Oh, college football offseason, you are a strange place. Breaking news is but an oasis across the vast wasteland of late June and July. In most cases, it is almost better if your team stays out of the news during this time of the year. Suspensions, transfers and injuries are the norm of the offseason.
Luckily for you, we have let our imaginations run wild to cure our boredom. We thought, if Big 12 schools were bands, who would they be?
West Virginia — Megadeth
Did you know that West Virginia became a state by breaking away from Virginia who became a Confederate state in April 1861? It was a microcosm of the Civil War and a precursor of what was to come.
The same could be said about how thrash metal giant Megadeth was formed. While West Virginia willingly chose to leave the larger state of Virginia, Megadeth founder Dave Mustaine was kicked out of Metallica in 1981. Left with little to nothing, Mustaine went on a personal crusade to beat his former band. Megadeth went on to become one of the most-heralded bands of the last 30 years. However, despite all their success, Megadeth never wore the crown as the kings of heavy metal.
The Mountaineers have had a great football program. 81 winning seasons, numerous award-winning players and 731 wins. Despite all this success, WVU has been unable to achieve the crown of national champion. With the 731 wins, they are the winningest program to not have a national title in their trophy case.
While Mustaine may have never beat his old band in the eyes of many, Megadeth fans are rabid and full of pride. West Virginia’s fan base is as passionate as they come and they have much to be proud of. West Virginians can also say their state has roots in saying “Hell no” to slavery. 10 points to you, Mountaineers!
Best Song: Peace Sells
Best Mountaineer: Pat White
Kansas State — Pearl Jam
During the 1990’s, Pearl Jam was big. They were on the radio 24/7. They had the music, they had the grunge look and they had Eddie Vedder, who according to my Dallas-based uncle is third only to Troy Aikman and God. Yessir, you can’t have 90’s flashbacks without hearing Jeremy spoke in, class todaaaayyyy.
The 90’s were also kind to the Wildcats of Kansas State. After being one of the worst football programs prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall, K-State hired Bill Snyder who pulled the Wildcats out of the basement and into the center stage of college football. From 1997 through 2000, Kansas State won 11 games each season and were in the national title conversation seemingly every week.
Sadly, the way your parents lament about the 70s’ and 80’s ending, the 90’s also had to end. While Kansas State has remained a solid program into the 2000’s, they are not the national title contender they once were consistently. For whatever reason, Pearl Jam stopped writing rock anthems and instead got into indie-music. Because of this, the Seattle rockers are not the concert attraction they once were. Of course, anytime you see Pearl Jam on the schedule you get excited, much like Kansas State. The Wildcats are never a comfortable opponent.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the Wildcats still have that elderly wizard on the sideline.
Best Song: Yellow Ledbetter
Best Wildcat: Darren Sproles
Baylor — Guns N’ Roses
For a five-year stretch from 1987 to 1992, Guns N’ Roses was the biggest band in the world. Nobody could out-swagger front man Axl Rose. Lead guitarist Slash had the mystique of a classic guitarist and the iconic image of the top hat and Les Paul at his side. It seemed that the future of music would go straight through GNR for years to come.
Enter Baylor. With the arrival of now former head coach Art Briles, Baylor slowly became the school every top recruit wanted to join. Swagger, attitude and image became synonymous with Baylor football from 2011-2015. This successful run was unprecedented in Baylor’s long football history. They earned their first Heisman Trophy winner in school history as well as back-to-back Big 12 titles during the Briles era.
Sadly, like Guns N’ Roses, Baylor flew too close to the sun and appears to be on a downward spiral similar to a disbanding GNR in the mid-90’s. While Baylor still has talent, it seems empty. After a series of unfortunate decision-making, terrible acts of debauchery and regrettable deeds both GNR and Baylor now see their best days are behind them.
Lets hope that unlike Guns N’ Roses reuniting finally, Art Briles never steps foot in Waco again.
Best Song: November Rain
Best Bear: Robert Griffin, III
Texas Tech — Stone Temple Pilots
If you want to picture a hard-rock band, think of Stone Temple Pilots. Their list of singles flood your ears every day you listen to your local radio station. For a long time, it was hard to imagine a summer without hearing a new, awesome STP track on the airwaves.
Now looking over Texas Tech’s recent history, the Red Raiders have much to be proud of. Routine victories seemingly every year against the obvious bigger dogs in the conference, as well record-breaking performances and a stable of great college football names. STP didn’t invent grunge-rock but they helped bring the genre more into the mainstream. Former Red Raider head coach Mike Leach didn’t invent the spread offense, but boy did he invade the country side with it like a plague.
However, if you dig deep into STP’s catalogue, you will find that they are very thin and top-heavy. Numerous top 10 hits and great songs, but that’s about it. The bulk of their songs are forgettable filler sprinkled with a great song here and there. Texas Tech has had the offense or the skill-players to get them there, but never a defense to go along with their explosiveness.
The good thing is that there is no excessive drug-use parallels with Texas Tech and STP. The Red Raiders do a good job of keeping a clean program.
Best Song: Interstate Love Song
Best Red Raider: E.J. Holub
Kansas — Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch
Are you scratching your head? Stay with me.
Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch was a hip-hop group in the late 80’s and early 90’s. You know that. “Front man” Mark Wahlberg eventually left the musical industry to pursue a career in acting. Despite what you may think of his acting chops or his movies, I think most oxygen-breathing humans would agree that Wahlberg the actor is better than Wahlberg the musician.
