Reddit CFB published one of those infograph maps, based on scientific* data, to determine college football’s most hated team in each of the 50 states.
Realistically, all it confirmed for me is how poorly an Electoral College model would be for determining anything to do with the sport. But that thought led me down the recesses of my twisted mind to picture a United Stats with an active college football coach as president.
A head college football coach’s job shares some qualities with the POTUS. Both must surround himself (or herself, as the case may be–which begs the question, which position will a woman occupy first?) with skilled and competent support staff.
After all, there may never have been a Truman Doctrine without Dean Acheson much as the Alabama defense may not have been as successful without Kirby Smart.
Like the POTUS, a head coach gets an uneven amount of praise and criticism–especially criticism. Plenty of college football coaches would beg for the security of a four-year term.
Now that I have sufficiently trivialized the importance of the Leader of the Free World’s job, let’s go even further.
The game’s elder statesmen and most biggest winners make for the most obvious choices.
Nick Saban has four national championships, attracts premier talent and runs his organization with machine-like efficiency. The Alabama head coach would be a nose-to-the-grindstone leader with a decisive plan of attack and one-track approach to seeing it through.
Obstructionist Congress? Pres. Saban isn’t afraid to enact executive order.
However, Lane Kiffin as running mate was an eyebrow-raising move–a Game Change, if you will.
Moreover, Saban’s calculated efficiency might fail to garner support from undecided voters seeking a friendlier Commander-in-Chief.
Urban Meyer, the next most successful coach in the college ranks, suffers from the same problem. Meyer has won everywhere he’s gone, whether it was Bowling Green, Utah, Florida or Ohio State. He has two national championships and would have coached for a third in 2012 had he not taken over a program serving an NCAA-mandated bowl ban.
Meyer can deliver the swing state of Ohio, but Florida is likely out of the question. He might also struggle to gain endorsements from his peers.
Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder is a proven winner and, by all accounts, a congenial man. His life experience and capacity for doing more with less make him a seemingly perfect candidate.
Alas, attack ads would ominously hint at Snyder’s age; he’ll be 75 in October. And we all saw what happened the last time Snyder left office.
South Carolina head coach and prominent college football figurehead Steve Spurrier is only 51/2 years younger than Snyder, but the Head Ball Coach looks younger. Given appearance goes a long in the political realm, that helps Spurrier’s electability.
So too does Spurrier’s candor with media. He fits the mold of “guy you could have a beer with,” an ethos that is not at all political yet helped George W. Bush win the 2000 election.
Pres. Bush and Spurrier also share the common bond of controversial wins in Florida. The HBC’s national championship came in a rematch with Florida State, which beat his Gators in the regular season finale.
A Spurrier presidency would be nothing if not entertaining. Sanctions would come with daily jabs in the media. Imagine Vladimir Putin playing the role of Pres. Spurrier’s Dabo Swinney.
But that’s when Spurrier isn’t emulating Putin: Both have an affinity for going shirtless.
LSU’s Les Miles has a similar electable personality. Miles also has a track record for success, winning two SEC championships and a BCS title.
Miles also receives criticism for not winning as often as perhaps he should, the result of late-game gaffes and unusual circumstances. Much like the POTUS, Les Miles is often second-guessed in the media.
A White House Press Corps featuring Bobby Hebert? Oh, the possibilities.
Ultimately, Miles is more Vice-President material given the similarities to Joe Biden.
Most of the coaches in the Pac-12 have worthy cases for the job, though the dings against them are too significant to overlook.
Rich Rodriguez’s quips could either help him or hurt him on the election trail. Taken out of context, there’s probably too much fodder for short attack ads; plus, he would struggle to deliver the swing states in the Rust Belt.
Utah’s Kyle Whittingham boasts an impressive track record, but the Utes’ success in the Mountain West and struggles in the Pac-12 make him a small-state governor slow to gain traction as a member of the Senate.
Chris Petersen’s win percentage is tops among all active head coaches. But until he proves himself at Washington, his success at Boise State gives him the presidential cachet of the governor of a state like…Idaho.
David Shaw stands out as the best presidential option from the West. A Stanford graduate, Shaw inherited a flourishing program and improved upon it. He’s competitive and tough when he needs to be, but candid with media.
His NFL experience speaks to credentials on another platform. He can deliver the West, but Stanford’s smash-mouth brand of football appeals to Middle American sensibilities.
Perhaps a Shaw candidacy would mark the return of former Secretary of State (and current College Football Playoff committee member) Condoleezza Rice to the political arena.