After much debating and double checking our Pokedexes, we've come up with the perfect Pokemon analogy for every FBS program. There are now a gazillion Pokemon, but we're going to stick with the original 151.
Boston College: Metapod, because Boston College is also physically unable to attack.
Clemson: Electrode. Fast, exciting, electric, and once had a penchant for self-destruction.
Duke: Dewgong. Similar-ish sounding name? Decent, but fades against top competition? We bet you could teach an adorable sea lion how to play basketball.
Florida State: Weezing has solid stats, but is also known for producing an enormous amount of toxic gas, just like Florida State fans in comment sections.
Georgia Tech: Ground-game heavy, not great at defense, and running the triple option? Three-headed dirt mound Dugtrio it is.
Louisville: Arbok is a giant snake. Louisville is coached by Bobby Petrino.
Miami: Mew. Allegedly super powerful, but only exists on the Internet.
North Carolina: What's the best choice for football's perennial Sleeping Giant? Snorlax, a literal sleeping giant.
NC State: We spent hours trying to think of a good one, and couldn't, probably because we almost never think about NC State. So let's go with Seaking, a perfectly fine goldfish Pokemon you've probably never thought about either.
Pitt: Magikarp's Pokedex entry reads, "In the distant past, it was somewhat stronger than the horribly weak descendants that exist today." Did you know Pitt claims nine national titles?
Syracuse: The most interesting thing about Syracuse football is its stadium, the Carrier Dome. The rough Pokemon equivalent seems to be the game's third gym, the Vermilion Gym. It's kind of orange and not very difficult.
Virginia: Smart school, usually decent on defense, will occasionally knock off a top team, but zzzz, I'm already tired of talking about Virginia. Drowzee, a Pokemon that literally eats dreams.
Virginia Tech: Tough defense, solid ground game, blue collar program. Graveler, a Pokemon that attacks by being a rock rolling down a hill. It's also a Pokemon that could appreciate Metallica.
Under Dave Clawson, Wake Forest is 2-1 in ACC games when it doesn't score a touchdown, 0-8 when it does— Joe Giglio (@jwgiglio) October 11, 2015
Cincinnati: The Bearcats will scratch and claw, and have been a stepping stone for many coaches. That sounds like Fearow, a useful bird that gets discarded as you catch better Pokemon. Fearow has not been invited to the Big 12, but remains hopeful.
East Carolina: Mankey is a monkey-like Pokemon famous for being a ferocious attacker, not playing a lick of defense, and being angry, which represents East Carolina just fine.
Houston: Charmander. Not quite ready to be a fire-blowing, championship-contending badass, but if this program ever evolves, watch out.
Memphis: Poliwrath. Super tough, known for punching people, and probably still underrated.
Navy: There is only one Pokemon that kinda looks like a battleship, and that's Blastoise, the giant sea tortoise with water cannons. Navy's next amazing alt helmet should just be this thing.
SMU: A weak program that's only famous for literally throwing money at people. This is Meowth, which "wanders the streets on a nightly basis to look for dropped loose change," per the Pokedex.
South Florida: Kingler, a giant crab Pokemon. Overlooked, capable of pinching toes, and probably a native to South Florida.
Temple: Magnemite was mostly useless in the original game, but in later versions, picked up new abilities to become surprisingly useful. It "appears without warning," says the Pokedex. That sounds like Temple, which was horrible at football for decades, but hosted College GameDay in 2015.
Tulane: Krabby, a lower level program capable of riding the wave and picking off unsuspecting opponents. Also, failing that, New Orleans football fans probably have some kickass recipes for how to cook a river crab.
Tulsa: An electric, high-energy program that folks tend to overlook? Could be Magneton, a mechanical electric Pokemon.
UCF: Vaporeon. Water-based, second-level program that has some potential and can knock off some good players. Also, has "vape" in the name, which sounds like something UCF fans would be into.
UConn: Growlithe, a fellow canine. Has the potential to compete at a higher level once it develops.
Baylor: Uh, let's come back to this one next year.
Iowa State is one of the hardest places to win big in the country. And there may not be many Pokemon tougher to win with than Tangela, a knotted mess of vines that can't get out of its own way. If you squint, it even looks kiiinda Cyclone-ish!
Kansas: Wario. Not a Pokemon, but really good at a completely different game.
Kansas State: Old as hell, protected by the fierce armor of an Alamo Bowl windbreaker. That sounds like Kabuto, an armored former fossil.
Oklahoma: Nidoking. Strong stats, with a tough ground attack. Called the Drill Pokemon, a fine fit for oil country.
Oklahoma State: Baby Oklahoma. Nidorino, a Pokemon that evolves into Nidoking.
