Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A New Poll - Most Disappointed Fanbases

Look, I'm not in the business of trying to appease the cynical portion of our fanbase. I'm not in the business of trying to make everyone feel all mushy and warm about our team and our staff. I'm not going to try and convince the coach bashers they are wrong. I'm not going to beat my head against a wall. However, I do like to offer perspective. I think it's important to look at the reality of this college football season at the halfway point.

With that in mind, I thought it might be interesting to create a top 24 poll of the most disappointed fanbases. We are 3-3 and no matter if you are a Chan-fan or not, we are all hurting. So where does our disappointment level stack up against other fan bases?

The order is of course influenced by expectations. Teams with fan bases that fully expect to win the national championship will fall the hardest with a loss or two. They will certainly be more disappointed than a fanbase that realistically only wanted a shot at a conference title or a bowl game. It is also important to understand that I don't truly understand the disappointment levels of fan bases in many schools. Just don't follow all those teams enough. It's my best initial effort, and the idea is to show that there are a ton of fanbases with strong levels of disappointment. You ain't alone, and in fact you're in good company.

So with that, here we go.


  1. 1. Notre Dame - When it takes 6 weeks to notch your first win, and you're Notre Dame, you are past disappointment. You're searching for excuses, reasons for living, anything. However, a result of the last 5 weeks of national exposure and embarrasment, they are well on their way to passing through the 7 phases of mourning. They are past denial, anger and sadness and are almost to acceptance at this point. However, that first win last week could set them back a little.
  2. 2. Michigan - Much like GT, their hopes and expectations were dashed early. Week 1 loss. Week 2 loss. National title picture over. Cased closed. Considering they were a pre-season top 5, fans were riding in the clouds. There is still a lot to be accomplished with this team and the leadership of Mike Hart is a compelling story. However, the fanbase is clearly disappointed and the "fire the coach" chatter is alive and well.
  3. 3. Louisville - Pre-season Heisman hype for their QB. Top 10 ranking. It was all their for the taking right? Not so fast. A crushing loss to Syracuse. What? Are we talking the Syracuse that only has one win - against said Louisville? The 1-5 Orangmen? The Cardinals are now 3-3 and 0-1 in their conference. Clearly this is a fanbase that is disappointed. Bobby Petrino left them to lead the Falcons to another miserable season and now many are starting to think about hoops.
  4. 4. Penn State - It all looked good to start the season, but now the wheels have fallen off a bit. 4-2 overall and 1-2 in conference assure them no shot at the national title and they have a lot of work to do to win the Big Ten.
  5. 5. Clemson - I live in the heart of Clemson territory, and let me tell you - Tiger-nation is on the collective ledge, ready to end it all. Maybe I am biased because I am in their backyard. However, this year's Tiger meltdown against GT and VT have had a fairly different reaction. Typically it's "stinkin typical Bowden ball" but a large contingent still backs Bowden and suffers with him. This year I don't hear that portion of the fanbase that supported him in year's past. Just not hearing it. Losing to a GT team that these fans honestly believed was inferior was a breaking point. Losingto VaTech was not shameful in their minds, but the way they did it was. Now Boston College comes calling. Many Clemson fans honestly believe this team is not trying hard - not giving their all. I heard more than one person tell me - "at least GT looks like they give it everything that have. I don't see that in Clemson".
  6. 6. Texas - Vince Young is gone and now you have an 0-2 record in the Big 12 (4-2 overall). I'd say you are sufficiently disappointed. However, you do have that recent national title to lean on as you cry in your beer.
  7. 7.Oklahoma State - 3-3 record and no shot at the national title.
  8. 8.Miami - This is a different kind of situation. The disappointment spans multiple seasons. When you have been on top of the mountain, it's hard to imagine life anywhere else. That is where this fan base continues to think they are enjoying the view. The reality is that fans of "the U" should have been notching their expectation levels down each season. The reality is they haven't. Their disappointment continues and losing to North Carolina last weekend only makes thing worse. Hiring Randy Shannon bought them time. That's it. It only pushed the hurt down a little. But it's still there. It burns them to not be nationally relevant.
  9. 9. Michigan State - A 4-2 record and 0-2 in conference. Yes they are little sisters to Michigan, but still have high hopes.
  10. 10. Georgia - Ah the mutts. They basically have no limitations on building a successful program - money, fan support, recruiting, academics - you name it. Yet year in and year out they end up national contender wanna-bees. Each year they bow out somewhere along the way. This year it was against their arch-nemesis Steve Spurrier and last weekend against the Rocky Top gang. I can't say too much because this program has had success under Richt (they've certainly had our number), but not the kind of success the fanbase really wants, craves, and thinks they deserve.
  11. 11. Georgia Tech - You know the story. No national title this year. No ACC title this year. No ACC Coastal title repeat. No Heisman for Tashard. The spector of the dreaded "Chan Gailey equilibrium" (the magnetic pull towards 7 wins) is rearing it's ugly head. A 10 win season is still possible - although a stretch. There is still a lot to play for, but clearly we are a hurting bunch. What are we playing for now? A respectable East Coast bowl and beating the Mutts.
  12. 12. North Carolina State - Yes, fans generally understood that they would struggle this year. However, this is the Pack. I don't think they ever expected to be 1-5 and 0-3 in conference. Tom O'Brien has a bigger rebuilding effort than people expected.
  13. 13. FSU - See "Miami" story above. Insert FSU and repeat.
  14. 14. Arkansas - Darren "Wildcat" McFadden. Heisman steamroller. However, a 3-2 record (0-2 in conference) is not the formula for a satisfied fanbase.
  15. 15. Auburn - A 4-2 record (2-1 conference) shouldn't be something to sneeze at. However, Tiger fans want to be in the title picture - that's out. Losing to USF at home was frustrating - especially considering the beat Florida on the road. Oh what could have been. But fans are frustrated by a team that always seems to lose some key games each year they weren't expected to (sound familiar?). Of course GT contributed to a bit of that frustration the past few years. The annual Tiger / Tide game takes on some new significance with a resurgent Tide - and a loss to those guys would really send them into a tailspin.
  16. 16. Florida - The defending national champions just lost back-to-back games, effectively taking them out of the national title picture. Yes, the fanbase knew this team was not as talented, but they were believing prior to Auburn. Heck, they didn't know what they had last year until mid-way through, and they are bigtime believers in the Uber-Urban. However, it is not to be this year. Having said that, these guys don't crack the top 10 because the fanbase is still hungover from their national championship last year in football................. and basketball............... and basketball the year before. Disappointed? Yes. Crushed? Not really.
  17. 17. Washington - 2-3 overall and 0-2 in conference. Ty willingham isn't quite getting it done. Of course Charlie Weiss is redefining what it means to "rebuild" at Notre Dame.
  18. 18. Alabama - I include 'Bama because this is the nuttiest, least grounded fanbase in the country. So to win a few early games and have their hopes raised up, only to be crushed the past two weeks hurts a bit. This group has been hurting for years, and this year they were ready to come out hiding again. They got their star coach and I'm sure he'll get them in the right direction - but where 'Bama fans want to be? Hard for anyone to meet that expectation consistently.
  19. 19. Southern Cal - These fans believed that when the season was over they would be one of two teams playing for it all. It's still possible. Losing a game to Stanford however was eye-opening. Losing to Jim Harbough, who has ribbed Pete Carroll more than once, was appaling. Lose to Cal - ok......... to UCLA? Maybe............. but Stanford? No way. That win might be bigger that Michigan losing to App State. Seriously.
  20. 20. Oklahoma - Oh they were looking good. Real good. Crushing people, but to lose to Colorado? How did that happen? Don't know but it did. These guys still have a shot at the title, but fans have to be disappointed at their loss.
  21. 21. Nebraska - Oh how they want to be nationally relavent again. It's been a few years of eating humble pie after firing a very successful coach years ago. A record 4-2 record and 1-1 in conference. Hopes are still fairly high, so the season has not been crushed.
  22. 22. Tennessee - See UGAg story above. Repeat.
  23. 23. West Virginia - Pat White..... Steve Slayton........ Heisman x's two.......... Blistering offense......... yet not to be. A mediocre performance against USF gives them the loss they cannot afford. A one-loss West Virginia team will not play in the national title game. Some fairly strong disappointment here. However, they can still be a national factor by winning out.
  24. 24. Wisconsin - Hard to put them on the list, but when you are always the bridesmaid and never the bride, it gets frustrating. They already have their annual loss - this time to Ron Zook and Illinois. What must it have felt like to be ranked in the top 5 and have the Vegas oddsmakers picking you as an underdog to an unranked team.............. and then be right..... Ouch....... Frustrating.
What do you think? Am I way off base? How would change the order? What teams would you add or remove?