College football's regular season is now over. It was quite the year—the Heisman will probably be awarded to a freshman, November 17 will go down as one of the most exciting Saturdays of the last 10 years, and Notre Dame, somehow, is relevant again.
But fuck all of that. You know why you're here. You're here to find who the worst of the worst fan bases are. It's important to know all you can on this subject, especially as we near bowl season, because fans are your most personal connection to each school's team: You're probably not peeing beside Nick Saban at a bar urinal, but you are beside the 'Bama fan vomiting on your shoe.
For your shoes' sake, at least, you should know which fan bases are merely intolerable and which ones are utterly hateable. This would be where we come in.
On this path of discovery, I trolled through numerous awful, awful message boards. I read innumerable Bleacher Report articles that all 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. I know schools have documented cases of students throwing piss, and I now am aware that a certain foul-mouthed BroBible editor lost his football privileges at Miami for an entire year due to such a case. I have been to the dark side of the Internet and it was a frightening, face-painted place.
In making this list, here are some of the criteria we looked for:
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.) 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 a 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 be in the national 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 non-dry times, are you at a game while wearing a shirt obviously bought during the last winning season, 10 years ago? Are there specific nicknames dedicated to fan groups 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 totally 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 their 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 it is currently 36 degrees and raining, yet the streets are still, somehow, smelly. So there's some bitterness involved here.)
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. All of these wins came when football was about one step removed from gladiatorial combats. Don't quote me on this, but left guards were allowed to hold tridents during the 1889 bowl games. To even joke about bragging about this is insanity.
And when I'm working under one of you alums one day, for Tommy Lee Jones' sake just forget I wrote all this.
Michigan fans who didn't actually go to Michigan have earned the pretty hilarious nickname of "Walmart Wolverines." It's difficult for me to really muster up hate for these people who pair jorts and Michigan gear so damn 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 are 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 he is condescendingly explaining to me why the Trojans are the team of the 2000s while he simultaneously texts his Lambo dealer and Lakers' tickets hook-up. And now I need to beat my head against a wall.
(Oh and that Florida jealousy effect? It applies to USC.
6. Penn State
For the sake of my health and safety, I'm going to choose to gloss over the certain case that dominated any discussion of Penn State over the last year. There is a very clear dividing line of right and wrong, and everyone knows it, and it has been discussed ad nauseum elsewhere.
Let's instead focus on what got Penn State fans hated before Jerry Sandusky: Projectiles. There were the snowballs thrown at the Minnesota Gophers in 2009. The urine-filled balloons thrown at the Ohio State band in 2005 (an incident that was hard to write about without chuckling, so I'm a shithead too, I suppose). And, of course, there is the 2007 video up there, which should speak for itself. Penn State's hateability also stems from a long-term success that traditionally led to an inflated ranking before this year's sanctions. Spoiler alert! The No. 1 entry is the undisputed king of that effect.
Think that about wraps it up.
Oh, one more thing. They still totally support Sandusky and will defend him to the grave.
Ah, another SEC school. About time. Ever go to an LSU game? Make it past the delicious roasted meats, the deliriously hot coeds, and the signs with faux-French spelling to spot someone who has attended this tailgate while wearing another school's colors? Stick around this guy for a while? You should. This is what happens:
A shitfaced LSU fan stumbles up to Opposing Fan. LSU Fan points at Opposing Fan: "TIGER BAIT!"
Five minutes pass. It has not stopped.
Three minutes later, a crowd has gathered.
"TIGER BAIT! TIGER BAIT! GEAUX TIGERS!"
A fan in the background vomits.
"GEAUX TIGERS! TIGER BAIT!"
"TIGER... BAIT! TIGER BAIT!"
"GEAUX... GEAUX GEAUX!"
Repeat until game ends/Opposing Fan shoots self.
