We’ve seen the national rankings. Now it’s time to break this thing on down in conference. Where does your school stand? Which Pac-10 student sections are the best? The worst? Counting down from ten to one, we bring you the 2009 Pac-10 student section power rankings.
10. Beaver Dam, Oregon State University. Can you blame them? They’re being forced to watch Oregon State basketball, after all. Which is why, for the most part, the OSU student body finds an excuse to avoid Gill Coliseum on game days. When they do show up, they do little more than sit and make the occasional sound. Perhaps they should change their name to “Beaver Dike,” because they’re in no position to stop floods anytime soon.
9. Zona Zoo, University of Arizona. The new guys in town, the UA student section was only conceived in 2007. Prior to that, students were forced to sit in two separate locations and had a limited impact on the game. The power of the Arizona fan base is still entrusted to the thousands of geriatrics that populate the McKale Center, but with time, Arizona’s fledgling Zoo could easily move its way up this list.
8. Trojan Fever, USC. Even their own fans don’t like the USC student section, as evidenced by this article. The “Trojan Fever” has yet to make its way off the gridiron and into the three-year-old Galen Center, and with a relatively good basketball team, you’d expect more from the USC student body.
7. The Inferno, Arizona State University. Years of mediocrity on the hardwood drove students away from ASU’s Wells Fargo Arena on game days. But with recent success in the desert (thanks in large part to head coach Herb Sendak and guard James Harden), the Sun Devil faithful have begun showing up once again. Still, it’s tough to justify two hours indoors when your typical Tempe afternoon is 75 and sunny.
6. Zzu Cru, Washington State University. This article depicts how the once-massive WSU student section shrunk by 50% for the ’08-’09 season and beyond. Amazingly, the Zzu Crew used to take up roughly half (HALF!) of the 11,500 seat Beasley Coliseum. Now, they’re just a mere 3,800 strong. Still, with arguably the largest quantity of student reserved seating in the Pac-1o, the Zzu Cru has relatively no identity and does little more than cuss and yell during games.
5. The Bench, University of California. For a group of smart kids, the Cal student section isn’t very creative. When Washington came to town, they perpetuated the old cliches, chanting “overrated” among other overused phrases. The team hasn’t been all that good since the mid-’90’s, when Jason Kidd, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, and Lamond Murray were all Bears. The Bench has responded accordingly, failing to live up to the hype they created with their rugby polos and loud voices over a decade ago.
4. The Pit Crew, University of Oregon. How the mighty have fallen. The Pit Crew used to be the class of the Pac-10. A notoriously loud bunch that seemingly breathe down your neck at vertical Mac Court, the Pit Crew has experienced a major regression in the past few years. They embarrassed themselves nationally in 2008 when they ruthlessly picked on UCLA’s Kevin Love and his family, and didn’t do themselves any favors this year by continuing to deny that their thoughtless actions crossed any ethical boundaries. An 0-14 conference season (thus far) has helped put the Crew on the backburner, and the Ducks appear to be headed for a rebuilding year or four before returning to any kind of prominence.
3. The Sixth Man Club, Stanford University. It’s not all roses and sunshine in Palo Alto, as evidenced by this article, but that doesn’t mean the Sixth Man Club doesn’t possess some pull in the conference. A fairly creative bunch who take an outside-the-box approach towards fandom, the Sixth Man Club is probably best represented by their crazy tree mascot that can’t seem to stay out of trouble. Yet for all the altercations and drunken arrests the tree seems to encounter, the Sixth Man Club remains a classy bunch of fans that do a rowdy, noisy job of supporting their up and down team.
2. The Den, UCLA. Another group that, like the Pit Crew, were once considered the class of the Pac-10, The Den has fallen on harder times despite the successes of their basketball team. Perhaps they simply became bigger than the team itself, that Den, or maybe the hype of national championships from years past has kept the expectation level too high. Either way, the loud bunch of Bruin fans that show up on gameday still do a great job of making noise, yet haven’t been able to combine their decibel level with any kind of creative ingenuity in the past few years. Take last night, for example, when The Den referred to Washington point guard Isaiah Thomas as “Gary Coleman.” Funny, yes, but the fans at Oregon might take exception to that, since they milked it in 2004 and 2005 when Nate Robinson was playing. You used to hear about this group of students all the time, but lately they’ve seemingly fallen off the map in terms of recognition.
1. The Dawg Pack, University of Washington. I’m biased, yes, but there’s no contest as to who the number one student section in the conference is. The national rankings back me up, with the Pack finding their way into the Top 10 of multiple national student section polls. When you take into account the miniscule size of the Dawg Pack (roughly 500-600) in comparison with other student sections, it is amazing to consider the sheer noise level the UW students are capable of producing. That, in combination with their creative nature propels them to the top of the Pac-10.