Best College for Sports Fans (2018)


For athletes and non-athletes alike, the college experience–with its mascots, marching bands and longstanding traditions–often breeds lifelong loyalty in fans. So which American college or university offers the best fan experience for sports enthusiasts? 

  • University of Texas at Austin

    University of Texas at Austin

    The University of Texas in Austin enjoys sporting success across its programs, but on Saturdays in fall, football is king. Regardless of the team's success, hordes of burnt orange-wearing fans turn up in their cowboy boots to cheer on the team. Another bonus: Texas weather is ideal for tailgating. 
    Photo courtesy of Brendan Maloney-US PRESSWIRE

  • Pennsylvania State University

    Pennsylvania State University
    State College, Penn.

    It's hard to find a more loyal fan base than the students and alumni at Penn State. Beaver Stadium has the second-highest seating capacity of any stadium in the U.S., with more than 100,000 fans showing up to root for the Nittany Lions during football season. The men's and women's volleyball programs excel as well. 
    Photo courtesy of John H Beale

  • University of Maryland

    University of Maryland
    College Park, Md.

    In the last 10 years, the University of Maryland has taken home 31 conference championships, and the mens basketball team has made an appearance in the NCAA tournament a total of 26 times throughout its history. The Terps have received national attention for their annual student section flash mobs. Nearly 18,000 hoops fans fill up XFINITY Center each game day.
    Photo courtesy of University of Maryland

  • University of Florida

    University of Florida

    From football to baseball and everything in between, the Florida Gators have long been dominant across the sports spectrum with 17 titles in the past decade. The Swamp excels in game day ambiance as well, with one of the rowdiest crowds in college sports.
    Photo courtesy of Jack Gruber, USA TODAY Staff

  • Ohio State University

    Ohio State University

    Some 29,000 students at Ohio State University hold season tickets to a sport, and on football game days, an average of more than 107,000 fans show up to cheer on the Buckeyes in the Horseshoe. OSU is also half of one of the best rivalries in college sports, that against the Michigan Wolverines.
    Photo courtesy of Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

  • University of Georgia

    University of Georgia
    Athens, Ga.

    While the Georgia Bulldogs have become one of the most dominant football teams in the country, the Athens university also boasts an excellent gymnastics program, with seven national titles in recent years. The Five Points area in downtown Athens sets the scene for plenty of post-game parties throughout the school year.
    Photo courtesy of Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

  • University of Wisconsin–Madison

    University of Wisconsin–Madison
    Madison, Wis.

    The Wisconsin Badgers are no stranger to the top 25, whether on the gridiron or the basketball court. The men's basketball team even made back-to-back Final Four appearances in 2014 and 2015. Football fans enjoy a lively stadium atmosphere thanks to the tradition of playing "Jump Around" before the start of every fourth quarter.
    Photo courtesy of Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

  • Duke University

    Duke University
    Durham, N.C.

    For sports fans, things don't get much more exciting than catching a game at Cameron Indoor Stadium at Duke University in Raleigh. Hallowed ground in college basketball, the arena is home turf for both the Blue Devils and their hardcore fans, aptly nicknamed the Cameron Crazies.
    Photo courtesy of Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

  • University of Connecticut

    University of Connecticut
    Storrs, Conn.

    The Lady Huskies basketball team at UConn has been one of the most successful teams in the nation across all sports over the past years, with 11 national titles and a record-breaking 111-game winning streak. The men's program has landed two titles in the last decade.
    Photo courtesy of AP Photo/Jessica Hill

  • University of Alabama

    University of Alabama
    Tuscaloosa, Ala.

    With an impressive 16 national championships, the University of Alabama has earned its spot among football royalty. While baseball, softball, golf and gymnastics also shine at the Tuscaloosa campus, nothing quite tops the excitement of game day for the Crimson Tide football team. 
    Photo courtesy of Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

We asked readers to vote for their favorite once per day from 20 nominated schools, and the results are in.

The top 10 winners in the category Best College for Sports Fans are as follows: 

  1. University of Texas at Austin - Austin
  2. Pennsylvania State University - State College, Penn.
  3. University of Maryland - College Park, Md.
  4. University of Florida - Gainesville
  5. Ohio State University - Columbus
  6. University of Georgia - Athens, Ga.
  7. University of Wisconsin–Madison - Madison, Wis.
  8. Duke University - Durham, N.C.
  9. University of Connecticut - Storrs, Conn.
  10. University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Congratulations to all these winning universities!

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