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The Fan Misery Index: Rivalry Week Carnage Edition

Rivalries are extremely good and extremely bad for fans, which is extremely good.

NCAA Football: Outback Bowl-Michigan vs South Carolina Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to the Fan Misery Index, which devours 70% of its dark, terrible sustenance on rivalry week.

If you are unfamiliar with the rules of the FMI you can find them here and here.

Rivalries are what makes college football great. They matter more to the players and more to the fans than any other game of the season. It stands to reason that the wins taste sweeter and the losses rankle even more than usual. The rules were written with this in mind, and a lot of movement was expected this week.

Still, I was somehow unprepared for the sheer volume of carnage. When I lived in Houston I went to Feast With The Beasts, an evening event held at the Houston Zoo where you could sample fares from all of the top restaurants in town while watching them feed the predators. At first it was awesome getting drunk and yelling at the cheetahs while they chased a side of beef on a rope. Then later you’re watching the Komodo dragon slowly gnaw on a raw goat and you start to feel a little queasy. But then later still you go grab some Brazilian barbecue and laugh about how fucked up that all was. This weekend was like that.

All of that was before I even accounted for the bowl eligibility rule.

Eighteen teams moved two levels this week. Four teams moved three levels. Both of these numbers would be higher if some of the teams hadn’t already been at the top or bottom of the index to start with. The Ninth Circle now has ten teams in it.

Let’s take a look at the big board.


  • Listen, no one enjoys watching Ohio State lose more than me. If they’re gonna win, though, I prefer they do it in the most spirit-crushing way possible. The Wolverines had spent seven straight weeks growing complacent in the First Circle, fat and sedentary on their laurels. Then their rival (ranked lower than them, mind you) showed up and beat them like a rented mule and now Michigan is probably going to finish the season in the Fourth Circle with their other rival Sparty. They’ll spend championship week arguing whether you should refer to it as “Frankenstein’s monster”.
  • In terms of the FMI, the Egg Bowl was poetry. The Mississippi State Bulldogs handed Ole Miss their fifth loss in a row to the tune of 32 points to a rival. That triple hit elbow-dropped the Rebels directly from the Sixth Circle to the Ninth, while the Dawgs got more than enough boost to jump up to the First Circle. As far as the FMI is concerned this is the most flawless way to finish a season.
  • A NOTE ON A&M-LSU: The superlatives and hyperbole can be found in myriad other posts littering the internet. Here at the FMI, the fact of the matter is that A&M’s double-jump and LSU’s single drop are, honestly, a bit pedestrian this week. I established in the comments last week that based on comically unscientific methods I would not count the results of this game as a rivalry for purposes of the FMI rules, and I have stuck by that in my rankings this week. That said, the overwhelming number of Tiger fans demanding that the SEC fire everyone and that LSU leave the SEC, combined with a crazy story about Jimbo Fisher’s (cousin/nephew/genetic clone/assistant) (falling on/getting pushed into/punching directly in the pacemaker) (Kevin Faulk/Steve Kragthorpe/a series of nuns) has given me a feeling, right there in my gut. In 2019 the Fan Misery Index will officially recognize Texas A&M vs. LSU as a rivalry. I guess all I really needed was to see some pissed of cajuns.


Some additional stats this week, for those who enjoy such things.

Here are the final regular season average misery rankings for each conference:

  • SEC 3.79
  • Big XII 4.00
  • Pac 12 4.17
  • B1G 4.36
  • ACC 4.43
  • Independent 5.33

This week saw 74 (!!!) level jumps. This is more than double the weekly average of 33.3 level jumps. The previous high was 46 level jumps in Week 3.

The Fan Misery Index is something I’ve meant to do for some time now, and I’m really happy to have finally put it together this year. There will still be a couple more posts - yes, Texas OU gets rivalry consideration even if it’s the second time they’ve played and we have bowl week coming up and the playoffs. Still, I just wanted to thank everyone for reading this because I’ve had a great time writing it. This was my favorite thing I’ve done on GBH in quite some time, and the fan interaction has made it so much more interesting and given me a lot of perspective for next year. Y’all are the best.