Monday, February 13

Favorite Teams Galore

To piggyback on Andy's piece of NFL Hate Rankings!, I thought I would take it a step further and break down my favorite teams, encompassing all sports. This was a fun little way to spend Saturday afternoon while I watched some college basketball, and it took me quite some time. It's difficult to think about how you feel about certain teams in different sports, so I'll quickly break down my process so you can get an idea of what I was thinking. First, some ground rules.

1) No NHL.
I have absolutely nothing against hockey, and I will check in on the playoffs here and there, but I just simply don't follow the sport enough to have included it. If I did, teams such as the Pens, Sabres and Flyers would have ranked higher than some of the lower teams on my list, but I just don't consider the NHL to be one of my sports.

2) I split college teams into NCAA Football and NCAA Basketball.
I considered just listing each University as one entry, but when I thought about it I have very different opinions on most school's gridiron and hardwood squads. Other than Ohio St, Pitt and West Virginia were the only schools to have both sports represented, while I have several schools with just one sport.

3) The list reflects my currents thoughts.
These rankings are how I currently view each franchise/program. While fondness from childhood teams/players may certainly still affect my current opinions, the list is how I see them at present.

Keeping in mind those rules, what I did was ranked every team from each of the three major sports as well as my top 25 in each NCAA sport. This was the difficult part. From there it was pretty simple - just a matter of picking from the five teams topping each list. Comparing NCAA Basketball squads with MLB teams isn't easy, but the easiest way to describe my thought process was if Team A from this sport was in the playoffs against a team not on the list, would I be cheering more for them than I would for Team B from a different sport in the same situation. Of course, it didn't always work out that way, but I tried to use that as a basis. (And had to assume it would be possible for a college football team to be in that situation. Damn you, BCS.)

After picking my top teams, my reasons for the rest may seem pretty random, and in fact many of them are. My way of thinking runs the gamut from liking certain older/current players to my friends' favorite teams. I find that if I watch a lot of games of a certain team with a friend/significant other who is rooting for that team, I kind of start to as well (unless they like a stupid team, like the Lakers). I'll usually provide a brief reasoning for each of my choices, but sometimes I'll just make an irrelevant comment because this is my piece and I'll do what I want.

I'll get the ball rolling by looking at the opposite end of the spectrum, my most hated teams across all sports. I bet you'll never guess who's #1.

10) USC Football
They just fended off Miami football at this spot, surpassing them recently by ending Ohio St's seasons in back-to-back years before they barely began. Not to mention I'd take Miami's coke habits and promiscuity over SoCal's surfing, champagne-popping and tip-frosting, brah.

9) Iowa Football
My hatred really was founded when Ohio St won the title in '02 and didn't play Kirk Ferentz's bunch, who had a great year, and everyone in the media was screaming about how Iowa would have beaten us. No, no they wouldn't have. Did anyone watch that season? Clearly OSU would have won in triple OT on a sixty-yard Nugent field goal.

8) Florida Football
I never liked Steve Spurrier, and obviously my hatred peaked after the 2007 National Title game. My hatred for them has died down since, mainly because my most hated Gator (Tim Tebow) recently knocked off a team much higher on this list.

7) michigan basketball
Never really had anything against any of their coaches or players, other than the fact that they decided to attend that shit hole. Chris Webber's timeout is still one of my favorite moments in sports history.

6) Baltimore Ravens
They stole our team, they should be higher, right? While I certainly haven't forgiven them for that, it has been over 15 years. Also, I often end up rooting for them late in the season in order to hurt that other team.

5) New York Yankees

4) Boston Red Sox
The Sox and Yanks are basically 4 and 4a, but Boston gets the slight nod because they always did the same thing as NY, just weren't as good at it then complained about "The Evil Empire." That bothered me. I also hate their players much more than New York's.

3) Miami Heat
I originally had this team ranked 7th, then continued to move them up as I wrote this. I kept thinking about the Yankees and Red Sox winning the World Series, and sure, I was mad, but I didn't lose sleep over it. I would HATE to see #6 hoisting the trophy. Let's hope we never have to.

2) Pittsburgh Steelers
Living in the midst of "stiller country," I despise many of the fans just as much as the team. And I really dislike this team.

michigan football
You'll notice I left off the number next to their name, because they don't ever deserve to have that number preceding their name. My hatred for that school up north has been well documented on this blog, and I could go on forever about what is wrong with those dick bags, but they don't deserve my time. But I will say that ann arbor is still a whore.

