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Off Tackle Empire: Your 2019 Fandom Guidebook

The season’s almost here! Time to lay down some rules about how to properly Fan.

The season is almost here! Or, depending on when I finish writing this and get it posted, the season’s already started! Being a good fan of your team is important here at Off Tackle Empire. As the Best And Biggest Non-Team Specific College Football Site on SB Nation, we want to keep things under control, respectful, and logically sound and consistent. With that in mind, here are some rules for OTE, fandom, and your 2019 College Football Internet Experience. Please do your best to follow them.

Preseason Expectations and Analysis

  1. Your favorite team improved in the offseason across the board, with young guys gaining important experience and skill, veterans coming back sharper than ever, new plays in the playbook, and other such matters.
  2. Any team that isn’t your favorite team got worse in the offseason or, at the very best, stagnated since the end of last season.
  3. All your guys who were injured last year are healthy again, and you can expect a return to form, nay a return to an improved form over last season.
  4. Any guys injured on any other team are likely to have a down year, owing to rust and a return from injury.
  5. Look you get it, right? In the offseason, everything your team did was good, an improvement, will pay dividends this season, etc... Everything your not-team did is overrated, risky, bad, all hype, etc....

The Big Ten Conference

  1. At most, two teams in the conference have what can be described as a “good” quarterback. The rest are varying degrees of arm punter, turnover machine, or, at best, game managers.
  2. Punters wear the crown. Show some damn respect.
  3. Conference pride and loyalty are for suckers. This isn’t the SEC. The only people who care about how “the conference” does are OSU fans butthurt after an unexpected loss and looking to be Mad Online about how the conference is so bad they’ll never get into the playoff now. See, e.g., the 2014 season post-Va Tech loss.
  4. Rose Bowl

In-Game Analysis

  1. Nobody has any idea what a catch is, stop arguing about it as if you do.
  2. Nobody has any idea what targeting is, stop arguing about it as if you do.
  3. If you must discuss a catch or targeting: If it involved your team, it’s whatever you want it to be to support the best outcome for your team. If it didn’t involve your team, it’s the opposite.
  4. What happens in the first half is far more important than the eventual outcome of the game, especially early in the season, and especially if it’s funny or embarrassing for whichever team is being made fun of. See, e.g., any game where Wisconsin was only up, say, 7 at half against a bad opponent, even though they scored 30 unanswered in the second half and played 3rd stringers the last 10 minutes.
  5. “They could call a hold on every play!”
  6. Penalties. You have three options with penalties: (1) Please shut the f up with your penalty complaints. It’s worse than hearing about your friend’s crazy dream, fantasy football team, and bad poker beat all rolled into one; (2) Just say “REFS” and move on; or (3) Blatantly and obviously defend every call that goes your way and get mad about every call that doesn’t.
  7. Your favorite team generates turnovers through hard work, scheme, diligence, ball hawking, “flying to the ball,” and pure skill.
  8. Your favorite team’s turnovers are all flukes. Or uncalled penalties somehow.

The Results

  1. If your favorite team is having a good season but isn’t a Helmet School, your team is clownfraud trasch.
  2. Your favorite team only wins because it’s better.
  3. Your favorite team only loses because you got unlucky.
  4. If your team lost but the game was close, really at any point after halftime, your team “essentially” won and the other team “essentially” got beat. Doubly applicable to all Penn State games
  5. Any time not-your team loses, they got hammerfucked, boatraced, or embarrassed.
  6. If your team wins in a blowout, it’s because even your backups are just that good or because “you gotta impress the committee.”
  7. If not-your team wins in a blowout, they’re a bunch of assholes who run up the score against “kids.”

Winning Arguments

  1. “Yeah but your team.” The Soviet Union may have invented whataboutism. The election of Donald Trump may have birthed new life into the rhetorical concept. But there is no doubt the OTE commentariat has perfected the art of deflecting any comment, criticism, or complaint by saying “yeah but your team” to the original commentor. Use it often and well.
  2. “Yeah but your team” works even if you mis-identify the original commentor’s favorite team. In fact, it works better because then the argument devolves into lol’ing and jokes at your expense, making everyone forget the original point.
  3. Advanced stats are a trump card that can be used at any time to win an argument.
  4. But really though, advanced stats should only be used in three circumstances: (1) If your team is really good and you want to brag; (2) If they make your team look better than they’re perceived (e.g., 2018 Wisconsin finished 19th(!) in S&P+; App State finished 29th!); or (3) If they expose a good-in-record-only team as clownfraud trasch (e.g. 2018 Northwestern finished 68th in S&P+. Lol. Enjoy that monster regression)
  5. Go to the well of off-the-field incidents often. Don’t like how Michigan State is playing well on D? Point out that time a player got out of jail just in time to play in a game. Want to really hammer home how much OSU sucks? Bring up Kevin Wilson and that thing from Indiana.


  1. Your team has never and would never play dirty or cheat. Your coach is clean as a whistle.
  2. Not-your team? Cheats constantly, purposely injures players, bagmen.
  3. Fuck Notre Dame
  4. Fuck the SEC
  5. Fuck Wisconsin?
  6. Are we still doing Fuck Michigan?
  7. Any time a B1G opponent plays a service academy, or any time a service academy gets some national attention or love, you must either (a) complain about the time you played a service academy and they used cut blocks and caused injuries that really hurt your season, or (b) talk about how that time a fan base booed a service academy opponent and how mad you still are about it. Don’t forget to preface or close your comment with stating how much respect you have for said academy, though.

And that’s it! Football is back (tm) and it’s f-ing AWESOME. Please feel free to add your won OTE “rules” and in-jokes, because if there’s one thing we want to foster around here, it’s a feeling of camaraderie, community, and like you are an outsider or dumb for not having spent the last 2-3 years here learning all the tropes and inside jokes.


What’s your go-to commenting style?

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    (30 votes)
  • 15%
    Yeah but your team
    (43 votes)
  • 19%
    Always spinning everything as "good for my team"
    (53 votes)
  • 21%
    Logic and statistics
    (57 votes)
  • 31%
    ^^ Lol what a nerd
    (86 votes)
269 votes total Vote Now