Michigan fans suck. We're annoying and we don't care. All of our fans are old and stupid. We are all frontrunning, fairweather fans who know nothing about the game. The Big House is the quietest stadium on God's lovely earth.
I was reading the Maize N Brew recap (http://www.maizenbrew.com/2008/11/9/657410/a-trip-to-austin-puts-mich) of a Texas game and it reminded me about Michigan fans' depressive nature regarding our own game experiences. Time and time again, I've heard Michigan fans complain about, well, Michigan fans. And, honestly, I used to be the same way, constantly bitching about Big House noise.
But then, I started to get around the Big Ten (and a couple of bowl games, as well), started paying attention to teams from other parts of the country, started meeting other fans, and came to a very, very odd conclusion: compared to just about everyone else, Michigan fans are good. Seriously, we're all so self-conscious about it, but we're not that bad. Sure, some old people suck and god knows the "Fire RichRod" contigency annoys the bejesus out of me, but really, every fan base has a group of spoiled, annoying old people that never get up (see: Brian's Auburn post).
Now, before you start hyperventilating, I think we can all recognize that Michigan is a big time college football program, and, as such, will have a superior game day atmosphere and fan base excitement level than most teams right off the bat. Anyone that has been to Northwestern's high school stadium or Indiana's We're at 50% Capacity?! That's a New Record! Field, can say that Michigan is automatically in the top 25 of all college footballdom in terms of game day hype and fanbase loyalty/excitement/etc.
So of that 10 percent, which fanbase would you classify as superior to ours? Rank it how you'd like (go ahead and do it in the comments section right now!). You can emphasize crowd noise, stadium wow-factor, tailgating experience, general nuttiness, tradition, fan friendliness/intimidating meanness, etc.
As far as DEFINITELY 100% better than us, my list is probably this, give or take (in no order):
-Oregon (they are SO loud)
-Tennessee (?? Maybe?)
Not all of those are home runs. Oregon seriously lacks tradition. Bama fans are delusional. VT's tailgating is supposedly decentralized and lacking. I couldn't think of a reason to keep Tenn. off the list, yet, I kind of feel like they shouldn't be on there. But I think combining everything, those schools have a case to be better than us.
You may notice that Wisconsin is not on there. That is because Wisconsin fans don't show up until halfway through the game in both hockey and football. West Virginia? A little too Middle-of-nowhere-kind-of-irrelevant-program-y. I really thought about putting Oklahoma/Nebraska on there... but... I dunno, didn't feel right. Also, Notre Dame? I've heard they are exceedingly friendly to a creepy fault... plus... the whole paranoid attention whore thing...
So that puts us about 10th. If you really wanna be negative about it, how about 15th? That puts us ahead of 114 other schools in D-IA alone. Trips to Penn State and Ohio State (as well as interacting with Gator fans last year) showed me that other fans are just as easily taken out of the game as we are (I know it's not the best thing to watch, but check the #1-#2 OSU game and hear how quickly the crowd lost its edge during our first drive... this happened every time we started moving the ball until the very end of the game). Penn State seemed louder than us, but I have a friend on the cheerleading squad who swears on his life that Penn State was not louder than we were during, say, Wisconsin earlier this year. And that's with a stadium built straight up into the sky.
During this season that I have nicknamed "Michigan Hate 2008," let everyone else hate on us. Don't start hating yourself: we have an amazing tradition, a passionate/if somewhat crazed fan base, we're friendly to all non-OSU/non-MSU fans (and intimidatingly awful to those two), we have no creepy redneck racist undertones (see: Penn State), our stadium is impressive, in short, we're really not that bad. Well, at least our fans aren't.