It is fairly easy to get behind one’s favorite team when times are good. For the majority of the Southeastern Conference, the times are fantastic at the moment. The SEC champion always plays for (and in the last seven years, won) the national championship and more often than not a second team is sent to a BCS bowl as an at-large invitee.
However, when programs are struggling, fan loyalty understandably wanes. It is simply hard, as a fan, to block off four hours on a Saturday just to watch one’s favorite team get pummeled by rivals and unknowns alike.
And that is what makes the undying loyalty of the everyday Auburn fan all the more impressive. The Tigers suffered through a 3-8 season, failing to win a single SEC game, but fans still came out in droves every Saturday, still wore their merchandise each and every game day, and still followed their program’s headlines throughout each week.
Thus, Discover Card has named War Eagle Nation the country’s most loyal and supportive fan base.
Overall, the company ranked the SEC tops amongst all conferences in terms of fan loyalty. However, on the individual level, the Big Ten held its own quite well.
This according to their survey of fans across the country, aided by the folks at Rasmussen Reports:
- SEC fans told researchers that they found it “somewhat or very important” to watch their favorite team play each week, beating out fans of independent teams and members of the Big 12.
- SEC fans also said they follow their teams closely, even during bad seasons.
- Friends and family members know who SEC fans’ favorite teams are, with Big Ten fans coming in second.
- While Big Ten and ACC team supporters love to wear school colors, SEC fans told researchers that they wear team apparel and other items more than any other group of college football fans in the country.
As for the top five fan bases, despite the SEC’s overall dominance, Auburn is the only school to make the list, whereas three Big Ten powers earned a spot.
- West Virginia