Movies, college football mix as season kicks off - NBC Sports

Movies, college football mix as season kicks off
There's a lot of similarities between recent flicks and preseason Top 10
If you're a fan of LSU coach Les Miles, The Expendables 2 is for you.
August 29, 2012, 2:08 pm

Instead, I replaced sitting motionless watching football with sitting motionless watching movies, ensuring that my sofa dent is already in midseason form and that I'll probably die of deep vein thrombosis before the end of the week. (If this really happens, I'm leaving this unfinished bag of Twizzlers to whoever clears my internet cache).

After spending the past eight months leaving butter-flavored fingerprints on a stack of ticket stubs, I couldn't help but see some similarities between those flicks and these football teams. So here are the AP Preseason Top 10 and their Hollywood-scripted equivalents:

No. 1: USC is The Avengers, obviously. Finally eligible for postseason play after a two-year ban, senior quarterback Matt Barkley and senior safety T.J. McDonald are ready to appear in a bowl game that isn't sponsored by a nut company. Barkley needs 2,608 passing yards to skip over Carson Palmer and become USC's all-time passing leader (and he just has to run 156 yards backwards to beat Palmer's -197 yards rushing) which is totally doable since he'll still be throwing to WRs Robert Woods and Marqise Lee, who combined for 2,435 yards and 26 TDs last year.

No. 2: I sat in the theatre staring at the hand-embroidered Mockingjay on the back of a stranger's denim jacket and slowly realized that not even the Capitol during the Hunger Games can match Tuscaloosa when it comes to mouth-frothing excitement and anticipation. Alabama would collectively be the Careers, the sneering stack of players who are trained exclusively to compete in the Games (And this obviously gives Week 1 opponent Michigan the chance to be Katniss Everdeen).

This year's Tide is young, the youngest team Nick Saban has coached during his six seasons of A-logo straw hats, so the biggest question is whether those players will be ready to fill the holes on the depth chart left by departing seniors and NFL draft picks, especially on defense.

No. 3: One movie reviewer said that The Expendables 2 was "absolutely insane loud fun without the annoying mind-bending questions." That's the best description of LSU coach Les Miles that I've ever read.

No. 4: The Watch hoped to be a success, especially since the two names on the top of its poster belonged to Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughan. Unfortunately, it's not 1999. The Oklahoma Sooners hope to be a success, especially since they have two coaches named Stoops: head man Bob and his brother Mike, the former-turned-current defensive coordinator. Team Stoops hope to flip back the calendar pages to anywhere between 1999-2003 - Mike's last stop in Norman - and a four year stretch that included four Top 10 defenses, two Big 12 championships and a BCS title. Defense was the Sooners' weak spot last year; they didn't finish above 43rd in the country in any major category.

No. 5: Google your local movie listings and see what's showing in 3-D. ParaNorman? That works, if only for the eerie green color scheme. The point is that Oregon has spent the past three seasons - the Chip Kelly era - filling four quarters with sensory overload, moving down the field in a blur of no-huddles and Nike Pro uniforms. Despite the departure of RB LaMichael James (drafted by the 49ers) and QB Darron Thomas (sitting at home, drafting LaMichael James on Madden 13), the Ducks still have proven weapons in RB Kenjon Barner and RB/WR/PR/KR/ZOMG De'Anthony Thomas.

No. 6: Mike Richt isn't saying yet, but Georgia will most likely be without defensive standouts Bacarri Rambo and Alex Ogletree for the first four games of the season. Those two will join CB Sanders Cummings and OLB Chase Vassar on the suspension list, the first two for failed drug tests, the latter for domestic assault and DUI, respectively. Did anyone see Chronicle, that found-footage movie about the guys who get superpowers but then use them to do a bunch of dumb stuff? Save yourself a trip to Redbox and watch the Dawgs take on Missouri in Week 2. Same cautionary tale, less spew-inducing camera work.

No. 7: From the early 1990s-on, it seemed like every time Bobby Bowden stretched his neck skin, another ACC title-winning team fell out. That hasn't happened in seven years, not since Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher was their first-year offensive coordinator. This Seminoles team is going full-on 21 Jump Street, recasting new players in familiar roles (QB EJ Manuel will be their Charlie Ward) and remaking this season using an old script. If it works, you'll know how it ends: with Manuel and Fisher holding up a Dr. Pepper-sponsored trophy.

No. 8: Which is closer to becoming a reality: Ghostbusters 3 or a Michigan national title? It depends on whether you'd rather believe Dan Aykroyd or Denard Robinson.

No. 9: After hearing Steve Spurrier - STEVE SPURRIER! - say things like "if [winning] means running the ball 40-50 times and letting our defense do their job, that's what we'll do," I pretty much assume that somebody Total Recall-ed him, implanting false memories in his brain of that time he was Mark Dantonio.

No. 10: The only thing more unsettling than thinking about middle-aged Meryl Streep having sex in Hope Springs is thinking about middle-aged Bobby Petrino having sex somewhere off of Highway 16. If there were ever a team that would be filed under the category of comedy-drama, it would be Arkansas. The comedy is Petrino's offseason Streeping; the drama is pretty much everything else, from scrambling to hire a new coach to getting up to speed fast (and that's not a Petrino joke, swear) for a Week 3 visit from Alabama.

Jelisa Castrodale has learned a lot about life by making a mess of her own. Read more at, follow her on twitter at!/gordonshumway, or contact her at


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