College Football fanhood was pretty simple to me when I was little. I grew up in Licking County, just to the east of Columbus, and a mere shout from Ohio State's largest satellite campus, Ohio State Newark. The idea of being anything *but* a Buckeye fan was alien. There weren't very many graduates of other B1G universities in the area, and while plenty of people had gone to Kent State, Ohio, Miami, etc, the idea of preferring a MAC school to the Bucks would be like answering "The Norfolk Tides" when asked who your favorite baseball team was. I mean, the Tides are cool and all I guess, but that's not a real baseball team. Neither are the Akron Zips. If you were from the area, you knew that the Buckeyes were the team you were supposed to cheer for, and that Michigan was the bad guy.
Being in that sort of isolation made it a little hard to develop true loathing of another football team. Don't get me wrong, I don't like Michigan. I hated the feeling of disappointment during the Cooper years when our clearly superior squads would blow it during the last game of the season. I hated Desmond Howard's Heisman pose, and I even think Michigan's winged helmet is dumb. I wanted (and still want) to beat Michigan by 50 points every time we played, but I don't think I knew Michigan enough to truly HATE them. I only knew one Michigan fan then, and that was my childhood pastor. If rooting for Michigan was THAT BAD, then my mind had bigger questions it needed to resolve.
I have a confession. I still don't HATE HATE Michigan. I don't like Michigan...but I want Michigan to be successful every year, as long as they lose to Ohio State. I think beating a good Michigan team makes our rivalry better, and in turn, makes Ohio State football more special. If that makes me a heretic, if that means I need to lose my diploma or be banned from this website, so be it.
Do I hate other schools though? You betcha. I've learned that college hatred can be a little more complicated.I think that there are three categories of college sports hatred. There is the pure, unadulterated, I-want-them-to-lose-every-game-and-maybe-have-a-library-catch-on-fire level of hate. While this may come from athletic reasons alone, I think the best college hate has a personal twinge as well. If you're a PAC-12 fan and a Human Events reader, feel free to hate the commie-bastion of Berkley will all your guts. I suspect many OSU fans feel this way about Notre Dame.
There is also a more respectful kind of hate, like the Michigan kind I described. You want to be better than this team, you measure yourself to them, but deep down, you know if they fell apart and started losing to New Mexico State, you'd lose a little something as well.
There is also am ambiguous Frenemy stage...where you can't decide if you like them or not. Maybe your girlfriend graduated from a conference rival. Maybe you grew up booing Michigan State, but suddenly find yourself there for grad school. Real life can make things complicated. To help you figure out how you might feel about your list, here are some examples of these categories for me.
TRUE BURNING HATRED
Duke. Growing up, I had no idea why so many people seemed to hate Duke. Duke grads dont tend to settle in quasi-Appalachia Ohio, and all I knew is that they had a good basketball team despite usually having lots of white guys.
Then I moved to Washington DC and met some Duke people. Then I got a job in a well known non-profit and met some more Duke people. Then I got a job and met even more Duke people.
You know what I learned? Every single Duke graduate is an asshole. Every one! Nearly all of them could have been douche-bro from central casting...blessed with a sense of entitlement, unearned superiority, a breathtaking lack of understanding with how the real world worked, and to top it off, a little dash of misogyny. Carlos Boozer went to Duke, and every Clevelander will tell you he was one of the biggest douches in the NBA (he ripped off a BLIND GUY. He's like a real life Helen Keller joke!). So did Tucker Max. I hope nothing good happens to Duke.
Cincinnati. Couple of reasons here:
-I know many OSU fans will disagree with me, but I don't like the city of Cincinnati. I consider the mason-dixon line somewhere around Washington Court House, or Lancaster or something. Everything south of that point is basically the South. The whole weird old-money fascination with where grown adults went to high school is very southern, the riverboat business, the racist who ran the town baseball team....gross. Give me Cleveland and the burning rivers any day.
-The whole 2009 football season, I had to listen to all these Bearcat fans bragging about how they were the state's best team, and how Ohio State's dominance was ending, and omg the Bearcats were DISRESPECTED by not getting a shot at the title. Look. You went 12-0 in a pretend AAA conference. That Sugar Bowl was the only time I openly rooted for Tim Tebow, and he murdered you. You are our little brother. You will never be us. Deal with it.
-I had an ex-girlfriend go there. Booooo
Dislike, with a begrudging respect
Michigan really is the best example for me. Was I happy when they lost to Appalachian State? Of course, because LOL Michigan lost to Appalachian State. Do I hope that they lose again in 2014? Of course I do. Do I want Michigan to roll into Columbus with a 4-9 record, after being humiliated by Toledo, Northwestern and Purdue? No. If Michigan stops being Michigan, then Auburn and Alabama will start with the PAAAAAWWWWWLL WE HAVE THE BEST RIVALRY NATIONAL CHAMPEEEEUNNNNNN and nobody wants that.
Not sure if Friend or Foe
Wisconsin. On paper, it would appear that Wisconsin would be a great hate candidate. Their coach appears to be a major tool. They seem to have Ohio State's number, they're a formidable obstacle to our success, and their marching band conducted itself like Animal House with Tubas.
I'm torn though. My mom is a PhD candidate at UW-Madison, and I'm in the city all the time. Madison is awesome...it's like a better Columbus, if Columbus had fun outdoorsy things to do and had 78% less ghetto. Their fans are smart, their tailgates generous, and as a former marching bandie myself, I'm equally disgusted and proud of a frat-house marching band.
BYU. I go back and forth here all the time. On one hand, as an active Mormon, I feel some sort of pride towards the largest LDS owned university in the country. They have a tradition of legitimately exciting football, they're the last mid-major to win a national title, and my wife went there.
But, lets be honest, BYU is also kinda weird. They don't allow students on campus to have beards (breaking from the tradition of great bearded leaders like....Brigham Young. Or Jesus), and they thought it was a good idea to give the moron who paints these a full arts scholarship. Mormons who grew up in the East or Midwest sometimes keep BYU at arms length, lest it do something embarrassing again, which it likely will, because Provo is like bizzaro world. I'm not sure if I should embrace them or pretend they're some embarrassing uncle.
What about you? Do you hate anybody else besides Michigan? Do you have frenemy schools?