Yesterday, I returned to the south from a week long vacation in California. My stay mostly was in San Diego and Northern LA. My girlfriend had never seen the San Diego zoo before, so for one day we went there. There's a bus at the San Diego zoo that goes around pretty much the entire zoo. Takes about 40 minutes. I was wearing a Gator hat because it is never cloudy in the San Diego afternoon as a result of the weather wizard that I presume lives in Ocean Beach (Coincidentally, got a sun burn for the first time in 6 years or so despite living in the sunshine state.) On this bus, I struck up a conversation with a thirty something guy there with his kids. He was wearing a UCLA hat. Being as my grandparents have no internet, and my grandfather is a Michigan alumni and therefore completely unwilling to discuss current college football, I was desperate for some conversation.
So I start talking to this UCLA guy. I ask him how he thinks the team is going to do this year. He gives a pretty cheery outlook. A 10 win season is what he predicted. I was polite and didn't really push it. In any case, he asks me how I think Florida is going to do. I give him my opinion that we'll have 1 or 2 losses this season, but not much worse since we have an easy OOC schedule and a ton of home games anyway. I then asked him what teams he's going to be following this year. It's at this point it starts to go downhill.
My experience with guys from other conferences tends to be on places like this site. Pretty much everyone here would watch a college football game if it was between the worst team in all of Division 1 on a Wednesday night and be psyched about it. He said he was going to be following UCLA like I was a moron. I then rephrased because I didn't think he understood. I asked him if he was going to be interested in watching any teams besides UCLA this year. His response was "Why?" I then asked if he was a big fan of college football. At this point, I figured he was probably more interested in basketball considering he was a UCLA alumnus. He responded that he was a big college football fan, but he didn't see any point in watching teams besides his or to see USC lose. I nodded, and then asked him some questions about UCLA before leaving the tour.
On Sunday I went to a sports bar to see Tebow play for the Broncos. The guy next to me and I talked a bit. I told him why I was there, and I was interested in seeing how Tebow will do. I told him where I went to school, and he said that he watched Tebow play as well. He was an Oregon State fan. I asked him if he follows college football a lot, and he said he loved college football. I asked him what teams he'd be following this year. He said he follows the Pac 10. I told him that I was interested in seeing how Jack Locker will do this year for the Huskies. He asked me who Jake Locker was. I told him that it was the QB for Washington, and he just kind of stared at me blankly.
At this point, I felt like I had to bring this up here. Do you guys that live outside SEC country and college towns (Ann Arbor, Columbus, Eugene) know many people that are really into college football in general. Obviously in Gainesville everyone cares, so it's not really comparable, but in Tampa, where my parents live, college football is still pretty ubiquitous (Urban Meyer does commercials in Tampa.) I don't think this a "SEC Passion" kind of thing because obviously the people that really care are going to be passionate, but more the general population that is outside the more intense college football fanbases.
Also, for Go Big Rev:
I had In-N-Out 4 times in a week. Hell yes. By the way, the reason their burger is so good is that they use 40% fat chuck burgers.