Since the great tradition of FTRS Power Rankings began way back in 2018, entries in the series have focused on some of the great debates of our time: fast food chains, breakfast chains, local wing joints, meta-rankings of power rankings, and (most recently) stadium experiences.
But this is a Tech sports website, and as such, it’s time to turn our attention to actual present-day Tech football matters.
it’s no secret that Geoff Collins will be looking to recruit different types of players in the coming years for the team’s new NFL spread pro-style totally-not-high-school offense that isn’t a scheme because this isn’t a scheme-based program. It’s also no secret that Collins is all about unconventional thinking on and off the field. What if he were to recruit quarterbacks who aren’t human? What if he were to recruit players who aren’t even real but already have considerable in-game experience? What’s to stop him?
There’s no rule that says a dog can’t play basketball. There’s also no rule that says an electric mouse, talking fox fighter pilot, armored bounty hunter, or pink puffball can’t play college football.
So let’s take this to its natural conclusion: who in the cast of the original Super Smash Bros. game would be the best at running Tech’s NFL spread pro-style totally-not-high-school offense?
Super Smash Bros. NFL Spread Pro-Style Power Rankings
‘Puff isn’t the fastest character around, but she’s effective through the air and is remarkably dangerous on Rollouts. The skills are there; the central problem is that she relies on Rest to do serious damage. There’s simply no room for someone who needs that much Rest in a program that demands Relentless Energy at all times.
The Earthbound hero brings a unique skillset to the table, but unfortunately it isn’t one that would help him run a pro-style offense. His recovery is effective when executed properly, but it relies on impeccable timing and accuracy, meaning he can have a tough time coming back when he’s knocked off the stage. That’s bad news for a team looking to put the “tough time coming back from a deficit” narrative in the past (regardless of how accurate it actually was).
Lonk from Pennsylvania’s alter ego has plenty of viable skills. He can strike targets downrange with pinpoint accuracy using his bow, and he’s not afraid to drop back and throw a bomb when the situation calls for it. His issues are his notoriously weak ability to come back when he’s knocked off the stage (worse even than Ness, with the same implications mentioned there) and potential communication issues, as his entire vocabulary seems to be a few variations of the “word” HYAAAAAH.
Yoshi’s raw talent is impressive and the green dinosaur has all the makings of a top prospect, but... presumably part of running a pro-style system is being way too concerned about seemingly trivial things like hand size that apparently cause NFL execs and scouts to lose sleep. Yoshi has only four fingers per hand, which means he’ll probably fumble left and right. Or something like that.
Mario is a fairly balanced player who’s mainly useful on the ground but can be devastating in the air with a good playcaller behind him. Hand size is definitely not an issue here. However, his potential is limited because there are eligibility concerns, as he may or may not already be a licensed doctor and would (presumably) have exhausted his NCAA eligibility.
Mario’s brother brings a fairly similar skillset to the table without the eligibility concerns and without the red outfit. He’s nothing special, but it’s still an upgrade.
6) Donkey Kong
DK can’t do much at quarterback, but he’s exactly the sort of player Collins looks for in a lineman: an absolute bruiser who can pave the way on the ground.
Samus is somehow the only Smash 64 fighter who brings her pads to the battlefield, which is an automatic point in her favor. She doesn’t go out of her way to seek out contact, which isn’t the best look for a program that preaches toughness in the trenches. That said, she can deal some serious damage downfield via her charged shot and her arsenal of missiles, giving her a unique and valuable skillset.
Star Fox’s top pilot was far and away the most popular character in Melee, and he was no slouch in the original. Fox brings to the table great scrambling skills, good ‘gun skills with his blaster, and the ability to do some serious damage in the air. With the right playcaller behind him, Fox has Heisman potential.
While he lacks anything resembling armor (unless the hat counts), Pikachu makes up for it with the ability to punish teams in a variety of the ways both on the ground and in the air. On top of that, his ability to deliver devastating vertical strikes via Thunder is unmatched, and Quick Attack allows him to come back faster than anyone if he’s knocked around. He’s the epitome of a dual-threat player, and if not for meme power, he could easily surpass both players ahead of him on the list.
2) Captain Falcon
Captain Falcon is best known for a ground game that features his devastating, iconic Falcon Punch, but he’s a lethal player all over the field. He can’t quite match Kirby, Pikachu, or Jigglypuff in aerial mobility, but almost nobody in the cast can match his ability to deal damage through the air or his speed on the ground. On top of his on-field skills, there is no denying that he is one of the biggest cultural icons—if not the single biggest one—in Smash history. Considering how much Collins has emphasized the cultural change, he could do much worse than Captain Falcon at the helm of his offense.
Collins made it clear recently that this is not a scheme-based program, but rather a player-based program. Any coach worth his salt will adapt and play to the strengths of its players, but the way Collins said it suggested something more fervent—as if he wants the unit to be formless, shaped almost completely by the skills contained within. Nobody fits that description better than Kirby, who can take on the skills and appearances of others by absorbing their talent. He can be anything at any time, and on top of that, he can recover from deficits better than anyone else in the cast. It’s true and unfortunate that he shares his name with a certain rival coach, but... well, this Kirby was here first.
SSBU Honorable Mentions
The Smash Ultimate cast was a bit too big to parse for this article, but here are a few characters that sprung up for one reason or another:
Kirby’s archnemesis was wildly overpowered in Brawl, and if Collins wants to abandon the ground game entirely, Meta Knight would be the perfect person/fighter/mask to run it. He’s tailor-made to run the Air Raid.
“For his neutral special, Joker wields a gun.” We know how much Collins and Patenaude insist on relying on the ‘gun, and Joker would be a natural fit as the triggerman for the offense. His aerial game can be devastating in the right playcaller’s hands. The only hang-up is his red and black outfit... but if he takes the field in his alt outfit inspired by the Persona 4 protagonist, he’ll be all set.
Fox was and is by far the most popular character in Melee, but Falco can be even more dangerous in the air. Worst case, his leaping ability allows him to split out and play receiver instead of QB. Also, perhaps more importantly, Falco’s last name is Lombardi. For a guy like Collins who hypes the importance of winning championships, how can he possibly turn away someone with that name?
Note: updated with pictures for a few characters that were missing them at first.