SEC Football Coaches as Figures from Romantic Literature and Philosophy

With hoops and spring practice now over, I'm not going to have a whole lot to report on until it's time for summer previews. Until then, I thought I would bring a little culture to the philistine wilderness of SB Nation. Or maybe just embarrassment to myself. At any rate, without further ado...

Nick Saban (Alabama) as Ahab (from Herman Melville's Moby-Dick)

Self-obsessed and arrogant to the point of blasphemy, Saban believes he beat Auburn and win the national title every year, while Ahab believes he can kill a whale of unfathomable size and strength. The strangest thing is that both have managed to convince their minions that they're actually capable of doing these things.

Bobby Petrino (Arkansas) as Don Juan Tenorio

Some would call this Byronic hero's disregard for convention and search for pleasure an admirable choice to live by his own rules; others would call it lack of principle. Bobby Petrino would prefer to have you believe that his actions when he took the Arkansas job were defensible; Atlanta Falcons fans would have you believe otherwise.

Gene Chizik (Auburn) as Werther (from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther)

After getting a sweet gig that he's not really prepared for, Chizik is in heaven right now, but will like Werther after Charlotte's betrayal, he'll probably be a real sad sack when Auburn leaves him for a sexier suitor in a few years.

Urban Meyer (Florida) as Victor Frankenstein (from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein)

Urban and Victor are extremely good at what they do, but, just as Frankenstein's lack of ethical foresight comes back to haunt him in the form of a powerful, malignant monster, Urban's own foibles may come back to haunt him in the form of massive NCAA sanctions.

Mark Richt (Georgia) as Miles Coverdale (from Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Blithedale Romance)

Richt and Coverdale appear to be talented and appealing in certain ways, but in the end they're just bitter, jealous rivals of a couple of pricks, Urban Meyer and Hollingsworth.

Rich Brooks (Kentucky) as William Blake

A little older and zanier than their contemporaries, Brooks and Blake still command quite a bit of respect on their better days.

Les Miles (LSU) as Henry David Thoreau

Both of these guys live by their own rules in a savage wilderness, Miles at Tiger Stadium and Thoreau at Walden Pond.

Dan Mullen (Mississippi State) as Thomas Love Peacock

Much as only serious SEC football fans know much about Mullen yet, Peacock--a friend of the Shelleys--is only known to the most ardent scholars of the Romantic period.

Houston Nutt (Ole Miss) as Friedrich Nietzche

Brilliant despite his lunacy, Nutt is truly the Nietzche of the SEC West.

Steve Spurrier (South Carolina) as Holgrave (from Nathaniel Hawthorne's The House of the Seven Gables)

Self-reliant idealists in their younger days, the exigencies of new modes of life have forced Spurrier and Holgrave to become a bit more conservative as they adapt to the times.

Lane Kiffin (Tennessee) as Thomas Chatterton

What? Don't remember Chatterton from British Lit 101? That's because he died of starvation at the age of 17 and was forgotten after charges of forgery followed a brief period of fame. I think you get the picture.

Bobby Johnson (Vanderbilt) as John Keats

These two hold a couple of things in common. First of all, they're both very good at their craft. Second of all, due to their marginal positions (Johnson is at Vanderbilt and Keats lacked the appropriate class status), Johnson won't get much credit for what he's doing until he's gone just like Keats didn't until after his death.

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