In college football, like most other sports, there are a number of programs that fans absolutely love to hate. As you'd assume, most of those programs have experienced great success on the gridiron.
Of course, fans of certain programs "hate" their main rival the most. Alabama fans hate Auburn. Michigan fans hate Ohio State. Notre Dame fans hate USC. There are dozens more examples. But for our purposes, we're interested in the programs that college football fans - universally - love to hate.
Hate can come from many places. It may simply come from watching a team win all the time. It may come from an issue with how a program responds to adversity. It may come from how its fans are perceived to act.
We've put together a list of the 10 most hated college football fan bases - for 2016. If they're on our list, there's a good chance you aren't a fan.
10. Oregon Ducks
Oregon, at least historically, is not a traditional college football power. The Ducks have only been consistently elite for the past decade or so. Still, they found a way onto our list.
Why? Well, a big part of it comes from the team's relationship with Nike, which has resulted in the Ducks having the flashiest set of uniforms in the sport. Phil Knight, the founder and chairman of Nike, is an Oregon alumnus, and he's pumped millions of dollars into the program. They have over-the-top facilities, which players love. They've done a great job identifying what, other than winning, gets high school players excited. Some fans think it's innovative and smart.
">January 13, 2015
Others - especially those who root for the blue bloods of the sport - see it as a way of "buying" success. They believe that without Knight's influence (and cash), the Ducks would be an also-ran in the Pac-12.Whether or not that's true, the Ducks are here to stay. Winning a national title would go a long way in validating it all for the team and its fans.Next: No. 9 - Miami Hurricanes >>>9. Miami HurricanesThere was a time when Miami could have been No. 1 on a list like this. The Hurricanes of old - especially in the 1980s - were considered the most-disliked team in the nation. Heck, the 1986 squad was once voted "most hated" of any sports team, ever. Much of today's disdain for "The U" is leftover from years past. But not all of it.These days, most of the hate for Miami stems from its fans. The Hurricanes are one of just a few college football programs to boast a national fan base. Ironically, the team can't sell out its own home games. Many consider the group, collectively, to be a bit fair-weather.
">October 24, 2015
Plus, there's the whole Nevin Shapiro scandal, which essentially resulted in players being given improper benefits. College football fans know that it wasn't the first time Miami's been investigated by the NCAA for wrongdoing.
Miami hasn't posted a 10-win season since 2003, so it's flying a bit under the radar. But if/when the Hurricanes turn things around, expect the hate level to rise.
8. Penn State Nittany Lions
The Sandusky scandal was devastating for both Penn State's on-field product and its reputation. Some fans - who can't let go of the Joe Paterno era - aren't exactly helping the program move on. As you'd imagine, the severity of the crimes committed under Paterno's watch has permanently turned off a large number of college football fans from the program. Many believe that Penn State's "football culture" - which was essentially defined as the putting of football before all else - made the situation possible.
But it isn't just the scandal. Penn State has won four national championships and, until recently, produced title contenders on a regular basis - so some of the hate just comes from program envy. PSU also boasts one of the largest fan bases in the country, and on Saturdays, they certainly make themselves heard.
Penn State - on the field - has done a really nice job surviving since Paterno's firing. In fact, in all four years, the Nittany Lions have posted winning records.
But if/when Penn State puts it all together and produces a real contender, it'll be interesting to see how the nation reacts.
7. USC Trojans
USC is considered the glamor college football program in California, and as a result, the Trojans get their fair share of hate. Absolutely dominating the sport for a a good portion of the 2000s certainly plays a role. Oh, and the Reggie Bush scandal too.
During the Pete Carroll era, USC won two national titles, notched four Rose Bowl wins, and finished with 10 or more wins seven times. But given the Bush scandal, which involved the star running back accepting gifts from agents, fans, whether it's fair or not, question just how they got it all done.
— 120 Sports (@120Sports) September 20, 2015
The hiring - and later firing - of Lane Kiffin doesn't really help matters either. Kiffin, for a multitude of reasons, is considered a lightning rod. There was also the Steve Sarkisian situation, which got pretty dicey.USC's fans are also the subject of some hate. The Trojans boast a number of celebrity fans, like Snoop Dogg and Will Ferrell. Next: No. 6 - Texas Longhorns >>>6. Texas LonghornsTexas has been down for a few years, but the Longhorns are still one of the most-hated programs in the nation. Their status as the biggest and baddest school in the most-obsessed football state has a lot to do with that.Texas boasts the historical success needed to be on the list, claiming four national championships and 32 conference titles. The Longhorns - and their fans - like to play the whole "big bother" game with a number of their rivals, including Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and, to some extent, Oklahoma. Fans of rival programs tend to think that UT is a bit full of itself - even when it isn't winning on the field.
