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Let's Talk About How to Hate Your Own College Football Team

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20 signs you're hating on your own.

"TERRIBLE WITH THE MEDIA" -Haters
"TERRIBLE WITH THE MEDIA" -Haters
Frank Polich/Getty Images

We live in the era of haters. This is a study conducted over many months to observe the behavioral and psychological patterns of these people.

There are a variety of haters but the most loathsome of them all are the ones who are addicted to hating their own team. Here now is a list on how to identify these type of haters.

20 Ways to Hate on Your Team

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1) Your Side is Picked

The foundation for everything haters build is based upon creating divisions and seeing the world in black and white. Subtlety, nuance, and careful examination are the enemy. Something is either great or terrible, there's no middle ground.

In order to be 'proven right' haters take a loudly negative stance on topics with their team. While this becomes reflexive in nature it is done because mostly everything fails eventually in college football. Coaches get fired or leave for other jobs, patience runs out, and sometimes there aren't enough trophies in the case. Going negative is the smart long-term strategy, especially at a school with high standards (see No. 6 below).

Most importantly, haters function by mudslinging and forcing everyone into tiny boxes of presupposition. They present topics, not to engage in civil discourse, but to corner everyone else in an attempt to show how they've got it all figured out.

2) Promote Faux Controversies

An area ripe for the picking as there are no restrictions on the amount, and absurdity, of fake controversies. It's also a simple and easy way to slowly, bit by bit, tear down the leadership of a large and diverse institution and build a consensus among fellow haters.

While the average fan doesn't get caught up in the manufactured political drama, haters are out there rallying against that phrase the head coach said in a presser or telling everyone about that scandalous business decision made by the athletic department.

Haters pile up inane issues on top of each other due to the insecurity that their criticisms won't hold enough sway, or that a coach's production on the field won't quite make it obvious enough that he's a failure. This is why haters spend an inordinate amount of time diagnosing the "feelings" of coaches--it's another way of creating controversy around the leaders' lack of love for their school.

3) Move the Goalposts

Haters exist to do one thing and it isn't to capitulate.

  • "We suck at running the ball."
  • "We don't run the ball enough."
  • "We only run the ball well against the bad teams."
  • "We don't run the ball the right way."
  • "We are winning but still not running enough."
  • "We can't win the big game without an elite run game."
  • "We would have won more than one title with a better run game."

Haters want you to believe they're just a reflection of their school's results and that they'd be supportive if football could win a national title. Hey, they're just mindful historians aware of their school's failings and potential.

This history actually shows that haters give very little leeway, even for championships. The greatest trick the haters ever pulled is convincing the world they'll quiet down after their team reaches the summit.

There will always be room for more complaining.

4) Massive Problems, Easy Fix

Haters live to criticize the incompetence of the university leadership while citing deep institutional problems. On the other hand their fix is elementary--simply hire the best coach in the country. See how easy that is?

But don't push too hard on those institutional problems. Haters will do an about face. Suddenly, all those incompetent leaders and issues don't matter beyond the fact that the university won't hire the coach who only needs to show up on campus, grit his teeth, and teach fundamental tackling on the way to multiple national championships.

You start making institutional changes and the haters will lash out at all the traditions that are being trampled on. They have a very difficult time dealing with program weaknesses and deficiencies (see No. 5 below) because they believe in the Elite Coach Myth which postulates The Coach won't bother with all these silly sideshow elements.

If The Coach doesn't need these fixes then any perceived improvements are a waste of money--or worse, a deceitful diversion and a trampling of the Pillars the program was built upon.

5) Excuses

There's a reason why haters keep major criticism of their school limited to an obsessive dislike for the football coach and shallow commentary of university leaders like "all they care about is money" or "they are happy with 8-4 seasons." This allows the haters to steer clear of providing cover for the coaches and administrators without ever having to dive too deeply into uncomfortable issues like changes in the modern game.

Conversely, haters will take any issue, any sound bite, any fake controversy, and criticize their team and fans for making excuses. In fact, a large amount of the haters' time is spent, not debating the intricacies of issues, but instead lecturing others about making excuses, or more specifically arguing about if an excuse was used by a school official. Not surprisingly, it's always an excuse per the haters and you're the dope who always buys them

6) Upholding Standards

Haters will settle for nothing less than the highest program standards and will let you know at every turn that you're the one not holding people accountable. It's the perfect fit because it's an unassailable position with an unlimited scope that provides a near-endless supply of hating in a black-and-white world where no player, coach, or team is perfect.

