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The "Grey's Anatomy" of S.E.C. Football

A few months back, Doug Gillett posted one of the seminal documents of the intercollegiate athletics blogosphere, in which he assigned to each of a myriad of college football teams its own "Simpsons" character.

While I cannot hope to duplicate Doug's success, I also cannot help but notice that the season premiere of "Grey's Anatomy" is tomorrow night, so---with apologies to Doug for blatantly ripping off the idea he had already stolen fair and square---I give you . . . the "Grey's Anatomy" Southeastern Conference cavalcade!

(Photograph from Grey's Anatomy Online.)

Meredith Grey: Ole Miss

The cognomen of the show's namesake and the Mississippi mascot---Grey and Rebels, respectively---are virtually synonymous with the Confederacy, so the linkage between the two is unavoidable.

Young Meredith and Ole Miss share a storied background, provided by the former's mother, Ellis Grey, and the latter's coach, Johnny Vaught. While they both have their moments and each ought to be quite accomplished, we nevertheless find them memorable less for their achievements in (or on) their chosen field than for their appearance, from Meredith's hairstyle to Oxford's Grove.

(Photograph from Grey's Anatomy Online.)

Derek Shepherd: Auburn

Neither Dr. McDreamy nor the Alabama Polytechnic Institute fully grasps the concept that you can only play suitor to one object of your affections at a time; whether trying to be a husband to Addison while maintaining a relationship with Meredith or attempting to hire Bobby Petrino without first firing Tommy Tuberville, each has difficulty making decisions that require commitments.

There's a lot to like about them both. They're smooth. They're stylish. They're talented. They're highly regarded and they are considered pretty sharp-looking. At the end of the day, though, they're nothing but cheaters.

(Photograph from Grey's Anatomy Insider.)

Addison Montgomery Shepherd: Georgia

This sort of thing is in the eye of the beholder, but, of the available contenders, both the Bulldogs and the She-Shepherd look the best to me. Although the media don't tell you to root for either one of them, both have distinguished themselves through their achievements, although neither is particularly flashy.

Each has opted for distinctive attire---Addison wears salmon surgical scrubs while the 'Dawgs don silver britches---although, when you think of either of them, the color that first springs to mind is red.

(Photograph from Grey's Anatomy Online.)

Preston Burke: Tennessee

The Volunteers' work usually has been hallmarked by consistent excellence, as has Dr. Burke's . . . although each occupies second place and both are acutely aware of this fact.

The Big Orange and the gifted surgeon are respected rather than loved and each hit rock bottom at the end of last season, as one suffered a career-threatening gunshot wound and the other lost to Vanderbilt.

(Photograph from Cuatro.)

Richard Webber: Alabama

The Chief and the Tide enjoy unchallenged status at the top of the pyramid. Each still shows flashes of the old brilliance, but both have lost a step from the glory days of years past. Dr. Webber and 'Bama also recently were called out for past indiscretions they believed they had managed to keep concealed.

(Photograph from Grey's Anatomy Online.)

Miranda Bailey: Florida

The nicknames we associate with each are equally evocative . . . Dr. Bailey's interns refer to her as the Nazi, while opposing fans spoke of the Gators' most successful coach as Darth Visor and the Evil Genius.

Miranda and Florida accomplished a lot to get where they are and neither is as hated as it may seem at first glance . . . but, man, do they both have an attitude!

(Photograph from Grey's Anatomy Online.)

George O'Malley: Vanderbilt

George, like the 'Dores, is hard not to like. Both the budding surgeon and the private school are smart and folks feel a fondness for them both, despite their struggles with self-confidence and their tendency to stumble over themselves.

Dr. O'Malley and Vandy are lovable losers. We root for them to accomplish their goals---winning Meredith's heart or making it to an Independence Bowl---but, deep down, we've known all along that it simply isn't going to happen . . . and, if it ever did, it would just end with a lot of disappointment and crying.

(Photograph from Grey's Anatomy Online.)

Cristina Yang: Louisiana State

Driven and unrelenting, Dr. Yang and the Fighting Tigers have a good case to make that they are the most gifted of their peers in terms of natural ability.

Nevertheless, both are prone to erratic emotional breakdowns, oftentimes in response to actions taken by Dr. Burke or his S.E.C. equivalent.

(Photograph from Grey's Anatomy Online.)

Izzie Stevens: Arkansas

I know, the foregoing picture doesn't exactly lend itself to a linkage with the Razorbacks, but hear me out on this one. Isobel, like Arkansas, is used to having her credentials questioned, but that isn't where the real symmetry lies.

Houston Nutt gave Mitch Mustain's high school coach a position on his staff in an effort to keep the prized quarterback recruit from decommitting. Dr. Stevens stopped Denny Duquette's heart in an effort to move him to the top of the organ donor list. In short, both are prone to addled decisionmaking in the midst of desperation.

(Photograph from Grey's Anatomy Online.)

Alex Karev: South Carolina

They're smug. They're self-involved. They're utterly unreasonable and overly impressed with their own athleticism. The show's least popular intern and the S.E.C.'s least accomplished football program are, in a word, cocky.

The main characteristic shared by Dr. Karev and the Palmetto State Poultry is an inability to perform under pressure. Alex froze while George played the hero, he wasn't up to the task of being with Izzie, and he failed his medical boards. That is Gamecock tradition in a nutshell . . . arrogance in the absence of achievement.


(Photograph from Grey's Anatomy Insider.)

Callie Torres: Mississippi State

Calliope lacks the aesthetics or pedigree of her rival for George's affections, just as M.S.U. suffers from the same image issues with respect to Ole Miss.

Dr. Torres is trying to overcome adversity and you want to be able to root for her in her bid to earn affection and respect, but the unfortunate conclusion is unavoidable . . . neither George's girlfriend nor the Mississippi State football team is easy on the eyes.


(Photographs from T.V. Filter.)

Denny Duquette: Kentucky

There was a time, in the distant past before most of us came to know them, when both Seattle Grace's favorite heart patient and the Wildcats of the Bluegrass were healthy. Those days are easily distinguishable because each was epitomized by a hearty animal: in Denny's case, it was a horse; in Kentucky's, it was a Bear.

When we came to be familiar with them, though, both were on their last legs and fading fast. It goes without saying that Rich Brooks's squad, like Denny, lacks heart.

(Photograph from Grey's Anatomy Online.)

I hope you enjoyed that almost as much as you'll enjoy flipping back and forth between the third season premiere and E.S.P.N. Thursday night football tomorrow evening.

Go 'Dawgs!