September 05, 2004
More important questions

College football gets started a day late for me, as the Rice Owls open their season today. I surfed through a few games on TV yesterday and was reminded often that for me, in many games involving a BCS program, the question is not who I'm rooting for but who I'm rooting against. I don't particularly care about Utah, for example, but I'm perfectly happy to see them whip the Aggies, and had I come across that game on TV I'd have been there pulling for the Utes.

I think college football fans are motivated at least as much by whom they don't like as by whom they do, but I'm curious if you agree with me on this. Note, by the way, that this is about football. I can understand wanting to see the Duke basketball team lose, but is their football team worth getting worked up about? With that in mind, which college football teams give you the most pleasure by losing? Here are mine:

1. Texas A&M - Hiring Coach Fraudchione was about the only thing they could have done to make me like them any less.

2. Nebraska - Does anyone actually need a reason to dislike the Cornhuskers?

3. (tie) Colorado, Colorado State - The Buffs for their recent record of overall thuggery that would make Lawrence Phillips blush and for having foisted Bill McCartney on an unsuspecting world, and the Rams for being the instigators of the clandestine breakup of the WAC-16. Yesterday reminded me how much I wish it were still possible to get a tie in college football, since there's no longer any desireable outcome when they play each other.

4. Texas Christian - A late entrant to my list, but their relentless social climbing and remarkably obnoxious fans would be enough to merit consideration even if they weren't the springboard for Coach Fraud to gain national prominence. The shame of it is that TCU is the kind of school I'd rather root for - smallish, private, decent academic standards, rich football history. I did root for them in the Jim Wacker days. I give Fraudchione much of the blame for their transformation from good guys to louts, but his departure changed nothing, so here they are.

5. Florida State - Two words: Bobby Bowden.

So who do you love to see lose?

Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 05, 2004 to Other sports | TrackBack

As a University of Arkansas fan, you are absolutely correct. We cheer for the Razorbackss and we cheer for whomever is playing Texas, Texas A&M, and/or Notre Dame on a given weekend. (Go Utah!) And for us Razorback fans, Southwest Conference footbball is still alive. And we still hate Texas referees.

And as far as Rice is concerned, why don't you guys just give up your charter and sell your campus to the Bush family? It would be so much easier than trying to run a respectable university in a third world petrochemical cesspool.

Posted by: Brenda Helverson on September 5, 2004 11:34 AM


Posted by: chris on September 5, 2004 12:15 PM

Well, I grew up in Eugene Oregon so I've been a Duck fan since oh...about age 6 when Bobbie Moore (Ahmad Rashad) was playing for them back ahem....long time ago. I even put my life at risk an kept rooting for the Ducks when I was in grad school at the Univ. of Washington.

So who does a a Duck fan love to hate?

First off, the LA teams, USC and UCLA. Oregon fans always want to see those teams die. We hate the Huskies and Beavers too but will secretly pull for them if they aren't playing the Ducks.

As for my own personal hate list?

1. The Florida three-some, Miami, FSU, and Florida, although Florida isn't quite so hate-worthy now that Steve Spurrier is gone.

2. Notre Dame. Just because they're Notre Dame. Especially after they went and got their own network. I want to cut them a little slack now that they've been down and have a black coach. But just can't find the inclination to do it. I was glad to see BYU take them down yesterday, although I'm not exactly a BYU fan either.

3. Oaklahoma and Nebraska. Because those schools don't seem to have any other redeeming value.

4. Ohio State and Michigan. Because they're always overrated, arrogant, and boring.

Oh, and I agree with you. I'm always thrilled to see a non-BCS team take down a BCS biggie. the Utah-A&M game was amusing. Utah and Boise State are two teams in the west that could go 11-0 this year and throw a wrench into the BCS. I would sorely love to see that because the BCS is the biggest abortion ever perpetrated on college sports.

Posted by: Kent on September 5, 2004 6:40 PM

1. Fresno State. Tim and I graduated from San Jose State and hate Fresno with the passion of a thousand fiery suns.

2. Berkeley. I refuse to call them "Cal". They are not the only UC in the state. Plus, they're wusses. Despite being an hour bus ride from SJSU, they won't play the Spartans because if they lose, they'll look really bad and if they win, nobody cares.

3. Notre Dame. Consistently overrated and overhyped. I don't have any Irish blood in me, but if I did, I'd be offended by their mascot, just on general principle.

