The Worst People in College Football - Rolling Stone
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The Worst People in College Football

Crazy coaches, contrived committees and contrarian commissioners – as we kick off a new season, let’s celebrate the best of the bad

FSU fans

Florida State Seminoles fans doing what they do best.

Scott Halleran /Allsport/Getty

College football is a corrupt and terrifying pastime that masks its flaws by producing an eminently beautiful product year after year. Some of the awfulness is the fault of a deeply flawed system, but it's not hard to find people who deserve to be called out for their egos and errors.

Such is the purpose of the list that follows; as mentioned below, nearly every fanbase (and multiple head coaches and administrators) could be included, but for the sake of brevity we chose to narrow it down to a select few who represent everything that infuriates us about this confounding and arresting sport. After all, college football has already given us the Ten Year War, the Red River Rivalry, "Catholics vs. Convicts" and all manner of SEC truck-nuts swaggery – what better way to get ready for the new season than with some old-fashioned acrimony?

Tim Beckman

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 1: Head coach Tim Beckman of the Illinois Fighting Illini gets ready to lead his team to the field before the game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium on November 1, 2014 in Columbus, Ohio. The Buckeyes defeated the Illini 55-14. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Joe Robbins./Getty

Tim Beckman, Recently Deposed Coach, Illinois

It takes a lot to fire a coach a week before the season begins, but Beckman had done plenty. Entering his fourth season as the coach at Illinois, he had a record of 12-25, had displayed an inability to speak even rudimentary football-coach English, proved himself to have an odd comprehension of the role of the fourth estate and faced serious allegations of player abuse that he refused to address at this year's Big Ten media days. Fortunately, Illinois chose to address the problem itself, but Beckman's ineptitude still set the Illini program back by at least several years.

College Football Playoff Committee

College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock announces the members of the selection committee in Irving, Texas, on Wednesday, October 16, 2013. (Khampha Bouaphanh/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images)

Tom Pennington/Getty

The College Football Playoff Committee

Acting without any consistent rhyme or reasonand repeatedly forced to nonsensically justify rankings that were a vexing work-in-progress – the committee proved once and for all that college football is not subject to logic. Fourth-seeded Ohio State, in winning the national title, bailed out the committee's decision-making process, but it will no doubt get even messier in future seasons.

Bob Bowlsby

AMES, IA - JANUARY 13: Commissioner Bob Bowlsby of the Big 12 Conference talks with athletic director Jamie Pollard of the Iowa State Cyclones as they watch the match-up against the Kansas Jayhawks on January 13, 2014 at Hilton Coliseum, in Ames, Iowa. (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)

Matthew Holst/Getty

Bob Bowlsby, One True Commissioner, Big 12

Hey, remember when Baylor beat TCU last season, and then Bowlsby, the Big 12 commissioner, chose to name Baylor and TCU Big 12 "co-champions," despite the league's own motto being "One True Champion"? And remember how Baylor and TCU were both left out of the playoff, in part because of what Bowlsby said? And remember earlier this summer, when Bowlsby continued to hold firm against the Big 12 expanding and staging a conference championship game? That ought to work out great again this time around.

FSU Fans

College Football: View of painted Florida State fans in stands during game vs Florida at Doak Campbell Stadium. Tallahassee, FL 11/29/2014 CREDIT: Bill Frakes (Photo by Bill Frakes /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images) (Set Number: X159009 TK1 )

Bill Frakes/Sports Illustrated/Getty

Florida State Fans, Scourge of Social Media

Let's not kid ourselves: Every major college football fanbase has its odious zealots, but Florida State fans' acts of Twitter terrorism and consistent defense of Seminole players' equally consistent misbehavior and are the most vexing and infuriating example of said zealotry these days. Maybe coach Jimbo Fisher's acceptance of blame will alter the atmosphere in Tallahassee, but it won't stop FSU fans from feeling as if they're somehow being unfairly persecuted.

