Thanks to the prevalence of the internet and social media, we live in an age when it's easier to call someone you don't know an idiot than ever before. It happens millions of times per day, if not more. As a college football writer for a national outlet, I'm well aware of this fact. Seldom a day passes in which I'm not receiving a tweet, email or message on Facebook from somebody I don't know telling me how they feel about something I said or wrote (and in the case of one avid emailer, things I never said or wrote about).
It's just a reflection of how passionate -- and insane -- sports fans are, and without their fervor, I wouldn't be able to make a living sharing my thoughts and opinions on such things. So I appreciate the anger.
And as I've done here in the Friday Five, I like to share which fan bases took the most exception to things I wrote or said in the last year. Ironically enough, a lot of the time those fan bases are upset about things I wrote in a Friday Five.
Let's see if I can write anything today to help a fan base reach this pinnacle next season.
5. Auburn: It started in the preseason. I wrote a Friday Five on , and I had Auburn at No. 2 on the list. The Tigers were ranked No. 13, and I was wondering why an Auburn team that had gone 11-13 the previous three seasons in the SEC was suddenly considered a top-15 team. I surmised that a lot of it had to do with Auburn being an SEC team, which boosted its stock.
Well, Auburn fans didn't appreciate it much, and I heard about it. I was wrong. The Tigers won the SEC West, and they did so after beating both Alabama and Georgia. I made matters worse by picking Auburn to lose both games. Of course, things evened out a bit at the end. I picked Auburn to beat UCF in the Peach Bowl, and I said it would win convincingly (which is a big reason UCF made the Honorable Mention in this column). Instead, it lost, dooming us all to an entire offseason of UCF's pretend national title.
So, I guess what I'm saying is that I'm the one that's mad at you now, Auburn.
4. Miami: While Friday Fives lead to a lot of anger, one of the other firestarters is my Fornelli 50 ratings. If you aren't familiar with them, I rank teams based solely on their performance in the current season using a mathematical formula and blah blah blah; math is boring. Anyway, the formula doesn't always favor teams as much as their fans do.
Miami has one of the most outspoken fan bases on the internet, and the Hurricanes started the season 10-0. It was the first time in a while Miami fans had a chance to be truly excited about their football team. While all this was going on, however, my rankings were never all that high on the Canes. In the formula I use, wins and losses are weighted heavier than any other metric, yet week after week the Canes were ranked behind teams with more losses.
Every week the rankings would come out, and every week I'd hear from Miami fans angry that the math was disrespecting their team. The Canes then lost their final three games of the season, and the anger subsided a bit.
3. Wake Forest: This was by far the most surprising feud that arose during the 2017 season. Wake Forest is a small, private school with a small fan base, so you don't typically hear from them much. That changed for me in 2017.
It all started early in the season with a Friday Five. At the end of September, I ranked five teams that were off to hot starts that I expected. Wake Forest was 3-0 at the time, but I thought the Deacons would have a hard time achieving bowl eligibility; not because I thought they were bad, but because the schedule was about to become difficult. This prediction drew some ire, though it was more subdued.
That wasn't the case in January.
After the season finished, I wrote another Friday Five in which I compared two sets of rankings: my own Fornelli Rankings and the CBS 130. I then listed thebased on where they appeared in my rankings compared to the CBS 130. My rankings are what I use for my ballot in our CBS 130, so essentially I was saying my colleagues here at CBSSports.com are giving these teams too much credit, and these other teams not enough.
Well, Wake Forest was the most overrated team of the bunch by this metric. My rankings had the Deacons at No. 41 while they finished at No. 27 in the CBS 130.
It turns out there are a lot more Wake Forest fans than you thought, and they have tempers.
2. Clemson: Clemson is another result of my rankings, and this is the second straight season Clemson fans appear on this list because of it. Last season my formula under-ranked the Tigers -- by my own opinion, not just those of Clemson fans -- throughout 2016 and the final insult was that Alabama finished the season ranked No. 1 even though Clemson had just beaten it to win a national title.
In 2017 it was a similar situation, as Clemson was usually found in the top five but it was often behind Alabama, Oklahoma, Georgia, Wisconsin and sometimes Ohio State. The difference last season was that I tended to agree with my formula more than in 2016.
Things only got worse when I shared my opinion that the. Clemson fans felt their team should be No. 1, and I said placing them at No. 2 was too high. So at this point, the dam broke, and the hate flooded the valley that was my Twitter mentions column.
In the end, Clemson finished the regular season ranked No. 1, and I further cemented my status as a "Clemson Hater" among the fan base when I picked Alabama to beat it in the CFP semifinals. While I disagreed with my formula in 2016, I felt it was correct about the Tigers last year, and I think that 24-6 loss to Alabama in the Sugar Bowl supported the theory quite well.
1. Kansas State: This is a fire that didn't burn all that long, but it burned hot.
We go back to the Most Overrated Teams In The Preseason Coaches Poll Friday Five that first angered Auburn fans. They weren't as angry about it as Kansas State fans, though. No, I had Kansas State ranked fourth that week, as the Coaches Poll had them at No. 19. Here's:
Don't get me wrong. It's not as if I'm expecting Kansas State to be horrible this year; I was just confused because I'm not sure what the Wildcats had done to deserve the spot yet. They went 9-4 last year, finishing the season unranked, and in 2015, they were 6-7.
The Wildcats have finished a season ranked only once in the last four seasons. That was following the 2014 season when they were ranked No. 18 in both polls.
So what changed over the offseason to warrant not only ranking KSU but to do so ahead of six other teams in the poll?
It was at this point that every Kansas State fan in the universe poured into my mentions, Facebook messages and Gmail inbox to let me know that the 2017 season presented the perfect conditions for a magical season. Bill Snyder had a returning QB, and Bill Snyder always has great seasons with returning QBs, and the defense was terrific, and special teams, etc.
It was crazy. I have family in the state of Kansas, and my cousin Jim told me that people he knew were mad at him because they found out we were related. That's how serious this was for a while.
It didn't last long, though, because in the third week of the season Kansas State lost to Vanderbilt 14-7. It fell out of both major polls that week and never returned. The Wildcats would finish the season 8-5, and my position would be vindicated.
I'm not sure if people are still mad at Jim, though.