4. Miami (FL). I pretty much hate Florida and Florida State, too, but the 'Canes always seem to be extra obnoxious.

5. Michigan. I grew up (and remain) a Penn State fan. It's a rule to hate Michigan. (It used to be Pitt, back before PSU joined the Big Televen.) And their fight song sucks.

6. All the teams in the Mountain West conference that used to be in the WAC. Because they suck for leaving the conference.

7. Stanford. I admire them for being a classy program and for continuing to see an SJSU-Stanford game as something that's good for both schools (even after we beat them three years in a row). But they're a major rival and I have to hate them. Extra bonus points for having the dorkiest mascot on the face of the earth (and that includes Olympic mascots).

Posted by: Sue on September 5, 2004 6:43 PM

Ok, I live in NYC, and I spent most of my life living within 1 mile of Baker Field, home of the Columbia University Lions, so college football doesn't stir as much passion in me as it does in the rest of the country. Still, I've developed deep hatred for all of the following:

1. Notre Dame - A school that is revered by too many people for the wrong reasons. I respect the academic standards, as I do for any Jesuit school, however, I never bought into the "subway alumni" / "America's Team" mentality that seems to go into being a fan of the Fighting Irish. Laughed when I went to Ann Arbor, MI last year and saw them get crushed 38-0.

2. Syracuse - This applies for any sport they play, including tiddlywinks. This is especially true for basketball (Jim Boeheim is a sniveling wuss), but if they lose by 1,000 in anything, I'm disappointed that they didn't lose by 1,001.

3. Miami - Was to college football as UNLV was to college basketball. Players take a pay cut to turn pro.

4. Oklahoma - Barry Switzer took over as my least favorite football coach of all time from ...

5. Ohio State - ... Woody Hayes. (Sorry, folks, I like Michigan.)

Posted by: William Hughes on September 5, 2004 7:03 PM

Who do I love to root against?

1. Notre Dame

2. Notre Dame

3 ... OK, you get the picture. But another reason people forgot to mention is the "Rudy" factor. I was amazed to drive past Eldorado High School here in Albuquerque last month and see that Rudy was actually on a speaking tour - $12/head. No idea how many suckers attended.

Posted by: JohnP on September 5, 2004 10:08 PM

OK, after reading the comments one thing is a mystery to me. Why is there so much deep-seated resentment about the breakup of the WAC?

I grew up in a PAC-10 area not a WAC area so perhaps I don't get it. But from the little that I followed the WAC over the years, that conference has ALWAYS been in flux. Back in the 70s the Arizona schools left to join the PAC-10 and for good reason as they were pretty much outclassing the rest of the WAC back then. But I don't hear hatred of Arizona and Arizona St.

I know the WAC expanded to incorporate the 2nd tier schools that were left after the breakup of the SWC when the big boys joined the BIG-12. But the 16 team format was never really that viable. And there were teams like UTEP that were just not holding their own. It was only logical that there would be some additional restructuring. Are you guys pissed because the Texas schools got screwed? Well they were never really traditional WAC schools to begin with.

The real problem it seems to me is that there are some schools like Utah, BYU, and New Mexico that are really playing at the level of the BCS schools in a wide range of sports, and then there are others in the region that just don't keep their end up in any sport much less football. So these inter-mountain leagues are always going to be fairly unstable unless they can organize to get the best 12 non-PAC-10 teams in the west into the same league.

Posted by: Kent on September 6, 2004 9:26 AM

I can't speak for anyone else, but Rice fans deeply resent the way the MWC schools, led by Colorado State, went about their departure. We believe the WAC-16 had a good chance of being successful, though there were certainly some kinks to work out, and we believe the MWC schools didn't give it an opportunity.

It should be noted that Rice's 3-year record in the WAC-16 was 19-14, which included a 16-8 record in conference play and wins over BYU, Utah (51-10!), and Colorado State. Rice fans do not agree with the assertion that the level of our play was below anyone else's.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on September 6, 2004 10:06 AM

Well, do you guys also resent UT, A&M, Arkansas, Texas, Tech, and Baylor? Seems that what they did to the old SWC was about the same.

As for Rice. Frankly I'm not really that familiar with Rice aside from the fact that they usually have a good baseball team. From what I know of Rice, they are probably better off not trying to compete with the big boys. IT seems more like an Ivy and there are very few Ivy-type schools that can compete at the top levels. Stanford and Duke are the only two that come to mind.

I was thinking more of schools like UTEP, San Jose St. and Tulsa which are clearly not on the same level athletically with schools like Utah, BYU or NM. Look at the size of the football and basketball stadiums and average attendance for the schools that I just mentioned and tell me whether they are more comparable to Big-12/PAC-10 schools or more comparable to Tulsa, UTEP and San Jose St.

