There are lots of students that want to apply for a college with not only great graduation rates, alumni outcomes, and academic performance records but for a school’s reputation in the world of professional football.
A whole variety of aspects influence the student’s decision when they choose a specific college.
College’s football program can be one of the most significant points for numerous students.
There are a variety of schools that gain their reputation due to academic scholarships while others pay more attention to sport success.
If you are one of those students interested in football, you should pay attention to the best football colleges.
It is a great opportunity to become a member of a champion team, tailgate with your teammates before the big game, and feel the energy of numerous fan cheering for your team.
For many years, football programs offered by colleges were an important aspect that influenced the choices of numerous students.
In this article, we’ve prepared for you the list of 25 best colleges in the USA that have football teams.
The list is based on three important criteria:
- game-day attendance;
- team awards and achievements;
- long-standing traditions in college’s football history.
Article Table of Contents
- 1 Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
- 2 University of Georgia, Athens, GA
- 3 University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
- 4 Auburn University, Auburn, AL
- 5 Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA
- 6 University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
- 7 Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA
- 8 Texas A & M University, College Station, TX
- 9 University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
- 10 University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN
- 11 Clemson University, Clemson, SC
- 12 The University of Texas, Austin, TX
- 13 The University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
- 14 University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE
- 15 Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
- 16 The University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN
- 17 University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
- 18 University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
- 19 The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
- 20 University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR
- 21 Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS
- 22 Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
- 23 The University of Washington, Seattle, WA
- 24 Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX
- 25 University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS
- 26 Methodology
Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
The Buckeyes is a football team of the Ohio State University.
It is a constant participant of the east division of NCAA Big Ten Conference Football.
The team has a long-lasting history and traditions that were started in 1890 when the team participated in competitions for the first time.
Starting that point, there were more than 400 players of the Buckeyes that joined the NFL.
Since 2011, the head coach of the team is Urban Meyer.
He was able to support the team’s success and led it to 5 championships, 24 victories, and a perfect season in 2012.
It significantly influences Ohio’s team position in the rank.
Nowadays, the team has as much as 6 division, 8 national, 38 conference titles.
Among the previous team members, there were 7 Heisman winners, a Rimington Trophy recipient, and numerous CoSIDA honorees.
During the games, Ohio Stadium is packed with fans.
Considering the fan attendance of 2017, the Ohio team is for sure #1 as during the year they were able to attract about 1.2 million fans.
Also, it is called a recipient in the NCAA and the team is valued at $1.5 billion.
University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Georgia’s Bulldogs has numerous fans, incredible results, as well as two popular mascots – Hairy Dawg and Uga that is a live English Bulldog.
Uga has a prestigious lineage that was implemented as a team mascot more than 70 years ago.
It was a writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution who called the team bulldogs for the first time in 1920.
The team decided to keep the nickname and it didn’t change since then.
The University of Georgia owns 10th largest stadium of NCAA and it can accommodate about 95 000 fans in time.
In 2017, the team was able to attract as much as 1.2 million spectators to its games.
The main contenders of the Bulldogs are the Auburn Tigers that are one of the most highly ranked football teams.
The Bulldogs aren’t only the members of Division I and Southeastern Conference (SEC) but they also have 15 conference titles and two national championships.
University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
In 1892, the team of the University of Alabama won its 1st game against the team from Livingston and Birmingham.
It was exactly the time when the college’s team history started.
The team got its name after the game of 1905 when it performed the game in the red Alabama mud.
In 1925 the Crimson Tide won their first season and got an invitation to the Rose Bowl.
According to the national fan attendance rank, the team has a third place.
In 2014, more than 1 228 000 fans attended the team’s games.
Also, lots of fans constantly attend the team’s games so they can support their favorite players.
During its history, the team participated in 65 bowls including the Sugar Bowl in 2018.
Moreover, the team has 30 conferences and 17 national titles, as well as two Heisman championships, and 69 All-American award recipients.
Auburn University, Auburn, AL
The first football game of the Auburn University team was played in 1892.
Now the team has the largest stadium among the college’s football stadiums.
It can host about 87 500 fans at a time and is known as the fifth-largest stadium in Alabama.
During 2017, more than 605 000 fans visited the Tiger’s games.
According to the national fan attendance, the Tigers are ranked #5 in national rank.
