In the immortal words of Ric Flair, “I was really good at being a bad guy.”
That’s because it’s fun being bad. Sure, history rightfully remembers the heroes and leaders that define generations. But frankly, it’s the villains who keep things interesting, and they definitely bring that special sauce to college football’s best rivalries. Watching the bad guy win brings two emotions: sheer joy (if you’re wearing the right colors) or utter misery, which keeps us crawling back for more.
I set out to find who the biggest and baddest villains in college football really are. Combining social media polls from our FanBuzz audience with successes of programs in every state, a list of 49 teams (looking at you, Alaska) filled up our map of the most hated (and feared) teams in college football.
No level of the collegiate game was left out. FBS teams down through the NCAA’s FCS, Division II and Division III were eligible for this list — If you strap on a helmet and cross that white line, you’re a villain in somebody’s eyes.
Here is our college football map of the best villains across the United States:
College Football’s Best Villains Map
Alabama — The Alabama Crimson Tide were among our fans’ most-hated team. No surprise that many of them were from Auburn.
Alaska — There’s no college football team in The Last Frontier, but the Abominable Snowmonster of the North should fear everyone. (Except Yukon Cornelius, of course.)
Arizona — ASU. Party school. Sun Devils. You either love ’em or you hate ’em.
Arkansas — Central Arkansas won the Southland Conference two of the last three seasons, including an undefeated, outright title in 2017. Five appearances in the FCS Playoffs last decade. (Woooo, pig who-ie?)
California — The golden boys of the West Coast. The USC Trojans are college football royalty, and everyone loves seeing them lose.
Colorado — The Centennial State isn’t a hotbed of football talent, but the Colorado-Colorado State rivalry is completely one-sided (67-22-2 in favor of the Buffs as of 2019).
Connecticut — The Yale Bulldogs haven’t won a national title since 1927, but that doesn’t matter. This Ivy League power owns the most NCAA championships of any school with 18.
Delaware — Wesley College went 103-23 last decade, advancing to the Division III quarterfinals six times and semifinals three of those years. The Wolverines are feared in Delaware.
Florida — No school is more polarizing than the University of Miami Hurricanes. At least we found something the Florida Gators and Florida State Seminoles can agree on…
Georgia — You’re either with them or against them, but the Georgia Bulldogs only know one thing: winning.
Hawaii — I love the Rainbow Warriors, but then again, that offense constantly gives mainlanders fits before they return to the islands.
Idaho — Blue turf will always be Oklahomans’ biggest nightmare. Good luck catching the Boise State Broncos anytime soon in the Mountain West Conference.
Illinois — Seven Mid-American Conference West division titles in 10 years. NIU Huskies QB Jordan Lynch crashed the 2013 Heisman Trophy ceremony, finishing third. Bowl games aren’t their strong suit (six-straight losses since 2012), but Illinois bleeds red and black.
Indiana — No school received more votes in our polling than the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. What do you expect with Touchdown Jesus on their side?
Iowa — If you think the Iowa Hawkeyes and “The Wave” could ever be villains, guess again. Matt Campbell’s Iowa State Cyclones are a sleeping giant in the Big 12 Conference.
Kansas — Winning 22 of the last 26 Governor’s Cup trophies makes this one a no-brainer. While the Jayhawks are definitely disliked, it’s the Kansas State Wildcats’ royal purple and silver that college football fans fear most.
Kentucky — Whether it’s basketball or football, when the Kentucky Wildcats enter a hostile environment, there’s only one thing the host team has on its mind: pain.
Louisiana — The LSU Tigers went undefeated en route to a College Football Playoff national title. Even before that, dishing LSU losses is music to all ears in SEC Country.
Maine — From 2014-18, the Husson Eagles went 32-1 in conference play before moving to the Commonwealth Coast Conference in 2019. They’re one of NCAA Division III’s toughest.
Maryland — Pretty sure the Terrapins only received votes because no one outside the state understands what’s going on with their uniforms.
Massachusetts — The Harvard Crimson boast more brain than brawn, making yet another Ivy League school you either love or hate.
Michigan — Jim Harbaugh eats his boogers. End of story.
