College sports in the US is crazy popular.
I mean insane!
In 2016, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the organisation that regulates more than 1,000 member colleges, had collective revenues totalling US$995,941,057.
Nearly a billion dollars. For playing games.
And they don't even pay their players... But that's a whole 'nother chapter.
Back to the point: a billion dollars per year is a pretty strong popularity indicator.
College basketball games, for example, average 1.47 million viewers for their weekend telecasts.
The most-watched college football game in 2016 had a live audience of 17.12 million viewers, setting both television and streaming records in the process!
Are you kidding me?!
These numbers should give you a good idea just how freaking passionate college sports fans can be.
Just how passionate are these people?
Well, in 2012, a bunch of University of Notre Dame fans travelled to Ireland for a football game. Can you guess how many made the trip across the pond?
Yep, you read that right. A Roman Army's worth of people journeyed across the Atlantic to watch people toss an egg-shaped piece of inflated leather around a rather grassy patch of open space.
Don't these people have jobs? Families? Commitments?
Who cares?! Sports.
Now let's take a look at the colleges responsible for producing the most rabid, die-hard fans in the world.
If you don't like sports, maybe consider applying elsewhere.
1. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor - Football
Yo, this fan base right here, is nuts!
In 2016, the NCAA reported that Michigan had an average home game attendance of 110,468.
And given the capacity at Michigan Stadium is only 107,601, it's quite a feat their average attendance is higher than their capacity. Not only are Michigan fans strong in numbers, but they display an indefatigable passion and love their Wolverines like no other college can.
So much so, in fact, that one passionate young Michigan couple [named their new born son after head coach, Jim Harbaugh](http://www.ncaa.com/news/football/article/2017-04-18/michigan-football-fans-name-their-son-after-jim-harbaugh.
Seriously, that happened!
What's more, Harbaugh has coached the Wolverines for just three years and hasn't won any titles. Yet he's baby-naming material in Michigan.
Wolverines fans, as you can tell, are a tad die-hard!
So we'll move on ...
2. Florida State University - Football
No matter what code, FSU always has a strong following of their devoted fans draped in the school's red and yellow.
Total FSU Football Attendance was 460,801, averaging 76,800 supporters each week.
Total FSU Basketball attendance was 105,221, averaging 7,014 fans each week.
What makes FSU's fan section best known is their iconic 'war chant', which has become as synonymous with the team as the Seminole's mascots, Osceola and Renegade.
As FSU's band plays the war chant, which you'll no doubt recognise, and the crowd chants along with them.
You aren't a football fan if that doesn't give you goosebumps.
As they sing, they accompany their intimidating chant with the Seminoles' iconic tomahawk chop, where fans repeatedly bend their arm at the elbow back-and-forth to symbolise a tomahawk swinging down.
You can only imagine how terrifying this would be for a visiting team to play against as 76,800 fans scream and chant for their team.
3. Ohio State University - Football
Ohio State Buckeyes fans won't like sitting two spots under their arch-rivals Michigan, as both colleges make up one of the most-storied rivalries in collegiate athletics.
Every season, OSU face-off against Michigan in the final game of the regular season and you better believe it's hostile and it is LOUD!
OSU and Michigan are almost always two of the strongest teams in NCAA football and when they meet at the end of each year, it's a clash of the titans.
In every rivalry game, it's just as important for the crowd to play their role as 12th man as it is for the quarterback to perform well.
Whether OSU fans are painting their faces for game day or calling a radio station post-loss to air their grievances, you can be sure Buckeyes fans are going to wear their hearts on their sleeves.
4. Notre Dame University - Football
How can we not rank Notre Dame when this college was the launching pad for this discussion.
In six games last season, the college had a staggering 484,770 attendees, which translates to cramming 80,795 mad fans into their home stadium.
Imagine the roar!
And the very earth shaking beneath your feet as your enveloped in the pandemonium of adoring fans.
That must be an incomparable feeling for the home-team players...
And terrifying for opposing teams!
Notre Dame has been a national powerhouse for more than a century, which no doubt helps bolster the number of fans and the intensity of their passion.
The Fighting Irish places 3rd for all-time record of all 129 NCAA football teams, so you know they're good.
Their success has led to multiple generations of Fighting Irish fans all over the country and Irish supporters being known as some of the most loyal in college football.
5. Duke University - Basketball
No list of crazy sports fans would be complete without mentioning Duke basketball fans, the Cameron Crazies!
Duke leads Division 1 athletics participation, boasting 26 varsity sports across men’s and women’s programs.
