This is it, everyone. This is the last year of college football shooting itself in the foot with a shitty, underwhelming BCS national title game. Come next season, the sport will institute a playoff, and with that, a whole new era of college football shall begin. With better games! And even crazier fans! And more embarrassing losses by Notre Dame! And even more obscene amounts of TV cash that will only used to pad coaching salaries and build shiny new practice facilities that have glory holes in every study carrel! It'll be a giant leap forward in the crass commercial exploitation of emotionally vulnerable athletes. I couldn't be more excited.
But that also means we've come to the end of college football's provincial era. Old school college football fans will tell you that the appeal of the sport lies in its antiquated, irrational way of doing things: weird rivalry trophies, coaches voting for the best team, everyone turning a blind eye to boosters in cowboy hats paying Johnny Football six g's under the table, Steve Spurrier walking around shirtless, etc. The massive influx of television money has wiped out the charming, old-school corruption of CFB and replaced it with a more modern, soulless, corporate suit-wearing kind of corruption. And that makes me sad.
Not really. Everyone in this sport is a fucking scumbag.
Anyway, to commemorate the end of the BCS era, this year's Hater's Guide to the Top 25 will take you on a tour of the single most hateable thing about each of the schools/teams/states ranked herein. Because at such an exciting point in the sport's history it helps to remind you that, even as we segue into the playoff era of college football, it is HATE and BLIND IGNORANCE that will always be the common thread, the one part of the sport that shall remain forever unchanged. Also, fuck Ohio State. As always, we use the AP poll, because the coaches poll is worthless:
1. Alabama. Nick Saban. Of course it's Nick Saban. Even in a state with such a rich history of ignorance, racism, and general stupidity, Nick Saban can stand out as the most vile element. Just this week, a GQ article came out in which Saban openly bitched that the national title game hurt his recruiting. Not only is Saban the most insane of insane coaches, but he has crossed the rubicon and become an impossible parody of an insane, humorless coach. ALL THESE DAMN CHAMPIONSHIPS HAVE MADE MAH PLAYERS SOFT! I WISH I'D NEVER WON 'EM! He's awful. And the worst part is that other coaches strive to emulate him. Like college basketball's little army of mini-Pitinos, there are more than enough Saban clones out there with perfect hair, micro-regimented schedules, and near-Soviet levels of hatred for human mirth.
By the way, do you folks at 'Bama realize how lucky you people are that Saban said yes to you? The four previous Crimson Tide head coaches were Mike Shula, Mike Price, Dennis Franchione (who ditched the team for the dumpster fire that is College Station), and Mike DuBose (banged his secretary). You people should build Saban TWO statues for rescuing you from that decade. If Saban stays with the Dolphins, Alabama is 6-6 for the rest of eternity. So enjoy your title run, Bama fans. The day Saban dies of a heart attack, it's back to hiring DuBose dongalikes for you.
2. Ohio State. Oh hey, turns out your pious asshole of a head coach not only has landmines planted in his brain, but he's likely 50 times dirtier than the pious asshole he replaced. From the high school to the college level, the state of Ohio is terminally incapable of operating a scholastic football program that isn't run by liars, false prophets, scumbags, or rape apologists. Any time someone tells me he's from Ohio and involved in football in some way, I double lock my car and put a cork in my asshole.
3. Oregon. That fucking training complex. Are you kidding me? Did they build it in the shape of a middle finger? I'm not gonna lie: I wanna live there. I'm insanely jealous that I don't have an ID badge and commemorative duck there with my name on it. If I played for Oregon, I would never wanna graduate. I'd fail and fail and fail, because after graduating, I gotta get an apartment 1/132nd that joint's size. Suicide rates among former players will increase tenfold. I'm sure their bones will be used to glaze the facility's marble whirlpools.
4. Stanford. I hate that everyone at Stanford believes $100 million in venture capital funding is somehow their birthright. I also hate that Stanford combines the smugness of Harvard with the smugness of Californians bragging about their superior produce. It's unbearable. You people with your fucking utopian learning bungalows. I prefer the stupidity and corruption of normal Pac-12 schools to you.