Now, without further ado...

50) Ohio Football
I wanted to give some love to Ohio brethren, and I really dig the Bobcats' green and white unis.

49) Syracuse Football
This dates back to the days of the Donovan McNabb to Kevin Johnson/Quinton Spotwood connection. I really hated Miami back then and the 'Cuse were their toughest opponents, although could never surpass them as top dog of the Big East.

48) Colorado Rockies
If the Tribe wouldn't have choked away the Boston series in '07, it would have been us sweeping the Rockies.

47) New York Knicks
May seem like an odd choice, but I always really liked Carmelo in Denver and Amaré in Phoenix. I don't care much for the NBA, and they were pretty high on my list.

46) Notre Dame Basketball
I've always sort of disliked the Irish in football, but for some reason semi-followed their basketball program. I really like the way the Big East plays ball, always a lot of exciting games. I could have easily replaced ND with Villanova or Marquette here.

45) Georgia Tech Football
Love watching the triple option.

44) Atlanta Braves
I really have no way to justify this. I just typically root for them.

43) Kansas Basketball
I loved the team in the mid-90's with Paul Pierce, Raef LaFrentz, and Jacque Vaughn. My interest in them fell off over the years, but was rejuvenated this season when I heard the touching story of star big man Thomas Robinson. That article is pretty long, but if you haven't heard about it the gist of it is his parents tragically died in separate incidents in a short period of time, and he began raising his younger sister. She's currently living with someone else while he plays ball, but they talk every day and he wants to gain custody of her once he hits the pros. What can I say, I'm a sucker for a good sob story.

42) Duquesne Basketball
My good friend played soccer for the Dukes, and I was visiting him a few years ago when the bball team made a run in the Atlantic 10 tourney, only to fall short in the finals to Dayton.

41) Georgia Football
See "44."

40) Kent St Football
Another team repping the Buckeye State. They slip ahead of Ohio due to being the alma mater of Josh Cribbs.

39) Oakland Raiders
They have the best uniforms and most bad ass fans in pro sports.

38) Northwestern Football
One of very few Big Ten teams I don't hate in football. They always seem to be trying hard.

37) Oklahoma City Thunder
I love me some Kevin Durant.

36) Marshall Football
I loved watching these teams when they first joined Division I and were really competitive. This is where I fell in love with Randy Moss. Their all-green unis with the white helmets are stellar.

35) Cincinnati Reds
MLB wants us to believe this is Cleveland's "rival," but we all know that's a joke. A fellow small market team with little success from Ohio. Respect.

34) Los Angeles Clippers
I can feel for a franchise that has never been successful. They never would have sniffed this list until this year though, because Chris Paul and Blake Griffin make them the most exciting team to watch in the NBA.

33) Indiana Basketball
As you'll see as I go on, I have very different feelings towards fellow Big Ten teams when it comes to football and basketball. In football, where one loss could cost you the conference and a BCS Bowl, everyone is your enemy. In basketball, I always find myself rooting for other Big Ten teams to make/go far in the Big Dance. The Hoosiers' win over Kentucky this year was the most exciting game of the season. Plus, who didn't love Bobby Knight?

32) St Louis Rams
Loved watching "The Greatest Show On Turf." Now they've got James Laurinaitis terrorizing opponents back there.

31) Pittsburgh Pirates
"To be honest, we all just felt bad for her. After awhile, kinda felt bad for the horse."

30) Detroit Lions
Another miserable franchise that's easy to get behind. Barry Sanders was unstoppable in Super Tecmo Bowl.

29) Clemson Football
Chansi Stuckey!

28) Seattle Mariners
Ken Griffey was my favorite player to ever play the game of baseball. Although he's long gone, the M's will always find a place in my sports heart.

27) Green Bay Packers
12-year-old Figgs is giving me a swift kick in the nuts right now. When I was growing up and the Vikings were my team, I loathed Green Bay. Probably to the extent that I hate Pittsburgh today. Since then, I stopped following Minnesota, watched Brett Favre (the evil leader) leave the team and become hated by much of the fan base, cheered on the Pack to a Super Bowl victory of the Steelers, and fell in love with Aaron Rodgers. Really, this team should be a lot higher, but I still feel a kick from that little guy every once in awhile.

