Yes, this is really happening. Robby Kalland and I are comparing college football teams to contestants on The Bachelorette. It's peak #offseason, and we know you'll be as satisfied with this as we were writing it.
Before we go any further, it's worth pointing out one of the contestants on the show, Jordan Rodgers, was a former quarterback at Vanderbilt. And, in true Commodores style, he already insulted another contestant for telling, not spelling. (Shout out to PFTCommenter.)
So there is, in fact, a college football connection.
Beyond that, however, The Bachelorette is a fine offseason palate cleanser. Sometimes you just need to take two hours every Monday evening and turn off your brain. Sure, the show is rigged and there's little in the way of "reality" on it, but it's America's finest comedy (apologies, Silicon Valley).
And that's enough. Don't tell us to turn in our man card. We don't care, and we're not carriers anyway.
Seeing as we're already a month in to the show, we're taking the remaining contestants plus a bonus selection and comparing them to college football teams. The show started with 26 contestants, but it's impossible to get a feel on each and every one right away. In one instance, we referenced a specific team, but otherwise we're making sweeping generalizations based on common characteristics.
Warning: I've watched several seasons of this show and this is the sorriest group of guys yet. That probably doesn't bode well if your favorite team is chosen as a comparison point.
With that, let's get to the comparisons. Be entertained, hopefully.
Football Team: Michigan State
Alex is a smaller guy, but he's strong, and while you don't get the feeling he can win it all, you know that he can play spoiler for one of the big guns in a one-on-one situation (like what happened with Chad). That's Michigan State. They can beat an Ohio State or Michigan in conference play and make a run to the last four, but once they run into an Alabama, it's just a little too much to handle. Alex will probably hang around for a while, and he already has a big win over Chad, but I'm doubting his ability to make the final week.
Occupation: Medical Sales Rep
Football Team: Texas A&M
Chase talks an awful lot and has gotten a lot of air time early on this season, but you're just waiting for him to fall off. That's the last two years of Texas A&M football in a nutshell: They've come out of the gates firing, beating up on some weaker competition and getting everyone thinking maybe they can do this thing. They find themselves way up in the rankings, then once the conference schedule really hits, it's trouble.
Chase had a good early run, made some noise, and there's always Bachelor in Paradise -- which is really the Music City Bowl of the Bachelor world, when you think about it -- for him later down the line, but he's not a contender.
Occupation: Commercial banker
Football team: Miami (FL)
The most important thing to understand about the Derek-Miami comparison -- and this was one of the more difficult ones to nail down, by the way -- is that we're talking about modern-day Miami, not "The U" of the 1980s and '90s. Those were some bad, bad dudes. Derek is not bad. He's as edgy as NERF football. If he was a stadium, he's be three-quarters empty at kickoff.
He does, however, talk a tremendous amount of unwarranted trash. This is always welcomed, and he is beloved for it. True story: The first time Derek started going after Chad, Robby messaged me and asked "Who's this Derek dude?" A total unknown if not for his fake swag.
Football team: Wisconsin
Daniel got apocalyptically drunk on the first night and ended up standing in a hallway by himself wearing nothing more than a Speedo. He was one burnt couch away from being West Virginia, but the aforementioned description by itself sounds like a Wednesday night in Madison.
Daniel is, however, somewhat endearing, if you can believe it. I figured I would hate someone who lists "Canadian" as his occupation, but Daniel is slowly turning into one of those overachievers you can't help but halfway admire.
Occupation: Erectile Dysfunction Specialist
Football team: Lane Kiffin's 2009 Tennessee Vols
Completely undermanned and yet somehow irrationally overconfident, Evan picks fights that he would have no chance of winning in any other setting. To his credit, he's not getting blown out of the water (yet), but that day is coming. Oh boy, is it coming. And when it does, it's going to be as epic and awkward as when Kiffin held a late-night presser announcing he was leaving Knoxville after one glorious 7-6 season.
We bounced around several ideas before deciding we needed to get specific -- real specific -- with Evan. The combination of Kiffin and Tennessee was too good to pass up.
