SEC Football: Power Ranking the Conference's 5 Most Intense Fan Bases
Identifying a “most intense fanbase” is akin to declaring a Game of Thrones death “most gruesome.”
Sure, some are uglier than others, but none are particularly pretty. Nor are any SEC fanbases, to turn a phrase from Jules Winnfield, cool like a bunch of Fonzies.
SEC fans are many things—passionate, excitable, optimistic, and ambitious, among the more positive traits.
Of course, there are times “passion” devolves into things not quite as positive.
Evidence of the passion of SEC fans is ample, from airport turnouts for newly hired coaches to Saturday tailgates.
Today we do our best to determine the fanbases that regularly display the greatest intensity.
Spoiler alert: The comments below will show narrowing this list down to five programs is far from an exact science.
How serious is the Georgia fanbase?
Ask coach Mark Richt.
Saner Bulldogs fans will (correctly) say it is only the lunatic fringe that wants Richt fired for his inability to win a national championship (though he has led Georgia to a pair of league titles).
The more audacious, ambitious Georgia faithful, though, are not hard to find at games or on message boards by the second quarter of poorer performances.
All the passion merited by the Bulldogs creates a sensational game-day atmosphere.
Georgia fans know how to show up for huge games, creating a real home-field advantage.
Want a point of evidence for the intensity of Georgia fans?
How about this guy?
The best part of the entire video is Super Dawg’s fellow fans completely ignoring his WWE-inspired rant. That is how unsurprised they all were by this display of utter craziness.
While Auburn certainly belongs on this list, it gets there in a different way than the rest of the fanbases.
Forget sense of entitlement, Auburn fans seem to be born with chips on their shoulders—feeling a need to defend their program from the alleged bias toward the fair-haired children of the SEC, like Alabama.
Whether such a bias is real or perceived is now immaterial. It is largely believed in pockets of Auburn.
Tigers fans also boast one of the coolest, most unique traditions in sports, with the rolling of Toomer's Corner.
Auburn and Alabama will forever find themselves linked in terms of fanbase intensity because of The Paul Finebaum Show (which has gone from a largely state of Alabama-based show to a national audience on ESPN Radio).
Finding great Auburn fan moments is not tough, either.
Remember our friend from the airport?
Anything else does not bode well for the longevity of coaches.
Will Muschamp already knows. The fourth-year coach is just a year removed from leading an improbable run to the Sugar Bowl, and yet finds himself on the hottest seat in the SEC to open the 2014 campaign.
This is also the fanbase that famously brought the world FireRonZook.com.
It did not take fans long to realize that dream—watching Zook get fired during his third season in Gainesville.
Few stadiums rock like The Swamp when the Gators run hot.
Imagine all the intensity and passion of Auburn and Alabama fans, take away the intense rivalry and put all the angst on the one in-state team that matters.
Then you essentially have the situation in LSU.
There is no state divide in Louisiana. Sure, there are other FBS programs inside the borders, but none of them even approach the Tigers in terms of relevance.
Winning or losing big, the LSU faithful remain raucous—sometimes in support of and at other times against their beloved program.
Ole Miss fans like to say nobody beats them in tailgates but LSU fans do their absolute best.
No fan base parties harder or longer than those in Louisiana.
How intense and committed are LSU fans? This video (courtesy Saturday Down South) might say it all.
Then again, so might Tiger Stadium on an autumn Saturday night—widely considered among the greatest home-field advantages in the country.
Anyone wanting to better understand the intensity of the Alabama fanbase needs only listen to Phyllis run down ESPN analyst Danny Kanell on The Paul Finebaum Show.
There is no chip-on-shoulder syndrome among Alabama fans. They have simply grown accustomed to winning and accept nothing less.
Fortunately for them—and for Phyllis—they have not had to really settle for less recently, thanks to coach Nick Saban’s fantastic run.
Ever since Paul “Bear” Bryant retired, Alabama fans have waited for someone to come in and produce similar results.
They immediately sensed Saban could be that coach, as evidenced by the impromptu pep rally at the Tuscaloosa Regional Airport to celebrate his arrival.
The fans filling the seats in Bryant-Denny Stadium create a fantastic home-field advantage for the team in crimson.
In terms of intensity, few fans would actually think of—much less act on—something along the lines of what Harvey Updyke did when he poisoned Auburn’s famed Toomer’s Corner trees.
The trees are now dead. The passion of the two fanbases most certainly is not.
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