26) West Virginia Football
Several of my friends went/go to school at WVU, and there was a point a couple of years ago when a roommate of mine was dating someone from there and we were down there all the time. They have a great fan base and it's impossible not to get sucked in when watching games with a large group of them.

25) Wake Forest Basketball
Watching Tim Duncan (one of my all-time faves) take Wake to the Final Four in '95 is one of my first sports memories.

24) Indianapolis Colts
Watching Peyton Manning play football elicits a similar response in me as some would to watching Picasso paint. I suppose they'll drop signigicantly on this list once he leaves.

23) West Virginia Basketball
Same reasons at #26 + Kevin Pittsnogle.

22) Milwaukee Brewers
Life-long goal #14 - Slide down the slide in Miller Park.

21) Buffalo Bills
Most similar team to the Browns, with a little more success. No Super Bowls, great fans, lots of snow.

20) Purdue Basketball
Remember Gene Keady's hair?

19) Philadelphia Eagles
It started by loving Randall Cunningham in the '90s, then in the 2000s McNabb was always one of my favorites as well. There was a point a few years ago when I really disliked all the other league's top teams (other than Indy) and really got behind Philly. Plus their fans are total assholes, in a fun way.

18) Illinois Basketball
I think I have them as the highest of the Big Ten bball schools because, even though I tried to think of the two sports as separate entities, my football bias comes in and I dislike the Illini the least in football out of the basketball teams I considered.

17) Tampa Bay Rays
This may be a little high for them, but I wanted to give baseball some love, and this is the highest team not located in the Forest City. I like that they are able to consistently be competitive without a ton of money. It doesn't hurt that I am constantly rooting for them since they're the best chance that Boston and New York don't both make the playoffs every year.

16) Minnesota Vikings
Growing up, I cheered for the Browns but actually liked the Vikes slightly more. I don't know why, I just wanted to change it up a bit I guess. Blame it on the fact that I was eight and didn't know any better. Either way, I loved watching the Purple and Gold and when they lost in overtime to a far inferior Atlanta team in the '98 NFC title game I was just as devastated as I was with any of the many Cleveland heartbreaks. To this day, Cris Carter, Randy Moss, Randall Cunningham, John Randle, Robert Smith and Daunte Culpepper can all be found near the top of my favorite all-time players. When the Browns came back in '99 I forgot about the Vikings and went all in with Cleveland. That's worked out real well for me so far.

15) New Orleans Saints
Sean Payton's offense is so fun to watch. It's good to see such a sorry franchise finally enjoying some success.

14) Atlanta Falcons
I've always liked the ATL going back to the days of Deion Sanders, Andre Rison, and Terrance Mathis. For some reason, of all the teams that I liked because of certain players when I first got into sports, the Falcons were the only one (other than #8) that I really stuck with.

13) Pitt Football
Being so close to Pitt, I've always had a slight rooting interest in them. Then I dated a girl that went to school there for two years while I was in college and I really got into them. I attended several games while watching dozens more there, and actually own some Panther paraphernalia. The fact that they play their home games in Heinz Field keeps them out of the Top 10.

12) Cleveland St Basketball
Now I don't follow the Vikings as much as I do the other teams on this list, due to the fact that they are a mid-major who's rarely on TV and usually doesn't qualify for the NCAA Tournament. But going by my criteria, if they were to get into the Madness of March, I would be cheering for them like crazy. I mean, c'mon, they have the word "Cleveland" in their freaking name!

11) Tennessee Titans
Eddie fucking George.

10) Philadelphia 76ers
I loved Evan Turner so much as a Buckeye that I followed him right into the NBA. While he's only in his second year and hasn't really made a dent in the league (yet), I've still really gotten into the Sixers these past two seasons.

9) Penn St Football
My dad and brother have always been fans of the Nittany Lions, so I have grown up with them as the team of my household. Thankfully, I decided at a very young age to buck the trend and support Ohio St (I seriously didn't even realize I did that until I reread it). But still, I watch PSU with these two as well as a friend who is also a Lion fan nearly every Saturday, and as long as it doesn't affect the Buckeyes, root for the Blue and White along with them.

8) San Antonio Spurs
David Robinson is my favorite all-time NBAer, with Tim Duncan a close second. It probably has a lot to do with the fact that I just enjoyed the NBA altogether more back then than I do now, but when they were going for titles in the late-90s, early-2000s, I was more into them than I was the LeBron-era Cavs.

