Summer Blockbusters of College Football


The next three months provide ample opportunity to earn collateral for all the Saturdays readers of this blog will forego dates and nights out with friends for football watching. The cinema is a traditional and safe choice for spending time with others, particularly this time of year. There’s certainly no shortage of choices, given film studios use early May into August to roll out their blue chips.

Think of the theater like the college football package on cable or satellite. There are countless options, but the key difference is once you’ve made a choice at the movies, there’s no clicking the Last button. Imagine choosing an SEC game against some poor FCS bodybag without the ability to switch to the outstanding top 25 match-up your neighbor is enjoy. Well, that’s what seeing


while the theater next door is showing

The Avengers

is like.

Knowing which films will deliver and which will fall flat is critical, especially with the exorbitant cost of tickets and snacks. Similarly, knowing the teams to follow come football season requires a keen eye and understanding of what makes a worthwhile blockbuster. There are telltale signs for each, and in subtle ways they cross over.

Over-promotion is a clue that a summer blockbuster isn’t worth the price of admission. Of course studios are going to invest in advertising, but constant bombardment is oftentimes a production company doubling down in hope of recouping money lost in word-of-mouth.

I have every reason to hope Prometheus will be excellent. Ridley Scott has done great work in the past, and the trailers are certainly awe inspiring. The red flag is said trailers are everywhere. And now during NBA Playoff coverage, I have Stephen A. Smith yelling at me about how awesome this movie is.

Similarly, there is reason to believe USC is returning to BCS championship-level glory in its campaign back from probation. Matt Barkley is a proven talent, and has arguably the nation’s best receiving corps with Marqise Lee and Robert Woods. That said, since Barkley’s announced return last December, there has been an onslaught of insistence, both from USC itself and from overzealous pundits, about how awesome this team is going to perform.

Did USC not lose its best player, Matt Kalil, the cornerstone of a line that gave the previously turnover prone Barkely time to throw? Is the front seven not a concern, coming off a season in which the Trojans yielded 40-plus points three times? USC is a program with an outstanding track record, much like Ridley Scott — but Ridley Scott also has had recent stumbles like Body of Lies and Robin Hood.

Quite frankly, methinks thou doth protest too much. First time you’ve read Stephen A. and Shakespeare quoted in the same sentence, I presume.

Indeed, the louder one has to shout, the more he/she is overcompensating. Proven winners are less reliant on such bravado. Warner Bros. has not blitzed media with hype on the third installment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman series. Nolan is a proven accomplished director, and Christian Bale is a screen chewing presence surrounded by a more-than capable cast, even without Heath Leger’s haunting Joker to play off.

Alabama lost Trent Richardson from last season’s title winning team, but Nick Saban is still at the helm and the bevy of talent playing for him is still at the sport’s premiere level. The Tide’s buzz seems to be less than that of teams like USC, but Alabama doesn’t need to beat its chest.

There exists in both arenas a seeking of redemption for franchise’s past failures. Men in Black 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man are new installments in film series that left fans with bad tastes in their mouths the last go-around. Neither MiB 2 nor Spider-Man 3 flopped the box office, but each was unsatisfying for audiences.

Oklahoma and Virginia Tech are guaranteed certain levels of success, but neither has wowed critics in years. Both the Sooners and Hokies return Heisman contention quality quarterbacks in 2012, Landry Jones and Logan Thomas. Question marks persist around them, and the memories of past shortcomings linger. Still, there’s hope that perhaps this is the time that the ultimate formula for success is there.

The Amazing Spider-Man is more than Universal seeking redemption for the franchise. It’s also a complete reboot of the once wildly acclaimed series. Just seven months after the original Spider-Man graced the big screen, Ohio State toppled Miami for the BCS Championship. OSU was a giant of the gridiron, and Urban Meyer was tabbed to retain that success.

Meyer’s tenure is a reboot for the Buckeyes. Gone is the stereotype of the Buckeyes playing a plodding offense thanks to the offensive chops in Meyer’s resume.

Some moviegoers will bypass the long lines and commercialism of big budget films for fare of a more artsy variety. Likewise come autumn, there exists a type of football watcher whose passion isn’t necessarily 3:30 ET SEC games on CBS, so much as it is Tuesday nights for a little #MACtion. The MAC had a stellar year altogether in 2011, and promises more in 2012.

Others might miss out on #MACtion, and that’s OK. We football hipsters who partake can lord it over your head. But don’t let the hash-tag pretension fool you. #MACtion is really a lot closer to Michael Bay than Woody Allen, because when any combination of Western Michigan, Northern Illinois, Ohio and Toledo get together, things are certain to blow up.