2. Alabama Crimson Tide
Surely you’ve heard the “Roll Tide” rallying cry by now, whether it’s on one of many NCAA television commercials that air throughout the fall or on the University of Alabama campus. A phrase trademarked by the Crimson Tide, “Roll Tide” is the epitome of fandom in college football.
The chant can be heard echoing through the crevasses of Bryant-Denny Stadium on game day, where the stadium’s sheer capacity makes it one of the toughest places to play in all of college football. What’s more is that Alabama fans come out by the hundreds of thousands, literally—last season ‘Bama was third in Division I FBS in average attendance with 101,505—to root their team on to victory (more often than not). For Alabama fans, the festivities begin long before a single snap takes place on the field.
During spring training, the program consistently leads the nation in attendance (this year over 73,000 showed up to Alabama’s spring game). Once the season begins, two hours prior to each home game, fans clad in their finest Crimson attire congregate in front of the stadium and cheer on the arrival of the football squad in a ritual known as the “Walk of Champions.” That energy and excitement carries over into the actual stadium, where “Gumps” of all shapes and sizes fill the stands and get behind their beloved team. And with a national title in three of the last five years, the team rewards their efforts with the ultimate prize. It’s a (lovely) two-way street.
BUY NOW: Alabama Crimson Tide collection
image via Mark Berry/Flickr Creative Commons
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1. Nebraska Cornhuskers
The Cornhuskers have plenty of history on the field to boast about, but it’s the ‘Huskers’ fans that make watching their beloved team play one of the most exciting game-day experiences in all of college football. Sure, Nebraska hasn’t been in the national championship conversation in recent years, but that hasn’t stopped the ‘Huskers faithful from filling up Memorial Stadium year after year. In fact, entering this season, Nebraska had sold out an impressive 333 consecutive home games over 52 seasons—a NCAA record that dates all the way back to 1962. It’s no wonder why every entrance at Memorial Stadium features a sign that reads: “Through these gates pass the Greatest Fans in College Football.”
“The Sea of Red,” as diehard Nebraska fans are referred to, doesn’t just back its team during home games—it isn’t afraid to take the show on the road either. Back at the 2002 Rose Bowl, upwards of 60,000 ‘Huskers fans made the trek to Pasadena, California, where they eventually witnessed their team go down to Miami. Similarly, in a 2001 matchup against Notre Dame, more than 30,000 Nebraska fans descended upon South Bend, making what was supposed to be an away game look more like an all-red homecoming.
BUY NOW: Nebraska Cornhuskers collection
image via Aka Hige/Flickr Creative Commons
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There are 128 teams in NCAA Division I college football, however, not all are created equally. The disparity between big-time conferences like the SEC, ACC, and PAC-12 and smaller ones like the Sun Belt and MAC is all too real. The big name programs in college football generally tend to attract all of the best recruits and national publicity, while smaller programs struggle just to feed their players and fill the seats.
Although college football as a whole is a sport that takes tradition and heritage very seriously, and there are tons of universities out there that have a storied history, relatively speaking, it’s the big schools–ones like Alabama, Texas, and Notre Dame–that tend to have the most elaborate fanbases. Schools that can afford to build massive stadiums that can hold upwards of 100,000 screaming fans generally don’t have a problem convincing people to come watch. These programs have fanbases that extend well beyond the walls of their respective campuses; they have fanbases that are more than willing to travel with their team and turn what’s supposed to be an away game into a home affair.
Honestly, these are the fans you wish you could be. Always rocking the squad’s jerseys. Always hosting game day parties. Always in tune with the team. Always down for the cause. You wish you could hold it down like that. Get rid of the excuses and check yourself at the door. Are you really giving it all? Is your fandom really that strong? It might be time to step it up.
With the college season in full swing, join us as we take a look at some These College Football Fans Are Crazier Than You.
Follow Gurvinder on Twitter at @gurvindersg
image via Penn State/Flickr Creative Commons