The team is a part of an elite group of 11 teams that we’re able to surpass the 1 million game-attendance mark together with its constant rivals – the Crimson Tide.
The Tigers are the participants of the west division of SEC and NCAA.
Nowadays, the team is known for 12 football hall-of-fame inductees, 3 Heisman, and 29 All-Americans winners, as well as 12 undefeated seasons and 5 national championships.
Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA
Penn State’s Nittany Lions are members of the Big Ten Conference as well as one of the oldest football teams in the country.
Started in 1887, nowadays the team attracts numerous fans to its game and is ranked as one of the top 10 most popular college football teams.
In 2017, about 1.15 million fans attended the Nittany Lions’ games and supported the team in 13 home, away and neutral games.
The Beaver Stadium is a home stadium of the team and it is one of the largest in the western hemisphere.
Its capacity is more than 106 000 fans.
The team’s games, especially with its main rivals Pittsburg and Ohio, constantly gather lots of fans.
The Nitty Lions are the owners of 2 national and 3 conference championships and ranked #8 for all-time total wins.
Among other significant achievements, there are four Big Ten Conference championships, 48 bowl games, and Heisman winner John Cappelletti.
One other record of the team is the Head Coach Joe Paterno who trained the team for 46 seasons.
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
The U-M Wolverines are known for its long-lasting history of success that started when they won their first Big Ten title in 1898.
The team won its first national title in 1901.
Also, the team is famous for its two mascots – live wolves Bernie and Biff that was retired in 1927, the year after the team gathered a whole bunch of fans on their game.
Michigan Stadium is known as “the big house” among the U-M students and for a long time, it was considered as one the biggest and most expensive constructions of its kind.
Its capacity was about 84 000 and the construction cost is $950 000 that is a huge sum considering the fact it was built in 1927.
After that, the stadium was renovated and now its capacity is about 107 000 visitors.
In 2017, more than 1.14 million fans visited team’s games including 670 000 fans that visited home games of the Wolverines.
Every season of the U-M Wolverines ended with the match against the Ohio State Buckeyes.
These matches are really incredible and spectacular and some of them even considered as the greatest rivalries in sports by ESPN.
The Wolverines are famous for the most number of wins among the college teams.
Moreover, the team has 42 conferences and 11 national titles, as well as 3 Heisman winners.
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA
The LSU football team, known as the Fighting Tigers or simply the Tigers, is a constant participant of the SEC Western Division.
The first Tigers’ game was held in 1893 and back then the team lost the match.
Nowadays, the team has one of the best records among college football teams and, for sure, has one of the most incredible reputations in the football world.
Tiger Stadium is called a “death valley” by opponents and its capacity is about 102 000 of visitors.
Also, the team has a strong culture and amazing fans’ support during all their matches.
Recently, the stadium was renovated and several areas such as beer and food sections for fans were added.
In 2017, the team attracted more than 590 000 fans to their home games and about 1.11 million fans to their games in total.
Nowadays, LSU is known for the greatest number of NFL drafts among the college football teams.
In fact, 51 former LSU players become professional players and joined various NFL teams.
Moreover, the team is the owner of 3 national, 8 division, and 14 conference titles, as well as 31 All-Americans winners.
Texas A & M University, College Station, TX
Texas A & M’s Aggies team was started in 1894.
Since then the team became a member of the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and the SEC Western Division.
The first team’s game was against the Texas Longhorns that are still considered as the main rival of the Aggies.
In fact, it is the most long-lasting rivalry in the history of college football teams in the USA.
The home stadium of the Aggies since 1905 is Kyle Stadium.
In 2014 and 2015, the stadium was renovated that allowed to increase its already incredible capacity.
Now, it can accept about 103 000 of fans which makes it one the largest college football universities (#5 in the rank).
During 2017, the team attracted about 1.1 million fans to both home and away games.
The team is known for its squad player E.King Gill as well as for the tradition of the “12th man”.
Also, the team has the largest military marching band in the country.
The team has impressive records as well as 3 division and 18 conference titles, and 2 Heisman winners, 28 All-Americans recipients.
University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
OU’s Oklahoma Sooners are the member of the NCAA Division I FBS and the Big 12 Conference.
The team is known for one of the most celebrated histories in the world of college football.
