Discover Fan Loyalty Poll: Northern Illinois, Others Thankful For San Jose State Upset Win Over Fresno State

The latest Discover Fan Loyalty Poll dealt with Thanksgiving, asking college football fans about things they were thankful for this holiday season. As you could probably predict, they were quite thankful for food and football, although the order may vary depending on which fan you asked. Whatever they may have placed a higher priority on this past Thursday, I am sure that all of them were thankful for all of the Thanksgiving weekend college football rivalry games. After witnessing the games on Black Friday, I can say one thing for certain. Fans and players involved with the Northern Illinois Huskies as well as a few other teams have to be extremely thankful for the San Jose State Spartans, who were able to pull off a major upset by handing the Fresno State Bulldogs their first defeat of the 2013 NCAA Football season. The loss takes the Bulldogs out of the BCS Bowl Game picture, while it also opens up a spot for either the Huskies or another team who can receive an at-large bid to one of the five biggest bowl games this postseason.

  • My views are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Discover Products Inc. and its affiliates.

Before we check out the ramifications of Fresno State coming up short in an exciting shoot-out against San Jose State, take a look at the latest results from the Discover Fan Loyalty Poll. The Week five poll asked college football fans whether or not they would give up their seat at the dinner table this past Thursday in exchange for free tickets at the 50-yard-line to watch their favorite team play. Overall, 42 percent of the fans surveyed said that they would rather pass on turkey than pass the pie around the table, opting to accept the free tickets to watch their favorite team play. While that number is high, the majority – at 55 percent – said that they agree with the sentiment that home is where the heart is, and that even free tickets at midfield to watch their favorite college football team play would not be enough to get them to skip Thanksgiving dinner with their family.

It seems that while turkey and football go together, just don’t make fans choose one over the other. The majority will try to find a way to thoroughly enjoy the best of both worlds! After all, I know that I would! But, if push came to shove a few days ago, which event would you have selected? Free football tickets or food with the family?

When breaking the data down by conference, fans of an SEC or American Athletic Conference team were most likely to take the free tickets, at 46 percent, which is three percentage points higher than the average fan. On the flip side, fans of Pac-12 teams said that they would not skip the traditional Thanksgiving Day festivities, as 60 percent would pass up the tickets in favor of spending the day with family. This past Thanksgiving, only fans of four teams would have had to have made that decision, as the only two college football games played this past Thursday featured the Mississippi State Bulldogs pulling off an overtime upset against the Ole Miss Rebels to win the Egg Bowl, and the Texas Longhorns knocking off the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Both of these games did have bowl implications, but neither will have any ramifications on any of the five BCS Bowl Games.

*         Discover Products Inc. sent me a Gift Card for participating as a Blogger in the Discover Fan Loyalty Poll program

What about when it came to the dinner menu on Thanksgiving? This is obviously more of a personal preference, with many people having such different tastes. In the longstanding debate over which Thanksgiving dinner staple people cannot live without, college football fans weighed in and it was discovered that turkey sits squarely on top, proving that the debate may not be as close as some may feel. Turkey took the top billing with 48 percent, followed by stuffing at 20 percent, pie at 9 percent, mashed potatoes at 7 percent and cranberry sauce at 2 percent. Surprisingly, 12 percent said that another item of food is No. 1 in their hearts. While stuffing and pie were once again the top two musts on my Thanksgiving dinner plate, I would love to know what of the rest of you would say – especially the 12 percent who did not choose any of the top five food items as their No. 1 choice. Once again, feel free to weigh in with your own responses below.

As for the Bulldogs, they know that they let a great opportunity slip away. Entering the game against the Spartans, Fresno State was ranked No. 16 in the latest BCS Standings. They needed a win over San Jose State as well as an impressive win against either the Utah State Aggies or Boise State Broncos in the inaugural Mountain West Championship Game next Saturday night. They had to still worry about passing Northern Illinois in the BCS Standings to have any shot at receiving an at-large BCS Bowl Game bid, but after dropping a game in which they allowed 62 points to a team who entered the contest with a losing record, any hopes they had at heading to a BCS Bowl Game were squashed in last night’s upset.

This loss clearly puts the Huskies in a great spot, although nothing is guaranteed. We should have all learned that anything can happen as it relates to the 2013 college football season.

Make sure that you stay tuned to Boston Super Blog for all of the latest polls and results from the Discover Fan Loyalty Poll. We have got you covered throughout the remainder of the 2013 college football season, leading all the way up to the BCS Championship Game! Make sure to Like Discover on Facebook and follow them on Twitter!

The Discover Fan Loyalty Poll is conducted twice a month by Rasmussen Reports, a nationally recognized leader in polling, who gathers sentiment by phone from 1500 college football fans who follow games at least once per week on television, radio, in person or online. The Poll leads up to the 2014 Discover Orange Bowl. Discover’s commitment to college football includes relationships with ESPN and Notre Dame Football on NBC.

About Discover

Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) is a direct banking and payment services company with one of the most recognized brands in U.S. financial services. Since its inception in 1986, the company has become one of the largest card issuers in the United States. The company issues the Discover card, America’s cash rewards pioneer, and offers home loans, private student loans, personal loans, home equity loans, checking and savings accounts, certificates of deposit and money market accounts through its direct banking business. It operates the Discover Network, with millions of merchant and cash access locations; PULSE, one of the nation’s leading ATM/debit networks; and Diners Club International, a global payments network with acceptance in more than 185 countries and territories. For more information, visit


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About the author

Rob Kelley

Rob Kelley is a sports reporter for various newspapers in Florida, and is trying to break back into the sports writing game after a brief hiatus following the publishing of his first book, I'm Not a Quitter. He recently resigned as Editor-in-Chief and lead writer for The South Shore Magazine to pursue better opportunities. You can follow him on Twitter @RobKelley24.