TCU is still underrated, looks cool as hell, has historic roots ... Kabutops. Look how sweet that looks:
Texas: Dragonite. On paper, they're super powerful, maybe even a little regal. Some claim there is an island that only Dragonite inhabit. Sounds like the Longhorn Network.
Texas Tech: Primeape, another angry, strong monkey that doesn't play any defense, is great at attacking, and could probably figure out how to fling a tortilla.
WVU: Magmar. A decent Pokemon whose body is on fire all the time. Can easily catch your couch on fire.
Illinois: Ponyta, a potentially decent Pokemon most notable for being actively on fire. That sounds like Illinois, a program that's seen its share of scandal.
Indiana: Voltorb. Fast, entertaining, electric, and has a penchant for self-destruction and chaos.
Iowa: A bland Pokemon that wins by tiring the opponent out and whose signature move involves eggs. The choice is clear. Iowa is Chansey.
Maryland: The perfect fit is Dratini, which can evolve into something good, but it takes a lot of time and effort. Also, like Maryland's quarterbacks, Dratini has no arms.
Michigan: Impressive stats, but easily one of the most weird and uncomfortable. One that you would absolutely not want coming over to your sleepover. Michigan is Jynx, a cold-weather humanoid thing that impersonates humans until people join it, much like Jim Harbaugh.
Michigan State: It's hard to figure out the most disrespect-fueled Pokemon. We vote for Tauros, a tough bull that has solid stats and can learn many effective moves, but is often ignored.
Minnesota: Not really good at anything, besides putting you to sleep in the middle of the day. Jigglypuff.
Nebraska: Big brand name, very nice, cute, cuddly, and gets replaced by better Pokemon as the game moves on? Sounds like Squirtle to me.
Northwestern: Porygon, the Pokemon made entirely of programming code. Super advanced, high-tech, but not actually very good. Porygon has a great journalism school, though.
Ohio State: The bro-est of all, Ohio State is Machamp. SEE THE CHAMP IN THERE, ALABAMA? IT'S CAUSE WE BEAT YOU THAT ONE TIME.
Penn State: A Pokemon that spends most of its time arguing with itself and can leave you confused or poisoned? Exeggutor, a giant tree with multiple heads.
Purdue: OLD AMBER isn't even a Pokemon. It's a fossil that could turn into a Pokemon late in the game. Purdue isn't even really a football team right now.
Rutgers: Clearly, a Game Boy. Without it, none of this would be possible, but it's pretty useless all by itself.
Wisconsin: Evolved Minnesota. Wigglytuff.
Charlotte: What are the odds Charlotte becomes a top program? Farfetch'd.
Florida Atlantic: Kinda weak, but with the potential to grow into something powerful, thanks to their recruiting footprint. Easy to confuse with the other program that sounds just like it. Nidoran.
Florida International: Same thing. The other Nidoran.
Louisiana Tech: Louisiana Tech has been sneaky decent, but also has a penchant for doing random things, like say, turning down a perfectly good bowl game. Let's go with Clefairy, a Pokemon famous for randomness.
Marshall: Can beat up lots of weak programs. "Keeps its face buried in the ground," says the Pokedex, to avoid being ranked by the Playoff committee despite winning all the time. Also, their fans are weird. Oddish.
North Texas: Has useful fundamentals (located in Dallas, winnable conference), but it isn't very good. Looks like it can shoot something resembling oil out of its nose. We guess that's Horsea, a seahorse-like Pokemon.
Rice: Okay, we said we'd stick to first generation Pokemon, but we'll make an exception for Rice, which is clearly Hoothoot, an extra smart owl Pokemon. Hoothoot's Pokedex entry says "inside Hoothoot's body lies a special organ that senses Earth's rotation, allowing it to keep track of time," which feels very Rice.
Old Dominion: Poliwhirl. A plucky, water-focused program that's a decent bet to break through with a little bit of luck.
Southern Miss: After everything this program has been through, it's well-acquainted with grit and grime. But it's strong enough to rise through it all. Grimer, a Pokemon made of actual slime.
UAB: Starfish are famous for being able to regenerate limbs that have been chopped off. That sounds a little like UAB, a program that actually died, but then came back to life. So Staryu, a starfish Pokemon, it is.
UTEP: Way out in the middle of nowhere, where it's easy to forget about. Kind of like Pinsir, a weird beetle nobody ever bothered to catch. Also, if there's one place where a bug that big might live, it's El Paso.
UTSA: Bulbasaur. A newly seeded program and the "seed Pokemon." All the potential in the world, but would need a lot of careful guidance to realize it.
