This weekend begins another college football season. There are lots of you who hate college football. And there’s good reason to do so. The NCAA is a hopeless organization, measuring out punishments for violators with no rhyme or reason. The system exploits the labor of young men. Corruption runs at all levels of the sport. The off-season has seen at least 10 teams get dinged or are in danger of getting dinged for a variety of violations, including the Miami booster who paid for prostitutes and abortions for players. Football also causes head injuries. There’s no way to get around the horrors of the game.
But if you are a college football fan, might I suggest changing your rooting interests to the Oregon Ducks, i.e., the thinking person’s team. Not only does Oregon football team use genius marketing and fashion to promote their product in new and interesting ways, and not only does it run an offense that should engage any intellectually-minded individual, but its fans are far more liberal than the average college football fan. Before the national championship game last January, people noted the culture between Eugene and Auburn could not be any different. Indeed. Auburn, Baton Rouge, and other SEC cities are dominated by everything we don’t like about football–homophobia, rednecks, halfwits. Reading LSU blog sites lately (because of the huge Oregon-LSU game this Saturday) has been depressing–misspellings abound, anti-liberal sentiment is everywhere, it’s just generally awful. While SEC teams have their enlightened fans and some Oregon fans are also troglodytes, Oregon fan sites are generally much more interesting, with random digressions in comment threads on any number of interesting non-football related topics.
Perhaps this will be clearer with an example. Last year, I went down to Knoxville to see Oregon crush Tennessee, which indeed they did. In a bar before the game, I hanging out with a college friend who came down with his family. We were talking politics. One of his sisters worked for the National Education Association. Another was a staffer for Jeff Merkley. And then a guy at the next booth heard us and said he was working on Ted Strickland’s reelection campaign. This is Oregon football–an atmosphere where you can watch football while also discussing liberal politics and intellectual pursuits.
Feel good about yourself. Surround yourself with interesting people. Root for Oregon football. You know it’s the right thing to do. Rooting for other teams is like voting Republican. And rooting for Washington is like hugging Dick Cheney.