The team has impressive results including one the highest win’s percentage, 47 straight victories, and one of the best teams in NCAA division.
The team’s stadium is Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.
It is known as one of the largest stadiums in the state and in the USA as well.
In 2017, 519 000 fans attended the team’s home games.
In total, more than 1 million fans attended the Sooners games in 2017.
The Sooners are known for its unique mascot – the Sooner Schooner which is a wagon manned by Oklahoma Territory settlers.
It drives across the field to signal the beginning of each game held on the stadium.
The Sooners are known as the owners of 47 conference titles, six Heisman winners, and 80 All-Americans recipients.
University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN
The team of the University of Tennessee – the Volunteers that are also known as the Vols – got its name due to its service to the state.
The first team’s game was held in 1891.
Moreover, it is one of the only football teams that doesn’t receive state funds in the USA.
Nevertheless, the team is well trained and now it is a chart member of the SEC.
In 2017, the team’s home games were attended by more than 670 000 fans while when it comes to the games in total, they were attended by more than 1 million fans.
The team is famous for the greatest number of home game wins among the college football teams and its incredible tradition of “running through the T” formation at the beginning of every season.
Nowadays, the team has 18 conference championships, 6 national titles, and 28 bowl wins.
During its long-lasting history, the team has numerous Hall of Fame inductees, 40 All-Americans and retired jerseys such as Peyton Manning and Doug Atkins.
Clemson University, Clemson, SC
The Clemson Tigers have a rich history, incredible athletic traditions as well as hundreds of thousands of fans.
Its main rivals are the South Carolina Gamecocks or the Florida Seminoles.
During each their game-opening, the Tigers run down the hill to the Howard’s Rock as the way for good luck.
In 2017, 565 000 fans visited Tigers’ home games and speaking of games in general, they were attended by more than 1 million spectators.
The Memorial Stadium which is Tiger’s home stadium is ranked #16 among the largest college football stadiums.
The first game of the Tigers was held in 1896 and since then the team won 700 games in total.
Also, they become one of the main competitors in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).
The team won 10 games or more in each of seven seasons which makes them one of the most winning teams in the NCAA.
The University of Texas, Austin, TX
The Texas Longhorns is the UT football team and a member of the Big 12 Conference.
The team can be recognized due to their burnt orange jersey and lived mascot – Texas steer Bevo.
In 2017, Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin was visited by more than 500 000 visitors who wanted to support the Longhorns.
The stadium capacity is more than 100 000 guests and it is one of the largest stadiums in the FBS.
In general, the Longhorns attracted more than 1 million fans to their games in 2017.
The team itself is one of the most winning members of the FBS and has absolutely impressive records during its long-lasting history.
Also, according to an NCAA record, the Longhorns won 108 out of 122 seasons.
Among the team’s alumni, there are such names as Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams.
The University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
The South Carolina Gamecocks are a constant participant of the SEC Eastern Division and Division I of the NCAA.
The first independent game of the Gamecocks was held in 1892.
It took place in an inaugural Christmas Eve and the Furman University was its rivals.
Since then the number of team’s fans grew constantly and the team introduced its mascot “Cocky” that become really popular.
The team is famous for its ability to gather lots of fans during their games especially when it comes to matches against the Clemson Tigers that are the main rivals of the Gamecocks since 1896.
In 2017, about 1 million fans visited the Gamecocks’ games including 550 000 fans that attended the home games of the team.
William-Brice Stadium is a home arena of the Gamecocks and it is considered as the 20th-largest stadium in the NCAA.
The team appeared in 6 bowls, as well as top-25 SEC final rankings.
Also, the Gamecocks has one Heisman winner, 4 All-Americans, as well as national, SEC, and ACC coaches of the year.
University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE
The University of Nebraska has a great football team – the Cornhuskers – that belongs to the Big Ten Conference.
The team is one of only 10 in the FBS that has about 800 winning games at least.
Their first game was held in 1890 and only a year after it the team was nicknamed as “The Cornhuskers” by a journalist that wrote the article about the teams match against the Iowa team.
In 2017, the team attracted an incredible number of fans:
- almost 1 million visitors attended their matches;
- more than 620 000 fans attended their home matches.
Memorial Stadium is the 3rd largest stadium in the state and a home stadium of the Cornhuskers.
During the venue history, 362 games were held there and it has an amazing capacity.