(Side note: Remember Bill Walsh 2.0? When Walsh came back and said, "This is my bliss" in the opening press conference, as if to openly admit that he was there to kick back and relax? The Cardinal went 7-14-1 in Walsh's last two seasons. And even though I can't find video of it, I distinctly remember Walsh getting angry with Chris Fowler in a televised interview that final season. Fowler asked Walsh something he didn't like, and Walsh said, verbatim, "Now you're starting to piss me off." And he looked like he was gonna fucking rip Fowler's head off. We can't find video of this interview. If you have it, please poke the Bubbaprog with a stick.)
5. Georgia. This state has winning pro teams like the Falcons and Braves, and yet the people there choose to spend all their fan capital on a college team that can't even win its own conference. Are you people fucking stupid? (JUST KIDDING I ALREADY KNOW THE ANSWER IS YES.) Alabama fans are justifiably batshit crazy for the Tide because they win stuff. You win nothing. It makes no sense. It's like being a Washington Generals fan.
6. South Carolina. FUN FACT: Hootie & the Blowfish have a street named after them in Columbia. Hootie Boulevard (!!!!!) was dedicated in 2010, and the band also got a MONUMENT built in their honor, which is exactly .000000000 percent as cool as Detroit's RoboCop statue.
Ragging on Hootie Blvd. is the meanest thing I can do with the Gamecocks because they invited me to speak to their incoming freshman class a week ago. Now you think real hard about the quality of a school that would allow something like that to happen.
7. Texas A&M. Football Bieber. It's not even close. Before Johnny Football arrived, A&M was just a boot camp for ugly people and aspiring arsonists. Now it's home to a sniveling, whiny, alcoholic redneck brat who deserves to have his name dragged through the mud. Five years from now, Johnny Football will be run out of the NFL and will be pissing in buckets and spitting on roadies backstage at Keith Urban concerts. He's a jackass. Get ready for 20 more single-half suspensions.
8. Clemson. I don't remember you fucksticks bringing me in to talk to your freshmen. GAMECOCK 4 LIFE FUCK YOU.
9. Louisville. You can read here about how Louisville—a fundamentally worthless school—essentially became a ward of ESPN and has now grown into the academic equivalent of the BUY NOW spaceship from WALL*E. If the school were renamed The University of Phoenix II presented by ESPN as told to Papa John, it would be more accurate. Rooting for Louisville is like rooting for a marketing brief. FUN FACT: The football program is made out of 95 percent high fructose corn syrup.
10. Florida. DUNNNN DUNANANA GO GATORS! Every five fucking seconds. It's telling that the main cheer at Florida resembles a grade school lesson in figuring out which number is bigger. Is it five or is it SEVEN? I dunno we'll find out after Aaron Hernandez shoots EIGHT more people!
11. Florida State. Matt Frier. FUCK Matt Frier. Go look at this smug bastard. Fuck him and fuck Scott Bentley, too. FSU is where white kids to go learn to be '80s movie villains.
12. LSU. As always, it's these fans. Louisianans can brag about their culture all they like, but the fact is that their state is like an unofficial version of 1980s South Africa, albeit with better food.
13. Oklahoma State. T. Boone Pickens. No one man has worked harder to embody every possible stereotype of a rich hillbilly booster. Made his fortune in oil? CHECK. Has a name that sounds like a chain of $5 steak restaurants? CHECK. Old white guy who looks like a breathtakingly corrupt senator? CHECK. All that's missing is Pickens rocking a 10-gallon hat and firing two rifles into the air as he throws padded UPS envelopes stuffed with hundreds to every OSU recruit. I keep waiting for Sue Ellen Ewing's sister to gun him down. WHO SHOT T. BOONE?!
14. Notre Dame. Everything. The single most hateable thing about Notre Dame is its inherent Notre Dame-ness: the arrogance, the false piousness, the halo the program has placed over itself. It's all disgusting, which is why you deserved not only to get steamrolled by Eddie Lacy on national television, but to then have your empty-headed sweetheart linebacker publicly embarrassed for being stupid enough to fall in love with an imaginary pen pal. I wanna watch David Blaine street-magic videos with Manti Te'o, just to see him accuse Blaine of witchcraft.
