It's football season! So exciting! So many questions! Will Alabama repeat? Willl Ohio State compete? Will Steve Spurrier coach this season shirtless?
There are so many possiblities. Anything can happen.
Fuck that. You're not here for a reasoned breakdown of the top 25's chances: You're here to find out the absolute worst of the worst, the fan bases you want to send to Belize along with Mike. It's important to know all you can on this subject, especially as we start a new year, because fans are your most personal connection to each school: You're probably not peeing beside Nick Saban at a bar urinal, but you are beside the 'Bama fan. And, oh look, now he's vomiting on your shoe. Rama jama. Rama jama, indeed.
To pick the 10 Most Hateable Fan Bases in College Football, I trolled through numerous message boards. I read innumerable Bleacher Report articles, which all, strangely, ended up contradicting each other. I can tell you which college towns may have that George Clooney-esque cloud of smug hovering above their main streets, and which schools have documented cases of students throwing piss. (I am also now aware that a certain foul-mouthed BroBible editor lost his football privileges at Miami for an entire year thanks to such a case.)
I have been to the dark side of the Internet. It was frightening. There was face paint. Here are four common factors I found in picking crappy fan bases:
a. Boorishness: Are you drinking enough to kill a beluga whale and then taking random swings at opposing fans' children? Are you getting Breathalyzed before entering the stadium? (Unfortunately, Wisconsin will have to earn just an honorable mention on our list.) Are you throwing those cups of piss?
b. Arrogance: Do you refuse to believe other colleges exist in your state? Have you ever attempted to make the case that one can track a direct lineage from Jesus Christ to your most beloved coach? Are you an irredeemable braggart?
c. Success and making excuses for illegally gained success: Have you won a few national championships lately? Have you won one of those with a quarterback whose financing for his new Benz was, shall we say, murky? Are ESPN analysts openly rooting for you to not make a championship game again?
(A caveat: Winning "clean" and "unclean" championships are equally bad. Jealousy is a confusing, illogical thing.)
d. Fairweatherness and other shittiness: Are you conspicuously silent during dry periods? During winning periods, are you at a game wearing a shirt from your decade-old national championship run? Are there specific nicknames dedicated to fans who did not actually go to your school?
Finally, it's important to note that this list is more or less arbitrary, completely subject to my own whims and still, undoubtedly, bound to earn a few emailed death threats. Okay, here we go:
It's important to kick things off with a school from the SEC, which easily could have taken 6 or 7 of the 10 spots on this list, if I didn't want to anger 90% of the people below the Mason-Dixon line. (They have guns.) Florida barely beats out other worthy competitors like Georgia, Tennessee, and Auburn—all of which match kick-ass tailgates with occasional insufferability—for three reasons:
1. They've been really fucking good for too long.
This is the long and short of it. Recent success is annoying, and Florida teams during the Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer eras were unbearably good, especially at the quarterback position (the most high-profile position in sports).
2. They will defend Spurrier and Tim Tebow.
I actually kind of like Spurrier and have a begrudging respect for Tebow. Both, though, are among the most polarizing figures in college football history. Spurrier was notorious for running up the score—the 1995 Georiga game still holds a certain mythic quality in the SEC for poor sportsmanship—and even though he has found admiring fans during his semi-retirement at South Carolina, he was utterly loathed in the 1990s. As for Tebow... Could you at least have saved the permanent plaques until after he graduated?
3. This guy, from 2010:
From the Orlando Sentinel:
A profanity-laden YouTube video posted by a Florida fan has caught the attention of the Tuscaloosa police.
For nearly four minutes, the unidentified fan insults the Tide football team and Alabama residents while seemingly trying to instigate a fight.
“This is going to be the worst loss in Alabama history, and it’s going to send your program into a (expletive) tailspin,” he says. “And you’re going to lose all your games for the rest of the season.”
It also references an injury to Alabama WR Tyrone Prothro, who broke his leg in the Tide’s 31-3 win over Florida at Bryant-Denny Stadium in 2005.
“And that’s nothing compared to what we’re going to do to Mark Ingram’s knee,” the man threatens.
Sweet sunglasses, bro.
(As a postscript, all the girls they show on TV during the games wear sundresses and are extremely hot...
... While, here, the streets still smell and everyone is unhappy. Bitter, bitter, bitter.)
9. Harvard and Yale
YOUR FOOTBALL TEAMS DO NOT MATTER. Your academic accomplishments matter, your alumni matter, your research and your contributions to scholarship... They all matter. But to continue to call an Ivy League contest between your two schools "The Game" when it hasn't justified that description since the Hoover Administration is the height of arrogance. (This also applies to Hampton-Sydney - Randolph-Macon and Michigan-Ohio State during the Rich Rodriguez years.) Everyone who has been near The Game is fully aware that the tailgate is the main attraction. Which is fine. This is true for, say, Indiana football as well. No one is pretending the Hoosiers are relevant, though.
If you find yourself in a conversation with an alum you may also hear half-ironic bragging about the two schools' combined 34 national championships. Those wins came when football was one step removed from gladiatorial combat. Don't quote me on this, but left guards were allowed to hold tridents during the 1889 bowl games. To even brag about this is insanity.
Michigan fans who didn't actually go to Michigan have earned the rather hilarious nickname "Walmart Wolverines." It's difficult for me to really muster up hate for people who pair jorts and Michigan gear so well, so in lieu of actually explaining why people do hate said WWs, here are some pictures from the nickname's official Tumblr:
Yes, the dog picture is easily the best.
Let's reel off some names, shall we?
Pete Carroll. Matt Leinart. Reggie Bush. Lane Kiffin.
Incredibly, there are fans, who are real, who pulled for these people. They liked Leinart. They found Carroll entertaining. They accepted Kiffin with open arms after his midnight exit from Tennessee. (And they're now calling for his firing after a disappointing season.)
When I close my eyes and think "USC football fan," I see a guy who looks vaguely like actual USC fan Wilmer Valderrama, and in between bites of a light salad he's condescendingly explaining to me why the Trojans are the team of the 2000s, while—he is a master of triple-tasking—he simultaneously texts his Lambo dealer and Lakers' ticket hook-up. And this is a horrible image.
(Oh and that Florida jealousy effect? It applies to USC.
I mean... I mean.)