During its history, the team gained 10 division, 5 national, and 46 conference titles.
Also, it has 54 All-Americans and 3 Heisman winners.
The team is one of the most successful teams in “Power Five” Division I FBS as well as in the NCAA.
Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
The Michigan State Spartans are the members of the Big Ten Conference that have really high rankings due to their numerous wins, championship titles as well as acclaimed showmanship.
The team had more than 150 seasons and known for its Spartan Marching Band and the award-winning mascot “Sparty” that won a national title.
Spartan Stadium has a capacity of more than 75 000.
In 2017, about 507 000 visited this stadium to support their favorite team.
Since 1923 when the Stadium was opened, almost 70% of team’s games were held there.
Also, more than 890 000 fans visited both home and away games of the Spartans in 2017.
The main rival of the Spartans is Notre Dame’s, Fighting Irish.
The most famous match between these 2 teams was held in 1966 when the match ended in a 10-10 tie and both teams were named as the champions.
The Spartans gave 6 nationals and 11 conference titles, as well as 31 All-Americans players.
The University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN
The University of Notre Dame football team – the Fighting Irish – is a great team placed in several great rankings including the NCAA rank.
The Fighting Irish is one of the six independent teams in the FBS and the only such team that participates the Bowl Championship Series.
Also, it is the only team that has a long-lasting contract with a TV studio that performs each home match on NBC.
The Fighting Irish has one of the largest and most loyal fan bases.
Considering the Roman Catholic policy of the university, the team’s stadium is considered as a regal, traditional setting that often seen as a basilica.
In 2017, about 543 000 fans attended the team’s home matches while about 889 000 visitors attended their games in general.
The Fighting Irish s known as one of the most winning college football teams (908).
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
The USC Trojans were started in 1888 and since then the team becomes a member of Division I FBS of the NCAA and the Pac-12 Conference.
Also, the team is known as the team with the most number of players drafted by the NFL.
The home stadium of the team is the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum which is one of the largest venues in the country.
Also, two Olympic Games were held there as well as a bunch of sporting events and concerts.
During 2017, about 885 000 visited the Trojan’s games including 509 000 spectators that attended the team’s home games.
For a long time, the team was one of the main producers of Heisman winners including such great players as O.J. Simpson and Reggie Bush.
Among the team’s achievements, there are 54 bowl games, including 34 Rose Bowls.
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
The UF Gators are one of the greatest members of Division I of the NCAA and the SEC Eastern Division.
The main rival of the team is the Florida State Seminoles and they have matches every season starting from 1958.
Also, the team has a whole bunch of fans that are known as the “Gators Nation”.
In 2017, about 872 000 fans cheered the Gators during their games including more than 520 000 spectators that attended the team’s home games.
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium is a home field of the team and it is known as “the swamp” among the fans.
Its capacity is about 90,000 visitors.
During its history, the team gained 14 division and 8 conference titles, as well as 3 Heisman winners.
Also, since 1906, the team has had a whole bunch of great head coaches three of which were inducted into the Hall of Fame for college football.
The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
The Iowa Hawkeyes is trained by Kirk Ferentz and a member of the Big Ten Conference.
The team was highly praised by ESPN due to their significant impact on football culture.
The Hawkeyes funs waves to patients at the university’s adjacent children’s hospital every time the team has a game at their home stadium.
The hospital building is located pretty close to the stadium so the patients can see the field from the top floors and enjoy the games for free.
In 2017, more than 872 000 of fannes attended the Hawkeyes games including 520 000 of fans that visited the team’s home games.
The most popular games among the fans are the matches between the Hawkeyes and the Iowa State Cyclones or the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Nowadays, the team is known as the owner of 4 national and 13 conference titles.
Also, there are 27 All-Americans players.
Moreover, the team’s home stadium which is named after one of the most famous Hawkeye’s players Nile Kinnick is one of the largest sports venues in the NCAA
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR
The football team of the University of Arkansas was started in 1894 and it was coached by John Futrall who was Latin prof at the university.
In 1909, after the coach’s change, the team changed its name as their head coach was a tough personality.
It was in the 1920s when its traditional song was created.
The Razorbacks have so many fans that the team requires more than one venue for their games.
Usually, the home games are held at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium or War Memorial Stadium.
