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Fan Misery Ladder 19.2: The Pac Delivers

For a minute there I was worried that everything was fine.

NCAA Football: Arizona State at Stanford Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to the Fan Misery Ladder, where we have recommended against playing Colorado in September for years now.

Fan Misery Ladder 19.0: Pre-Season
Fan Misery Ladder 19.1: Rocky Bottom

This week was full of a lot of promised misery with no payoff. The Aggies flirted with a 21 point loss but then screwed around and covered the spread. The eyes of Texas were upon an upset of LSU but they couldn’t close the deal. For a while it looked like nothing of note for the FML. Then #Pac12AfterDark delivered us a discrete package full of recreational schadenfreude.

Fully 40% of the movement in the FML this week took place in the Pac 12. Only three teams from the Pac are still sitting at Level 3 while the rest of their peers are going supernova and making for the exits. We even have an unexpected new team leading the charge to the bottom in fun and interesting ways. Thank you, Pac, for making an otherwise dull week an exercise in running over your neighbor with a dockless scooter.


  • Last week’s board was bullshit and we all know it. Tennessee deserved a drop for the turd they dropped on Neyland, and they shall have it. Henceforth, losing to an unranked G5 team will constitute a one level drop on the FML. We shall refer to this rule as The Voluntierdrop, and it has been applied retroactively to the season and dropped several teams.
  • The FBS Independents are a group of slovenly ronin wandering the countryside, and I am tired of their lack of expectations skewing the results of this noble endeavor. I’m done with them. The only one I will miss is Army, loveable winners of our inaugural Most Deserving Fanbase award. The only ones who are staying are Notre Dame, because their expectation of exactly this type of special treatment is why the rest of us like to revel in their sadness.

Let’s take a look at the big board...


COASTAL MISERELITES USC delivered #23 Stanford a 25 point loss to an unranked rival, giving us our first triple-drop of the season. The gulf in the west coast between the Wins and the Win-Nots is increasing every day, as the cost of rent inside your opponent’s head continues to skyrocket. (This metaphor holds in that in both cases no one cares what happens in Arizona.)

MORE LIKE TERRORPINS SEND TWEET Maryland is averaging almost 18 points per quarter so far in 2019. Maryland. The Maryland Terrapins. Yeah, the ones who went to the Big Ten with Rutgers. This time they tuned up #21 Syracuse for 43 points, giving the Orange the ol’ double-drop and vaulting the turtles into Level 1. Enjoy it while it lasts, Terps. We’ve met.

COLLEGE KICKERS FUEL THIS PROCESS From the FML standpoint the Colorado-Nebraska game had it all: A historically successful team with fans primed for misery after talk of their hot new coach returning them to the national picture. A lesser rivalry of yesteryear. Most importantly, it had the Colorado Buffaloes - college football’s “meh” emoji - wandering through the first half in a haze, then waking themselves up with a bracing 96-yard fleaflicker and stumbling into a victory when a college kicker shanked one in OT. These games are why we watch (provided we are neither Huskers nor Buffs).


YOU’RE JUST LOOKING FOR THE WRONG THING A lot of people have been saying that there is no college football worth watching next week. To them I argue that they are placing the value of watching in the wrong place. Part of what we are doing with the #FML is informing the way you watch football to find the humor and drama in even the strangest little nothing of a game.

Will Miami lose their third in a row to an FCS opponent? Will Clemson be charged under the Geneva Convention after playing Syracuse? Why does Purdue do anything that it does? These are the reasons we watch.

THEY CALL THEM THE STREAKS Next week is Streak Week, the first point in the season where the various win and loss streak rules begin to take effect and so the first time that real movement happens all over the board. This serves to 1) galvanize the onset of depression for the fans whose teams genuinely suck, and 2) give false hope to fans of teams who haven’t actually played anybody yet.

Life is pain, Highness.