With all our expertise, the Buchtelite guys outlined a tailgating plan for newbees.
Leaving the Kent State-Akron game Saturday, I was appalled.
The game, of course, left a bitter taste in my mouth.
The fan turnout was pretty good. And in fact, Zips fans seemed to outnumber Flashes supporters.
All that aside, here is the real reason for my contempt: Some Akron fans simply do not know how to behave at a college football game.
Being someone with little patience for idiocy, normally I'd tell those people to stay home, but the university will go on NCAA probation if it doesn't meet the attendance requirement of 15,000 per home game. That could mean no more bowl games.
At the beginning of the year, I encouraged freshmen to attend games. I stand by that, but I missed a crucial caveat - they need to know how to act in the student section.
I. Thou shall not make noise when Akron is on offense. This goes against conventional wisdom in sports, but it's more about strategy than showing your enthusiasm. A blaring racket makes it harder for the offense to hear the quarterback's snap count and audibles. Thus, you'll see a lot of false start penalties when the crowd is going nuts.
II. Thou shall not worship other teams before Akron. This is a Zips game; Ohio State commentary has no place here. If you think about it, Akron competes each week against the Buckeyes for fan support.
III. Thou shall show togetherness. For the past few years at Akron games, it's always seemed like some groups of fans show animosity toward others. We're all here for the Zips, folks. Mocking other people in the student section is unacceptable.
IV. Thou shall not become belligerent. I see nothing wrong with having a stiff buzz, but when you're falling off the bleachers or swearing uncontrollably, it's time to reduce your booze intake.
V. Thou shall stay for at least three quarters. Besides that it's an unpardonable sports sin to exit early, it's even more unwise at a Zips game. On many occasions, coach J.D. Brookhart's offense has surmounted double-digit leads in the fourth quarter for exciting victories.
VI. Thou shall not start inside chants. They are similar to inside jokes in that no one on the outside gets it. The exception to this is if you print out copies of the chant beforehand, like the AK-Rowdies did at some men's basketball games last season.
VII. Thou shall know when to taunt the opposing fans. At the Kent State game, some fans thought it wise to chant, "Why so quiet?" while the Zips trailed by two scores. There is a proper time for a good zinger. The midst of a beatdown is not one of them.
VIII. Thou shall know thy team. Can you name Akron's quarterback, running back, head coach and one member of the defense? If not, that's OK. Just make sure you start reading these two Web sites for Zips information: www.zipsnation.org (premier fan message board) and blogs.ohio.com/rasor (my Zips blog on Ohio.com).
IX. Thou shall stay confident. I have never seen a fan base deflate so quickly as the Zips student section did on Saturday. I'll give you a really good excuse, though. It was a total shock to see the Flashes dominate like they did. Still, the enthusiasm should remain on most occasions.
X. Thou shall return. The real challenge for Akron fans will come in two weeks: Will they attend another Zips game after Saturday's debacle?
The Buchtelite wrote about the recently released schedule.
The Zips finally won in the MAC on Sunday against Northern Illinois.