Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Rules of Fandom

Nothing brings out school pride like college football season, and, nobody has more school pride than me. And, nobody appreciates others’ pride as much as me. That being said, very few things get under my skin worse than misplaced school pride. Specifically, nothing can cause me to embark on a full on Olberman/O’Reilly rant quite like a person that plays outside the acceptable rules of fandom. Therefore, in an effort to end the epidemic of fandom abuse, for the first time ever, I have committed the following Rules of Fandom to writing:

I. IT IS ACCEPTABLE TO BE A FAN OF A COLLEGE TEAM WHEN:

1) You attended the school. This is the most straight-forward of all the rules. There, however, are some necessary clarifications:

a) You don’t have to graduate from the school; but

b) If you leave/flunk out/get expelled from one school and attend another school, you can only be a fan of one of the schools. Either school is acceptable, but you must make a choice.

2) You pay for your child to attend a school and your child graduates from that school. In this case, attendance is not enough. Graduation by the child is required. Again, a clarification is required:

a) If you attended School X, and you pay for your child to attend School Y, you may be a fan of School Y, but you must forever renounce your fandom for School X. I know it seems harsh, but, under only four circumstances (covered below), can you be a fan of more than one school.

THE TWO SCENARIOS ABOVE ARE THE ONLY SCENARIOS UNDER WHICH IT IS ACCEPTABLE TO REFER TO A COLLEGE AS “WE”. NO EXCEPTIONS.

3) You grow up as a fan of a school, for whatever reason (geography, family connection, a favorite player, you like the uniforms, etc…), and one of the following applies:

a) You do not attend college;

b) You attend a college that does not play sports on the same level as your childhood team (i.e. you grow up as a UGA fan, but you go to college at Furman);

c) You attend a college other than your favorite college for financial/geographical reasons (i.e. You live in Georgia and grow up as a huge Alabama fan because your parents went to school there, but you attend UGA or Tech because of the HOPE Grant). In this case, it is perfectly acceptable to remain an Alabama fan, but you CANNOT also be a Tech/UGA fan. Again, this may seem harsh, but it is the way it has to be.

II. IT IS ACCEPTABLE TO BE A FAN OF TWO COLLEGE TEAMS WHEN:

1) You and your spouse went to different colleges. In this case, in order to keep the peace in your home, you can be a fan of each other’s schools on one condition: The two schools cannot be rivals (i.e. if you go to Tech and marry a UGA grad, you have to find some alternative way to keep the peace between September and March).

2) You have a family member, close friend, or mentor that plays for or coaches for a school other than your school. And yes, this explains the random JMU, College of Charleston, S.C. State, and S.C. Upstate gear I have accumulated through the years. Actually, I’m still waiting on the Upstate gear! You know who you are!

3) This one is tricky, and I have only come to accept it in recent years: If you grow up as a fan of one of a school’s sports programs because your family has strong ties to that school, but your allegiance is only to ONE of their programs, you can remain a fan of that program even if you go to school somewhere else. You, however, cannot also be a fan of the same program at your school. Confusing? Yes. Here’s an example: If you grow up as a huge Indiana basketball fan because of strong family ties to Indiana, but you go to school at a major university other than Indiana, you can remain an Indiana basketball fan, but you cannot be a fan of your school’s basketball program. I’m glad we cleared that one up.

4) If you serve in the military, you can be a fan of whoever you want. If you defend this country, who am I to tell you who to root for?

III. THE GRAD SCHOOL PROHIBITION

You can only be a fan of your grad school if you attended undergrad at a school that plays at a different level. For example, undergrad at Furman + grad school at UGA = acceptable to be a UGA fan (still no "we", however). On the flip side, undergrad at Tech + grad school at Duke = unacceptable to be a Duke fan. Understood?


Okay, that’s it. Those are the rules. Now, can we all just agree to live by them? If we don’t, chaos will surely result.

Now, the weekend picks. Remember, these are only for informational purposes, and it is illegal for you to place a wager on any sporting event outside of a licensed sportsbook.

COLLEGE

1) G.Tech v. Clemson OVER 44 - This could be a replay of a the Woody Dantzler game back in ’01. You know, the one with zero defense, points falling from the sky, and me crying myself to sleep. I’m nervous.

2) Colorado -4 @ Toledo – After losing a heart breaker to CSU last weekend, the ‘Buffs have to bounce back this weekend, right?

3) UNC -4 @ UConn - This has “sucker bet” written all over it. I’ve been called worse than a sucker.

4) Syracuse +28 @ PSU – Going against the ‘Cuse worked out poorly in week 1, so let’s go the other way and see how that works out.

5) Army -1 v. Duke – Wow! Duke is horrible. Go against them every week, and it will work out for you, I promise.

6) UF -36.5 v. Troy - See the Duke analysis and do the opposite with UF. You're welcome.

7) Va. Tech -19 v. Marshall - Va. Tech covers this if they score 20 points.

8) Notre Dame -3 @ Michigan - Statement game for the #1 overall pick in next year’s draft.

9) UVA +10.5 v. TCU – I believe in you, Al Groh! No, I didn’t write that with a straight face.

10) UCLA +10 @ Tennessee – 8 Clap. Let's just say I'm not sold on the new regime in Knoxville. Not yet, anyway.

11) Mississippi St. +14 @ Auburn - Yeah, not sold on the new regime at Auburn either.

12) South Carolina +7 @ UGA – does anybody ever win this game by more than a touchdown?

13) Ohio St. +7 v. USC – I’ve got a funny feeling.


NFL

1) Pittsburgh -6 v. Tennessee

2) Miami +4 @ Atlanta

3) Baltimore -13 v. K.C.

4) Philly -2 @ Carolina

5) Denver +4 @ Cincy

6) Minnesota -3 @ Cleveland

7) Houston -4 v. NYJ

8) JAX +7 @ Indy

9) Detroit +14 @ N.O.

10) Dallas -6 @ Tampa

11) S.F. +6.5 @ Arizona

12) NYG -6.5 v. Washington

13) Seattle -9 v. St. Louis

14) Chicago +3.5 @ Green Bay

15) New England -11 v. Buffalo

16) San Diego -40 @ Oakland (okay, it’s only 10, but you get the point)