7) Pitt Basketball
I explained my Pitt allegiance in #13, but the basketball team was always better and more fun to watch than their football counterparts, plus they don't share a field with the stupid Steelers. The Peterson Event Center is a fantastic building, which I've experienced many times in their workout gym and eateries even though I haven't had the privilege to watch a game in The Zoo.

6) Duke Basketball
Like Penn St in football, Duke is my dad and brother's team that I have followed along with them. But unlike football, it took me a lot longer to leave them for Ohio St. I always watched OSU hoops, but it wasn't until the Terence Dials team of 2005 that I officially flipped to the Bucks. When I made that switch, Duke never fell very far. I was still freaking out when Austin Rivers hit that three to beat North Carolina last week.

5) Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavs are way ahead of all the teams behind them, but just as far behind all of the teams ahead of them. I just really can't get into the NBA regular season much any more, and (until they can make another playoff run) therefore the Cavs.

4) Ohio St Basketball
I mentioned how I really started following Buckeye basketball hardcore back in '05, and it has increased exponentially each season since. From the Greg Oden/Mike Conley squad that went to the Championship in '07, to the Jamar Butler-led team that won the NIT in '08, to the great Evan Turner, to the current Top 5 team, I have been putting almost as much into OSU hoops as I do football.

3) Cleveland Indians
It has been a few years since the Indians have been competitive, but nothing compares to that beginning of spring when each year I get a terrible case of Tribe Fever. Watching those '90s teams win division title after division title can't be put into words. Just talking about this is getting me stoked for Spring Training.

2) Cleveland Browns
Ughh, it's been a pretty miserable ride, but I'm not getting off anytime soon.

1) Ohio St Football
Considering the fact that I narrowly like watching college football better than NFL paired with Ohio St being infinitely more successful than the Browns, the Buckeyes take the #1 spot by a landslide. I can't wait to see Urban Meyer and Braxton Miller holding up the crystal football in 2013.


The representatives from each sport look like this...
CFB - 13, NFL - 12, CBB - 11, MLB - 8, NBA - 6

This makes perfect sense, as that's the exact depiction of how much I like each sport. I love baseball, but it's mostly just the Tribe. I'm not too interested in other games where the outcome does not affect Cleveland. The top five was super easy, and they are set in stone in that order as far as I can tell. 6-10 was also easy to pick, as they are really the only five of my non-favorite teams that I really follow. I had some fun selecting the rest of the list.

1 comment:

Andy said...

Like I wasn't going to comment on this. I'll leave everything out of this comment that I'm including in my forthcoming work on this subject. No organization to these thoughts, just in the order they appear in your piece:

- The FLYERS? We need to have a talk, son.

- Enjoyed the Lakers dig. I hope Dave reads this blog.

- TOTALLY agree on your 4a/4b and reasoning.

- I'm down with your Top 3 hated. For me it's those three, then everyone else. A michigan-loving friend of mine (you'll meet him in April) seemed bewildered by your hatred of um. He must not have seen can't-tie on hoops pregame today. That same night we guessed "Carrie Ann Arbor" at trivia for someone who is apparently named "Carrie Ann Inaba" who I'd never heard of. The moral: michigan is ALWAYS the wrong answer.

- The Rox? I dunno, with their moon stadium and purple unis, they reek of tackiness.

- I'd go for Marquette over ND or Nova (who has killed Pitt in recent years). I never root for a catholic school over a secular one!

- The Braves? I hate them because they were always on TBS. Who wants to see the Braves?

- Duquesne, nice. I dated a Duke (Duchess?) tennis player for some time.

- The Raiders are pretty cool.

- I dig the 'Cats too - they're competitive even though consistently outmanned.

- The Clips?

- Am I the only one who transposes Wake Forest to be "Fake Whorest"?

- When I lived in Albany, Pittsnogle was on the Patroons (along with Jamario Moon). I saw him and a bunch of the Patroons at the mall there one time, and let me tell you: it is not difficult to spot a professional basketball team at a shopping mall.

- We will never see the likes of Keady's comb-over again.

- Eddie George hasn't been on the Titties for years - shouldn't they slide down the list some?

- The Pete is a tremendous place to watch a ballgame.

- Go Bucks!