Posted by: Kent on September 6, 2004 10:53 AM

Yes, there's varying degrees of resentment towards the Big XII teams plus Arkansas. The Big XII is my least favorite conference, which should be apparent from my overall choices. (The SEC and MWC come next; no other conference really gets me riled.)

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on September 6, 2004 11:34 AM

"All the teams in the Mountain West conference that used to be in the WAC. Because they suck for leaving the conference."

Hear bloody hear. We Hawai'i fans bitterly resent having this new conference where all our old semi-rivalries (BYU in particular) are gone and we have to fly to flipping Ruston, La. to play Louisiana Tech.

Posted by: Linkmeister on September 6, 2004 7:08 PM

I agree Linkmeister:

The current WAC is completely disfunctional as are frankly all of the non-BCS conferences except for perhaps the mountain west. My conference restructuring would be the following:

Add Utah and BYU to the PAC-10 to make the PAC-12. That would really elevate the level of basketball in the PAC-10 and those two teams make the best geographic travel pair for basketball.

Create a new 12-team WAC with the following teams:

San Diego St
San Jose St
Fresno St

Boise St
New Mexico
New Mexico St
Colorado St

Then create a new 12-team Gulf-coast conference with the following teams:


Southern Miss
Central Florida
Southern Florida

Then I would dismantle Conference USA and rebuild the Big-East by adding


And the rest of the left-over southern teams like Memphis, East Carolina, Louisiana Tech, UAB could form another southern conference.

Notre Dame of course belongs in the Big-10

Anyway, that's just a start. Basically I think the non-BCS conferences need to be better organized geographically. Until the recent spate of additions, the BCS conferences were pretty well organized. But the non-BCS conferences are a complete mess.

Posted by: Kent on September 6, 2004 8:15 PM

First off, Kent, I think you could slide La Tech in the East Division of the Gulf Coast conference and delete Rice....since you gave the Owls a slot in the West Division, too.

As for the original question, as an LSU fan I've got a bit of a different perspective. The teams I love to hate:

1. Bama - they were so good for so long but now are having a hard time coming to grips with the fact that they suck and they cheated.

2. Auburn - every year Auburn fans begin their annual "I can top that" story telling contest about how poorly they were treated at LSU. This from the imminent sportsmen from the Plains who in 2001 picked up an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty before the game even started and who had a kicker that refused to leave the field during the Tiger band's halftime performance. He found it very difficult to kick when the trombone section continued their march off the field.

3. Texas - Never have so many, been so cocky, about so little. Okay, that's not completely true. They did send a team in every sport for which they field a squad in to the NCAA playoffs a couple of years ago and won the CWS title in 2002. But then there's Augie Garrido...

4. Ohio State - Rob Reynolds choking the guy on the field, Maurice Clarett filing the false insurance claims on his "borrowed" SUV, Andy Katzenmoyer struggling through dance and sex ed in a last ditch attempt to get eligible, and head coach Woody Hayes clocking an opposing player...I've never had a problem hating these guys.

5. Virginia Tech - First they beat LSU in Blacksburg, then they pull out of the return trip to Baton Rouge this year. The first excuse was they needed an additional home game after they didn't get the BCA game and that revenue. Of course they subsequently got the BCA game against USC so the excuse became we're not going to play USC and LSU in successive weeks. They're scheduled to come to LSU in 2007. If they follow through, they come off the list. Somehow, I'm not holding my breath.

Posted by: Patrick on September 7, 2004 8:06 AM

Love watching Texas lose. Next time they win a big game will be the first time they win a big game.

Also, as a diehard Cane fan, I love to see ND lose, and pretty much every other team out there. Most people hate Miami and root for them to lose, so I like to return the favor: I hate every other team and root for them all to lose. And William,

3. Miami - Was to college football as UNLV was to college basketball. Players take a pay cut to turn pro.

Nice bit of libel, that. If it had any basis in reality, it might be funny.

No, it still wouldn't.

Posted by: TP on September 7, 2004 10:36 AM


Those were just some late-night ramblings. The main point is that the non-BCS conferences need to be better organized geographically. As it stands now, the BCS conferences are pretty well grouped geographically. The Big East needs to beef up or get dropped as a BCS conference. And the Big-10 needs to add a 12th team, Notre Dame, which is located right in the geographic center of Big-10 country if you look at a map.

