sooners would be Ron Burgundy for Halloween this year. Both are flashy and flamboyant. Both look good, real good. Both are pretty well renowned. However, both are also prone to the occasional rough patch. Oklahoma has already hit one tough spell this year in the Red River Rivalry that might keep them out of playoff contention, but another one would surely eliminate them.
We all need to tip our caps to this Kentucky football season. This team has been a cellar dweller in the SEC East for the better part of this millennium, but this year’s team is actually in the driver’s seat in the SEC East heading into this week’s potential division-deciding showdown with Georgia. The Wildcats have still been an afterthought for much of the season, overlooked even by those closest to them. They have a dynamite ground game, led by Benny Snell Jr., and a nasty defense. All of that comes together to remind me of the lovable Forrest Gump. Jenny continually fails to see him for what he is, despite his defending her (and our nation) relentlessly. Plus, Kentucky and Forrest both just love RUNNIN’. (Spoiler alert: that’s not the corniest joke in this column).
Fiesta Bowl- Ohio State vs. West Virginia
Big. Powerful. Fast. Intimidating. Against most opponents, that’s a pretty accurate depiction of Ohio State. That’s why I decided to dress the Buckeyes up as Clubber Lang this Halloween. Clubber is a bully. He uses his physical gifts to intimidate and heckle his opponents, and as long as that gets into their head then he’s got them beat. However, as soon as he comes up against someone mentally equipped to get past the intimidation factor, he goes down and goes down hard. That’s kind of what the Buckeyes have done the last two seasons. They have leaned on their talent and superior physicality to beat teams into the ground, but when someone has finally had the stones to hit them back they’ve taken a beating
West Virginia was another tough one to outfit this Halloween. The Mountaineers have a little bit of a Washington State East thing going on. They are a little zany, outperform their talent and recruiting base and have a coach that’s a Mumme disciple. This year’s team reminds me of Jack Sparrow. They are entertaining in a crazy, goofy kind of way, but to truly thrive they need stud quarterback Will Grier. In a similar manner, Jack Sparrow is always good for a laugh, but he needs his beloved Black Pearl to have any kind of success as a pirate.
Peach Bowl- Georgia vs. UCF
Kirby Smart has done a remarkable job recruiting in his first few years in Athens. As a result, Georgia is now stockpiled with the talent to rival Alabama and Ohio State. It’s only appropriate then that they dress up as a character that accurately reflects their physical prowess. I might catch some flak for dressing up the Dawgs in a tiger costume, but this year UGA is going trick-or-treating as Shere Khan. Much like the feared Jungle Book villain, the key to beating this Georgia team is having enough “firepower” to produce explosive plays on offense. (I told you there would be a cornier joke coming).
Surely I wouldn’t be un-original enough to dress UCF up as Cinderella for Halloween, would I? Wrong my friend. I will absolutely be un-original enough to do that, but hear me out. We always think of a “Cinderella” story as a team beating a team (or series of teams) of superior ability right? Is that really what a “Cinderella” is though? I mean Cinderella is beautiful. She cooks. She cleans. She’s nice. She’s a friend of the animals. Her step-sisters are awful human beings. They’re mean. They don’t work hard. They seem like they’d be horrible girlfriends/wives. Cinderella is better than they are, but she had more barriers to opportunity than they did. Isn’t that exactly what UCF is? A team that is just better than most of these teams, but with a bigger barrier to opportunity? That’s why UCF is the real “Cinderella story”.
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