We've finally made it to the last region of the College Magazine Sports Movie Character March Madness Bracket, The West. Check out our other regions here (East, North, South). And check back Monday for the second round.
(16) Sheriff John Biebe
Sheriff John Biebe, although played by well-known Russell Crowe, is by far the weakest 16 seed we have in this tournament – the Oral Roberts of the group, if you will. Most of you have not seen Mystery Alaska, and I don’t blame you. Contrastingly, Rudy is an absolute classic and a household favorite to all those Catholic families that are huge Notre Dame fans, regardless of whether anyone in the family ever went there. It gives hope to all un-athletic young men out there who dream of making at least one noteworthy play in their life. Rudy is going to have some close calls in this tournament, but this year’s Oral Roberts just doesn’t have enough cache to stay in the game.
(8) Apollo Creed
(9) Rod Tidwell
These 8 v. 9 games are normally some of the more competitive first round matchups. We have two second-string stars from a pair of iconic sports movies. Creed is the villain you love to hate in the first two Rocky movies, and in the third installment you’re outright cheering for him. No matter how diabolical he seems, he’s always a patriotic. Tidwell is lovable in his own right and very talented as well, but he can be a bit annoying and needy at times. If these two were around each other, I’m fairly certain Creed would give show him who’s boss if to only shut him up. R.I.P., Apollo Creed. WIN:
(5) Bagger Vance
“It's time to separate the wheat from the chaff, the men from the boys, the awkwardly feminine from the possibly Canadian.” Well, if that is the case, Cotton McKnight, then Bagger Vance takes this one. Will Smith as only a caddy is far superior to the Dodgeball broadcaster. Some of Cotton McKnight’s “witticisms” wouldn’t even be half as entertaining if Pepper Brooks didn’t put in his two cents. The Legend of Bagger Vance focuses on the spiritual side of golf and shows that you will never lose the truth of the game if you can just find that perfect swing. And that Will Smith accent – that’s the buzzer-beater right there. WIN: Bagger Vance
(4) Jim Braddock
(13) Peter La Fleur
This is where I’m going to get in trouble. Jim Braddock of Cinderella Man seized a rare opportunity in the ring and epitomizes the true Cinderella story that we see year in and year out in the NCAA Tournament. But come on, underdog stories in boxing — isn’t that played out already? What about underdog stories in … dodgeball. Peter La Fleur, played by Vince Vaughn in Dodgeball, represents Average Joe’s Gym and the regular, down-to-earth crowd. Not only does he end up with a bisexual lover, he wages all of his money on his own team to win, he befriends a pirate and he defeats White Goodman (Ben Stiller) with a blindfold on.
WINNER: Peter La Fleur
(6) White Goodman
(11) Billy Bob
In a matchup of two sports comedy heavyweights, this would be a buzzer-beater and would have Bill Raftery yelling, “onions!” Goodman’s antagonistic role and perpetual fight against obesity makes a good opponent for Billy Bob, who displays proudly No. 69 both on the back of his jersey and his pick-up truck. For the final score though, the edge goes to Billy Bob – because nobody makes Goodman bleed his own blood, except for a high school football player in Texas the size of an elephant.
WIN: Billy Bob
(3) Jack Lengyel
(14) Roy Munson
Every year in the NCAA tournament, there’s always a high-seeded team that in no way, shape or form deserves that seeding. People who think they know college basketball generally love this because it means that they could pick a high-seeded upset and look really smart afterwards. We Are Marshall’s Jack Lengyel is exactly this. Roy Munson, however, is exactly a bowler. And as we all know, a bowler winning in a best sports movie characters bracket is like the captain of the Math-letes being nominated for homecoming king. Yeah, he’s a male and can thus technically be nominated, but, umm … McConaughey, you live to see another day. WIN: Lengyel.
(7) Tony D'Amato
(10) Don Haskins
Two inspirational coaches going up against each other. D’Amato delivered one of the most powerful and meaningful sports speeches in a movie of all time. But Haskins made history by starting five African-American players in a national championship game for the first time ever, and beating the top-ranked team in the nation in the process. Although D’Amato’s “inch by inch” speech is so memorable, let’s be real – Texas Western over the University of Kentucky. Oh yeah, Haskins used to be a girls high school basketball coach before becoming a national champ with a history-making team.
WIN: Don Haskins
(2) Mickey Ward
(15) Bobby Boucher
Boxing movies have stood the test of time. They were cool when DeNiro was in Raging Bull and when Hillary Swank was the Million Dollar Baby. So it comes as no surprise that “Irish” Mickey Ward is, well, cool. Mark Wahlberg is one of the best actors of his generation, and the tag-team of him and Christian Bale in The Fighter is one of the best I’ve seen in a sports movie. As far as Bobby Boucher … eh. Not a big Adam Sandler fan over here. Ward wins easily for me.
WIN: Mickey Ward