Football team: Notre Dame
I don't get the feeling Grant is going to win this thing, but he certainly checks off all the right boxes. Fantasy occupation? Check. Built like a tank? Check. Charming? Check. In other words, Grant is the epitome of the eligible bachelor, just as Notre Dame is the epitome of a powerhouse college football program.
Like the Irish, it feels like Grant has the tools to get to the final five or four (i.e. Hometown Dates), but it's been a while since a stereotypical guy like him has won the whole thing.
Occupation: Boxing club owner
Football team: Iowa
Every time they show James F., my reaction is either, "Who?" or "How is he still around?" That was most people's reaction to Iowa as an undefeated team last year. I don't think James F. will last much longer, but we kept waiting for Iowa to lose too and they got to the Big Ten title game. He's just keeping a low profile, doing his thing and avoiding making a huge mistake. Kirk Ferentz football at its finest.
Plus, you know, he's wearing plaid shirt. James F. just looks like the Floyd of Rosedale.
Football team: LSU
Taylor is goofy and quirky, but if you put him in his element (with a guitar in his hands), he can beat anyone on the show. That sounds like LSU to me.
Les Miles is a different kind of cat than most college football coaches; he talks different from the rest, but when his team is at home in Death Valley, they're beasts. Taylor wouldn't win best looking and he's a bit awkward, but whenever he gets the chance to sing JoJo a song, you can tell that it's working. That alone could take him far in this competition.
Occupation: Football player
Football team: Clemson
No, he's not Vandy even though he played there. Jordan is one of the clear house favorites and is by far the best quarterback in the house, but he carries a bit of a chip on his shoulder/inferiority complex because his brother is Aaron Rodgers. That sounds like Clemson to me.
The Tigers come into 2016 as one of the favorites to win the title and have DeShaun Watson coming back, who most believe is the best quarterback in the country. That said, there's always a little edge to Clemson that they're not getting enough respect.
Occupation: War veteran
Football team: Alabama
Luke is a lot like Jordan. He's a house favorite and possesses the quiet confidence that's going to take him far. He's shown he can be thoughtful and separate himself from the rest of the pack. The difference from Jordan is that Luke is Southern as hell.
Perennial power? Super country? Roll Tide, y'all.
Occupation: Former professional Swimmer
Football team: UCLA
Robby (who has the best name on the show, in Mr. Kalland's opinion) is one of the pretty boy fillers that the show needs. He's not really a contender, so he's not going to require much TV time, but he looks good and he's not going to cause much trouble. That's UCLA. You can throw them on TV in those nice blue uniforms when needed and they'll be aesthetically pleasing, but by the end of the season, you don't expect them to really factor into a title decision. Also, he's a swimmer, and that's an extremely Pac-12 thing.
Football team: Boston College
Vinny's days on the show are numbered. Of this, we are sure. To be honest, we didn't even know this guy existed until we double-checked. He's not as vocal as the other guys; rather, his best offense is a great defense. He just hangs low, doesn't get involved in house drama and pretty soon it's the fourth quarter and you're tied at 10. How did he get this far? No one really knows, which only adds to a slightly growing intrigue about him.
Football team: TCU
Count out Wells at your own peril. He doesn't look like the rest of the contestants in that he's not a big, muscular dude that lives in the weight room, but he's got a sneaky strong game and JoJo is a fan. TCU was a Group of Five darling that made the move to the Power Five and no one really believed in their ability for sustained success in the Big 12, but here the Horned Frogs are, continuing to play their unique brand of football and taking down big programs in the process. Don't be surprised if Wells does the same and lasts a long time.
Occupation: Luxury real estate agent
Football team: Florida State
I endeared myself to FSU fans by boldly predicting the Seminoles would win the national title this season, so it's probably about time to anger the fan base again. We'll keep this simple: Chad is clinically insane. He got kicked off the show last week -- they left him in the middle of the woods! -- but he's apparently back for revenge this week because the producers can't get enough of him.
In other words, an angry Chad makes for great television. Every show needs a villain, and people love to hate Chad. In college football, people love to hate Florida State. And FSU's fans, well, 'nough said about that connection. Sorry, 'Noles. It's not personal, but that's you right now.