THE FIVE FANS YOU MEET IN HELL: NUMBER FOUR

Stuart Franklin

BANDWAGONERS ARE FINE. SHIP JUMPERS ARE NOT.

Our rampage through the five archetypes of terrible fans continues. We promise Spencer will be back soon. We promise he's not locked in our basement, forced to eat cheese because that's what was on sale at Food Lion.

There's one guy I went to high school with who, as best as I remember, was a serious Florida fan. He wore Florida clothing, he joked and laughed about Steve Spurrier, and he made it a point to talk shit if the Gators beat the Seminoles. Like most of my classmates, he ended up going to college in the state. That college? Florida State.

His decision to attend FSU never bothered me, and, though I never knew the reason behind his choice, I doubt that would bother me either. You know what I did find offensive? Said dude has since GONE AS HARD AS PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE IN THE PAINT for the Seminoles. This man is a Ship Jumper.

Look, we covered yesterday that you don't need to reach a certain frequent flier miles level to affiliate yourself with a school. You can just like something because you like it. What's the point of getting hot and bothered about new people hopping on board when your team is doing well? It's called a bandwagon because it's FUN.

But your ass doesn't get to just hop off when you feel like it. I pulled for those Urban Meyer teams, so now I gotta take my lumps every time a Gator does some dumb, dumb shit. Which kind of happens a lot. All those good times USC fans had? You're stuck with that Sun Bowl vomit-off. What the Ship Jumper doesn't appreciate is that none of these teams really ever stay gold.

This isn't to say being a fan is like the mob, and your only way out is in a pine box. The sport is violent and the finances are an affront to serfdom. You want to walk away, walk away. Here's the catch: you don't get to JOIN THE OTHER GODDAMNED MOB AND TALK SHIT ABOUT YOUR OLD FAMILY.

This is what the preseason Coaches Poll looked like ten years ago:

1. Oklahoma
2. Ohio State
3. Miami, Fla.
4. Texas
5. Kansas State
6. Auburn
7. Michigan
8. USC
9. Georgia
10. Virginia Tech
11. Pittsburgh
12. Florida State
13. Maryland
14. North Carolina State
15. LSU
16. Tennessee
17. Virginia
18. Notre Dame
19. Washington
20. Wisconsin
21. Florida
22. Purdue
23. Arizona State
24. Oklahoma State
25(t). Colorado State
25(t). Penn State

Clemson, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Stanford, Louisville - they aren't on that list. They are today, and nearly half the teams ranked above have fallen off. The ones that are still there have all had their share of tumult in the intervening decade.

But you keep rooting for Tennessee, or Virginia, or Arizona State, because it's all one drunken sine wave. Selling at the bottom just makes the Ship Jumper a shitty investor.

The moral of the story is this: lots of Seminole fans had to root for Chris Rix, and I'm sure that must have sucked. The Ship Jumper I went to high school with is the only one of them who also had to root for Doug Johnson.

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