4. THE Ohio State University
There are many, many reasons why people hate Ohio State fans. There is the recent harassment of Kirk Herbstreit, causing him to move from Columbus to Nashville. There is the media-sanctioned worship of Jim Tressel that ended under less than ideal circumstances in 2010. And, above all else, there is the constant winning over the last 30 years—an easy way to get hated.
My biggest beef, though, is grammar related. Why do you have to add the "The" before "Ohio State University?" Is it really that important? Are you aware that you come off as a massive douchebag when you make a big deal about a fucking article? And that this insistence on adding "The" is really a nice example of the overall smugness that Buckeye fans have become famous for? Just... just stop caring about "The." Please.
3. West Virginia
Ignore the "hillbilly" cracks, because they're unoriginal and unfunny. West Virginia is a fine school, and I'm told cousin-marrying ceremonies in the state have dropped 20% this year. I'd like instead to point out a snapshot in time, a vignette, if you will, that should illustrate why West Virginia fans are hateable. It took place during the alcohol-soaked periods before and after a game against LSU in 2011:
Before the game, these shirts were sold.
And then after the game, this happened.
Police in West Virginia are looking for a group of people accused of attacking four LSU fans leaving Saturday night's game in Morgantown.
According to the Morgantown Police Department, the fight began as the fans were trying to leave the parking lot at Milan Puskar Stadium.
Investigators said the suspects threw a rock through an open window and then attacked the four fans inside the car.
According to family members, Marcus Mason was pulled out of the car and beaten. He suffered severe head injuries, including a crushed eye socket and a broken nose.
Mason's pregnant wife, Hannah, was also attacked. Luckily, she was checked out by doctors and her child was not injured in the attack.
Police have a vague description of the attackers and believe they may have driven off in a light colored SUV.
Jesus. Obviously the behavior was committed by a tiny minority of people, but there's a reason why there's not a lot of love for Morgantown elsewhere in the country. There was even a recent Sprint commercial that poked fun at couch-burning riots. WVU students have gained a rep for boorishness, and it's followed them for years now.
All that being said... The unofficial motto, "Win or lose, we still booze," is fantastic. And couch-burning looks fun. I hope you'll still have me for a couch-burning sometime, Mountaineers. I can bring the moonshine.
The "WHY DIDN'T THEY REVIEW IT, LARRY?" lady. The Bear Bryant worship. The fucking toilet paper rolls. The fact that my dad is a massive fan, and the knowledge that my calls are going to get screened for a week now. (Kidding, I think.)
The NFL-level defenses. The misery that was the 2012 national championship game. The success. All the success.
Alabama is not difficult to hate. No. No, it is not.
1. Notre Dame
Whew. Okay, here we go.
Notre Dame graduates around 2,000 students a year, yet its influence is so vast, so far-reaching, and so annoying that if an alien were to land his spacecraft on Earth and become a college football fan, he would most likely presume Notre Dame to be our world's largest education center. (He would also probably find it incredible that it still uses a mascot of a drunken, brawling Irishman. (Yes, I know that it actually came from a group of hard-fighting Civil War soldiers.))
This is partly NBC's fault. Even during the darkest days of the Tyrone Willingham era, you could expect to see the Irish on TV. Every. Saturday. It's partly Regis Philbin's fault, and other New York media types who come out of the woodwork every time Notre Dame becomes relevant again. This is something Deadspin's Drew Magary shrewdly pointed out today. Who cares if it's "good for college football" that Notre Dame is No. 1? Why should it matter?
It's partly articles like this, which make it seem like Notre Dame is a paragon of virtue in college football, but fails to mention, well, that this is college football we're talking about. No one is clean. And finally, it's partly the fans, who pretended the Irish still mattered for many years when they didn't, and who now are actually pissed Notre Dame isn't getting more credit for its successes this season.
And with that, there's one more unpleasant fact to ponder: The national championship will probably be No. 1 vs. No. 2 on this list. Perhaps we can all watch a Johnny Football highlight reel instead?
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