I've been watching Expedition Africa on the History Channel on Sunday nights, and I'd highly recommend that you do the same. Any television show that involves the very real danger of tangling with a gabon viper or angry rhino is good television, and beats the heck out of watching a dozen self-absorbed boobs forced to live in a beachhouse together and engage in petty backstabbing for the cameras. If I'm going to see petty backstabbing, I'd prefer it take place among people half-dazed from tropical dehydration and wielding machetes, thank you very much.
I was wondering the other night, as I watched the intrepid team of adventurers scale a mountain (then try not to fall off the other side) which SEC football coaches would do best with this type of situation. I mean, college coaches are all the time going to visit the troops in war zones. A march across sub-Saharan Africa isn't that far-fetched is it?
I think Coach Richt would do well. He's in good shape, he's reasonably tanned, and unless he hides his limp well, his knees are in better shape than the average former college football player. I bet Rich Brooks would also make it through the jungles and savannahs because, unless I miss my guess, he's just too mean to die. Bobby Petrino would probably jump ship halfway through to join the Maasai, then live comfortably off their food and water. Opportunism is a legitimate survival skill. Never forget that.
Either Urban Meyer or Lane Kiffin would not make it. There's no way one of them doesn't off the other in his sleep. Houston Nutt, generally hailed as crazier than a road lizard anyway, would certainly have no problem eating whatever critters or biting plants could be scavenged in the bush and drinking the most impotable of water after a cursory boiling. His odds of being mortally wounded in a cape buffalo wrestling accident are better than 50/50 however, and that's an issue.
Les Miles, given his natural tolerance for risk taking, is a safe bet to do somethng dangerous at every turn. Of course, he also has the kind of hardware that says "I'm sorry, I would have heard that bit about not going over Victoria Falls in a canoe if I didn't have this big crystal football stuck in my ear." Les Miles might emerge from his African odyssey sunburned, swollen and missing one or more appendages, but he would likely emerge nonetheless.
The Old Ball Coach is, well, kind of old, and that doesn't bode well for his chances. He doesn't strike me as quite as flinty as Rich Brooks. Tanzania is no country for old men, Spurmeister. I don't like your odds. Nick Saban would almost certainly set an unsustainable pace by marching 20 hours a day out of sheer force of habit. Fueled only by Red Man and Little Debbies, I imagine him slowly winding down, then winding up as sundried hyena chow somewhere on the Zambian plains. Believe me, child stealing wild canids are patient killers. They would definitely have time for that s***.
I had to think long and hard about what fate might await Vanderbilt coach Bobby "Sarek" Johnson (God bless wikipedia). I mean, the guy doesn't exactly look like Crocodile Dundee. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized Johnson would almost certainly complete the trek across Africa, or a trek across Antarctica for that matter. Because if you can not only survive seven years as the football coach at Vandy but also make a bowl appearance, you can probably do most anything.
As previously alluded to on this site, I will remain a little circumspect regarding Gene Chizik's decision making ability until he gives me reason to think otherwise. I imagine Chizik's demise on the dark continent would result from something equal parts mundane and macabre. Such as a decision to leave a successful wilderness expedition to serve as the head football coach at Iowa State. That's it. Gene Chizik would probably get dismembered by a hippo on his way back to Zanzibar after falling out of a boat while talking on his satellite phone. Attempting to book a direct flight from there to Opelika.
Dan Mullen has already made it for 6 months in Starkville, which makes the Democratic Republic of Congo look like Chuckie Cheese, so I'm guessing he survives. Actually, that's not fair. It's easier to get a flight into or out of the Congo than Starkville.
Feel free to lay out the odds of survival for any other college coaches in the comments, as well as their likely misadventures (I'm imagining Charlie Weis attempting to drag some poor lion into the bush to feast on him, in an ironic reversal of fortune).
Play us out, Delta Spirit . . .
By the way, Delta Spirit will be playing this weekend at Bonnaroo. Dawgsports favorites Drive By Truckers will also be in Manchester, Tennessee for Wyatt Sexton's favorite music festival. You'll be able to catch DBT's performance live via AT&T's Music website, along with Booker T. Jones of Booker T and the MG's fame. It's happening Sunday afternoon at 3:00 p.m., for those who may be interested.
Until next week . . .