Look, you can take quizzes all day long to tell you which Bachelor contestant you are, and you can watch past glory highlight videos all day, but only at the Message Pitch do we cut through the malarkey and get down to serious topics…like which SEC school is which movie franchise.
Alabama: Marvel Cinematic Universe
This one is pretty obvious. These movies dominate the box office year in and year out. They have been for the better part of 10 years now. Kevin Fiege has been calling the shots and making sure these movies and this franchise run like a well-oiled machine. Sure, there may be some down films that do not perform as well as others but they are always at the top of the box office. Who does that remind you of? That’s right this fits Nick Saban and his Crimson Tide team to a tee. Regardless of who leaves and who joins, this team finds a way to dominate each year. Bad Marvel movies are movies and box office numbers other studios kill for, the same can be said for down years in T-Town.
The X-Men movie franchise was pretty solid around the turn of the century all the way into the middle part of the decade. The same could be said for Arkansas under Houston Nutt. I have tried to resist the urge to make this pun but Arkansas also had a ‘juggernaut” running back tandem with McFadden and Jones. The team really took off once Bobby Petrino arrived in town (similar to the Singer rebooted First Class in the X-Men Universe). Then due to some chicanery and scandal by Petrino–and also Singer–both franchise and program were left treading water. It now appears that both are on the right track with Sam Pittman leading the ‘Backs and Disney now in control of everyone’s favorite gifted youngsters.
Auburn: The DCEU
This one may come off as a stretch, but hear me out. I am a big DC guy, Auburn–not so much. I will say that similar to how diehard DC fans are for their product, Auburn fans are the exact same way. Good or bad they ride or die for their team. Just like the DCEU has been for the better part of five years now, Auburn–and more specifically, Gus Malzahn–has been perhaps the most divisive coach in the country. You either love him or hate him, just like the man in charge of the DCEU, Zack Snyder. Another big reason I made this connection is because no matter how good or bad they perform it seems like they are always in direct competition with their other superhero franchise rival. Besides Cam Newton is Superman right?
Florida: Mission Impossible
For those who don’t know, The Tom Cruise Mission Impossible franchise is based off the successful Tv show of the same name from back in the day. These movies turned the successful TV show into a full-blown franchise for new audiences. They expanded on a great product and made it great for a brand new audience and generation of viewers. Ya know who else did that? Urban Meyer, Tim Tebow and the mid-2000s Gator Crew. The MI movies fluttered a bit in the last few years as had Florida under Muschamp and McIlwain, but with the release of the most recent movie helmed by Christopher McQuarrie, this franchise has exploded back into relativity…just like the arrival of Dan Mullen has gotten this Gator’s offense exploding once again.
Georgia: The Fast & Furious
If you have watched this Georgia program the last few years, then this movie title definitely does not describe what you have seen from UGA on offense. When you look deeper however, you can see the similarities between these two. The F&F franchise has been a pretty big name for the better part of the millenia, but–no pun intended–stalled out during the middle of its run. Once the flashy new movie star known by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson showed up and joined the cast these movies have started dominating more and more in the box office.Which is exactly what UGA has done since Kirby “The Coach?” Smart has come to town. Also similarly to Georgia, these movies have not been able to hang with the MCU in terms of numbers at the box office, such as UGA with Alabama.
Kentucky: John Wick
This may be kind of a stretch, but hear me out: There are some similarities. Keanu Reeves starts his name with a K so does Kentucky….but no seriously, this is a franchise that snuck up on people with how good it is. It defies all expectations and each entry has a solid run at the box office. It has one of the more underrated actors and TMP favorite Shane Falco, er, Keanu Reeves, in a starring role showing people that he’s still got it and can hang with action stars of today. Just like the always underrated Mark Stoops and what his Wildcats do up in Lexington every fall for the last seven years or so.
The Rocky franchise has been around for years. Nobody ever lists as one of the premiere movie franchises and it often gets disrespected when talking about all-time classic franchises. Similar to LSU when National powerhouse programs are mentioned. Rocky is also a proud franchise who started off strong (LSU beginning of the decade) and then had some misses down the stretch (LSU middle of the decade). Then popularity surged when MIchael B. Jordan came to town and starred in the amazing film Creed. It breathed new life into this franchise, just like when some kid named Joe Burrow came into town. Creed was coached by the great Rocky similar to how Burrow was coached by Orgeron. How Burrow and Creed understood each coach I’ll never know.