Plus, there's The Longhorn Network, which has become a point of contention between Big 12 members the past few years.Next: No. 5 - Florida State Seminoles >>>5. Florida State SeminolesFlorida State has been the dominant program in the ACC for a while now. The Seminoles have also, over the past half-decade, become the most successful school in Florida - a talent-rich state. But it isn't just success on the field that drives people away from FSU.FSU detractors take exception with the way the school (and the Tallahassee police) has handled scandal in the past few years. Former quarterback Jameis Winston is the subject of a great deal of criticism. How much of it is warranted is up for debate.
Florida State's fans - especially on social media - are criticized as well. #FSUTwitter, as it's known, is one of the most aggressive factions of college football supporters out there. It all combines to create an interesting program perception.Next: No. 4 - Michigan Wolverines >>>4. Michigan WolverinesLike Miami, there was once a time when Michigan was probably the most hated team in America. With Jim Harbaugh in town, they could be on their way again.The Wolverines, one of the most dominant programs in history, have had a tough decade. Neither Rich Rodriguez nor Brady Hoke was the answer, which has led to UM being an also-ran in the Big Ten, despite what seemed like solid recruiting. Harbaugh, whose antics are already driving his competition nuts, is changing that quickly.
">April 3, 2016
Between his bizarre recruiting tactics, his satellite camps, his public criticism of fellow coaches and his overall lack of normal social skills, Harbaugh is rubbing a lot of fans the wrong way. The Maize and Blue faithful, however, are loving it.
Michigan's fans - at the Big House - also have a reputation for giving supporters of opposing teams a hard time. We've heard some horror stories.
3. Ohio State Buckeyes
If you're a fan of an SEC team, you likely have some disdain for Ohio State. The Buckeyes have somewhat of a longstanding rivalry with the entire conference. Fans of virtually every team in the Big Ten also have issues with OSU. Then, there's Urban Meyer.
Ohio State's tattoos-for-memorabilia scandal didn't do wonders for its perception, and it led to the firing of uber-successful coach Jim Tressel. After a year under Luke Fickell, the program hit a home run hiring Meyer. Meyer, while one of the most accomplished head coaches in the sport, has his detractors. Many believe that he's a win-at-all-costs type of coach.
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— Brent Yarina (@BTNBrentYarina) April 2, 2016
— Brent Yarina (@BTNBrentYarina)
— Brent Yarina (@BTNBrentYarina) April 2, 2016
">April 2, 2016
He's certainly won a lot at Ohio State. OSU has returned to national prominence, and might be the best NFL factory at the moment. Next: No. 2 - Alabama Crimson Tide >>>2. Alabama Crimson TideAlabama, under Nick Saban, has been so dominant that it might actually be hurting the sport. Since 2009, Alabama has won four national titles, including this past year's. People are pretty tired of the Crimson Tide winning virtually every game. Saban also gets a lot of heat for how he treats the media at times.Alabama supporters are a crazy bunch too. You won't find a fan base more obsessed and over-the-top in the country. You also won't find one that accepts failure any less. We've all heard the Harvey Updyke story by now.
">December 3, 2015
Many in college football also have issues with how many national titles Alabama claims. The Crimson Tide claims 16 national championships, but three aren't officially recognized by the NCAA. The school, back in the 1980s, decided to claim an additional five national titles from between 1920 and 1941. Ask Auburn fans what they think about it.
Plus, there's the whole "Roll Tide" thing. There aren't many outside Alabama who are fans of their rallying cry.
1. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Notre Dame hasn't won a national title since 1988, yet the Fighting Irish still top our list. Pretty impressive.
Notre Dame's refusal to join a football conference - regardless of the program's reasoning - drives some fans crazy. The Irish have their own television contract with NBC, ensuring that their games are always broadcast nationally. They also have a national fan base - and most of its members did not attend the school. Detractors, for the reasons above, think that both the school and its fans are full of themselves.
Like the Dallas Cowboys and New York Yankees, Notre Dame is probably the most-popular team in its sport. And with popularity, of course, comes a lot of hate.
Do you agree with our list? Let us know!