One thing that really sets college football apart from the other major sports: the fans.
College football fans are some of the wildest, craziest, and most passionate fans in sports. They are some of the greatest fans out there. And they are terrible. We as fans are some of the most awesome and most awful people at the same time.
We can’t help ourselves. We don’t know any better.
And that’s why I’m here. To try and help us live with ourselves and with each other. What I’ve come up with are some “Fan Commandments” if you will. Some guidelines we can try to use to help make ourselves a little more tolerable to live with.
If you want to argue, be able to back it up
Arguing is at the core of college football. We literally live for it, the debating of who’s better and who is actually terrible despite what everyone else says. The writers here do it all the time in our special group chat and that’s what made me think of this. You can argue with us too if you get our monthly membership and join our forums. Just saying.
What struck me about the Campus Pressbox arguments is that every writer here could back up their opinions with facts. So if you’re going to argue with anyone, family, friends, or strangers, be able to back up what you’re saying. If you want to tell me that Michigan is the worst team ever, that’s fine. But give me reasons. Give me actual facts. Don’t tell me it’s because “they’re stupid” or “they suck”. Maybe they do suck but you best quantify yourself.
If your best arguments are less than five words you need to reconsider what you’re saying.
Speaking of arguing, don’t argue traditions
Every school thinks their school’s traditions are the best. We can admit that sometimes someone else’s are cool, but ours are always the best. No one tries to listen when you try to convince them otherwise.
Stop trying. Seriously.
I think the Mississippi State cowbell is dumb and they’ll never convince me otherwise. They probably think every tradition Michigan has is dumb. So what’s that point of arguing them? Michigan’s high-step marching band isn’t going to affect the game and that’s what really matters. Ohio State isn’t going to lose if they don’t dot the “i” properly. Argue what actually matters and that you can try to prove with numbers and facts.
When speaking of traditions this also extends to rivalries.
To me, there are two rivalries that matter: Michigan-Michigan State, and Michigan-Ohio State. That’s it. I care about no other rivalries despite the vast number of them.
You know what? Someone in Florida doesn’t give two craps about either of those games unless it somehow determines if their team makes the playoff. Their world revolves around games like Florida-Florida State or Florida-Tennessee. To them, that might be where their world begins and ends and that’s fine! Just don’t try and convince me that their rivalry is better and I won’t try to convince you that mine’s better.
It’s an argument that you’re not going to win and if you’re friends with those people, you might not be later. Just know that everyone loves their own rivalry and let them be. Your rivalry doesn’t need to be better than theirs. Everyone can hate their rivals without needing to hate random other fans.
Always stick to your guns. Even in the bad times
Sometimes things go your team’s way. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes your team is projected to win 11 games and they only win four. It happens and it sucks. So suck it up. Yeah, you’re going to have to deal with some crap for your rivals but don’t you ever turn and run.
Wear your shirt and hat and whatever other gear you have with pride because you never know with college football. Northwestern beat Stanford, BYU won in consecutive weeks with Hail Marys, Michigan State won on a blocked punt return for a touchdown, and Memphis trounced Ole Miss by almost two touchdowns.
Speaking of your gear, look in your closet. Do you have more than one college represented? Did you go to that college or is it an in-state one? Do you have some kind of real, actual, personal connection to these schools? Is it an Alabama or Texas shirt despite the fact that you’ve never been south of Tennessee?
Depending on your answers, you sir or ma;am might be a bandwagon fan. Stop it. Stick with your team and not the one that’s hot right now. Don’t be that person we all hate.
History is only relevant for a time
If you want to talk about your program’s history, go nuts but don’t pretend like it has any bearing on today. Yes, I’m talking to you Michigan fans.
When arguing that your team is better, you need to focus on what’s recent. The fact that your team won three championships in the 1990’s does not make you a better team in 2016. The game isn’t the same as it used to be and literally no one is going to be left from even those coaching staffs. Do not use them in an argument.
Don’t belittle your history, though. Be proud of what your school has done but if there’s no one alive that remembers the title that you’re talking about… you might want to consider using it for your argument. We live in a “what have you done for me lately” society. Don’t forget that.
If you’re arguing the over greatness of a program, then absolutely talk about your past. Otherwise, there’s basically only two historic stats that relevant: overall win percentage and winningest program. Those are only relevant because they’re still active streaks. If that’s literally all you can fall back on, though, you might not have them much longer to use. Especially with the way Alabama’s playing in the last decade.
Keep the talk about football
Again, I’m going to call my fellow Michigan fans out on this one. If you want to talk football, talk football. Unless you actually went to the school you’re rooting for or you’re a school like Stanford or Northwestern, absolutely do not bring up academics.
Some schools have rather stringent academic policies even for their athletes like the two I just mentioned. Most do not and that’s fine. First, those academics you’re boasting about? Yeah, those are mostly elevated by the guys who ride the bench and don’t spend as much time at practice as the starters. Sure there’s some smart ones but every school gives their athletes an easier academic schedule. I can’t prove it but you can’t convince me otherwise.
Secondly, do you really think that matters in any way, shape or form?
I’ll answer that for you: No. Bada bing, bada boom. Realest guy in the room.
Have you ever seen a playbook? I saw a high school one once and I couldn’t wrap my head around it. I could barely understand it and these guys have to memorize it. Depending on your offense you could literally have 50 or more plays to memorize. To know where you need to be or do at any time for any situation. Look at Oregon’s spread offense. It can literally change in a second if the quarterback keeps the ball or hands it off. Then he might run or he might throw. If you’re really that dumb, you can’t keep up with that.
So stop talking about academics because you aren’t making yourself look any smarter.
Look, I’m just trying to make our world a little more bearable. Maybe you’ll listen and maybe you’ll call me an idiot. I’m just calling it like I see it. You can’t tell me that you haven’t run into one of these things and not been horribly annoyed by it. 2016 is going to be filled with great football so let’s fill it with great fans too.
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