Star Sightings: Celebrity College Football Fans

Associated Press
October 30, 2010

Hey, is that Matthew McConaughey? Well, if you’re at a University of Texas football game the answer is probably yes.

While college football can’t compete with the NBA when it comes to celebrity spotting, it has it’s share of hangers on and well-known alums who just love to cozy up the coaches, don the school colors and tout their favorite team whenever they can

With that, college football’s top-12 famous fans.

1) James Carville, LSU. The ragin’ cajun grew up going to games at Tiger Stadium. His jobs as a political consultant and TV pundit don’t allow him to get to as many as he used to, but get him talking football and he sounds no different from any other SEC fan, railing against the BCS and badmouthing the Big Ten.

2) Matthew McConaughey, Texas. Romantic comedies and Longhorns football games are the mostly likely places to spot this native Texan. McConaughey also likes to stop by practice to chat with Mack Brown or break the team huddle. On gamedays in Austin, he and buddy Lance Armstrong often watch from the sideline like a couple of 40-year-old frat boys.

3) Regis Philbin, Notre Dame. The seeming ageless morning show host might love the Fighting Irish more than his co-host, Kelly Ripa. Current Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly was on the show earlier this year and Lou Holtz, Tyrone Willingham and Charlie Weis have also been guests.

4) Bill Cosby, Temple. Cosby played football for the Owls back in the early 1960s. For years, the Owls’ football team hasn’t given Cosby much reason to tout the program. But the recent turnaround under coach Al Golden has given Cos an excuse to break out that old letterman sweater.

5) George H.W. Bush, Texas A&M. The 41st President of the United States now lives in Houston and his presidential library is on the campus of Texas A&M. So he catches a few Aggies games when he’s around. Think he has tickets? Or does the Secret Service just call ahead and say, “The President is coming to the game today. And he’d prefer to see a few less interceptions from Coach Sherman’s quarterback.”

6) Will Ferrell, Southern California. Back in the good ol’ days of USC football, you know, 2005, Trojans games were the hot spot on the LA sports scene. Ferrell, the former Saturday Night Live star and USC alum, used to goof around with Pete Carroll’s guys at practice and be a regular on the sideline at the Los Angeles Coliseum. These days, starring in “Old School” isn’t quite enough to nab a field pass at USC.

7) Larry the Cable Guy, Nebraska. Daniel Lawrence Whitney is a Nebraska native, so of course he’s a Cornhuskers fan. He even got to be guest coach on the sideline last year during the Huskers’ 300th consecutive sellout. Nebraska won that game 55-0 against Louisiana-Lafayette. “Git’er done” was probably all the pregame pep talk the Huskers needed for that one.

8) Toby Keith, Oklahoma. The country singer was born and went to high school in Oklahoma and played defensive end for a semipro team there before hitting it big in music. He flies the Oklahoma flag on his farm and gets current Sooners coach Bob Stoops and former OU coach Barry Switzer to play his charity golf events.

9) James Gandolfini, Rutgers. Yep, Tony Soprano went to Rutgers. OK, really, the guy who played the conflicted crime boss is a Rutgers alum and New Jersey native. Gandolfini has been an honorary captain for the Scarlet Knights and appeared in character in some of the program’s promotional campaigns. If Tony Soprano was recruiting you, how could you say no?

10) Kenny Chesney, Tennessee. The country singer was born in Knoxville and recorded a song called “Touchdown Tennessee,” which was an ode to former Vols announcer John Ward. He’s pals with former Florida star Tim Tebow, which really hurts his Volunteers fans cred.

11) Ashton Kutcher, Iowa. Born in Cedar Rapids, Kutcher tweeted earlier this season that he thought the Hawkeyes could make a national title run and he and wife, Demi Moore, attended the Iowa-Iowa State game.

12) David Letterman, Ball State. Probably the school’s most famous alum, and when the Cardinals do well, as they did in 2008 by putting together an 12-0 regular season, they’re sure to get a mention or two on “The Late Show.” Unfortunately, that hasn’t done much for recruiting. Ball State was 2-10 last year and 2-6 this year.