The crowd in the packed arena has grown restless as they wait for the two prized fighters to make their entrances. All of a sudden, the lights in the building go out and just one beam is shone to the corner of the stadium. In comes Charlie Strong and his Bull Strong squad with Darius Rucker singing and playing his guitar right beside him. Strong makes his way through the crowd and between the ropes looking like an educated Mike Tyson without the face tat but still managing to to wear a turtleneck in a boxing ring.
The lights go out once more as Kliff Kingsbury is now shone walking through. Kingsbury, tired of the Ryan Gosling comparisons, actually brings Gosling through the crowd with him proving that they are in fact not the same person. Following Kingsbury is none other than the 806 D and Travis Scott rapping beside him all the way into the ring. Kliff also decides to have an unconventional dressing style in the ring as he takes off his robe and reveals a full Armani suit.
The crowd is ready for the showdown as Michael Buffer enters the ring.
“In this corner, standing about 5’8”, weighing 250 pounds of pure unadulterated USDA beef is CHARLIEEEEEEEE ‘LET’S RIDE’ STRONGGGGGGG. And in the other corner, standing 6’3” and weighing 220 pounds of suave, style, and sophistication is KLIFFFFFFFFF ‘FORTUNE FAVORS THE BOLD’ KINGSBURYYYYYYYY.”
“Are you ready to rumbleeeeeeeeeeee”
The fourth meeting between Kliff Kingsbury and Charlie Strong is everything but a laid back affair. Both men are coaching one of the biggest games in their careers for completely different reasons.
For Strong, he’s coaching to cap off a successful season. Strong started the year off rough, but since then has been able to reel off some victories throughout the year. With all these wins, many people are quick to point out that Strong hasn’t beaten anybody. The only team with a winning record that South Florida has defeated this year is FCS Stony Brook and even that game was tied in the fourth quarter. USF hasn’t truly got the opportunity to prove themselves but this will be a chance for Coach Strong to build into the future.
With a last second victory over Texas, Kingsbury is allowed to have a future at Texas Tech, at least for one more season. The Red Raiders have been all over the place this season, from defeating winning teams to late game collapses to getting blown out, Tech has had a crazy season. The question of Kingsbury’s job status has hovered over the team like a cloud all season and for Kliff a loss in this game will have that cloud rear its ugly head back over for 2018.
Kingsbury and Strong are different in so many ways. Strong had to walk-on at a small DI-AA school Central Arkansas to play DB while Kingsbury was a star scholarship QB in the Big 12 for Texas Tech. Strong spent most of his 35+ year coaching career in Florida on the defensive side of the ball while Kingsbury just finished his tenth year in the profession, coaching solely on the offensive side of the ball and has never coached a team not in Texas. Kingsbury is a laid back, tall guy with a smooth demeanor while Strong is a stern, short man who’s straight to the point.
With all these differences, they do share a common trait as well. Both Kingsbury and Strong have garnered a reputation for doing things the right way. This in itself shows the character of both men. While at Texas, Strong took over a team that had a criminal reputation among the state. One of the first things he did was dismiss star players off the team that weren’t doing things the right way. This in turn led to UT players becoming better for it off the field. Kingsbury showed his tough but fair attitude when dealing with Dakota Allen. Coach dismissed Allen and two other players from the team after a 2016 arrest which landed Allen at East Mississippi Community College. After Allen earned his way back into Kingsbury’s good graces, he was offered a scholarship back on the team.
Coach Strong is 2-1 against Kingsbury in his career but that was back with Texas, he is the USF coach now, and this is a different Texas Tech team than before. Can he keep his stronghold on the Red Raiders or will Kingsbury and crew prove to be too much for the Bulls?