21
Oct
10

Take a hike, bandwagon bums

There’s nothing more annoying than a pseudo-fan. You know the type: They express absolutely no interest in a team until it starts winning, and then their entire wardrobes suddenly consist of school-affiliated garb.

I divide my time between Georgia and Texas, and I’ve experienced the phenomenon in both states. After Texas won the BCS championship, burnt orange and white was everywhere. My husband — a Texas grad — was so appalled, he refused to participate in the explosion of fandom.

My workplace is on the edge of Georgia, almost in Alabama. It’s SEC country, and if you know anything about SEC fans, you know we border on rabid even under normal circumstances. We love our college sports, and we love our teams.

I have to say, though, that the number of people wearing Alabama on their sleeves — and their bumpers, their car windows and antennas — grew exponentially after the Crimson Tide won the national championship last year.

My message to those who’ve jumped on the bandwagon: Shame on you. True fans wear their colors with pride, win or lose.

So, Georgia fans, I salute you. Fellow Gamecocks, I commend you. Same for Tennessee and Vanderbilt loyalists, and every other SEC-er who’s long cursed the dominance of Alabama, Florida and LSU.

Wear your colors with pride, and know that someday, some way, somehow you’ll be in the forefront of NCAA fashion.

Moneyball

Speaking of college colors, there’s a lot of money to be made peddling college paraphernalia. From T-shirts to desk lamps to official team Snuggies (confession: I own two Gamecock Snuggies), if it’s team-branded, it will sell.

Just as the SEC is currently dominating the AP and USA Today coaches’ polls, the conference also dominates licensed merchandise sales. According to sales figures released earlier this year by the Collegiate Licensing Company, eight SEC teams are in the top 25: Alabama, Florida, LSU and Georgia rank 2nd through 5th, Kentucky is at No. 9, Tennessee is No. 12 and Auburn is 15th. Arkansas is No. 19 and my own University of South Carolina is 23rd – helped heartily by my own contributions. Who’s No. 1? UT, as evidenced by the lingering burnt-orange explosion.

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