Football is coming, and when you think about it, Game of Thrones and the SEC are pretty similar; both revolve around turf wars, brutality, and a never-ending race for
first second place. Which Game of Thrones characters do the league’s coaches most resemble? I’ve spent way too much time thinking about this today, so here goes.
** WARNING: This post includes spoilers for the entire series up until now (Season 7, Episode 3). If you’re not there yet and don’t want to be spoiled, STOP READING. You have been warned. **
Nick Saban: Cersei Lannister
Like Cersei, Saban is currently on the throne in the SEC and seems to have the upper hand on his enemies. Also like Cersei, Saban rarely shows emotion and is ruthless in battle. While both excel at defense (Cersei isn’t afraid to use wildfire), they allow others to orchestrate their offense. Cersei lets her brother/lover Jamie handle the ground forces and Euron Greyjoy the naval fleet, similar to how Saban allowed Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian to run his offense last year. Kiffin may be gone now, but he’s definitely college football’s Euron Greyjoy.
Jim McElwain: Daenerys Targaryen
Comparing Jim McElwain to Khaleesi may seem like a stretch when you look at the two, but stay with me. Like Daenerys, McElwain came out of obscurity to rule the East/Essos. While both have very talented squads, their inexperience shows on the big stage. Florida got trounced by Alabama in the SEC Championship game last year, and although Khaleesi’s got three dragons, her forces just took a major hit. Additionally, as McElwain proved at SEC Media Days when asked about the shark humping picture, neither have a sense of humor.
Speaking of, both love to ride animals. (JUST KIDDING JIM)
Kirby Smart: Jon Snow
It took six seasons for Jon Snow to become King of the North, and it feels like it took that long for Georgia to get rid of Mark Richt and hire Kirby Smart. The Saban pupil didn’t have the greatest first year in Athens, but like Snow, he’s proven to be a great recruiter. The media picked Georgia to win the East, just as many are picking Snow to be one of the last standing in the ultimate battle for the throne.
Mark Stoops: Sansa Stark
Both redheads have gone through a lot over the past few seasons, but both have survived. In fact, with Sansa holding down the fort at Winterfell and Stoops coming off his best year yet, things are looking up for the fiery duo, who are emerging from the shadows of their more famous siblings. Unfortunately, both have to deal with a creeper lurking in the shadows in Littlefinger/Bobby Petrino.
Dan Mullen: The Hound
Like the Hound, Mullen’s practically been to hell and back in his nine years in Starkville. Last season, he had to replace practically his entire squad — including Dak Prescott — but managed to get his team to its seventh straight bowl game. Neither will win any beauty pageants, but both Mullen and the Hound have the resiliency it takes to survive…although the Riverlands are a lot nicer than Starkville.
Gus Malzahn: Arya Stark
Both are the “little sisters” in their realms but could prove to be major players this season. Outside of Hot Pie and Ed Sheeran, no one really knows what Arya’s been up to lately, but she’s sneaky dangerous and is gunning for Cersei, just as Malzahn is gunning for Saban.
Bret Bielema: The Mountain
Both have a lot of — yeah, I got nothing other than they’re both big.
Hugh Freeze: Joffrey Baratheon
Both Freeze and Joffrey are out of the picture now due to their own stupidity. Joffrey was poisoned for his cruelty, while Freeze was fired after Ole Miss found out he was calling an escort service from his university-issued cell phone…which, actually sounds like something Joffrey would do as well.
Butch Jones: Stannis Baratheon
While both Stannis and Butch appeared to be in good shape early on (Stannis’ attack on the Wildlings, Tennessee’s win over Florida), both fell victim to last minute surprises (wildfire in the Battle of Blackwater/Dobbs’ interception in double overtime at Texas A&M). Both also rely on cheesy rhetoric far too often. Will Butch be a loser in the game of life like Stannis? That remains to be seen, but if he starts calling Jonathan Kongbo the “Prince That Was Promised,” Tennessee fans should really start to worry.
Will Muschamp: Samwell Tarley
Both used to be the laughing stocks of the show/league, but are quietly turning things around. Samwell is doing legit work down at the Citadel while Muschamp had a decent first year at South Carolina. After starting the season 2-4, the Gamecocks finished the season 4-2 with an upset over Tennessee, which was enough to go bowling. Will they be the unlikeliest heroes yet?
Kevin Sumlin: Doran Martell
I struggled with this one, but Nick suggested Doran Martell because once Prince Oberyn’s flashiness (Johnny Manziel) was gone, the Dornish, like the Aggies, had no identity. That being said, Sumlin still has a job while Martell was murdered by Ellaria Sand and the Sand Snakes. So, who knows, but at the very least, A&M is so far away from everyone else they might as well be Dorne.
Ed Orgeron: Hodor
I can’t understand what either is saying, but I like them both.
Derek Mason: Lyanna Mormont
Like Lyanna, Mason can give a speech like none other. Also like Lyanna, he rules over one of the smallest kingdoms in the SEC. Vandy may only have “62 men,” but under Mason’s reign, they pulled off upsets over Georgia and Tennessee last season.
Barry Odom: Gendry
Gendry was last seen in season three when he was sent off in a rowboat despite not knowing how to row or swim. After a 4-8 season which included a loss to Middle Tennessee State, Odom seems to be in the same boat, so to speak, although his team did show flashes of promise in wins over Vandy and Arkansas. Will Gendry and Odom emerge as surprise players this season? I doubt it.
BONUS: Rick Pitino as Walder Frey
Because you know you were thinking it too.