Passion: ” A strong and barely controllable emotion.”
No sport’s fan base quite embodies that word better than the enthusiastic fans that make up the college football landscape.
Many are born into this fandom through blood. Others graduate into it (literally), backing their respective alma maters until the end. Some are converted — whether it be through marriage, geographical location or an emotional connection.
One thing is for sure – no one lives and breathes their sport or hinges on every game (heck, who are we kidding, every play) like college football fans.
Without further ado, here is Big Game Air’s Top 25 College Football Fan Bases entering the 2018 season:
25. Mississippi State Bulldogs
24. West Virginia Mountaineers
23. Michigan State Spartans
22. Oregon Ducks
21. South Carolina Gamecocks
20. Iowa Hawkeyes
19. Florida State Seminoles
18. Arkansas Razorbacks
17. Auburn Tigers
16. USC Trojans
15. Tennessee Volunteers
14. Georgia Bulldogs
13. Clemson Tigers
12. Florida Gators
11. Oklahoma Sooners
10. Nebraska Cornhuskers
9. Wisconsin Badgers
8. Penn State Nittany Lions
7. Texas Longhorns
6. LSU Tigers
5. Texas A&M Aggies – This fan base has claimed the name the “12th Man,” for its ability to effect the outcome of games through a boisterous and intimidating manner. There is a reason Jimbo Fisher left a powerhouse at Florida State for a rebuilding project at Texas A&M — and that reason is a strong and loyal fan base that sticks with its team for better or worse.
4. Ohio State Buckeyes – There are few fan bases that show up and show out for their team more than the Buckeyes. Ohio State averages over 100,000 fans per game the Horseshoe in Columbus. A constant playoff contender under head coach Urban Meyer, the Buckeyes have a storied history filled with National Championships and Heisman Trophy Winners That storied history doesn’t look like it will be slowing down any time soon with Meyer at the helm of Buckeye Nation.
3. Michigan Wolverines – The winningest program in the history of college football, Michigan also has the largest stadium in college sports — Michigan Stadium, better know as the Big House, which is packed with over 100,000 fans for every Saturday home game. The Maize and Blue lead the country in home attendance every year and that should not change any time soon under the tutelage of head coach Jim Harbaugh. Fit with an alumni group that will travel anywhere and everywhere to see its favorite team play, the Wolverines have a national following unlike any other in collegiate sports.
2. Alabama Crimson Tide – The state of Alabama does not have a professional sports team. Well, that statement only holds true if you believe it — because the Alabama Crimson Tide sure have performed like a professional sports franchise for many generations. Starting with legendary days under Bear Bryant to the current dynasty under Nick Saban, no team has looked more like a professional sports team — particularly in recent years — than the Crimson Tide. After winning the National Championship last year, Alabama faithful hope Saban can add a few more to the mantel before retiring and riding off into the sunset.
1. Notre Dame Fighting Irish – Play Like a Champion Today. Touchdown Jesus. Rudy. The list goes on and on. Arguably no fan base is more recognizable on a national scale than Notre Dame. An Independent football program, (which is not associated with a conference for football only), the Fighting Irish have established themselves one of the blue-blood programs of college football through generations of winning football. Although the wins have not come as easy or as frequently since the Lou Holtz era, this loyal and passionate fan base remains as passionate as ever. Whether it be Charlie Weiss or Brian Kelly at the helm, Fighting Irish fans continue to support and defend their team. In the ever-changing world of college football, the dedication and loyalty of Notre Dame fans has remained a constant.