Some college football news near and dear to this reporter's heart: On Sunday, the University of Texas Longhorns officially hired Louisville's Charlie Strong to be its next head coach.
But this isn’t just a football story. Strong taking over the reins of the storied Texas football program also includes -- yes, wait for it -- a possible lesson to the 2016 presidential race: Successors of long-time officeholders are often polar opposites of the person they replace.
Strong’s predecessor at Texas -- Mack Brown -- was one of college football's top spokesmen and politicians (remember, there's plenty of politics in big-time college football). Yet Strong is regarded as less polished on TV and with big donors, and is known as more of a proverbial Xs and Os guy. Brown was an offensive coach at heart; Strong is defensive. Brown, in his 16 years as head coach, stressed the importance of family atmosphere at Texas; Strong is considered a tough-love disciplinarian.
And in one of the biggest changes of all, Brown is white while Strong is black -- in fact, Strong is the school's first African-American to be head coach in a major sport.
The same opposites-attract phenomenon holds true in presidential politics, too. Consider:
-- The cautious and cerebral Barack Obama was, in many ways, the polar opposite of the more instinctive and impulsive George W. Bush (it helps explain why Obama, and not Hillary Clinton, won the Dem nomination in 2008);
-- The born-again Bush from a prominent political family was, in many ways, the polar opposite of the wandering-eyed Bill Clinton from rural Arkansas;
-- The telegenic, always-optimistic Ronald Reagan was, in many ways, the polar opposite of the "malaise"-ed Jimmy Carter;
-- The moralistic Carter was, in many ways, the polar opposite of the scandal-plagued Richard Nixon;
-- And even in New York City, the liberal populist Bill de Blasio is the polar opposite of the billionaire independent Michael Bloomberg.
The one exception here is when the Republican Vice President George H.W. Bush succeeded the Republican Ronald Reagan in 1988, but there was a clear contrast, too, given their combative 1980 presidential primary (remember "Voodoo economics"?) and their different family/political backgrounds.
So when the 2016 presidential campaign truly begins, keep an eye on the candidates -- both Republican and Democratic -- emerging as the anti-Obama alternative.
Could it be the hefty, telling-you-like-it-is Chris Christie?
What about the female Hillary Clinton, who famously battled the male Obama in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary?
Or the libertarian national-security dove Rand Paul?
Because remember: Whether it's college football or presidential politics, fans/voters are often looking for change when replacing a long-serving predecessor, no matter how successful (or unsuccessful) that predecessor was.