What’s interesting about putting together a list of the most hated people in college football history is these folks are also some of the more popular figures as well.
Think about it.
Hatred, more times than not, is born from envy.
Why would anyone hate Tim Tebow? Because you want what he has.
When you look at college football, the most hated usually fall into one of these categories:
- They out-coach or out-recruit your team.
- They outplay or always beat your team.
- They mouth off about your team.
So here we go. Let’s look at 25 of the most despised figures in college football history.
25. Coaches who have SIDs vote in the USA Today poll
We all know coaches are busy individuals, but they can’t take 30 minutes to fill in the blanks of their top 25 ballot?
Steve Spurrier admitted he doesn’t fill his out and didn’t when he was the coach at Florida.
There is no way he’s alone.
Why it’s so upsetting is because the poll plays a factor in the BCS rankings, and there is no way the coaches, SIDs or whoever fills out the ballot could really watch enough games each week to make a fair assessment.
24. Phil Fulmer, Coach
Maybe this is for Alabama fans only, but there’s a lot of them, so Phil Fulmer makes the cut.
Alabama fans have called him everything from “Fat Phil” to “The Great Pumpkin.”
Fulmer helped a NCAA investigation that brought NCAA sanctions against Alabama in the earlier part of the 2000′s.
While Fulmer was talking to the NCAA, his Volunteers were dominating the Tide at the time. But for ‘Bama fans, Fulmer is the main reason their team was put on probation, and they’ll never forgive him.
Fulmer feared for his safety so much that he even skipped the SEC Media Days in Alabama.
23. Paul Finebaum, Media
Paul Finebaum is without a doubt the most recognizable voice when it comes to SEC football.
Every SEC team has been the target of his vitriol. Therefore, at some point in time, the fans of every SEC team have hated Finebaum.
His radio show is syndicated all over SEC country, and his haters can’t resist tuning in to hear what he has to say—or what one of his famous callers might utter.
He also has some of the best guests, including former Alabama coach Gene Stallings, former Auburn coach Pat Dye and ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit.
22. Jimmy Johnson, Coach
Jimmy Johnson arrived in Coral Gables locked and loaded as he took over for Howard Schnellenberger at The U.
He oozed arrogance, and he had the talent on the field to back it up every game.
Oh, and he had the perfect head of hair (despite what is on display in this photo).
Johnson coached Miami when they played some of the classic “Convicts vs. Catholics” games (guess who the convicts were). He also led the brash Hurricanes to the 1987 National Championship.
Johnson had few rules, and his players relished in the party life of South Florida.
He bolted for the NFL in 1989, but very few of his detractors ever forgave him.
21. Bobby Lowder, Booster
Auburn booster Bobby Lowder was a member of the university’s Board of Trustees for nearly 30 years before he bowed out in May.
His influence over Auburn football is immense. Since Pat Dye was hired almost 25 years ago, Lowder has used his influence to help Auburn’s athletic department hire every coach.
When Auburn was thinking about dumping Tommy Tuberville in 2003, Lowder lent the president and AD his private jet to court Louisville’s Bobby Petrino.
SEC fans are tired of his influence, as well as a lot of Auburn fans.
20. Harvey Updyke Jr., Fan
Harvey Updyke Jr., a super Alabama Crimson Tide fan, is also known as”Al from Dadeville.”
It was Al who called the Paul Finebaum (who is also on this list) show on Jan. 27, 2011 and told Finebaum he had poisoned the century-old oak trees at Toomer’s Corner on the campus of Auburn.
Updyke was arrested for allegedly poisoning the famous trees with Spike 80DF. He supposedly did this as revenge for someone draping a Cam Newton jersey on Bear Bryant’s statue in Tuscaloosa.
While he is a longtime Tide fan, most everyone associated with the university has condemned his actions.
19. Craig James, Media
It would be easy to say it’s only Texas Tech fans and Mike Leach who can’t stand the sight of ESPN’s Craig James.
But the less talented half of the Pony Express turned off plenty of college football fans by using his platform at ESPN to get Leach fired.
James was recently the subject of some serious Twitter bashing after rumors floated about ESPN suspending Bruce Feldman for his part in Leach’s autobiography.
James has floated the idea of running for senator of Texas, but it could be tough when more than half the state doesn’t like you.
18. Maurice Clarett, Player
Maurice Clarett isn’t hated for the same reasons as most everyone else on this list.
