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What If Thursday: Big 12 Schools as Star Wars Characters?

NCAA Basketball: Michigan at Texas John Gutierrez-USA TODAY Sports

So you might be wondering why this week’s “What if Wednesday” is “What if Thursday.” Well, unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock, there’s a new Star Wars film releasing to midnight audiences tonight. And there’s two things in life I am a massive fan of: Baylor and Star Wars. So in honor of tonight’s premiere, we’re doing a “What if Wednesday” on Thursday where we ask what Star Wars character best exemplifies each Big 12 school! Without further ado, let’s take our conference to a galaxy far, far away...


Yoda exemplifies Baylor for a number of reasons. First, both Yoda and Baylor are very religious. One is a leading Christian university and the other is the leader of the Jedi Order. Second, Baylor and Yoda have both been around for a long while. Baylor was founded in 1845, before Texas was a U.S. state. Yoda lived for nearly 900 years. Third, both have seen their ups and downs. Baylor has had sports dominance, much like when the Jedi were the strongest force in the galaxy, before falling on hard times, like Yoda having to go into exile. Yoda’s green colored skin and lightsaber also help the cause. Finally, this:

Iowa State/C-3PO

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Iowa State is definitely C-3PO. Both have been around for the whole ride. Iowa State was a member of the original Big 8 and C-3PO has been in every Star Wars movie so far. Notoriously, both are also constantly down on their luck, with moments of brilliance here and there. Along with this down trodden existence comes persistent complaining. Iowa State fans are notorious for being quick to boo and quick to criticize officiating when calls don’t go their way. C-3PO is the same way, often cursing his lot in life. Finally, the gold coloring helps, especially the gold coloring with the red arm in The Force Awakens.

Kansas/Supreme Leader Snoke

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Let’s face it, Kansas is awful at football. But they have unparalleled dominance when basketball season comes around. Because of this, their fans are next to silent during the fall football season. But once basketball rolls around, they’re everywhere. Similarly, Supreme Leader Snoke laid low during the Empire. No one had a clue who he was. But, as soon as the Empire fell, Snoke rose to power and now controls a large part of the galaxy with the help of Big 12 Refs... er, I mean the First Order. No university’s fanbase is so mysteriously absent, plotting for the basketball season, and then suddenly in your face as the Jayhawks.

Kansas State/Obi-wan Kenobi

NCAA Football: Iowa State at Kansas State Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Much like Iowa State, Kansas State has been in the conference since the Big 8. And much like C-3PO, Obi-wan has been in every episodic Star Wars film so far (his voice is in The Force Awakens). But Kansas State, especially under the football direction of Bill Snyder, has an air of wisdom and wizardry. Much like Obi-wan is considered a wise master of the force, Bill Snyder is considered a wise master of the football. Sure, they might not woo you with fantastic spectacles or move particularly fast, but they are both efficient and very successful at what they do.

Oklahoma/Darth Vader

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Let’s face it, Oklahoma is one of the villains of the Big 12. But a necessary villain. Much like Vader uses his brute strength and mastery of the force to hold the Empire together, Oklahoma uses its sports dominance and branding to hold the Big 12 together. But, while they want to be the sole ruler of the galaxy/conference, there is another even higher above them in control... an evil that is coming up later on in this list. Plus, Baker Mayfield is just what I imagine Anakin would’ve been like if he played football. Vader’s crimson blade also compliments OU’s crimson well.

Oklahoma State/Han Solo

Han Solo is a rough and tumble smuggler who is trying to find his way in a galaxy ruled by the Empire. Similarly, Oklahoma State has a chip on the shoulder mentality, trying to find their way in a state/conference largely ruled by Oklahoma. But, both Han and Oklahoma State seem to find ways towards more success than they probably should be able to. Also, Mike Gundy and his mullet just look like they could be galactic smugglers of rattlesnakes and football croots:

Oklahoma State v Texas Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

TCU/Kylo Ren

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TCU, as one of the newest additions to the conference, has been in a sort of love/hate limbo with Baylor. Both schools are small, religiously based universities that have found recent sports success. But both are obviously staunch rivals. Similarly, Kylo struggles with the good and evil within him. He tries to banish the light but doesn’t seem able to. TCU also made the jump to major conference success quickly after joining, much like Kylo progressed VERY quickly in the force. Plus, TCU’s basketball program seems to be making a comeback, suggesting some possible training from Kansas/Snoke. As a newer strength in the conference, with some possible redemptive qualities down the line, we will all watch TCU’s career “with great interest.”

Texas/Emperor Palpatine

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Emperor Palpatine is the overarching villain of the first six Star Wars films. He rises to power and eventually takes control of the Republic, turning it into the Galactic Empire. Texas joined the Big 8—along with Baylor, Texas Tech, and Texas A&M—and turned it into the Big 12. With this move, Texas took control of the Big 12, dominating the conference’s politics with its (at the time) sports dominance and brand. However, much like Palpatine, Texas has taken a fall from grace, failing to find consistent success across its major sports. With this has come constant questions of “is Texas back?” Similarly, with the new Star Wars films, many have wondered if Palpatine in some form or another will make a return.

Texas Tech/Leia

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Leia is the headstrong leader of the Rebellion, daughter of one of the most prominent leaders of the Empire, Darth Vader. Texas Tech, as a sports organization (especially in football), is dominated by offense and a lack of defense. Neither Leia nor Texas Tech know how to do things in a defensive manner, opting instead to rush headlong into conflicts. Further, they’re both inextricably linked to the evil Empire, with Texas Tech being a fellow public school in the state of Texas alongside UT.

West Virginia/Chewbacca

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I would like you to compare Chewbacca (above) with West Virginia’s Mountaineer (below).

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Can’t tell the difference? Yeah me either. I think I’ve made my point. But even beyond that, both Chewbacca and West Virginia don’t seem to quite belong where they ended up, but make invaluable contributions to both the Rebellion and Big 12 respectively. Sure, they might rip your arms out of their sockets/rip your couches out of your place and burn them, but they’re ultimately hard to dislike for their unique brand of incoherent yelling (be it from an alien language or one too many moonshines).

Think different characters would better represent certain schools in the Big 12? Let us know in the comments. Sic ‘em!