Minnesota — The St. Thomas Tommies are so good at football that was too dominant in D-III football that they were kicked out of the conference. Seriously. They’re trying to jump to Division I’s Summit League, pending NCAA approval.
Mississippi — The Grove isn’t the fanciest “tailgate” in college football, but don’t tell that to Ole Miss fans. No wonder SEC opponents love beating on the Rebels.
Missouri — When Mel Tjeerdsma took over in 1994, Northwest Missouri State went 0-11. When he left after the 2010 season, the Bearcats had won three Division II national championships in seven appearances. Starting in 2011, they ran off a 62-5 record and three undefeated national title seasons in a six-year run. They’re still dominant under Rich Wright in 2020. Juggernaut.
Montana — There’s nothing but sky and Montana Grizzlies football here. Anyone ever actually been to Montana?
Nebraska — Tom Osborne built the Nebraska Cornhuskers into a national powerhouse. Since then, not so much. That doesn’t stop Nebraskans from thinking they’re serious contenders year after year.
Nevada — UNLV made a push here, but the Nevada Wolfpack take the cake out in Reno.
New Hampshire — When you think of New Hampshire, football doesn’t come to mind. However, the Wildcats reached the FCS playoffs 14-straight seasons from 2004-17. Not too shabby.
New Jersey — Rutgers. LOL.
New Mexico — Once again, not a state synonymous with football glory. The Lobos at least dominate the Rio Grande Rivalry against New Mexico State.
New York — This was a toss-up with Syracuse, but I overrode and picked the Cornell Big Red for one reason: Andy “Boner Champ” Bernard.
North Carolina — Appalachian State runs N.C. until further notice.
North Dakota — Eight of the last nine FCS National Championships reside in Fargo. The North Dakota State Bison are the scariest villains in the country, and it’s not even close.
Ohio — My personal villain (as well as everyone in Big Ten country) are the Ohio State Buckeyes. I’d bet plenty more states agree with this one, too.
Oklahoma — Heisman Trophies. Boomer Sooner. Lincoln Riley’s inability to win the big game. OU ranks pretty high up there.
Oregon — With their 9,000 Nike jerseys and pop-up Porta Potty, the Oregon Ducks are the envy of everyone in the Pacific Time Zone. And honestly, most of the other time zones.
Pennsylvania — From Joe Paterno to James Franklin, hating the Penn State Nittany Lions is easier than Sunday morning.
Rhode Island — I gave up on this one. Sorry, Brown.
South Carolina — “Little old Clemson” and Dabo Swinney are the nicest bullies in the country. Having said that, hoping the Tigers lose is on everyone’s mind all season long.
South Dakota — NDSU’s fiercest rival is the South Dakota State Jackrabbits. I’m not sure if they’re more hero than villain in that context, but one team has to rule The Mount Rushmore State.
Tennessee — The Volunteers. Next.
Texas — Burnt orange and overvalued football coaches. No offense to Baylor, SMU, Texas A&M or Texas Tech, but they’ll never compare to the Texas Longhorns.
Utah — The Utah Utes claimed a national championship during the 2008 season from the Anderson/Hester (Seattle Times) poll, which is the only time that ranking is recognized in the NCAA record book. They are hands down a villain for that one.
Vermont — Once again, not a football hotbed. At least Middlebury College went undefeated (9-0) in 2019 en route to an NESCAC conference title. They were the only Division III team in America to finish with a perfect mark. Talk about having a target on your back.
Virginia — There’s no cooler entrance in college football than when “Enter Sandman” plays in Blacksburg. Then again, there’s no better feeling than silencing the Virginia Tech Hokies in their own house.
Washington — Red turf? Dumb. The Eastern Washington Eagles are the Scooby Doo bad guys of this list.
West Virginia — There might be some Mountaineer alumni who don’t even like WVU.
Wisconsin — The Badgers have Jump Around, but the Wisconsin-Whitewater Warhawks has something better: national titles. From 2005-19, they appeared in 10 of 15 Division III title games, winning six national championships in the process. Dynasty.
Wyoming — Anyone know another football team in Wyoming? Don’t worry. I’ll wait.
Have a case for another CFB villain in your state? Let us know!
This post was originally published on May 13, 2020.