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August 19, 2012

Grantland's Rule of College Football Fandom

Brian Curtis at the always interesting Grantland has a two part series on fandom. Part one lays out rules; part two lays out exceptions. Essentially, he tries to do the impossible and give hard and fast rules for any situation you find yourself in regarding your primary college football fandom.

His premise is this:
College football deserves (a guide to fandom): a guide to picking a school, keeping a school, and, in extremely rare cases, changing schools. I’m not interested in small-time rules. Like: Can you refer to your college team as “we”? (Yes.) Or: Can you watch a game plastered? (Of course.) Like an NCAA enforcement officer, I’m looking at your eligibility. Anyone can watch College GameDay or buy a T-shirt, but there are only a few circumstances in which you have a bona fide claim to a particular team.
It is simple if you chose well and did the right thing with your college choice.  That is your school. Same if you didn't go to college or attended a sucky D-IAA school. You are a free agent and can chose. But only once, no do overs. That is directed at many of my friends former acquaintances from South Georgia who are now looking to get off the Florida bandwagon they find themselves trapped on.

Of course, it doesn't take long to get to some that are dead on. For example, I see one that covers many, many Florida and Alabama fans immediately:
“I’m a fan of the school I grew up down the street from.”
Sigh. Growing up near a university isn’t a good reason to root for them beyond high school. For instance, I grew up in Fort Worth near TCU. In 2010, when TCU won the Rose Bowl, I could have played the “I grew up there” card as a sneaky route to backdoor double-fandom. But that wouldn’t have worked for two reasons. One, I would have been cheating on Texas (which was 5-7, but that’s life). Two, the hometown rule would benefit people who grew up in Columbus, Tuscaloosa, Boise, etc. This kind of fandom is both prohibited and despicable.
If you decided to go to USF, then you are a Bulls fan. Same for you UAB suckers. Which leads to this (I know this particular one gets into some Georgia fans' wheelhouse):

“My D-1 school sucks.”Ken Bud Sothman went to Ball State. He asks: Why can’t I get an upgrade? Why does an Indiana University Kokomo grad qualify for the 1-AA Exception but a Ball State grad doesn’t?
Here’s why: Because Ball State has big-time opponents. This year, the Cardinals play Clemson and Indiana. You might think you can adopt Notre Dame, Ken, but you’re just inviting a future double-fandom scenario. This is what we’re absolutely trying to avoid in college football. You should never end a Saturday by saying, “Well, I broke even.”
Moreover, Ball State made a bowl as recently as 2009. The dynamite will go boom again. And when it does, Ken, you will have TCU-level bragging rights.
I do disagree that you can't end a Saturday night breaking even. That is the one thing his rules miss: how do you count your hatred of or a program? For example, while it doesn't make up for a Georgia loss, a loss by Florida/Tech/Tennessee/Auburn does go a long way in pushing the Saturday to a break even.

Fun read, go check it out.



JT said...

Thanks for the link. This one definitely hit home. My sophomore year, 2002, my idiot roomate takes a stab at dual fandom. His family from Columbus, OH, OSU fans, send him a Maurice Clarett jersey, which is unfortunately worn during the OSU-UM game one week before UGA closes the season with a thrashing of the NATS. This genius sits at home during a UGA basketball game to root on his second team, Ohio State. Ohio State goes on to win the game and UGA is shut out of the national title game by ... you guessed it, Ohio State.

Simply unacceptable!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm a mix of two of those. My dad and his brothers went to UGA. I hoever, got accepted to the Naval Academy. Everybody there is allowed byt tradition to root for two teams: Navy, and whatever school they grew up rooting for. This is a bit of "My family went there" and sort of "I went to an Ivy" except that we actually should qualify for a hardship clause.

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