May The Fourth, Star Wars Day: If George Lucas Cast College Football


The original Star Wars trilogy was a fixture of my childhood. A Darth Vader poster graced my wall when I was but a tiny Padawan. Editor’s Note: That refers to a child in Jedi training, Coach Muschamp.

I watched the original VHS tapes so frequently, they began to wear. Today, it doesn’t matter time of day, if SPIKE is on one of its regularly Star Wars marathons I’ll tune in. I am even one of those jerks who laments the decline in storytelling from the originals to the prequels, yet has seen each prequel roughly a dozen times.

For those who made it past that nerdy introduction without closing the page, you have passed the first of Master Yoda’s test on Dagobah. See, today is May 4, Star Wars Day. For all two of the roughly 312 million Americans unfamiliar with the connection: May Fourth. May The Fourth. May The Fourth Be With You. OK, then.

Star Wars and college football would have seemingly no connection, on the surface. But I have seen Star Wars used as a conduit for discussion history, philosophy and religion. Drawing comparisons to college football is downright sane, in comparison. Regular readers of the blog know my affinity for Admiral Ackbar, vis a vis The Trap Game. Ackbar nearly found a premanent home on the college gridiron two years ago, when a movement to make the Mon Calamari Ole Miss’s new Rebel mascot was underway.

Yahoo! Sports editor and a good friend of mine, Cody Brunner had an excellent breakdown of Star Wars-themed mascot possibilities around the time the Ackbar buzz was growing. The blog’s now defunct, but if you hit him up on Twitter @CBrunsyahoo, he might regale you with the list.

The Will Muschamp-Nick Saban Padawan-Jedi comparison last fall brought Star Wars back into the college football foreground. The reporter who posed said question was fortunate it was to Muschamp, and not Bo Pelini. I imagine the latter’s reaction going something more like:

Where she was wrong, however, was assuming Saban is a Jedi. We all know Saban is in fact Emperor Palpatine, steering a fully functional Dethstar at Alabama. Muschamp is not yet Lord Vader, but he is Anakin Skywalker. Remeber Ani’s tendency to outbursts, suggesting a lean to the Dark Side? Well, Hayden Christiansen only wishes he could emote like this:

Todd Graham and Lando Calrissian comparisons seem only natural. Pitt fans feel betrayed and left frozen in Carbonite by Graham’s sudden departure. But if you’ll remember, Calrissian finds redemption in Return of the Jedi. In an interview with earlier this week, Graham expressed finding similar peace at ASU.

Danny O’Brien is our Boba Fett. His immediate eligibility to play for Wisconsin, coupled with Bret Bielema’s recent employment of transfer QBs, give O’Brien a mercenary feel. The movies never quite gave us a sense of how powerful The Fett Man really was; fanboys could only speculate. Such is the case for O’Brien.

Yoda would be none other than Steve Spurrier. The Ol’ Ball Coach is college football’s elderstatesmen with a proven track record of success. Everything he says makes sense…eventually. Sometimes you have to marinate on the words a moment.

USC would take the Coliseum field to a Star Wars soundbyte at the Trojans’ 2000s hayday, a soundbyte comparing it to the Empire. The irony of the Empire actually going down in defeat must have been lost on those at George Lucas’s alma mater. Go figure.

The Trojans are again an ominous presence, but prone to a Rebel force. My nominee is Utah. USC is forced to play on the Endor that is Rice-Eccles. John White plays with a brash, reckless abandon worthy of Han Solo comparisons; 6-foot-4, 330-pound defensive tackle Star Lotulelei has Chewbacca size; and quarterback Jordan Wynn even kinda, sorta looks like Luke Skywalker with that shaggy hair.

And Jar Jar Binks? Easy: