Most everyone in the United States now knows the story of the Harvey Updyke, Jr., the diehard University of Alabama fan recently jailed for poisoning his rival school Auburn’s 130-year-old tree on Toomer’s Corner. What most people fail to discuss is that Harvey Updyke never attended Alabama (or any other college for that matter)–he never even moved there until he was 59.
So what exactly was it that drove this ex-Texas State Trooper to poison Auburn’s historic landmark? To quote the mustached man “I just had too much ‘Bama in me.”
Harvey Updyke’s story is certainly an extreme example of sports fanaticism, but one not so unbelievable to those familiar with American college sports. (How about the more upsetting situation involving the Penn State football coaching staff and the people who stood up for Joe Paterno even though it was proven he took no action with Jerry Sandusky after learning about his repeated crimes. Only college sports could incite that kind of reaction from people in the United States.
There’s something about competition at the collegiate level that just fires people up. You see it every day on ESPN‘s College Game Day. You see it on BustedCoverage.com whenever there’s a fight that breaks out between two school fanbases. You see it on SportsCenter every time Johnny Football sleeps a little too late.
And as much fun as it is to watch these lunatics go all-out in support of their favorite team, it’s more fun to be a part of. There’s certainly an element of mob mentality (and more than enough liquor) but it takes a special kind of fan to tailgate hours before a game that you’re not even going to attend. Not every school can earn the title of a diehard fanbase, but you better believe that every one of them wants it.
So to settle the score once and for all as to which school has the most serious fans, COED approached an inexplicable concept with a little bit of logic. We compiled a list of the biggest schools and ranked them on criteria that includes gameday traditions, rivalries, Twitter followers, and tailgating rules (full explanation here).
Did your school make the cut? Grab your facepaint, the most useful flask in the world, plus your tailgate set-up and find out below.
• Clemson University
• University of Cincinnati
• Duke University
• Oregon State Unversity
• The University of Georgia