The last one is usually used only for 2-3 games per season.
In 2017, 843 000 fans attended the Razorbacks games including 442 000 fans that came to see the team’s home games.
It is ranked as #25 most-winning team in the football history of the USA.
The Razorbacks have not only great records but also 13 conference titles and 24 All-Americans players.
Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS
The Mississippi State Bulldogs is known for its ability to produce multiple All-American players and NFL draft picks.
Also, the team has the longest rivalries in the history of college football.
The main rivals of the Bulldogs are Ole Miss, LSU, and Alabama teams.
Moreover, the team is a member of NCAA Division I FBS and SEC Western Division.
In 2017, the Bulldogs attracted more than 816 000 fans to their home games.
The team fans are known as one of the most active support teams that constantly cheer their favorite players.
According to the data, the team has 38 All-American players, 16 post-season bowl appearances, and 124 players who joined the NFL.
11 of them were drafted in the 1st round.
Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
The Florida State Seminoles are famous for their numerous victories, numerous champion players as well as league titles.
The team’s fans are called “the tribe” and prived all possible support for their favorite team.
Also, the Seminoles are the members of the NCAA Division I and the ACC Atlantic Division.
Moreover, the team is known for the fact they’ve implemented some absolutely unique traditions such as honoring the Native American heritage of Florida’s Seminole Tribe.
During 2017, the team’s games were attracted by 809 381 fans that enjoyed the performance of the largest college marching band in the world and the team’s mascots – horses Osceola and Renegade.
The most popular games were the matches against the team’s main rivals – the Florida Gators.
Doak Campbell Stadium is a team’s home venue that is the 2nd largest stadium in the ACC.
During 14 years in a row, the team was placed in the top 4 of the Associated Press Poll.
The Seminoles have 6 division and 18 conference titles as well as 3 Heisman winners.
The University of Washington, Seattle, WA
The Washington Huskies are the members of the NCAA Division I FBS and the North Division of the Pac-12 Conference.
The team is famous for its long-lasting winning history as well as incredible records.
For a long time, the main team’s rivals are the Washington State Cougars and the Oregon Ducks.
During 2017, the team attracted more than 771 000 fans to their games including 482 000 visitors that cheered for the team during its home matches.
The home venue of the team is the Stadium in Seattle which is known as the largest sports venue in the Pacific Northwest.
The Huskies are known as “quarterback U” for fielding the second-most QBs of all time in the NFL.
Also, the team has 64 winning games in FBS and 40 winning games in the NCAA.
Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX
The TCU Horned Frogs are known for one of the best college football programs as well as one of the best football teams.
They are constant competitors in Division I of the NCAA and the Big 12 Conference.
The first team’s winning game was held on Dec. 7, 1896.
The TCU Horned Frogs home games at Amon G. Carter Stadium that set a record in 2009 when more than 50 000 of fans came to see the game against the Utah Utes.
In 2017, about 764 000 fans visited the Horned Frogs games.
The Horned Frogs is one of four FBS teams that took part in every game of College Football Playoff Bowl.
Moreover, the team is the owner of 18 conference titles as well as 17 All-Americans.
8 team’s former players were included into the Hall of Fame.
University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS
The University of Mississippi team – the Rebels that are also known as “Ole Miss” – is the constant participant of the NCAA Division I FBS and the SEC Western Conference.
For more than 115 years the team has shown absolutely incredible results and it is known as the best football team in the state.
The Ole Miss Rebels’ home venue is Vaught-Hemingway Stadium where most team’s games are held including matches against its main rivals such as the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the LSU Tigers.
This stadium is the largest in the state and one of the most visited in Mississippi.
In 2017, about 751 000 visitors attended the Rebels games with more than 410 000 fans that visited home games of the team.
Since 1893, almost all team’s games were held at their home stadium except only a few games during the yellow fever epidemic and WWII.
At the moment, the team is the owner of 3 national and 6 conference titles as well as 12 All-Americans.
As you can see the game-day experience is an important part of the methodology of selecting America’s best football colleges.
That is the reason why the best schools in our list are those that can attract the most fans during their game days.
One other important aspect is the team’s achievements such as awards and accolades.
Also, there are lots of teams that produce a whole bunch of Heisman award-winning athletes as well as numerous alumni drafted by the NFL.