BCS Championship Celebrity Notre Dame and Alabama College Football Fans (PHOTOS)
Alabama faces Notre Dame in Monday night’s college football championship game. From Crimson Tide boosters Joe Scarborough and Courteney Cox to Fighting Irish diehards Regis Philbin and Jon Bon Jovi, see the teams’ A-list fans.
Are you an Alabama Crimson Tide fanatic like Joe Scarborough and Courteney Cox? Or rooting for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish like Regis Philbin and Jon Bon Jovi? See A-list supporters of the college football championship teams.
As a congressman,
Joe Scarborough represented Florida, but when it comes to college football, the Morning Joe co-host bleeds crimson for his alma mater, Alabama. A 1985 graduate of the university, Scarborough frequently offers a “Roll Tide!” on his MSNBC show and even broadcast an episode from Rama Jama’s, a café located next to Bryant Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. Scarborough’s love for the team runs so deep that in 2006 he wrote an op-ed in the Birmingham News imploring the Crimson Tide to hire coach Nick Saban. And Scarborough’s passion has been rewarded—if Saban’s team wins Monday night, it will be Alabama’s third championship in four years.
Steve King/CSM, via Landov Regis Philbin
With the possible exception of the
leprechaun himself, is there a bigger or more vocal Notre Dame fan than Regis Philbin? The talk-show legend, who graduated from the school in 1953, may not have his morning platform anymore to cheer on the Fighting Irish, but that hasn’t diminished Philbin’s faith in his undefeated team. He went on ESPN last week explaining why the Irish will win the BCS championship despite being 9½-point underdogs. “I think we have a chance,” he said to a skeptical Stephen A. Smith, “Don’t you??” Courteney Cox
In 2010, Birmingham native Courteney Cox delivered a
video pep talk to Alabama when they played the BCS Championship in the Rose Bowl. Sporting a No. 12 jersey (for legendary quarterback Joe Namath) and a hounds-tooth hat (in honor of immortal coach Bear Bryant), Cox shouted out a proud “Roll Tide!” And they did. Alabama defeated Texas, 37–21, to win their first national championship since 1992.
Jon Bon Jovi
Why would a New Jersey guy like Jon Bon Jovi root for an Indiana team like Notre Dame? It all started because former Fighting Irish coach Charlie Weis, a Trenton, N.J., native, was a huge Bon Jovi fan. (Weis even backed up the singer—along with his old boss, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick—on
a pitchy rendition of “Dead or Alive.”) And while Weis left South Bend, Ind., in 2009, the rocker’s support has remained rock-solid. Earlier this season, he attended a home game and appeared optimistic for a championship season. “The Irish are halfway there,” Bon Jovi said. “They are playing well, and I just love the whole way they are playing from the top down, from Coach Kelly to the players and across the campus. It’s a great time to be here.”
Although she was born in Mississippi, actress Sela Ward attended the University of Alabama, where she was not only homecoming queen but also a cheerleader. (True to form, Ward even dated the Crimson Tide’s All-America tackle Bob Baumhower.) And she may have graduated 35 years ago, but Ward has lost none of her passion for the team. On a
2010 episode of , her character was asked what she hoped for when she made a wish. The answer? “Alabama to win another BCS championship.” CSI:NY
Martin Sheen may not have graduated from Notre Dame, but one of his most famous characters,
The West Wing’s Josiah Bartlett, did. And in 2009, Sheen received an honor from the school worthy of the president—the Laetare Medal, given to a Catholic "whose genius has ennobled the arts and sciences, illustrated the ideals of the church and enriched the heritage of humanity." Despite his love for the school, Sheen had never attended a Fighting Irish home game until 2011, when he and son Emilio Estevez came to the campus to promote their film The Way. Interviewed on the field, Sheen admitted, “I cannot remember not being a Notre Dame fan.”
Growing up in Huntsville, Ala., during the Bear Bryant era, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales couldn’t help becoming a Crimson Tide fan. (Although he committed football sacrilege by attending rival school Auburn as an undergraduate before receiving a master’s degree at Alabama.) Despite the dual alma maters, Wales remains a rabid ’Bama fan. When ESPN asked him to name his favorite Crimson Tide memory, Wales said, “Without question, it's gotta be the 1979 Sugar Bowl ‘goal line stand.’ The single best moment of college football in history. Quite possibly the single best moment in
all sports history. Maybe I am biased, but anyone who makes a top 10 list without putting that one on there is just a very sad and confused individual.”
Chris Szagolam/CSM, via Landov Mike Golic
Mike Golic isn’t the most famous alumnus in the storied history of Notre Dame football—the list includes NFL Hall of Famers Joe Montana, Paul Hornung, and Alan Page, among countless others—but he was the captain of the 1985 team. What makes Golic’s fandom special this year is that he has two sons playing on the school’s undefeated team: Mike Golic Jr. is the starting right guard and younger brother, Jake, plays tight end. As for the national championship, the co-host of ESPN’s
Mike and Mike is fatalistic: “I have gone through the whole year with every week someone telling me why Notre Dame isn’t any good,” he said recently. “I don’t care if they are 20-point underdogs in the national title game. They’re there, they get to play in the game, and we’ll see what happens on the field.” Kathryn Stockett
If the BCS championship were settled by writers, Alabama would field an impressive alumni squad, including Harper Lee, Gay Talese, Winston Groom, and Kathryn Stockett, author of
The Help. Stockett is such a loyal graduate that when her bestselling novel was published, she was appalled that the book’s cover featured purple and yellow—the colors of SEC rival LSU. "You can't imagine how disappointed I was when my publisher showed me the colors of the cover of The Help,” she told an interviewer. “Just for the record, I'm not an LSU fan. I am an Alabama football fan.”
When it comes to the national title game, Condoleezza Rice has a dilemma worthy of a former secretary of state. On one hand, Rice grew up in Birmingham and is a lifelong and passionate Alabama football fan. On the other, she received her master’s degree from Notre Dame and was once a member of the school’s board of trustees. So which team will she be supporting in the big game? “Excited to see some favorite teams finish the college season,”
she tweeted last month. “ @StanfordFball in the Rose Bowl, Alabama & Notre Dame in the BCS Championship!” Spoken like a true diplomat.