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OBNUG Presents: The Mountain West Coaches’ Thanksgiving

Yes, we’re doing another food listicle thing.

Thanksgiving Greetings Postcard with a Turkey and Fruit Photo by �� K.J. Historical/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

Usually at this time of year, OBNUG contributors find themselves with a long weekend and too many relatives in the house. However, what with COVID-19 and the general insanity of 2020, we’ve found ourselves much more isolated, fighting off thoughts of that fateful game in 2010 of which we do not speak.

In order to pass the time before going into a food coma thanks to DoorDash and/or UberEats (YES SOMETIMES WE WANT CURLY FRIES WITH THE BIG MAC OK) the team here has helped assemble a helpful comparison chart of Mountain West coaches and what Thanksgiving food item they would be.

(This list is for entertainment purposes only. Please do not attempt to prepare and/or serve any coaches as an entrée)

Troy Calhoun – Green Bean Casserole

It shows up every year. Sometimes it’s got those little fried onions on top and everyone gets a big scoop because they forget that underneath is boring ol’ green beans and cream of something awful soup. A staple at many households, but not one of the greats.

Bryan Harsin – Pumpkin Pie

Love it or hate it, everyone has a strong opinion on pumpkin pie. Some say it was best back before they made the canned filling, some say the CoolWhip topping does a lot of heavy lifting, some say they prefer bluebloods like pecan pie or cobblers. Whatever you think of it, pumpkin pie is a repeat Thanksgiving champion.

Steve Addazio – Rolls


Craig Bohl – Mashed Potatoes & Gravy

Look, it’s not flashy, but there’s no better starchy side than some smooth, creamy, buttery mashed potatoes. Sometimes if you’re splurging, pour a little gravy on. It’s consistent, never a big winner or the star of the show, but always there to pull the plate together.

Todd Graham – Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce is tricky. It’s definitely a seasonal dish, but while it is common at Thanksgiving, it really struggles to find it’s footing. Is it a dessert? Is it a fruit? Is it a side? Is it any good? The jellied stuff from a can looks suspicious but can carry the day. Aunt Mildred’s boiled pot of bittersweet sugary gloop might not, though. Your mileage may vary.

Brent Brennan – Stuffing/Dressing

Stuffing often has an identity crisis, with half the country calling it Dressing. Some people have ancient family recipes passed down for decades. Other (smarter) people just use StoveTop and call it a day. It’s unassuming, but every now and then it just hits the spot. Some days, however, it just kinda fills the void where turkey guts used to be so that the bird doesn’t dry out.

Danny Gonzales – Salad

If you’re having salad at Thanksgiving, I have questions. Just don’t.

Marcus Arroyo – Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider

Whether you have religious objections or that one uncle who gets handsy after a couple glasses of wine, Martinelli’s sparkling cider is a stylish beverage choice that masquerades as an alcoholic drink in stemware, but is safe for the kid’s table (and Uncle Ted, who definitely needs to call his AA sponsor). Nobody wants it at every meal, but it’s a nice change-up that signifies the holidays have arrived...or that the wedding party is cheaping out on catering.

Jay Norvell – Macaroni & Cheese

It’s non-traditional, but making a comeback at many spreads around the country. Done right it can be rich and satisfying. More often it’s just 6-6 and a half-empty New Mexico Bowl.

Gary Andersen – Jello Salad

Why does this keep coming back. Stop. It was good once upon a time, but that was the past.

Brady Hoke – Turkey

We’re not doing the Turkey vs Ham vs Prime Rib argument again. Somebody decided many moons ago that Turkey was a Thanksgiving thing, no matter what Michigan thinks.

Kalen DeBoer – Mixed Nuts

They’re sat out on the coffee table to try and satiate the horde before the meal is ready. Often picked through by the first to arrive, what was once a great selection is mostly shattered cashews and a few unloved brazil nuts.