Spoiler warning: This post will contain spoilers from all past seasons of Game of Thrones. (Aside, but how in the names of the old gods and the new does SBN have an auto-tag for Game of Thrones?) Please be courteous to your other posters in the comments section when discussing book-exclusive spoilers or theories and consider using the spoiler tags.
We’re in dire need of content and the timing just so happens to coincide with the premiere of the final season of Game of Thrones—just a small little show you may have heard of. Thus, we decided to mash up the two... back in 2015 when season 5 was coming to a close. But we never finalized the post, so I had to rewrite it all now when there are only like three houses left.
Washington Huskies: House Stark
I’m trying to avoid just matching up colors or sigils... so let’s kick things off by matching a sigil to a mascot. Plus the whole northern thing. But I think the similarity runs deeper than that. In the past, things went so well for them. Washington was a national power (1991) while the Starks were one happy family and the Great House of the North. Things went south when they hit rock bottom (Washington’s glorious 0–12 season; the Starks getting split up, massacred, and losing their position of power in the North), but they’re on the rise again and one of the biggest powerhouses in the land.
Washington State Cougars: House Reed
First things first—does the average viewer even remember House Reed? These two were kind of inconsequential to the bigger picture, but that’s changing between Mike Leach’s rise and Howland Reed being the only living eyewitness to Jon Snow’s true parentage. Both of these entities are kind of looked down upon, but don’t even try to attack them on their territory because they’ve got quite the home-field advantage. It’s always a challenge to escape the Palouse with a win, just like House Reed is quite unstoppable at their castle in the swampy Neck.
Oregon Ducks: House Targaryen
Not to discount the (absurdly) rich history of Ice and Fire, but a new era began with Aegon’s Conquest—when Aegon Targaryen took his dragons and his sister-wives (hawt) to rule all of Westeros. Similarly, the Pac-12 kicked off with Oregon in the midst of its Chip Kelly–fueled heyday with the Ducks just burninating teams, bringing a new offensive attack (be it dragons or up-tempo offense) the world was woefully unprepared for. There was a brief lull after that, but they’re both shaping up to be a force once again.
Oregon State Beavers: The Free Folk a.k.a Wildlings
Let’s be honest—these guys have no realistic chance at getting to the Iron Throne—that’s not even a goal for them in the near future. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t a force to kick your ass and play spoiler. Plus, they’re... technologically-challenged (to put it nicely) and have these pesky rumors about relations with animals.
Utah Utes: The Faceless Men
Quiet and unassuming, but they’re always a deadly presence that have left a pretty long list of names in their wakes, so overlook them at your own risk. No matter how their faces have changed, their core is always basically the same (crazy special teams, stout defense, and a struggling offense) and they’re on the radar for the Throne with Utah’s Southern championship and Arya (unofficially) representing the group.
Colorado Buffaloes: House Arryn
These guys are under new leadership (Mel Tucker from the Georgia Bulldogs vs. Jon Arryn to Lysa Arryn guiding Robin Arryn to Littlefinger guiding Robin Arryn to... Robin Arryn alone now?). But they’re going to be defensive-minded between Tucker’s history coaching defenses in the SEC (and most recently being defensive coordinator at Georgia) or how impenetrable the Eyrie is (H/T to Avi for helping with that one).
UC Los Angeles Bruins: House Baratheon
There’s a proud tradition here historically and in recent years, it seemed like they found their pot-bellied champion to lead them into the future... but things have since turned bleak. Plus, Robert Baratheon was quite adept with his (ban)hammer.
USC Trojans: House Lannister
These guys are doooooooown right now. Once upon a time, they were renowned for their wealth, strength, and prominence... but they’ve since slipped pretty severely and have questionable leadership between the insanity of Cersei and the ineptitude of Lynn Swann and Clay Helton. Nevertheless, they’re still a perpetual threat to claiming that Throne.
Arizona Wildcats: House Martell
Oh, how the hopes were so high. And oh, how the hopes were so dashed. How hyped was everyone about Kevin Sumlin (who showed some promise at Texas A&M and led Johnny Manziel to a Heisman) and Khalil Tate with his Heisman-in-waiting? About as hyped as everyone was about the potential of a Sand Snakes story and the Viper besting the Mountain. But how’d that work out for them? Plus, they’re all in the desert and—as Tyene told Bronn—they’re just a bunch of bad... cats.
Arizona State Sun Devils: House Tyrell
The flipside of their in-state brethren, these guys arguably outperformed their low expectations. “Low expectations” is putting it nicely—between Mace Tyrell and Herm Edwards, these guys were outright mocked, but still managed to get shockingly close to the Throne. The Tyrells played the game quite effectively and nearly maneuvered Margaery Tyrell into ultimate power politically and religiously while the Sun Devils finished second in the South division.
Stanfurd Cardinal: The Maesters
It’s not about Stanfurd being the smartest guys in the room (because they aren’t), but it has to do with being sooo braggadocios that they literally build their brand on their intelligence and look down on others whom they deem inferior. Plus, they’re just stodgy, boring, and celibate.
California Golden Bears: House Baratheon of Dragonstone (i.e., Stannis)
The source of their struggles are their inabilities to develop past just one dimension. Be it Sonny Dykes or Justin Wilcox, the Bears were unable to excel at more than just one phase of the sport—we literally don’t know how to play the game. Stannis arguably had a good chance at the Throne, but couldn’t figure out how to just get people to like him and stand behind him. Plus, I also think there’s a pretty significant number of Cal fans who would partake in some dark, kid-killing magic just to make it to the Rose Bowl.
Well, that does it for today’s edition of nerd content. Share any comparisons you’ve got and maybe we’ll be back to match Pac-12 team to Avengers or cellular organelles.