I’ve already called out the delusional college football fans. Predictably, their blinders are so thick they would rather drive off a cliff than admit they can’t see where they’re going. This isn’t about those poor souls; this is about an even greater source of frustration. This is about the dreaded fair-weather fan.
The urban dictionary defines the fair-weather fan as “A fan of a sports team who only shows support when the team is doing well.” This is also the very definition of our three programs listed below. If you’re a true sports fan (a fan that goes to or watches every game on TV even though you know your team has zero chance of winning), then these “fans” are the bane of your existence. You suffer through the miserable years. The years in which you quite literally wear a paper bag over your head. What happens when YOUR team finally puts together a magical season? What happens when you take off the paper bag? You go to purchase tickets only to find that some rich d-bag’s daddy bought them all up for him and his loser friends. Now you’re stuck at home, while junior has a better seat to the game than you’ve had in your whole life.
What happens when entire fan bases are made up of fair-weather fans? Then you have something as unpredictable as the weather itself. Grab your umbrella…what, leave it at home. Well, is it going to rain? Bring it just in case, hmm…and bring the snow shovel too. Hell, I don’t know, maybe we should just stay home? Oh, never mind, grab your poncho and let’s go!
When Pete Carroll left, so did the fans. Pete did not invent the game of football, and he certainly wasn’t responsible for bringing it to The University of Southern California, but don’t tell that to Trojans fans. Even before Peter Carroll showed up, USC had some of the best teams and players in the history of college football, but go ahead and look at the attendance records. I did. As I’ve learned time and time again, history does not lie. Aside from the “Pete Days,” USC has only averaged more than 67,000 fans a handful of times throughout their entire storied history. That means some of the best players in the history of the sport were playing in front of half empty stadiums. Fast forward to this season, the biggest crowd USC can muster is 73,000. Yes, I know, USC was on probation. Ohio State and Penn St are also on probation, and they still average over 100,000 EVERY game. USC fans have always been, and will always be, fair-weather fans. Let’s just hope they don’t make it back to the title game anytime soon; brand new BMW’s look silly with USC bumper stickers on them.
Forget about the attendance records with Miami; they just don’t matter. It doesn’t matter if their team is good, bad or great…they just can’t draw a crowd. Miami routinely brings in crowds in the 30,000 range. Every once in a while, if they play a top five team or they are a top five team, they can bring in a crowd that numbers in the 60s. But what can you really expect? They only have 10,000 undergraduates. The city itself has a diverse population, a population that has no real interest in American football and no ties to the University. So why put Miami on this list? Because when Miami is good, I mean really good, you would think they were the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Cowboys rolled into one. When they’re good; they get more media coverage than real hurricanes. You’ll also see every Tom, Dick and Harry in Miami gear from South Beach to Montreal. Thankfully, we don’t need to worry about the Canes being good any time soon.
UCLA is one of the only schools with a worse attendance record in the PAC 12 than USC, averaging around 56,000 per home game…in the Rose Bowl! If you put a stadium with that much history and tradition in the southeast or Midwest, it would sell out pee-wee football games. Bruins fans don’t even wait for the product on the field to be any good before they start running their mouths. When Rick Neuheisel was hired as the UCLA head coach a few years back, billboards popped up near the USC campus warning of USC’s impending doom. Needless to say, Neuheisel did not have the impact that Bruins fans were hoping for. In “True Blue” Bruins fashion, when the product on the field is awful, the fans are nowhere to be found. Since Terry Donahue left in 1995, the Bruins have had four different head coaches. It’s hard to build a great program, or loyal fan base, when you’re breaking in head coaches every four years. Don’t ever buy stock in Bruins merchandise or fans; you’ll be left with nothing but hideous powder blue hats and golf shirts!
One national talking head I listen to will tell you that these schools are in beautiful parts of the country, and their students and fans have better things to do when these teams aren’t competitive. Places like Happy Valley, Tuscaloosa and Baton Rouge have nothing better to do on a fall Saturday than to watch football. To that I say…bullshit! If you’re going to call yourself a fan, then be a fan. Don’t run your mouth when your team is good, only to run and hide when they’re not. Don’t be that guy. If you’re going to decorate the BMW daddy gave you when your team is good, let’s see that same passion when they’re not. If you’re a student or alumni, this should be a no brainer. Support your University in good times as well as bad. Or keep your mouth shut…at all times.