It doesn’t matter what team you cheer for on a Saturday or where you decide to tailgate – if you have a discussion with anybody on the power of college football, your ability to “know what you’re talking about” seems to be solely determined on what conference your team plays for.
For years as a graduate and lifelong fan of LSU, I have frequently seen people debate a team’s success and the conferences they play for. My experience has seen a strong bias. A hierarchy that would rival the class system created in the movie “Mean Girls”. I have discovered that into a debate, many SEC fans feel you don’t actually “know” football unless your team is associated with the dominate Southeastern Conference.
Traditionally what I have seen is that a Vanderbilt fan will debate a fan from Ohio State and due to their conference alignment, the Commodore fan will rarely ever see the opposite side. Excuses will fly over last years national champion, and if history repeats itself, more will come to us on venues like personal parties, radio call-in shows or even the new SEC network. My point of view in this piece is that the majority of support and fight for the SEC comes in the form of the fans whose teams haven’t really won anything in the SEC.
I wanted to pose the question: if there is guilt by association – is there an ability to brag by association?
Confused on where I am going? How about we put this in entertainment terms?
Let’s break down the typical SEC section of fans as it relates to the HBO comedy Entourage. If you have never seen the show before, it is a sitcom style comedy that tells the story of a famous actor (supposedly mimicked after Mark Wahlberg – and produced by him) and his three friends who hang around him, mooching off of his fame.
Typically, in my personal experiences, most of these conversations stem from fans of colleges that really have no right to represent the SEC and speak for them as a dominate conference.
I am speaking to you South Carolina fans.
I am looking to you Mississippi State fans.
I am pointing right at you University of Kentucky fans.
Speaking strictly of college football, these are the fans that are like the “Turtle” from entourage. Turtle is that friend who won’t get off the couch and only clings to Vinnie Chase (Alabama, LSU, Auburn) because of the powerhouse they are. They always drive the powerhouse around and do whatever dirty work is needed.
These types of fans will even go to a party with the likes Johnny Drama. Vinnie’s brother who was once in the spotlight years ago but has fallen in recent years.So we are basically talking about the teams where tradition is still held in high regards (Tennessee or Arkansas) even though the glory days are way behind them.
You can even throw in the best friend Eric, who has always wanted to make it big for himself but knows he can’t get anywhere without Vinnie’s help. An “Eric” or fan of these schools, still follow around and claim how great they are, trying to branch out beyond the conference and dominate the state, but always come back. Sorry Gator fans, you fall here. The state will always be FSU country.
Please know, that I’m not trying to insult the lower SEC fan, but I am just asking don’t jump on my back to brag to Clemson, Oregon, Ohio State or TCU about why you have not won your conference championship…EVER. Screaming and discrediting their knowledge or team because they might play in a lesser conference.
Power can change in the SEC and fans gain the right to brag, I realize the years Ole Miss and Mississippi State had. They can start to get up the nerve to brag at the local tailgates or a party. But Gamecock fans, you just finished 6-6 and have never made the championship game. Traditionally, these are the rabid fans I run into the most. South Carolina fans have come up with more excuses and have rid off the back of teams that actually have won for way to long.
Don’t use as an excuse your conference’s strength for your poor record, just be Turtle and know everyone needs a driver…or an easy win.
Cover Photo: www.gamecocksonline.com