I think we can all agree that Kansas the basketball program is miles better than Kansas the football program.
Now I don’t want to rain on the Jayhawks parade. They have some nice football alums, notably Gale Sayers and John Riggins. Recently, Kansas had arguably their most successful season in school history in 2007 when former coach (Marky?) Mark Mangino coached the Jayhawks to a 12-1 record and a victory over Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl.
Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch did have a number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with Good Vibrations, just like that one year in 2007 for Kansas! End similarities.
Best Song: Good Vibrations
Best Jayhawk: Gale Sayers
Texas — KISS
KISS revolutionized the musical industry. They brought hardcore capitalism into the artistic field and went on a holy war to make sure KISS merchandise was around you at any point of the day. Bassist Gene Simmons is notorious for his unapologetic-nature to make another buck, and God bless ’em for it.
The University of Texas, with all its resources, home-grown talent and money, do a great job of being in the front of the common college football fan even during the rare years they do not go to a bowl game. Texas is a brand. KISS is a brand. No matter where you go across the country, you are bound to see someone wearing a burnt-orange hat or a Texas football hoodie — I’m serious, I was in Glacier National Park in Montana once and saw about 12 Texas fans. The Longhorns have football in their DNA and their fans show this.
KISS shares a similar national fan base that Texas enjoys. Everyone roots for KISS and shows up to their shows in droves. No matter where Texas plays, there are plenty of fans throwing up the horns. Now, let’s hope Charlie Strong doesn’t make a disco record for recruits anytime in the near future.
Best Song: Rock and Roll All Nite
Best Longhorn: Earl Campbell
Oklahoma State — Van Halen
Arguably the greatest guitarist in the history of heavy metal is Eddie Van Halen. Oklahoma State has the greatest running back of all time in Barry Sanders. Both Sanders and Van Halen had their glory (college wise for Sanders) in the 80’s. It is a match made in Heaven!
The Cowboys are a program defined by two coaches: Pat Jones from the 80’s into the 90’s and Mike Gundy from 2005 to the present. Van Halen is a band defined by two lead singers in David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar. While Van Halen fans are divided on what front man they prefer, OSU fans are unified in their love for both coaches and their program.
The successful Cowboys’ teams have been a joy to watch. Fun, explosive offenses and aggressive, turnover-minded defenses. In a similar fashion, Van Halen was all about If they had a music video, Van Halen’s Jump would be a solid choice as the song choice.
Now let’s hope Pat Jones doesn’t start doing karate or double-kicks in mid-air like David Lee Roth.
Best Song: Jump
Best Cowboy: Barry Sanders
Oklahoma — Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin is one of the most influential bands in the history of music. They are the godfathers of heavy rock and have the history, catalogue and iconic status to back it up. Plant, Page, Jones & Bonham.
The Oklahoma Sooners in any given year, are a top three football program all-time. Countless All-Americans, five Heisman winners, over 40 bowl wins and iconic coaches, Owen, Wilkinson, Switzer and Stoops. The way Led Zeppelin innovated rock and roll with their fusion of blues and contemporary rock, the Sooners improved the landscape of football with the wishbone offense of the 70’s and 80’s and the air raid attack of the 2000’s.
Led Zeppelin also had a penchant for writing about Lord of the Rings any chance they got. The Sooners have been the lord of the rings in the Big 12 with nine conference titles and seven national titles — both the most in the conference. No matter how far in the past the glory days are, Zeppelin and Oklahoma will be synonymous with greatness.
It would also be remiss to not acknowledge the fact that recently, OU’s national title hopes have gone down like a led zeppelin, time and time again.
Best Song: Stairway to Heaven
Best Sooner: Lee Roy Selmon
Iowa State — Motörhead
Does anyone have anything bad to say about Motörhead? If you do, please turn off your computer or phone and burn it. You have lost all social media/sports media privileges. Anybody who has ever been into rock or metal love and respect this band.
Iowa State holds a similar standing with most Big 12 fans. Their fans are passionate and will travel well. They usually have solid teams that can give at least one highly ranked squad all they want each year. With all that though comes the obvious lack of success or hardware.
While Motörhead has the respect of music fans and some success, they never broke into the mainstream deeply for one reason or another. Sure there was Ace of Spades but can a random music fan name one of their other songs? Sure Iowa State had Seneca Wallace but can a random college football fan name another Cyclone quarterback?
The correct answer is Sage Jamen Rosenfels.
Best Song: Overkill
Best Cyclone: Troy Davis
TCU — Aerosmith
When you think of Aerosmith, what do you picture? I will tell you what I picture. Wild parties and great times. Go to their concerts and tell me I’m a liar.
If you have never been to a game in Ft. Worth for TCU or a game where they have visited your favorite team, I highly recommend you make the trip if you love the ladies. Most college football fans give the “most beautiful female fans” unofficial tag to Florida State or Arizona State. They are all sorely wrong. Maybe it is because purple is my favorite color.
But let’s get beyond their fans, no matter how beautiful they are. TCU football has a storied football program. No matter their conference, they have always been successful and never afraid to back down from any fight. They are about as solid a smaller football program can be.
Aerosmith shares a similar solid history. They are no slouch when it comes to writing a good rock tune. The Horned Frogs have always been a formidable opponent and more than capable to make a huge splash in the conference.
Best Song: Dream On
Best Horned Frog: Davey O’Brien