Western Kentucky: One of the best in the conference, built on a deadly offense. That sounds like Raticate, a rat that is one of the strongest attackers in the early game.
Army: A proud football tradition that has been dormant for years. Let's make Army Gengar, king of the ghost Pokemon.
BYU: A Pokemon known for punching people, but not for being good at punching people. Hitmonchan it is.
Notre Dame: Aerodactyl, the mighty and prehistoric Pokemon. Just like Notre Dame's national championships.
UMass: A homeless program that just left the MAC and that no other conference seems to really want around? Zubat, a bat that players try to avoid.
Ball State: A bird that is bad at flying, but can sometimes win anyway. Doduo.
Bowling Green: High-scoring, fast, bird-mascot team? That sounds an awful lot like Dodrio, which uses its three brains to create the MAC's best offense.
Buffalo is a tadpole in a small pool. Buffalo is Poliwag, a literal tadpole.
Central Michigan: The remaining Pokemon best equipped to yell, "FIRE UP CHIPS," is Vulpix, a fire-fox.
Eastern Michigan: MISSINGNO, the glitch Pokemon. If Eastern Michigan is on your screen, something went horribly wrong.
Kent State: Like Team Rocket, Kent State loses most of their battles, but they're also responsible for the single biggest bad guy in the sport. In this case, former Kent State football player Nick Saban.
Ohio: Another useful, early-season type. Highly comfortable in the Appalachian foothills, probably knows how to hold its poison, can make things difficult for some teams, probably not going to win anything huge. Ohio, you're Ekans, a snake Pokemon.
Miami (OH): Known as the Cradle of Coaches, Miami is Professor Oak, the closest thing to a coach you'll find in the Pokemon universe.
NIU: The 2012 Orange Bowl participant has achieved basically all it can, which sounds like Butterfree. You max out everything the toxic butterfly can do around level 22, you say thanks for the memories, and then you leave it in the computer for the rest of the game.
Toledo: Overachieving, fast, and can be tough as hell in the early season. That's like the blue and yellow Starmie, the best Pokemon from the game's second gym.
Western Michigan: An intense program named after horses is the perfect fit for Rapidash, a horse that is actually on fire. Not sure how one is able to Row The Boat with hooves though.
Air Force: Perhaps the best-equipped to drop bombs, the special move of Exeggcute. Also, Exeggcute is just a bunch of balls, which seems well-equipped to handle option football.
Boise State: Famously adept at trick plays? Needs a Pokemon to match. Victreebel is a giant Venus fly trap, the trick play of the animal kingdom. "Victreebel has been shown to hoard food, usually small birds and rodents," which describes Boise's stint in the WAC.
Colorado State is Parasect, a bug controlled by 'shrooms. Colorado, you see.
Fresno State: For years, Fresno was famous for being willing to play everybody, no matter who, no matter where, even if they got smoked. That sounds like Onix, which trainers love to use even late in the game, when even a Surf can wipe it away. Onix ain't scurred. Even if it should be.
Hawaii: Like jellyfish Pokemon Tentacruel, Hawaii is solid in the ocean and struggles badly everywhere else.
New Mexico: REAL. TOUGH. PHYSICAL. FOOTBAW. A football team that only runs the ball needs a ground-type Pokemon. Rhydon: half-dino, half-rhino.
Nevada: Nevada became famous for running an exciting offense out of unconventional formations. That's Jolteon, an Electric Pokemon that also learns useful Fighting and Bug moves.
San Diego State: SDSU is Pidgey, a perfectly chill Pokemon whose most famous attack is literally just kicking sand, which seems like something you could do in San Diego.
San Jose State should be way better than it is, based on where it's located and what it looks like. Kinda like Scyther, a ninja-like mantis.
UNLV: UNLV lacks a strong identity. Does it embrace Vegas or keep it aside? Is it a running or passing program? Just like Venomoth, a Bug/Poison Pokemon whose best moves are Psychic ones.
Utah State: Tough mid-major in the mountains who is capable of throwing down some hard hits. Sounds like Machop, a small martial artist who works out with boulders.
Wyoming: Alone in the barren wasteland, struggling for money and recruits, Wyoming might be one of the saddest teams. It's almost as sad as Cubone, "the Lonely Pokemon" that mourns inside its skull helmet.
Arizona: High-flying, entertaining, but not good enough to anchor a championship. Pidgeot, a later-game bird Pokemon.
Arizona State: What's tough and can win in the desert? Sandslash, a mouse-type with razor-sharp claws.
Cal: Who is super smart, plays no defense whatsoever, and could give you a headache if you hang around too much? Kadabra, a physic Pokemon who can bend spoons.
