The “SEC fan” anomaly

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SEC! SEC! SEC!

If you go to one of a select few universities (14 to be exact) in the southeastern U.S., you are probably familiar with this chant. The SEC has a rabid fanbase who, justifiably to be sure, regard their conference as the pinnacle of college football. The SEC is unique in this aspect because within the confines of the SEC states there live people who claim to be “SEC fans,” that is fans of the conference and not a specific school. These people are generally students, alumni, or general fans of one of the bottom feeding schools; maybe Vanderbilt or Arkansas (recently at least). When their schools are doing poorly, they take comfort in the knowledge that the SEC as a whole is far superior to any other conference. They also steadfastly refuse to recognize any ranked ACC, Pac 12, Big 12 or Big 10 team until they have beaten a ranked SEC team. If their team has been beaten by an out of conference opponent, then the standard response is: “Well [insert first place team, usually Bama] would crush them so it don’t matter!”

The SEC fan is a strange being in the world of sports, no other conference in any sport has quite the following or loyalty of the SEC. In college basketball for instance there is certainly conference pride in the ACC and the now broken up Big East, but nobody would describe themselves as an ACC or Big East fan. Even in SEC basketball there is no such unity, proving that the football conference is in a league of its own. Being myself a student at an SEC school I can say from personal experience that SEC fans are annoying. They are the reason people look at the SEC like a kind of cult. A cult of good football maybe so, but we aren’t all bandwagon nuts. I just can’t fathom the idea of rooting for a conference rival against a school that we never play or have any kind of history with. In my book if they are in your conference the more they lose the better as long as your school is winning. The worst part is that they rub off on you; I will easily slip into an “SEC!” chant if enought people do it, same as I would a “USA!” chant. I find myself prickling at the idea that any other conference is better at football, and I have had to restrain myself from arguing with high school friends who went to other power 5 conference schools. SEC fans may be annoying, loud, nonsensical, and biased but aren’t all sports fans? Maybe SEC fans are just saying what the rest of us are thinking.

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