Mississippi State: Pirates of the Carribean
This one speaks for itself. Mike Leach is the Pirate. Also these movies were pretty popular in the mid 2000’s and into the early 2010s like State had under Mullen.
OK, I may be cheating with this one. Avatar technically is a franchise because the second, third, and fourth ones are in development. Avatar was a huge movie when it first came out some 12 years ago now (if I’m not mistaken). Also around 12 years Mizzou was a top-5 ranked team and had everyone’s favorite backup NFL QB (sorry Chance, it’s not Nick Foles) Chase Daniel slinging it all over the yard to Jeremy Maclin. Mizzou was at arguably its peak and was able to maintain it for a while. Then they moved to the SEC and people outside of Missouri kind of forgot they were around. They still produced, but they were overshadowed by the other programs now in their conference. Wait a minute…a powerhouse from 2007-2009 getting overshadowed by a conference/studio move? I knew this Avatar comparison would work out. Since its release Avatar has changed studios from Fox to Disney and has been overshadowed by the Star Wars and MCUs of the world, again like Mizzou. All jokes aside, it looks like Mizzou is headed in the right direction with Coach Drink in town. For all you Mizzou fans out there, I bet that you will play for an SEC title again before this sequel actually does come out.
Ole Miss: SAW
SAW was at the peak of its power during 2004 when it first debuted. Kind of like Ole Miss with Eli Manning under center. This franchise has seen sequel after sequel that gets worse every year, similar to Ole Miss most years after. There have been some bright spots, like the Freeze years that had people excited for what could happen…only to end with people wondering what could have been. (see SAW 7). For everything this program has been through it looks like they are now on the right track after a nice reboot. Similar to the upcoming Chris Rock Saw movie. Now the scariest thing about this program is how quickly they can score on you… and their run defense.
South Carolina: Star Wars
I imagine whenever George Lucas shared the premise for Star Wars everyone thought he was crazy. I also imagine that was the case when Steve Spurrier came up with the fun and gun offense. I know I know he ran that offense at Florida and this is about his time at SCAR. I’ll break it down like this: If Steve Spurrier’s time at Florida was the original trilogy, then his time at SCAR are the next six movies. Building on plenty of hype, he coached at SCAR and had some low points and also some really high points (11-win seasons, impressive recruiting classes, the greatest QB to ever lace up cleats in another TMP fave Stephen Garcia). Similar to episodes 1,2, and 3 of Star Wars, Steve Spurrier decided to build on his legacy and create more backstory and history upon his earlier creation. And now bringing in the modern trilogy…Spurrier’s time there ended in a sort of whimper leaving fans wanting more, similar to the end of the Rise of Skywalker. Even though it is now under new management, both the current Star Wars and this program will be compared to the previous run that George Lucas/Steve Spurrier had years ago.
Look, I am not one of these people who want to pile on Tennessee. They have been struggling to find themselves and have been in a rebuild for the better part of this century now it feels like. Tennessee was one of the better teams of the SEC for the first half of the century. Solid performances all around and then as the decade went on interest started to fade and the underperforming started. There has been a reboot rumored for Shrek for the last few years which unfortunately UT knows all too well. Will the new studio be able to reproduce the old magic of Shrek? Will
Jeremy Pruitt the next dude be able to reproduce the magic of the Manning and the 57 Clausen brother days? Only time will tell.
Texas A&M: Transformers.
Popularity was at a peak in the early 2010s with the next big star running the show in both Shia Labeouf and Johnny Football. Eventually both stars moved on to other projects and the franchise/program lost its identity. Mark Wahlberg/ Trevor Knight came in for a quick shot in arm but then mediocrity set back in. Finally a new director (Jimbo Fisher) came to town and we are seeing the resurgence of this franchise and program. (See Texas A&M this year and that BumbleBee movie that was a lot better than it probably should have been).
It is a train wreck that’s fun to watch and just keeps going.