College fans are more disappointed in Clarett. All of that wasted talent just enrages people.
After a few years in prison, Clarett has worked on rebuilding his image a little by attending classes at Ohio State and staying out of trouble.
A few more years, and maybe he won’t even make a list like this anymore.
17. Terrelle Pryor, Player
Now you get the opposite of Maurice Clarett.
Ohio State’s latest can’t-miss recruit never really panned out, and Terrelle Pryor is at the center of what could be some nasty NCAA sanctions in the near future.
He sold memorabilia. He drove cars he shouldn’t be able to afford. And Pryor won’t be back for his senior season.
Before all of this, fans of every Big Ten school bristled at the thought of Pryor.
Now Ohio State fans have directed their frustrations at their former savior.
16. Lou Holtz, Media
Almost everywhere Lou Holtz has coached, he has left a program facing NCAA sanctions well after he was gone.
But now he’s despised for his snarky ” Dr. Lou” bit and his inability to clearly speak English.
There is also his lack of impartiality, as he never picks against schools that he coached, especially Notre Dame and South Carolina.
Somehow, ESPN management doesn’t recognize his lack of analytical skills or the fact he doesn’t offer anything relevant on any broadcast.
15. Barry Switzer, Coach
Barry Switzer won a lot of games at Oklahoma. Really, a lot of games.
So with that success came a bunch of haters.
There were others who didn’t like his used car salesman personality or his sometimes questionable recruiting methods.
Nebraska fans really despised the man because Switzer’s teams went 12-5 against the Cornhuskers.
Texas Longhorns fans didn’t like him very much either.
14. Jim Delany, Commissioner
When commissioner Jim Delany announced the Big Ten was looking into expansion, it set off a firestorm of speculation for not only the Big Ten, but also every BCS conference.
Maybe it’s Missouri who despises him most because they thought they were a lock for the Big Ten.
Maybe it’s every Big Ten school because he chose to name the new divisions “Legends” and “Leaders.”
Maybe fans are envious of the profitable Big Ten Network.
Or it could be because he gives off an air of elitism when he accuses the SEC of being a lower-tier academic conference compared to the Big Ten.
It doesn’t matter, because Delany is easily the most hated commissioner in college football.
13. Steve Spurrier, Coach
Steve Spurrier was humbled a bit after coaching in the NFL, but it’s hard to forget how relentless he was when he coached his alma mater Florida.
He ran up the score with his high-powered offense, and he was always quick with a jab at his fellow coaches.
So almost every SEC program hates the man because he beat them regularly, and it looked like it didn’t take much effort.
There’s also the whole visor thing.
12. Mark May, Media
It seems most of the venom spewed at Mark May comes from Notre Dame fans.
Have you ever met an Irish fan who thinks May isn’t out to get their team?
Didn’t think so.
Now May just may be trying to balance the show since Lou Holtz is so in love with the Irish.
But it’s more than Notre Dame.
Ohio State, West Virginia, Penn State and so on all feel the same way about May.
11. Woody Hayes, Coach
Woody Hayes never backed down from a fight.
Whether it was with game officials, opposing coaches, beat writers, alumni or fans, Hayes was ready to defend his ways and his team.
His style and winning ways also made for many enemies who weren’t associated with Ohio State.
Of course, he didn’t help his image at the 1978 Gator Bowl when he punched Clemson’s Charlie Bauman.
10. Cam Newton, Player
With every win last season, it seemed the list of people who despised Cam Newton grew.
We all saw the signs at the road games—the ones that read, “$cam Newton.”
A lot of the hate comes from the fact many folks thought he’d be ruled ineligible by the NCAA after his father sought payment from Mississippi State for his son to transfer there.
Newton’s past transgressions at Florida didn’t help his cause much either.
For now, Newton and Auburn are the BCS champs, and he looks pretty happy knowing what he accomplished in 2010.
9. Paul “Bear” Bryant, Coach
SEC rivals hate Bear Bryant because he won a lot of games, which meant he beat their team more than he lost to them.
From 1971-1981, Bryant’s Alabama teams enjoyed 11 consecutive wins against Auburn, Tennessee and LSU.
Bryant’s legacy at Alabama grows each year. The fans wear his trademark houndstooth hat to games, and they have pictures of him up in their homes.
It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t respect Bryant, but outside of ‘Bama fans, most of them can’t stand the man—even in death.
