A word on Out of Conference Play

In the wake of the Oregon State – Boise State game…

Periodically you’ll see debates about the value of supporting your conference rivals when they play outside the conference. Worthies such as Paragon SC over at Conquest Chronicles tend to take this view, and I can certainly respect that.


I subscribe to a view from the old BBC sitcom “Yes Minister,” — in victory, revenge; in defeat, malice. To put it another way, you won’t catch me cheering for rivals from the Pac-10; you might catch me cheering on one or two teams, but that’s about it.

Here’s a quick break-down:

Will cheer:

  1. Oregon. Partly the family link, partly out of sympathy for the uniform and the mascot.
  2. Washington State. Plucky but doomed, of late, and frankly if they’re willing to take on the rest of the Pac-10 from Pullman, well god-luv-em, I’ll give them a round of applause for valiant efforts.

Won’t cheer:

  1. Washington: Bow down, my ass.
  2. Oregon State: look out for them movin’ stairs, kids!
  3. Cal: no hard feelings here, but they were on an upward swing for a while, that makes them un-cheerable. Plus, that ad last season implying that there was some Venn overlap between the football team and the Nobel Laureates was just laughable.
  4. Stanford: they get points for playing with actual student athletes, but no-one really likes the chubby smart kid with all the answers. Believe me, I was that kid, and my self-loathing is something to behold!
  5. Arizona State: Dear Sparky in Tempe, just give up, you have talented players but a culture of choke; and you’re in the wrong area of the state
  6. Arizona: nothing against, but no reason to cheer for them either.
  7. UCLA: well this should be obvious. Nice campus, great library that I used to use a great deal, and — though some would rather die than admit — a student body not unlike USC’s, though with perhaps a slightly greater diversity. However, just because I don’t hate them doesn’t mean that I would ever support them in football. It’s a bit like Rangers and Celtic; I don’t care for crazed Protestant Unionists and I don’t hate Catholics, but I would never actually support Celtic.

Speaking of Catholics, there’s the ultimate test of OOC supporting this season for USC when UCLA plays Notre Dame. Really, there are no winners with that kind of contest, except perhaps the guys who review the game film at USC.

Besides, everyone outside the Pac-10 thinks that it sucks, so what’s the point of showing any solidarity? No-one’s mind is going to be changed, regardless of what kind of spankings that they take.


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