However, they're just as well known for their crazy fans as they are for their sporting success, possibly more so!
Particularly their basketball fans, I mean, they're literally called the Cameron Crazies!
On any given game day, blue and white faced crazies squeeze into Cameron Indoor Stadium (where they get their name), to cheer on the Blue Devils!
Like any good team, Duke has a fierce rival, and for the Devils it's the University of North Carolina Tar Heels as they compete each year in the Battle for Tobacco Road.
Duke and UNC are located no more than 25 miles apart, hence their fierce rivalry.
But the play on court also get these fans riled up. In 2012, with Duke trailing by 10 with two minutes remaining, team point guard Austin Rivers led the team on a historic comeback which culminated in a game-winning, buzzer-beater three-point shot.
When the Duke-UNC game is on, this is when the Cameron Crazies really prove their passion ...
Many of the undergraduate Crazies camp out for over a month to increase their chances of gaining access to the stadium!
Over a month!
That is certifiably crazy.
However, not at Duke. At Duke it's standard behaviour, in fact, they participate in the unholy experiment many times each year.
This is common practice and is referred to as tenting, a system they have in place for a number of games each year allowing undergraduate students to fairly claim access to big matches.
The community of campers is known as Krzyzewskiville, or K-ville, named after their much-loved coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Oh, and Duke fans usually hand-out 'dirt sheets' before games. These sheets contain embarrassing information about the opposing players that fans can yell out during the game, adding an element of psychological warfare to each contest.
They're also responsible for many of the common basketball-related crowd chants we know today, such as 'airball!' when a player's shot fails to even touch the rim.
My personal favourite is when an opposing player fouls out. The Cameron Crazies start jeering and waving at the player, causing general pandemonium, culminating in a unified shout of "see ya!" when the player sits down.
Several players remain standing on the sideline after fouling out to prevent Duke fans from taunting them this way... but the Crazies are very persistent.
6. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill - Basketball
Adding fuel to the fire, we've placed North Carolina Tar Heels just one spot behind their rivals, Duke. We love it!
If March Madness 2017 proved anything, it wasn't just that North Carolina Tar Heels are the best basketball team in the country at the moment, but it's that they have some of the best fans!
Check out just how crazy their fans can be below!
The nation was riddled with a serious case of Tar Heels fever as rabid supporters came out of the woodwork to watch the Tar Heels scale their way into the March Madness finals and claim top spot.
On any given game day, Franklin Street in North Carolina will be overflowing with passionate Tar Heels fans oozing out of bars and flowing onto the sidewalk.
But do not be alarmed, as long as you're draped in the Tar Heels light blue, you'll be welcomed with open arms into the college community.
7. University of Alabama - Football
It would be hard to have a list of die hard sports fans without mentioning Alabama's Crimson Tide supporters.
If you think you’ve seen crazy fans, Alabama fans probably top your idea of this.
Each home game, the Crimson Tide fanbase packs Bryant-Denny Stadium with an average attendance in 2016 of 101,821. However, where Alabama can not be topped is in their ability to travel to support their team.
No matter where they play, North, South, East or West, fans travel near and far to watch the Crimson Tide compete against, and often beat, just about every opponent.
In 2016, Alabama were the number one team for attendance at all home, away and neutral games, reaching a total attendance of 1,365,657!
Yep, that's rabid.
Their massive supporter base is spurred on by the fact that Alabama is one of the most successful schools in collegiate sport history.
In their past five seasons the Crimson Tide have finished first place in their division each year, respectively.
8. University of North Dakota - Ice Hockey
At North Dakota ice hockey games, the average attendance rate is greater than the number of people actually capable of sitting in their home rink, which is 11,634.
North Dakota averaged 11,675 people per ice hockey game, meaning on average, the crowd attendance for a match was at 100.4% of the stadium's capacity! The total attendance for the 2016 season was a whopping 221,828.
35,688 more than the next best team!
In a tight confined space of an ice hockey rink, the noise from the North Dakota fans vibrate through the walls and trembles through the ice, making it hard for any away team to record a win at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Americans, beyond doubt, go certifiably INSANE for their sports!
On any given weekend the cries, shouts and cheers from sporting games can be heard echoing throughout college towns.
If sports ain't your thang, you oughta do your research before choosing which colleges you're going to apply for, because, as you can tell, sports can play a pretty big part in campus life.
On the other hand, if you're interested in playing sports for one of these crazy US colleges, you need to start getting noticed early!
Coaches can be looking at you from as young as age thirteen.
Contact Crimson today to start getting in touch with coaches in the US!