' ' Cinema Romantico: Pitch Meeting: Potential Superficial College Football Player Biopics

Thursday, September 02, 2021

Pitch Meeting: Potential Superficial College Football Player Biopics

Non-college football fans might be unaware of the sport’s earth-shaking news this past summer (stay with me!) when it was announced that after 70-some years of devising the noble-sounding term student-athlete to keep those athletes strictly under their thumb, the NCAA will finally allow athletes to be compensated for their name, image, and likeness. Many have rushed to take advantage. Iowa Basketball’s Jordan Bohannon signed up for Boomin Iowa fireworks; Nebraska Volleyball’s Lexi Sun unveiled her own apparel line; Arkansas Football’s Trey Knox partnered with PetSmart for a paid endorsement featuring not only himself but his pet husky, Blue. As gratifying as it is to see, say, Miami’s D’Eriq King and Bubba Bolden garnering deals with something called College Hunks Hauling Junk (which makes me imagine an alternate world in which the legendary 1986 Miami football team could have been sponsored by a Dade County waste transfer center, or something), I can’t help but feel these athletes are still missing an opportunity. I’m talking, of course, about movies.

Back in the pre-student athlete days, when college football was arguably the king sport of the U.S.A., star players occasionally played themselves in ostensible biopics. Tom Harmon starred in “Harmon of Michigan”; Army’s famed running back duo Glenn Davis and Doc Blanchard starred in “The Spirit of West Point”; Frankie Albert, who did not even win the Heisman Trophy like the preceding trio, starred in “The Spirit of Stanford.” By the 1950s, this practice had stopped and I, for one, think it’s high time to bring it back. Cement your Name, Image, and Likeness as flickering myth, young men. Here are a few suggestions to get us started:

Spencer Rattler. The preseason ESPN first team All American quarterback from Oklahoma signed an NIL deal with Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, a Baton Rouge-founded fast-food restaurant. So, we will cast Rattler in “Rattle & Hum” (note the ampersand) in which Rattler plays himself as quarterback trying to win a national championship on Saturdays while working the counter at Raising Cane’s on Fridays and Sundays, leading to all sorts of comic mishaps, trying to watch game tape on break and devising a variation on the ol’ reverse flea flicker he aptly deems The Chicken Finger.

Sam Howell. As, perhaps, Rattler’s primary competition for best QB in the country, the swashbuckling Howell will star in “The Spirit of Sam” with gregarious Tar Heel coach Mack Brown playing himself as a kind of Lloyd Bridges-in-“Hot Shots!” buffoon, pigskin propaganda suggesting that if you come to UNC, you can do whatever you want!

Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner. I mean, a defensive back nicknamed Sauce is just crying out for his own movie. Unfortunately, the genesis of Gardner’s moniker, which he explained to Logan Lusk at the University of Cincinnati’s News Record, bestowed upon him by his Little League coach when he was six, simply won’t do for our cornball Gardner advocacy. So, let’s pretend that his first day on campus, Gardner ingests some Skyline Chili Hot Sauce for the first time, rendering him with gridiron superpowers, which he strengthens with another bowl of chili before each additional game. But when the team’s rival manages to rid the entire Queen City of Skyline Chili Hot Sauce before The Big Game, how far will Gardner go to acquire his necessary spicy potion?

Matt Corral. One of the most famous college football games of the last decade, if not longer, is known, simply, as The Katy Perry Game. That’s because the pop superstar appeared on ESPN’s pre-game show, College GameDay, ahead of the Ole Miss v Alabama showdown and not only proceeded to be the only one to pick Ole Miss to spring the upset but openly flirted with Oklahoma QB Trevor Knight across the airwaves and threw corndogs in the air. Later that night, after Ole Miss proved her audacious prediction correct, Perry was seen diving off a bar somewhere in Oxford. It only makes sense, then, that Corral, the current Ole Miss quarterback, and who’s got a little rock star air himself, would fall in love with the fictional pop superstar, Shanna Grace (Vanessa Hudgens), when she appears at College GameDay ahead of The Big Game, creating a campus stir as the quarterback juggles football, fame, and romance. 

Jayden Daniels. Have you heard tell of the controversy down in Tempe? Some Arizona State backers have grown disenchanted with the ostensible sinfulness of the school’s Sun Devil nickname, petitioning for a change to Sun Angels instead. So, in “Joltin’ Jayden”, as Daniels tries to lead ASU to a championship, he will be visited throughout the movie by a Sun Devil (Kevin Corrigan) on one shoulder and a Sun Angel (Gabrielle Union) on the other. Eventually, the Venezia Pizza created in Daniels’s honor (pepperoni, sausage, bacon, mushrooms and extra cheese) proves that food is as uniting as an undefeated record, bringing everyone together as Phoenix’s public research university decides to rechristen itself as the Arizona State Extra Cheese. 

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