Always nice to begin a piece with a bit of self-endorsement, which is precisely what we'll do: if you haven't listened to the Tony Barnhart interview from EDSBS Live this past Tuesday, you should, and not just to hear us on the tail end of an epic caffeine bender.
The best line in the whole thing doesn't come from any of the participants, but rather from the dead and great Lewis Grizzard. Barnhart mentioned the line Grizzard had on the Clemson-Georgia game:"It's more than a football game. It's their way of life against ours." No one's ever issued a statement more perfectly encapsulating why, mid-game, you may actually look at the otherwise pleasant and similar people wearing different colors than yours and suddenly feel like you gazed upon the primitive celebrations of a lesser, hairy-knuckled tribe unworthy of having clean water and healthy children--and certainly unworthy of being on the same field as your obviously superior, fully-evolved football team of gridiron samurai.
The irony in all of this is that most people accuse the opposition of being guilty of something they are, by demographic, equally or more guilty of the offense themselves. Nothing's funnier to the outsider than watching SEC fans accuse other SEC fans of being "redneck" or trash, especially when the rest of the country walks around with this mental cheatsheet of regional prejudice in their head:
However, since we're soooooo scientific, which individual myths about fanbases are true?
We propose a few below based solely on our own observations over the years, shying away from the obvious ones (jean shorts on Florida fans, for example) and attempting to say things we know are absolutely, unequivocally true.
Auburn fans use Weber Grills. Not an insult, but something definitive and true we know we can say as a rule about Auburn fans is that they cook with the classic, steel-egg Weber grill. And they grill like there's no tomorrow. Alabama fans may, of course, suggest that they do this out of a lack of understanding of the basics of propane and propane-related technologies--they will, of course, in addition to suggesting that Alabama fans taught Auburn fans the secret of fire only to watch them burn their own houses down.
Georgia fans wear red slacks. If you're going to geek out, go head first, or in the case of Georgia fans, dick-first into your geekery. Often pleated, sometimes stained, and rarely unnoticeable, screaming red pants on Georgia fans is a near universal certainty at Dawg games. We have only one thing to say about this, which is that we know two kinds of people who wear red pants by choice: Zouaves, and fabulous Canadian figure skater Brian Orser.
Red pants= sexcellent!
3. Michigan fans are very smart, and very grumbly. Undoubtedly among the most intellectual and most tortured of fans, Wolverines can sound like football Kierkegaards even in the best of times, salting even their greatest successes with grumbles about Lloyd Carr's conservatism, Mike Debord's baffling "non-scoring" offense, and most notably other Michigan fans, who are too quiet at games, too complacent/not complacent enough re: Carr and Bo's boys, or not angry enough about Ohio State's recent run of ownership in college football's most corrosive rivalry.
The vinegary Brian of the MGoBlog isn't the exception, from our experience: he's the rule.
Ohio State fans don't need no instructions how to rock. Because they know what rocks: Ohio State. What doesn't rock? Michigan, and you, if you happen to not be Ohio State. The mirror image of Michigan's tortured Scandinavian outlook, Ohio State fans are sunshine-pumpers of the Nth degree, loyal, screaming fandogs who'll turn the tamest social event into an opportunity to scream at you for thirty minutes about how wrong, wrong, wrong you are about Cheatypants Sweatervest and his program.
We know this from experience, as we've had at least two incidents involving OSU fans that went like this.
OS: You know OSU won that game on a blown pass interference call.
OSU fan: nnnnOOOAOAAAAHIIIIIGGGHHH!!!!! (Rips off shirt, grows to three times normal size, stomps around for thirty minutes.)
(Fast forward to end of conversation.)
OS: You need to calm down.
OSU fan: (shrinks to normal size, redons tatters of shirt.)EEIIIAAAHHHHhhhh....no, you're wrong. But we should totally do that again sometime.
Ohio State fans: seriously into it.
Notre Dame fans, aside from their chaotic student section, are very, very serious. We thought it was just the age thing, what with all the geriatric monied alumni throwing heaps of money to keep their spot on the wooden benches safe. But no, after some field research we have determined that Notre Dame fans watch the game with the intensity of Enrico Fermi ripping scraps of paper up and tossing them into the wind to determine the force of the first atom bomb blast.
This means a lot of very intense sitting, something we could barely handle in any situation, much less the frenzy of a football game. The ADD kicked in around the second quarter, where we began yelling "rrrRRRROOOOOLLLLLL TAAAAAHHHHHDDE" in our thickest drawl during lulls in the game. (Being the UCLA/ND game, it was pretty much one long lull until the lid-flipping end.) It proved to be a great smartass test, as anyone who appreciated the obvious humor of a bad running gag turned laughing to see who the idiot was. These people, we thought, are our troops. The rest of the endzone section just kept craning their necks, looking for whomever was letting off the semantic flatulence in their stadium.
Point being: they're serious folks. We half expected white boards to break out in the stands during timeouts.
Florida State fans all like Toby Keith. We've had this theory for a while, since in truth it's very difficult to discern Florida fans from Florida State fans if you don't have a copy of their SATs lying around. (We kid, we kid! Actually, we don't. But we also had to move to Taiwan to get a job with an English degree with our Florida degree, so again, liberally salt all jabs and content.)
Like the Hutu and Tutsi, we're actually all intermarried, intermingled, and very, very similar in many respects. Only one factor sticks out as a salient dividing line between the two camps: Toby Keith.
We've created a handy chart to help you with this division:
While a Florida fan may like Toby Keith (perfectly legal operation here,) a Florida State fan MUST by rule like Toby Keith. They must be a Ford truck man, that's all he drii--haiiives, he don't have no boundaries, he don't compromise. The Florida State fan believes in a little less talk and a lot more action, and in his sadder moments believes he should have been a cowboy. When he scores, he may ask how do you like him at that moment, or who your daddy truly is; when you beat him senseless, he will sing about how he's not as good as he once was, and perhaps get drunk and be somebody just to feel better.
But the rule remains: he/she MUST like Toby Keith. It's a natural law.
Leave your own below.