I'm new to Texas but from what I've seen so far traveling the state, it seems to me that the east Texas schools like Houston and Rice should have a natural rivalry with Louisiana schools like Tulane. Perhaps that's not traditional. But hey, what could be better than a road trip to the Big Easy for a football weekend? The point is that you gotta have some road games that are reachable by car. Growing up and going to school in Oregon I can remember all those crazed road trips to Seattle for Husky games and we even did a few marathon trips to the Bay Area to watch the Ducks play Cal or Stanford, especially when they coincided with a Dead concert. That was the 1980s.

As for your list of hates, not being from the south, I have to agree with 'bama for sure. But that is really the only team from the deep south except for perhaps Georgia that I found totally distasteful as a west coast fan. The other schools like Auburn? Those of us not from the south pretty much just shrug because we don't know much about them and they haven't been good enough or lucky enough to inspire hatred.

Virgina Tech is sort of the same. Even during the Michael Vick era they were still something of an underdog and I always rooted for them if only to upset the perennual Florida State march towards the National Championship. I ALWAYS root for whoever is playing Florida, Florida St, and Miami to keep those 3 teams out of any National Championship game. Florida usually does itself in playing in the SEC, but we always needed someone like Virginia Tech to knock off Florida State. Otherwise, who else in the SEC was going to beat them?

I used to hate UT before moving to Texas. Now I realize that of all the schools in Texas, it is probably where I would have wanted to go as a student because the school and city of Austin most closely mirror my own temperment. So I have a little more respect for the place now that I know more about it. I used to put UT into the same category as the other football factories like Oklahoma and Nebraska but now I realize it is a legitimate university. A&M is a totally different matter. My wife works with a whole bunch of recent Aggie grads and so I get to hang around with them at parties. Talk about a different mindset. That's been an eye opener.

Posted by: Kent on September 7, 2004 10:57 AM

Not throwing any rocks, Kent. I like the set up just looking after my Bulldogs (I did a quarter at Tech in HS).

The reason that little rivalry has developed with the Louisiana schools is that for many, many years the SWC was the focal point of Texas football. Rice used to square off against LSU on a farily regular basis but that has died out in the last 15 years or so. And Houston was supposed to play in Baton Rouge this year but got out of the contract in order to play OU.

I get what you are saying about Texas and Austin but the Texas fans you hear most often aren't the type you would associate with the Austin mentality. Think cattle barons that want to buy that which must be earned.

And Kent, I think you have a future in diplomacy.

A&M is a totally different matter. My wife works with a whole bunch of recent Aggie grads and so I get to hang around with them at parties. Talk about a different mindset. That's been an eye opener.

Different minset? Eye-opener? Yeah, I guess that's one way of putting it.

Posted by: Patrick on September 7, 2004 12:50 PM

Patrick, the really troubling part of it is that they are all doctors. They presumably used their brains during four years of med school and are still doing it as residents, but something about the A&M experience seems to have shut down rational thought.

One of my wife's coworkers blew out a leg in some sort of accident and had to spend a week in bed. When she went by his bed to drop something off she tuned his radio to the local NPR station to give him something to listen to. He had never listed to NPR and didn't know there was a station in Waco.

Later he told her "You know, I've been listening to that NPR Talk of the Nation.....It's troubling, very troubling what they've been saying"

"Really" she asked, thinking maybe someting got through.

"Yes" he replied "I don't know how they get away from telling all those lies about Bush and the War"

Sigh.....what can you do?

Posted by: Kent on September 7, 2004 2:48 PM

Tim paid closer attention to this and can probably answer better than I can, but my objection to the MWC is how they left. Yes, I will admit that schools like SJSU, our alma mater, don't play the quality of football that some of the MWC schools play. But it was a good thing for schools like SJSU to play against better teams; they could put more butts in the stands, we got more national attention (even if we lost), and, by virtue of being in a better conference, we had more of a chance of recruiting better players.

Given the time, I think more of the teams in the WAC would have been playing at a higher level. I'm not so Pollyanna about it that I think everybody would have, but I do think that the general level of play would have gone up over time. Geographically, the WAC was problematic and it probably should have become two distinct conferences, but the MWC instigator schools decided to just give up and bail out, rather than trying to fix it.

Things were slowly getting better at SJSU during the time before the Billy Goats left. Now, it's likely that SJSU won't have a team for much longer, at least not a 1A team. If the football team goes away, SJSU stands to lose most of the rest of its athletics programs because they're largely supported by football. That'd be a real shame. So yes. I'm bitter about the whole thing.

Posted by: Sue on September 8, 2004 8:39 AM