Wednesday, December 27, 2006

USC vs. Michigan: Rose Bowl Alumni Showdown

Since GZ has his thing down cold, I need mine, so here it is, the alumni showdown for the Rose Bowl. I had intended to do one to prove to the BCS that Michigan was more worthy than USC to be in the national championship game, but USC sort of took care of that for themselves. Because it's the Granddaddy of them All, we're going to expand our usual effort.

The "rule" is basically that we find some major alumni from the opposition university and try to find a Michigan analog, and then face them off head to head. Some are straight-forward, others require more effort. As this is for entertainment purposes only, please, no wagering.

Just missing the cut for the Trojans:
John Ritter
Conflicted here, because he's a USC alum, but on Eight Simple Rules, he played a rabid Michigan football fan (to the point of referring to the Ohio State game as "football Easter", which I kind of liked.)

Anthony Edwards
Gooooooose! Actually, I learned from an episode of Cheap Seats, hosted by Michigan's own Randy and Jason Sklar, that Edwards left USC during his senior year to film Fast Times at Ridgemont High, so he's not technically an alum.

Frank Gehry
"Hey, Frank Gehry. Design curvilinear forms much?"

The Matchups
Neil Armstrong vs. The Crew of Apollo 15
Neil Armstrong
The Crew of Apollo 15

Neil Armstrong, first man on the moon. Or as Jim Lovell says in Apollo 13:"Christopher Columbus, Charles Lindbergh, and Neil Armstrong. Ha, ha, ha. Neil Armstrong!" Meanwhile, most of you know quite well of my abiding affection for the crew of Apollo 15.

Advantage: Push. When you think about it, it's goofy, but the lunar rover is pretty cool. Plus, there were three of them to Neil's one.

Andrew Viterbi vs. Claude Shannon
Andrew Viterbi
Claude Shannon
For our matchup on information theorists, we turn to HSR correspondent Dave...

Claude Shannon: Invented information theory in seminal papers such as "The Mathematical Theory of Communication" (1948).  Defined fundamental concepts like entropy, the information capacity of a channel, and the sampling theorem.  Honored with a statue outside the EECS building at Michigan.

Andrew Viterbi:Made information theory profitable.  His namesake algorithm is an error-correction scheme for noisy communication channels that's the basis for much of modern wireless communication.  He founded Qualcomm and has an estimated worth of $640 million.  Honored by USC who named their engineering school for him.

Advantage: USC.  Shannon's contributions were more intellectually fundamental, but Viterbi's made more money.  What do you think the BCS would consider more important?

George Lucas vs. Lawrence Kasdan
George Lucas Lawrence Kasdan
It's simple. If we were to use the BCS theorem, Lucas would win in a walk. In addition to being the Tournament of Roses Grand Marshall this year, he's directed five major films (Episodes I-IV and American Graffiti) and THX 1138, basically created ILM and the THX sound system, and has basically been responsible for one of the most significant cultural phenomena of the latter half of the 20th Century. Kasdan is responsible for writing one best picture nominee (The Accidental Tourist), one boomer classic (The Big Chill), and the overlong version of the Wyatt Earp story (Wyatt Earp)...but...

Advantage: Michigan. Lucas' writing killed the prequels. If this were 1998, Lucas would win in a walk, but it's clear that the only well-written episode of the six Star Wars films is Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, written by...Lawrence Kasdan.

Will Ferrell vs. Gilda Radner
Will Ferrell Gilda Radner
Will Ferrell, for many years in the late 1990s, was one of the few, if only reasons, to watch Saturday Night Live. His President Bush impression gave us "strategery", his Harry Caray impression asked if the moon was made of ribs, would you eat it?, his Janet Reno hosted many a memorable dance party, and his Alex Trebek, well, the day was Connery's. Film roles have included Mustafa in Austin Powers (I know it's minor, but it cracks me up every time I see it.), Frank the Tank in Old School, Buddy the Elf in Elf, and Ron Burgundy in Anchorman.