Bobby Petrino

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 30: Head coach Bobby Petrino of the Louisville Cardinals watches his team play against the Georgia Bulldogs during the Belk Bowl at Bank of America Stadium on December 30, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Grant Halverson/Getty

Bobby Petrino, Used Car Salesman/Coach, Louisville

Louisville. Thirteen games as Atlanta Falcons coach. Arkansas. The motorcycle accident. One season at Western Kentucky. Back to Louisville. This guy just never stops.

Paul Petrino

TALLAHASSEE, FL - NOVEMBER 23: Head Coach Paul Petrino of the Idaho Vandals during the game against the Florida State Seminoles at Doak Campbell Stadium on Bobby Bowden Field on November 23, 2013 in Tallahassee, Florida. 2nd Ranked Florida State defeated Idaho 80 to 14. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)

Don Juan Moore/Getty

Paul Petrino, Combustible Coach, Idaho

The Idaho coach (and brother of the moral exemplar acknowledged above) allegedly had to be restrained during a confrontation with a local reporter over mild criticism of his offense, and then dealt "internally" with an alleged shoplifting incident involving multiple Idaho players. From the Moscow-Pullman Daily News: "When asked if the football players were given special treatment, Petrino said, 'I don't think there is any special treatment at all.'" Hopefully a coach who's won a total of two games in first two seasons isn't receiving any special treatment, either.

Charlie Weis

AUSTIN, TX - NOVEMBER 02: Head coach Charlie Weis of the Kansas Jayhawks gestures during pregame drills prior to a game against the Texas Longhorns at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on November 2, 2013 in Austin, Texas. Texas won the game 35-13. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Stacy Revere/Getty

Charlie Weis, Former Coach, Kansas

Weis isn't even technically in college football anymore, but he so thoroughly shredded the Kansas football program in his time thereas he did to Notre Dame previously – that the Jayhawks enter this season 20 scholarship players short of the FBS limit, which makes the case that Weis might be the worst college football coach of the modern era. Naturally, he's still cashing checks from the Fighting Irish.

Jim Mora

PASADENA, CA - NOVEMBER 22: Head coach Jim Mora of the UCLA Bruins signals in the game against the USC Trojans at the Rose Bowl on November 22, 2014 in Pasadena, California. UCLA on 38-20. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Stephen Dunn/Getty

Jim Mora Jr., Admitted Asshole, UCLA

Snubbed college football's loveable grandpa, Bill Snyder. Doesn't comprehend the reason he's making $3.25 million this year. Openly admits to being an asshole. Gets decent results by wringing all of the joy out of the sport.

Kirk Ferentz

CHAMPAIGN, IL - NOVEMBER 15: Head coach Kirk Ferentz of the Iowa Hawkeyes is seen during the game against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium on November 15, 2014 in Champaign, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

kirk_Michael Hickey/Getty

Kirk Ferentz, Intractable Coach, Iowa

Ferentz has become the poster child for overpaid head coaches: He's making more than $4 million this year in salary and bonuses, despite the fact that Iowa hasn't won more than eight games since 2009. If not for a massive buyout clause (ESPN called his contract "the worst in college football"), Ferentz would likely be gone already. As it is, he may wind up retiring in Iowa City – meaning Hawkeye fans will have to live with him long after his coaching days are done.

Lane Kiffin

TUSCALOOSA, AL - APRIL 18: Offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin of the Alabama Crimson Tide watches action during the University of Alabama A Day spring game at Bryant-Denny Stadium on April 18, 2015 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Stacy Revere/Getty

Lane Kiffin, Carpetbagging Offensive Coordinator, Alabama

Kiffin arguably did a solid job for the Crimson Tide last season, but he's still the same guy who burned bridges at Tennessee and saw the USC program regress into near-irrelevance during his tenure. And he still resembles every spoiled frat boy who's ever shown up in a raunchy college comedy. The code of the Internet states that you aren't permitted to complete a list like this without including Kiffin.

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