It also allows haters to wrap themselves in moral righteousness atop an ivory tower which furthers their quest to create a dividing line between the Guardians of Truth and the Excuse Makers.

If even the thought of a 10-2 season is pleasing, you're the problem. And it's that sorry attitude that permeates the university. The haters need to see a title by year three or we're just wasting our time. Again, you're the problem if you can't see it in those black and white terms.

7) Weak Schedule

Speaking of being a light bearer for standards the composition of the football schedule is always a preferred route for criticism from haters. It's easy money especially because it provides hating on the athletic department for lowering the bar and hating on the coach for benefiting from too many easy wins.

Kills two birds with one stone--the haters preferred method.

Indignation over the schedule also sends out a preemptive strike in case the football team wins a bunch of games and throws plenty of shade on the opponents, too. That's an example of hating both sides.

8) Skipping Games

Haters usually make a living exhibiting passionate behavior by jumping all over the tiniest issues. After all, they are the high priests of Defending High Standards.

However, there's also this other side that stomps around and will have nothing to do with attending or watching the shameful games against bad opponents. Of course, haters will have the most exquisite plans prepared instead. Wouldn't have it any other way.

And don't even get haters started with the disgraceful start times of some games. What an affront to God. With all the serious issues surrounding the program the haters can add the difficulty of traveling and eating to the list of controversies embroiling a careless administration.

9) Public Relations

I know this is hard to believe but stay with me for a second. The public relations arm of an university will not promote negative things about their own school. Shocking I know, they will bring up positives!

Nothing makes haters' skin crawl more than this. Haters don't see it as standard operating procedure that every school follows but rally against the 'lies of the state' which are trying to trick the foolish fans. Congratulations to the haters for not falling for this dirty and deceitful trick.

10) Parse Press Conferences

We already mentioned how haters keeps the macro-level criticisms superficial. This means on a consistent basis they need to latch onto much smaller issues and build a kingdom of mountains from mole hills.

The over-analyzing, pot-shots, and conspiracy theories from parsing coach press conferences, interviews, and soundbites is a most highly valued way for haters to keep a consistent flow of criticism in the fans' consciousness.

11) Attack the Subservient Media

Let us not forget that the haters' angst also includes the feckless media who simply refuse to ask the important questions like, "Why don't you run the ball in practice?" and "Why did you purposely sabotage the grass inside the stadium?" Truly, the stuff of Peabody Awards.

Haters are often screaming at a wall and don't have the proper vehicle to promote themselves--this is why they're so often obsessed with the inner workings of the school power structure since their helpless to change it. This makes haters despise the media for not doggedly pursuing a game of 'got ya' on a 24/7 basis. This relationship fosters the belief that major storylines and controversies are being missed, which only emboldens the haters to promote fake controversies even more.

The cherry on top is the haters' conspiracy theory that the media are in cahoots with the current school officials and coaching staff. And once you believe that you're forced to put even more weight on the haters' viewpoints because they're the only ones brave enough to speak the truth.

12) Benefit of the Doubt

There are many different haters out there but deep down they all share the troll-like lust to pull hair. This is why, despite a complete aversion to doing it with their own team, they will offer up plenty of excuses for another team.

See, you didn't realize how hard it is to win at that other school. You didn't know how big the rebuild job was at that other school. Their schedule is tougher, too. All our team needs to do is hire a great coach and we can't even do that. Don't you see how frustrating this is for the haters!

13) Recruiting

Recruiting is like shooting fish in a barrel for haters. When discussed in tandem with high standards there's rarely any shortage of ammunition. Picked up a 5-star? The coaches should have signed 2 at the position. Happy about a group of underrated 3-stars adding depth? You're fooling yourself they are ruining that position with sub-par prospects.

Looking at legacies who aren't highly regarded is a good way of seeing the hypocritical nature of haters. Take a pass on that legacy and the coaches are besmirching a proud, hard working who family who deserves better. But take the kid and the coaches are suddenly settling for low-hanging fruit and blinded by nepotism. The same relationship holds true for certain player not seeing the field. Either the head coach is playing favorites or he's not developing the most talented players--either way the hater is right.

