There are die-hard, tattoo-a-Nittany-Lion-on-your-arm, have-”Fight-On-State”-as-your-ringtone fans, and then there are check-Sportscenter-to-see-the-score-and-buy-a-t-shirt-on-sale-from-Eastbay fans. If you’ve got a lion on your arm, you’re probably stuck for life. But if you are a casual fan, you’re free to go as you please. And Sandusky, Paterno and the NCAA gave casual Penn State fans plenty of reason to find greener pastures. I’ll respect the hell out of you if you stick with Penn State for the next decade of hard times, but if you don’t, here is a natural progression to your best shot.
If you’re going to open up your fanhood, don’t mess up. You’ve feasibly got 120 different choices, so lets narrow it down.
Casual fans of Penn State were drawn in by numerous factors, and if you’ve ever been to Happy Valley for a tailgate and game, particularly the annual “White Out” then you might be hooked for life. After eliminating the die hard from the equation, I’m left with four qualifications for your new favorite college team. Because you were fickle about your fanship, you were organically drawn to Penn State.
- Geography -
You are probably from the North and feel too disconnected to root for a team south of the Mason Dixon line. Being from the north, and probably the east, you won’t be a fan of a team west of Ohio or Michigan, because once you get out there boy you’re really out there. No offense to Nebraska, but kids from New York, New Jersey and Philly can’t associate with the Dustbowl. The contenders -
You enjoyed the black shoes, old-school jerseys, and enjoyed physical football. Before you learned the truth about Joe Paterno you liked the idea of having a legendary coach. You may have even posted a YouTube video now and then that showed highlights of your teams glorious history. And we don’t want to discuss what happened when Joe Paterno called a fullback dive around the goal-line. We can eliminate teams that joined Division-1 in the past decade, as well as those who pray to Antwan Randel-El. And Maryland? You’ve got Under Armour, but who cares, and your helmets are gross.
Tell me the truth, as a casual fan did you pick Penn State when they were consistently ranked in the Top Ten and dominating ? Ah, I thought so. It’s ok, you are a little bit of a front runner. It’s ok because you picked Penn State, you didn’t root for The Empire in Star Wars, and you are not a fan of Evil. You might be a Yankee fan, but it’s because your father and mother are, it’s not because you refuse to feel vulnerable in your rooting interests. It’s all right to lose every so often, it builds character and makes winning Championships all the more glorious. This means we have to sort out all the lame ducks, but we also have to erase Darth Vader and the Emperor. We can eliminate the teams that are never good enough to reward you, as well as the teams you love to hate.
Finally, you’re a casual fan, and you wouldn’t wear Oregon’s neon green because it brings out the jaundice in your fall complexion. That Penn State navy blue and white was crisp and you could wear it with sweat pants, cargo shorts, jeans, whatever — you were fresh. Its vain, but at the end of the day, you kind of are too, you are a casual fan. You didn’t attend this school, you just kind of like them. Fashion can be fickle and so can you. To eliminate two schools we need to look at its gear, and I refuse to pitch you anything but the finest threads in college football; boy does that Spartan Green pop!
Congrats! You are a casual Penn State fan no more, you are a casual Michigan State fan. Switch now so that your fairweather fan moniker only lasts until October. The Spartans have a cool nickname, they are close enough to the Northeast that you know someone who went there, they have tradition and are usually good; and most important of all, they have great merchandise.
Michigan State Bonus – They have a great basketball team every year and you can get double usage from that sweatshirt you just bought.