15. Texas. Don't knock a cheerleader up unless you REALLY mean it, guys.
16. Oklahoma. Bob Stoops, who said this:
I tell our guys all the time. It could be you—or it could be anyone else. Those 70,000 fans in the stadium are cheering and buying tickets to see Oklahoma.
Nothing beats a college coach who openly tells his players that they're eminently disposable. Be glad we're using you, Oklahoma players! You should consider it a privilege to come here for free and major in Ketchup.
17. Michigan. That stadium. That stadium is the most lifeless bowl of humanity ever constructed. You may as well stage a game at Penn Station. I went to Michigan for a semester and the only time fans get loud at the Big House is when they're yelling at other fans for not giving a shit. Half of all fans in the student section during games are on the phone arranging for a frat house sandwich delivery. The enormous capacity of Michigan Stadium is basically a cheap way of making Michigan football look more important than it actually is. The reason 100,000 Michiganders go to those games is because they have nowhere else to go. Go to any SEC school, even Vandy, and you will find tens of thousands more fans who are genuinely interested in the welfare of their team.
18. Nebraska. You will never get through a Nebraska home game broadcast without the announcer reminding you that, on gameday, Memorial Stadium is the THIRD-LARGEST CITY IN NEBRASKA. Oh my God, really? You mean that the rest of the state consists of windblown shanty-hamlets? Well, knock me over with a fucking feather. Brent Musburger and the like recite this stat over and over again to drill home the idea the DURRRRR NEBRASKANS ARE JUST SMALL-TOWN SIMPLE FOLK DURRRRRR, like it's some admirable trait to live in a state that has nothing in it. Living in Nebraska is like watching Boys Don't Cry on an infinite loop. It's the Ozarks without the splendor. I don't give a shit where the stadium ranks in terms of other municipalities.
19. Boise State. The turf. It's blinding. I know people love it as a freakshow novelty, but it literally hurts to look at. You will never turn to a Boise State game without feeling like a dog walked by your TV and licked the CONTRAST buttons. You might as well tattoo the field while you're at it. IN MY DAY GRASS WAS GREEN DAG NUMMIT.
20. TCU. Fort Worth. Fort Worth is Dallas's trash can.
21. UCLA. Little Jim Mora is the head coach there! Did you know that? Little Mora is a fucking sleazebag. He's the kind of coach who walks into a program and is like, You guys are soft! We're gonna get more fucking dirtbags on this crew! And if you can't cut it with me, then you can get the fuck OOOOH THE WASHINGTON JOB JUST CAME OPEN K THANX BAI! He's awful. He makes Rick Neuheisel look like John Gagliardi.
22. Northwestern. Mike Wilbon. I challenge Wilbon to go five minutes without dropping the name of his alma mater. It can't be done. He went there, so he knows the school A LITTLE BIT. I picture him furiously beating off any time he gets to address students at Medill about journalistic ethics. He is the worst sports town.
23. Wisconsin. From Spencer Hall: "Their coach is actually regarded as a wonderful human being by everyone who knows him. BUT SO WAS DEXTER."
24. USC. This guy...
There have been a lot of douchebags who have strutted through USC over the past few decades: Matt Leinart, Rob Johnson, Brian Cushing, etc. Hell, O.J. Simpson played for USC. It's a breeding ground for deranged narcissists. And yet, in Lane Kiffin, they have found the perfect amalgam of arrogant lowlife: deluded, snooty, overprivileged, completely unqualified, transparently insincere, and destined for a bombastic personal downfall. If it came out that Lane Kiffin had an ex-girlfriend bound and thrown into the sea, would you doubt it for a second? Of course not. He goes the extra mile to be a miserable bag of shit.
25. Oregon State. What kind of school is happy employing Mike Riley for 10 years? I HATE THAT YOU'VE GIVEN UP, OREGON STATE. Everyone else is firing coaches and systematically dismantling their academic reputations in a frantic dash for more TV whoring money, and you're standing pat? You make me sick.
Drew Magary writes for Deadspin and Gawker. He's also a correspondent for GQ. Follow him on Twitter @drewmagary and email him at email@example.com. You can also buy Drew's book, Someone Could Get Hurt, through his homepage.
Image by Jim Cooke, photo via Getty