8. Charlie Weis, Coach
From the day Charlie Weis was hired at Notre Dame he exuded an arrogance that just rubbed about everyone the wrong way.
Then he got the massive contract extension just seven games into his first season, and with it came a ton of money Notre Dame is still paying him.
His final three seasons in South Bend, Weis went 16-21, and he became a laughingstock of head coaches.
There were also those who were just plain mean, especially when it came to Weis’ weight.
Weis gets a second chance as the offensive coordinator at Florida. But if he’s successful, will anyone outside of Gator Nation change their opinion?
7. Urban Meyer, Coach
He may be on ESPN now, but Urban Meyer proved to be a very polarizing figure as the coach at Florida.
People also hate Meyer because he won a lot of games, including two BCS Championships with the Gators.
But there is also a sign of hypocrisy with Meyer. He says he retired from coaching to spend time with family and work on improving his health.
So how did he spend his spring? Working for ESPN and traveling the U.S.
6. Deion Sanders, Player
When Deion Sanders was shutting down receivers and high-stepping his way to a touchdown on a punt return, he liked to be called “Neon Deion.”
Many thought Sanders put style above substance. It doesn’t help that Sanders helped put together a rap video leading into the 1988 season, only to get trounced in the season opener to Miami.
In reality, Sanders was marketing himself, and it paid off in the long run.
He also worked hard and had so much natural ability that he became one of the best to ever play the game (if you don’t count tackling).
5. Nick Saban, Coach
Nick Saban is loved in Alabama.
(Okay, maybe there are a few Auburn fans who don’t feel this way.)
But if you don’t love the Crimson Tide, you probably don’t like Saban.
He’s bounced from job to job because there was a better offer on the table. He wins everywhere he’s coached, even though he only spent two years with Miami in the NFL.
Even NFL Hall of Fame coach Don Shula doesn’t think too highly of Saban. “‘It’s unbelievable. There were four or five statements that were blatant lies. That tells you a little bit about the guy,’ Shula said. ‘He has run away from the challenge.’”
As long as Saban is coaching, there will always be someone out there calling him Satan.
4. Lane Kiffin, Coach
Most people think Lane Kiffin was given the Tennessee job without the credentials to deserve it.
Then he trash talked his way through one SEC season, while committing numerous NCAA violations that the current Vols are paying for.
Of course, after pledging his affinity for Tennessee, he bolted as soon as USC came a-calling.
No matter what Kiffin does, most college fans will never warm up to him.
His wife, now that’s a different discussion.
3. Reggie Bush, Player
When Reggie Bush starred at USC and eventually won a Heisman Trophy, his detractors weren’t that noticeable.
Sure, the Pac-10 fans didn’t like him and neither did Notre Dame, who still hate him for the famous “Bush Push” game in South Bend in 2005.
But during his final year at USC, more and more rumors started floating about how he was breaking the rules and getting some financial help on the side.
As the only person to ever relinquish the Heisman Trophy, Bush remains a stain on the college game.
2. 1986 Miami Hurricanes, Team
While the 1986 Miami Hurricanes seem to be the one most fans point to as the one they loved to root against, you could say the same for any Miami team from about 1985 until the early 1990′s.
The 1986 team just had it all.
Miami was loaded with talented, but arrogant players like Michael Irvin, Bennie Blades, Brian Blades, Alonzo Highsmith and the camouflage ringleader himself, the late Jerome Brown.
They just ran roughshod over opponents, and they didn’t care who hated them. The Hurricanes actually thrived off the boo’s and yelling fans.
By the time Jimmy Johnson’s team made its way out to Arizona for the Fiesta Bowl against Penn State, fans all across the country just wanted to see them lose so they’d shut up.
The Nittany Lions pulled off the win, but only because the Canes beat themselves that game.
Sports Illustrated even called the 1986 team the most hated of all time.
1. Tim Tebow, Player
Tim Tebow has charisma and good looks. He won a Heisman and two BCS Championships.
He believes in God and does missionary work in Third World nations.
Everyone should love Tebow, right?
For some reason, he was one of the most polarizing figures in college football history.
People from all over the U.S. would call into radio shows and write blogs about their distaste for the former Florida quarterback.
Tebow had a lot going for him, and most of the people who hate him were probably just envious.
In fairness to Tebow, he had just as many people who loved him.
But the haters were vocal, and you couldn’t help but notice—unless you’re Tim Tebow. He never seemed to let it faze him.