Colorado: Gloom is known as the "Weed Pokemon." Also, it's sad.
Oregon: Ain't nobody with more alternate uniform combinations than Eevee, a Pokemon that can evolve into, like, nine other Pokemon, all with different colors.
Oregon State: Venonat, a poison bug. Going to get squashed most of the time, but strong enough to poison or confuse a stronger foe.
Stanford: The Pokemon for the thinker, Lapras. Sturdy, excellent stats, with a dynamic learnset of moves. Also, you can only find it in the boardroom of a massive corporation.
UCLA: Gyarados. Has great stats and looks sweet as hell in their blue uniforms, but when it comes down to it, they're overrated.
USC: Machoke, the muscular fighter who'd be unstoppable if not for its regulating belt and NCAA sanctions and bland coaching hires. Also, "choke" is in its name.
Utah: Sturdy, but boring? Hypno, a psychic who can put you to sleep. Utes fans once predicted the future by storming the field three times in one game.
Washington: You're going to see Washington on a lot of preseason top 25 lists. They were young, but now they're maturing. They might be a year away from championship goals, but for now, they're at least a Wartortle, a water-friendly turtle with good defense.
Alabama: Dammit, Alabama is the lab-generated Mewtwo, the most powerful and vaguely sinister Pokemon in the game.
Auburn: Charizard, a fire-breathing badass. Fast and mystical, but with defined weaknesses that worry anybody putting a lot of faith in it. Like say, a decent ground game.
Florida: Gonna go with Venusaur. It's strong, lives in a swamp, and looks like the sort of thing that was once a pet before it was abandoned in the Everglades, left to grow while sunning itself on golf courses.
Georgia: Outstanding stats, monstrous ground game, but could be completely destroyed by just a little bit of grass. That's Golem, a rock Pokemon.
Kentucky: We like Tentacool here. Not especially good by itself, but if you pick a fight with one Tentacool, you end up fighting another 400 Tentacools, just like Kentucky fans on Twitter.
LSU: Clefable's best move is called Metronome, which picks another random Pokemon's move. It could be Tail Whip. It could be Fire Blast. That's what makes the goofy and unassuming Clefable dangerous. Goofy, dangerous, and unpredictable seems to sum up the Les Miles experience.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs might just be the angriest football fanbase in the country. And what's angrier than a giant wasp? Nothing. So Beedrill it is.
Missouri: Missouri's offense looked pretty dead last season. In fact, you might even say it was Ghastly.
Ole Miss: Which Pokemon is best at making itself disappear? Abra. Working overtime with NCAA investigators around.
South Carolina: Trying to achieve success by copying another program (hiring Will Muschamp), but will probably just make a crappier knock-off? Ditto.
Tennessee: Charmeleon. Young, explosive, might not be quite ready for the big time, and has the potential to set itself on fire.
Texas A&M: This is easy. Alakazam. Fast, hip, mysterious, great attacks, but unable to take a punch. And has to be
transferred traded away to reach its full potential.
Vandy: Persian, a fancy cat. Adds a dignified touch and has more riches than you think, whether that's the jewel in its forehead or the SEC's second biggest financial endowment.
Appalachian State: Geodude. Underrated. Sturdy, solid, great defense. At home near mountains.
Arkansas State: Rattata is a perfectly useful, offense-focused early Pokemon. No matter how many coaches change, or where your journeys take you, Rattata will always be willing to Hyper Fang you.
Georgia Southern: Digletts don't fly. They do everything with their ground game. And they'll absolutely hang 40 on you.
Georgia State: The Cable Club is the section next to the Pokemon Center where you can battle your friends. Fighting right next to a hospital seems very Atlanta.
Idaho: New Mexico State, but a tiny bit better and a tiny bit weirder. Omastar.
Louisiana-Lafayette: The Ragin' Cajuns probably need to be a seafood, right? Let's go with Cloyster, which we bet could taste great with enough butter.
Louisiana-Monroe: A hard-to-figure program near the heart of Duck Dynasty? That's clearly Psyduck.
New Mexico State: A far-flung program that isn't very good, difficult to use, and might be forgotten soon? That's Omanyte.
South Alabama: Elecmon. Elecmon isn't actually a Pokemon, but a Digimon, a rival, knock-off version of Pokemon. That's fitting, since South Alabama wants to just be a discount, knock-off Bama.
Texas State: Okay, now this is getting pretty tough. Thinking about Texas State football too long will probably make you sick, just like Koffing.
Troy: Zapdos, a legendary electric bird and the most badass Pokemon not yet claimed. It has nothing to do with Troy. We just felt like saying something nice about Troy.