Wednesday, August 21, 2013

3 Most Hated Teams

In every sport, there are certain teams that are just hated by everyone who is not a part of their fan base. Whether its the Cowboys in the NFL, Duke basketball, or the Yankees, there are simply teams that most people want to see suffer as much as possible. College football is no different, of course. Despite deep traditions and old rivalries, there are several programs that all fans cannot stand to see succeed. Of course if you went to Stanford, you're going to hate Cal. If you are fan of UCLA, every natural instinct tells you to hate USC. Yet there just seems to be these teams that transcend all affiliations and regional prejudices. Some have been more constant than others through time while some are hated because of their success in recent years. Below are the teams that I think are currently the most hated by college football fans.

1) Notre Dame Fighting Irish
It also doesn't help that their coach is an unrelenting
Last year's brief ascension to #1 and sequential beating by Alabama in the title game was enough to remind people that they need to start hating Notre Dame again. Notre Dame is to college football what the Yankees are to baseball. They're a team with a lot of success in the past which causes them to have an insanely high amount of fans who have no connection whatsoever to the team. They are also the subject of nauseating amounts of media coverage even when it is almost completely irrelevant to their sport or season. And finally, if you're not a fan of either team, you most likely hate them with a burning passion. Over my lifetime, Notre Dame really hasn't amounted to much or has been of much consequence during the BCS Era. They were 0-4 in BCS Bowl games and 2-8 in Bowl Games overall. But that is kind of the problem. They have been mediocre for all of these years and because some perceived aura of godliness that they wear, they continue to be talked about like they are in the middle of a dynasty. Every year, college football's faithful are forced to listen to guys like Lou Holtz spit and slur his way through the reasons why Notre Dame will win it all. Last year was almost unbearable. With every week that the Irish dispatched FCS caliber teams, media and Irish fans began to collectively lose their minds at the possibility of their team reclaiming their rightful place as college football's Zeus. That's why watching reality come crashing down on them in about the first three minutes of the title game last year was so immensely satisfying. Its what 90% of the fan base wanted to see happen. Its what had to happen. Alabama demolishing Notre Dame was necessary to kill the notion that somehow Notre Dame going undefeated is more meaningful than Oregon or Florida going undefeated. I was amazed to see how many credible analysts were picking them to beat Alabama last year in the title game going off nothing more than "its Notre Dame". Its that kind of reputation that make so many people loathe Notre Dame.

2) Alabama Crimson Tide
Seriously, have you ever seen such pained
look on someone who just achieved so much?
Success drives envy, and there is plenty of both when it comes to Alabama. What Nick Saban and this program has accomplished over the last six years is absolutely insane, if not impossible. Since taking over in 2007, Alabama has won three national titles in the span of four years (2009, 2011, 2012). A fourth could easily be up there as Alabama was #1 for pretty much the entire 2008 campaign. Only a loss to Urban Meyer and Florida in the SEC championship game stopped them from playing Oklahoma, whom they probably would've beaten. He has won 63 games against only 13 losses, with 6 of them coming in his first year. Unreal. Fans don't so much hate Alabama as much as they hate the Nick Saban lead Alabama program. His abrasive attitude and personality and his apparent hatred for life even when he is winning has caused fans to despise Alabama when coupled with his success. There is no denying how great of an all around coach he is. He has rewritten the book on recruiting and brings in the best high school recruits year after year. The teams he builds are not fancy by any stretch like Oregon, but they are just simply dominant. For a while, most people who didn't have old grudges against Alabama didn't really mind them. They've always been a strong team and they were just moving back into that mold after several years of being just average. What really drove people to hate Alabama was how they wormed their way into the 2011 Championship Game. By now, everyone knows the story. The problem with that though was it was hard to deny the fact that Alabama wasn't one of the best two teams in the country. That's what is so maddening about Nick Saban and Alabama. You hate them, and you want to be able to fault them for something but it is almost impossible to do so. At this point, the only thing that can slow down the Tide is an NCAA investigation.

3) Ohio State Buckeyes
This isn't easy to write as someone who just graduated from the university, but it is the truth. Ohio State is actually pretty similar to Notre Dame in this aspect, which is even tougher to write. It is a program that has had a lot of success in the past that tends to drive envy. Yet for thirty years, a title eluded them despite them still being a presence in the college football world. What really amped up the hatred towards Ohio State again was the 2002 Championship Game against Miami. It was a very close game, but as basically everyone now knows, Ohio State got a very generous call that gave them new life and allowed them to eventually win the game. That sparked a lot of resentment towards the program which has continued to grow over the last decade. It really culminated in the middle of the 2000s when they went to consecutive Championship Games against SEC powerhouses and lost. People really started to question if Ohio State had gotten into the title games based on name and history. Ohio State getting hit with sanctions seemed to satisfy a lot of people. Smug pundits everywhere seemed to enjoy watching Ohio State get taken down a few pegs. Considering what happened, it isn't totally unwarranted. Ohio State and Jim Tressel had always been about doing things the right way, so it was incredibly hypocritical that he hid his players getting benefits so that they could play. Yet just when they hit their lowest point, Urban Meyer came to the rescue and led Ohio State to an undefeated season in his first year. Only NCAA sanctions stopped them from playing Notre Dame for the championship. Still, that boost confidence that the Buckeyes received from last year and the hype that is surrounding them now has gotten people upset again.

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