Gilda Radner was one of the original Not Ready for Prime Time Players on SNL. She created, among other characters Roseanne Roseannadanna and Emily Litella, and parodied Barbara Walters in a way that is still used to poke fun today. Tragically, her career was cut short by ovarian cancer, but her fight did significantly raise awareness about the disease and fund raising to fight it.

Advantage: USC. I think this one is both gender biased as generational. But It's close, really close.

(That said, I found this quote while looking for any advantage to give to Ms. Radner, and I kind of liked it, because I think it works on any number of levels:
"Some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity.")
Andrés Cantor vs. Bert Randolph Sugar
GOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bert Sugar
Each has a trademark. For Mr. Cantor, it's simply ¡GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLL!" while for Mr. Sugar, it's the cigar and fedora. Now, I learned neat things about both while looking them up. With Cantor, it's that he has a signature line for halftime" El árbitro dice que no hay tiempo para mas" while for Sugar, it's that Red Auerbach was his great uncle.

Advantage: Michigan. This one is all about my own biases. I love soccer, so Cantor is just an additional bonus, even if I don't speak Spanish. I don't like boxing, but I will listen to Bert Sugar talk about the history of boxing because he's such a good storyteller. Plus, he earned a JD and an MBA at the same time from Michigan, which he claims nearly killed him.
John Wayne vs. James Earl Jones
John Wayne James Earl Jones
Two of the most iconic actors in American pop culture history. On the one hand, you have "The Duke", a former USC running back who pretty much tamed the American West and won World War II single-handedly. On the other hand, you have one of the great voices of American cinema, Darth Vader, Mufasa, CNN, Verizon, Bleeding Gums Murphy...Plus, he's Admiral Greer, which is pretty cool as well.

: USC. I'm going to give this one to the guy who has the airport named after him. Though if they want to rename the airport in Ann Arbor after James Earl Jones, I'd be totally be cool with that.
Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf vs. Gen. Benjamin D. Pritchard
Stormin' Norman Benjamin Pritchard
Stormin' Norman: The leader of Coalition Forces during Operation: Desert Storm. Benjamin D. Pritchard, the leader of the cavalry regiment which captured Confederate President Jefferson Davis in the days after the close of the Civil War. Yep, finding the former CSA President in drag...100 hour ground war vs. capturing the second most hated man in America, circa April 1865. Pritchard does get extra points for founding America's first savings bank.

Advantage: Push. On the one hand, 100 hour ground war. On the other hand, capturing Jefferson Davis. They're both winners in my book.
Judge Joseph Wapner vs. Justice Frank Murphy
Time for Wapner Frank Murphy
Sadly, Judge Wapner may be America's most famous jurist, but he was never on the Supreme Court, he never served as Mayor of Detroit, he never served as Governor of Michigan, he never served as Governor General of the Philippines, he never served as Attorney General of the United States, never penned a famous dissent, such as Murphy's in the case of Korematsu v. United States.  Then again, Justice Murphy never worked with Rusty the Bailiff .

Advantage: Michigan. If Justice Murphy had Doug Llewelyn doing press for him, we'd be more likely to remember him today.

So there you have it, when it's all said and done, it's Michigan 3, USC 3, Push 2. The game is a pick 'em, so why shouldn't the alumni matchup be as well?

That's all I have for today. Once more, GZ should be around with a real preview, you know, actual football content, sometime soon.
I'll be monitoring the situation from the basement while GZ will be handling things from the Arroyo Seco. (As always, a thanks to Wikipedia for making this a very fast effort, if not always wholly accurate.)


Anonymous said...

You should've put Larry Page ($14 Billion) up against Viteri.

Michigan wins.

Q1Go said...

In case anybody likes useless trivia, I know for a fact that the Michigan attire John Ritter wore on the sitcom was ordered directly (over the phone) from the Michigan Union Bookstore on the ground floor of the Union, and was shipped direct from Ann Arbor. None of this buying Michigan attire from some outlet store in L.A. nonsense.