14) Strength Coach

With each new coaching staff comes renewed optimism in a different strength program. Yeah, no haters stamp that out with vengeance. Whether it's because they're an expert from playing high school football or earned their PhD in Sports Science from watching a 32-second winter workout video the haters' will tell you unequivocally that the S&C coach is a fool.

Mostly, as mentioned above it's simply the easy and reflexive decision to hate on the S&C program because just about everything decays in college football. Quite amazing how the haters can have almost no intimate knowledge of the program, still be an expert, and always end up being right.

15) Nicknames

Here's an area that can be a dead giveaway for a hater. Most of the time fans create endearing nicknames for people on their side. Haters, on the other hand, find immense delight in using derogatory names for their own, especially for the adult coaches and administrators.

Doing this serves a couple important purposes. One, it further attempts to belittle the leaders and erode their mandate. Two, it's an easy and effective way to publicly expose the divisions haters love to create. Much like the Nazi salute, the derogatory nicknames are a quick way to see who is loyal to the haters and who is an enemy.

16) Play-Calling

One area where haters are not shy to wade their feet (or cannonball into the water, more appropriately) is play-calling and schemes, more so on offense than defense. But remember, it's too sticky of a position to get caught within the minutiae and complexity of real football talk so haters keep things pretty standard, simple, and superficial.

There are many elements of moving the goalposts here, of course, and that plays a big part in screaming the team doesn't run the ball enough or that played failed therefore it's concretely evident it was the wrong call and our coach is an imbecile. Nothing gets the haters more excited than passing large generalities on play-calling and demanding the firing of coaches.

17) Lay Low During Winning Streaks

There are a couple options haters can take when their team starts stringing together a bunch of wins. Some stay active and double down on the bickering while citing that weak schedule or wins that aren't finished with a big enough margins of victory.

However, since most haters are not in their element unless going on the offensive (which even a hater knows not to push too much during winning streaks) the more preferred method is to lay low and wait until the next loss pops up.

This benefits the haters because, even though they'll get some flak for disappearing during the win streak, they can just say "I was too busy enjoying the victories" while obviously not annoyed by the events. And anyway, after a loss breaks the streak the haters can come back out of the woodwork waving the "We were right all along" flag.

18) Tip Toe Around Money

Haters have to be very careful when discussing money and football. It can be an important topic when bringing up the powers-that-be and their reluctance to commit to a consistent winning program. However, the haters can't push this topic too far as we've spoken to above.

Remember, for haters it's only the clenched fist of a new elite head coach that is needed so spending money in any other area is just a pile of excuses. And the haters can't walk down that road.

Upgraded gaudy facilities and new amenities weren't needed in the past so they're not needed now. More to the point, haters cannot accept increased pay for the current coaches and aggressively oppose anything of the sort due to the implications that they're doing a good job. So most of the time money, or lack thereof, is just another excuse.

19) Kill Homers

Haters think they're objective and the critical thinkers among their fans. It's just they have to put all of the rest of the fans--neatly thrown into one large contingent--in place because they're all Pollyanna's who don't want to see the truth or have the audacity or nerve to try and find enjoyment or delight from a game played by college students.

What haters like to do is gang up on the big homers--and to be fair they do exist too--but then lecture them while acting as if all fans are homers unless they join in on the haters' groupthink. This is a crucial aspect to being a hater as it gives them a constant target for disparagement while feeling like they're dutifully defending something honorable.

20) Building Agreement

The most interesting, and dare I say effective, haters are the solitary ones who go tit for tat against the world on their own. Unfortunately, most haters are dull, easily satisfied, and inevitably float towards other haters to work together.

In order to build a consensus among themselves and project an united front haters will say things such as "All of my co-workers think we suck" or "Every former player I've talked to can't stand the current head coach." You see, there's so many other people who share the haters' views! In reality this is a mixture of exaggeration and lying (wow, who could argue with former players?) aided by surrounding themselves with all like-minded people through a process of filtering out dissenters.

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You may be thinking there's a lot of gray area in these topics does that make me a hater, Eric? That depends. Which GIF most closely resembles your thoughts as you read this? If it's the former you are a normal well adjusted college football fan.

If it's the latter you're definitely a hater.