5. Louisiana State: Many Auburn fans (self included) would contend that LSU has overtaken Georgia for #2 on Auburn's rivals list. The Tiger Bowl has been one of the closest yearly rivalries in college football over the past decade, and the winner of the game has represented the SEC West in the SEC Championship Game six out of the last nine years. The fact that LSU has stolen two gut-wrenching victories from my Tigers in the past two seasons makes the hatred even greater. Add in the fact that LSU fans are generally the worst and totally smell like corn dogs, and you have what makes LSU my fifth most hated team.
4. Florida State: If you had asked me to rank my least favorite teams about eight years ago, FSU would have ranked even higher. I always hated FSU because they played in a patsy league, won 10 or 11 games, made it to a high-profile bowl, then choked it away. The fact that the Seminoles have faded away has lessened my hatred for them a little bit, but I still root against them in almost any circumstance.
3. Ohio State: Consider them the FSU of the late-aughts. After winning* the BCS National Title in 2002 over Miami (asterisk for bogus pass interference call in OT), Ohio State has basically owned the Big 10 and choked in bowl games. They have played in and lost three straight BCS games (including two ass-whoopings by SEC teams). They have no problem beating up on the weak sauce that is the Big 10, but cannot compete with the better teams from other major conferences. Even after they've been destroyed in big games year after year, it seems like they're a top 5 team preseason every year. The love ESPN has for the Bucks makes them simply unbearable.
2. Oklahoma: Consider them Ohio State South. They won an ugly BCS National Championship game against Florida State in 2000 and have generally been the class of the Big 12 since. However, like their Buckeye counterparts, they continually choke in the big game. They aren't known as Choklahoma for nothing! The Sooners have played in five BCS games in the last six years and lost all five! And yet, like clockwork, they are a preseason top 5 team year after year after year. What separates the Sooners from the Buckeyes in my heart, though, is the OU team from 2004. To set the scene (Auburn fans may want to just go ahead and skip down to #1) Oklahoma was one of four undefeated teams at the end of the 2004 season, along with USC, Auburn and Utah. The year before had seen the greatest BCS controversy to that point: USC was ranked #1 in the polls but were left out of the BCS national championship game by the computers, which opted for LSU and OU instead. LSU beat the Sooners soundly (if not by a great margin) and USC stomped Michigan to leave the country with a split national championship. After getting jobbed in 2003, USC was a lock to make the title game; the real debate came down to OU vs. Auburn. OU was ranked #2 to start the season, and Auburn was ranked #15. Despite beating four top 10 teams in the season, Auburn could not push past the Sooners in the polls or computers. Oklahoma did not face nearly as difficult of a schedule as the Tigers. They promptly were humiliated by the Trojans in the Orange Bowl while Auburn had to "settle" for a Sugar Bowl victory over Virginia Tech. Oklahoma continues to get rated highly preseason despite getting stomped in bowl games year after year by their real competition. This enormous paragraph should describe just how much I hate this team. They would be a runaway #1 if it weren't for...
1. Alabama: Who else would it be? As someone who graduated from Auburn and lived in Alabama from age 5 to 23, there is no other team to hate. I would root for the Chicago Cubs over Alabama (and trust me, that's saying something). I'm not going to spend a bunch of sentences explaining this, as it should be pretty obvious. How about some pictures?
Now, for a very special bonus list, here's how I rank the SEC teams from most loved to most hated. I decided to do this since only two SEC teams made the above list, and you may be curious how Georgia didn't make the list. (Going there for graduate school may have softened me on the Dawgs)
2. Tennessee (grew up rooting for them, still have a soft spot...despite Lane Kiffin)
5. South Carolina
6. Mississippi State
11. Louisiana State
I don't think I'm going to get through the last nine SEC teams as far as game-by-game breakdowns go, so I'll probably just consolidate it into a giant post with every SEC game predicted by score. Have a nice week!