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Tuesday, July 29, 2008
College football fans love to hate

By Mark Schlabach
ESPN.com

Ohio State cornerback Malcolm Jenkins isn't sure how the Buckeyes became one of college football's most hated teams.

Maybe it's the way many Buckeye fans refer to their school as "The" Ohio State University. Maybe it's coach Jim Tressel's sweater vests.

Jim Tressel
Does Jim Tressel's sweater vest have have anything to do with the hatred of the Buckeyes?
Or maybe it's just all the winning.

"It doesn't surprise me," Jenkins said. "Half the nation doesn't like Ohio State."

On the eve of the 2008 season, many college football fans can't stomach the thought of the Buckeyes once again playing in the BCS championship game. Ohio State lost to Florida 41-14 in the 2006 national title game and 38-24 to LSU last season.

"We lost the games," Jenkins said. "If I was a fan, I'd probably say the same things."

Now that Notre Dame isn't winning very often, the Fighting Irish are no longer the team college football fans love to hate. Teams such as Ohio State, Florida, Oklahoma and USC are the ones that have fans' veins boiling with hatred -- or, worse, envy.

With teams across the country opening preseason camp next week, the sport's best collegiate teams are the ones attached to dart boards. And there are many reasons college football fans love to hate them:

Michigan hates Ohio State because the Buckeyes added four more Ls to Lloyd Carr's first name. The Buckeyes hate Michigan because Carr no longer coaches there.

Tim Tebow
Heisman winner Tim Tebow isn't a fan favorite in Georgia.
Florida hates Georgia because the Bulldogs last season danced in the end zone -- and because Urban Meyer didn't think of doing it first. The Bulldogs hate Florida because Tim Tebow dances with stars.

Alabama hates Tennessee because Phillip Fulmer became a sleuth. The Volunteers hate Alabama because the Crimson Tide finally have someone who can coach.

Notre Dame hates Navy because it can't even beat the Midshipmen anymore. Navy hates that it doesn't have coach Paul Johnson anymore.

Florida State's Bobby Bowden hates that Penn State's Joe Paterno won't just quit. Fans of both schools hate that neither one of them has quit.

West Virginia hates Michigan because Rich Rodriguez coaches there. Pittsburgh hates West Virginia because Rodriguez still isn't there.

Texas hates Oklahoma because the Sooners beat the Longhorns with players from Texas. Oklahoma hates Texas because the Horns win their bowl games.

The ACC hates that it hasn't become the SEC. The SEC hates that it leads the country in parolees.

LSU hates that it opens the season against Appalachian State. The Mountaineers hate that they don't get to play Michigan again.

Pete Carroll
Pete Carroll's Trojans win titles, but will get no love from UCLA.
USC hates UCLA because the Bruins hired a cheater. UCLA hates USC because the Trojans still haven't been caught cheating.

LSU hates Alabama because Nick Saban referred to a Tiger fan in not the nicest of terms. Alabama hates Mike Shula because the team Saban inherited can't beat anyone's butts.

Notre Dame hates Illinois because Ron Zook outworks the Irish in recruiting. The Illini hate Iowa because the Hawkeyes still outcoach them.

Louisville hates Arkansas because Bobby Petrino coaches there. The Cardinals hate Petrino because he left them his players.

Stanford hates that it upset USC but couldn't even beat Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish hate that each of Charlie Weis' victories cost more than $1 million.

Kansas hates Missouri because the Tigers beat it. Missouri hates the Jayhawks because it really didn't matter when the BCS invitations were delivered.

Alabama hates Auburn because Tommy Tuberville has two thumbs. The Tigers hate South Florida because the Bulls turned them into bums.

Tennessee hates Duke because the Blue Devils stole its best coach. Clemson hates Arkansas because the Razorbacks didn't hire its coach.

Miami hates Virginia for running up the score. The Cavaliers hate Wyoming because the Cowboys barely let them score.

Steve Spurrier hates that he can't teach South Carolina how to win a title. Georgia fans hate that Spurrier didn't forget how to beat them.

At least there's one thing in which all college football fans can agree: We hate that there are still five more weeks until college football season begins.

Mark Schlabach covers college football and men's college basketball for ESPN.com. You can contact him at schlabachma@yahoo.com.