Survey Reveals the Worst Behaved NCAA Football Fans

Written By PlayMichigan Staff on December 7, 2021 - Last Updated on December 10, 2021

There’s nothing wrong with getting a little rowdy and some trash talk during NCAA football games, but some college football fans cross the line. 

From cursing in the stands to throwing garbage on the field, these football fans top our list for worst behavior in the NCAA.

And some of those fans — the of-age ones, of course — haven’t even been exposed to legal sports betting just yet.

To determine the rowdiest fans, we surveyed more than 2,000 NCAA football fans across the country and asked them to rate the behavior of every fan base in each of the Power Five conferences (SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and ACC) along with independent teams. 

Worst Behaved College Football Fans 2021

So, how are these fans engaging in unsportsmanlike conduct? Most fans suffer from a superiority complex, while others drink too much, use foul language or trash their stadium.

Roll Tide? More like roll it back. According to respondents, Alabama fans might need to calm down because they’re the No. 1 worst-behaved football fans in the NCAA — and the most arrogant, according to our survey. 

Following in the No. 2 spot is THE Ohio State University. Buckeyes have a tendency to yell at other fans (and flip a car or two), which is probably why fans ranked them high on our list. (And you’re certainly not going to hear any tears for this ranking from within the state of Michigan.)

LSU Tigers fans are a loud bunch, too, nabbing the third spot with their heckling. It’s not too surprising, given their reputation for hardcore tailgating and pelting rivals with Mardi Gras beads. 

Tennessee fans take trash talk to another level. The Volunteers came in fourth, with their bad habit of throwing trash onto the field when things don’t go their way.

But when it comes to getting trashed, that honor goes to the University of Florida. Gators fans ranked No. 5 on the worst-behaved list for their boozy antics. Florida, man.

And we’re not just picking on fan bases from other states, either. As you can see, both state-of-Michigan Power Five schools proudly(?) bust their way into the top 20. The reigning Big Ten Conference champion Wolverines are seventh, while Michigan State lingers in the No. 18 position.

Most Arrogant NCAA Football Fans

We also ranked the top five most arrogant fan bases in the NCAA. Notre Dame fans are the No. 2 most arrogant behind the Crimson Tide, which may come as little surprise to those who see the Fighting Irish believing their team is the be-all, end-all in college football. 

And apparently the hatred for all things Duke goes beyond the basketball court, as Blue Devils football fans wound up third on the most arrogant list.  The Auburn Tigers followed closely in fourth place. We’ll borrow some southern gentility and just say that at least they’re not Alabama fans.

Rounding out the top five is Michigan State. We’ll admit it’s a little funny when Spartans fans call their rivals the “Walmart Wolverines.” And of course, they’ve been known to get a little riotous of late, too.

Top 5 Most Arrogant Fan Bases

Most Arrogant NCAA Football Fans 2021

On our conference list, the SEC ranked No. 1 as the most arrogant in the NCAA, just ahead of the Big Ten. 

Worst Behaved NCAA Football Conferences

Worst Behaved NCAA Football Conferences 2021

Elsewhere, fans in the Big 12 Conference might need a bar of soap for their mouths as they use the foulest language, according to respondents. Of course, they do have their much-maligned group of officials to be dealing with.

And out west, they’re just here to party. Pac-12 fans get too drunk during games, per this survey.

Methodology for these rankings

To determine our rankings, we surveyed more than 2,000 NCAA football fans across the country to ask them to rate the behavior of every fan base in the Power Five conferences (SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and ACC), as well as independent teams. Among respondents, 50% were male and 50% were female with an average age of 30. 

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Photo by Wade Payne/AP
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