Well... one shouldn't generalize from one's own experiences... but...
I grew up in central Pennsylvania, in a community where "less educated" was far and away the norm. Rabid Penn State football fans - notwithstanding that most of those fans had no personal association with the University - not as former students, not as family of students. Most of them never attended games at Beaver Stadium, many of them probably never actually visited State College (one or two of 'em essentially never left Snyder County). As the son of a Penn Stater, and then as an undergrad and an alum, it was just a little mystifying the degree to which these people identified with an institution that they knew essentially nothing about.
Well, they identified with the football team, and with Joe Paterno. Even today, if I mentioned the name of any of the faculty I knew who were at Penn State then, or any of the outstanding faculty who are there now, the names would be meaningless to 99% of the people in McClure, PA. (In other words, there might be 10 people out of the thousand or so who live there who would recognize any of Penn State's leading lights, excluding the football coach).
The Penn Stater i most admire? Richard Alley - followed closely by Mike Mann (and a 1980s post-doc named Joe Dondelinger). Because some things really can change peoples' lives - and football isn't one of them.