Four from SEC ranked in 10 best college sports towns


What’s the best college sports towns in America? ranked the 10 best in the country, and four SEC towns made the top 10:

1. Madison, Wisconsin (Wisconsin Badgers)
2. Knoxville, Tennessee (Tennessee Volunteers)
3. Gainesville, Florida (Florida Gators)

4. Los Angeles, California (USC Trojans and UCLA Bruins)
5. Iowa City, Iowa (Iowa Hawkeyes)
6. Tuscaloosa, Alabama (Alabama Crimson Tide)
7. Columbia, Missouri (Missouri Tigers)

8. Austin, Texas (Texas Longhorns)
9. State College, Pennsylvania (Penn State Nittany Lions)
10. Durham, North Carolina (Duke Blue Devils)

Here are a few blips about each town, according to the website:

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Knoxville, TN: “Tennessee fans are loyal, passionate and support UT football through thick and thin. Fans in Knoxville are extremely educated when it comes to college sports.”

Gainesville, FL: “The University of Florida boasts a championship caliber football and basketball program. Florida is arguably the best multi-major sport school in the country, with two national titles in each sports since 2006.”

Tuscaloosa, AL: “To get the true feel for what a Southern college campus is like, head down to Tuscaloosa. Alabama football’s game day experience is one of the best in the country.”

Columbia, MO: “There isn’t much else to do in the middle of Missouri besides drink and cheer on the Missouri Tigers. And they do in Columbia. The bar scene near campus is awesome and the game day atmosphere for Tiger basketball and football games is something to see.”

If your favorite team’s college town was left off, you obviously hate the rankings. Several SEC schools are worthy of consideration, like Baton Rouge (LSU), College Station (Texas A&M), Athens (Georgia) and Fayetteville (Arkansas), among others. Possibly the most underrated sports town in the SEC is Starkville (Mississippi State).

Which towns would you add?

Photo Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports


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  • Knoxville is an awesome sports town….we’ve just sucked at football for the last several years. Went to Columbia, MO last year and it was incredible too. Been to Tuscaloosa and it was fun. Gainesville sucks though.

    • Wrong and wrong.

      I was in (the other) Columbia last year. The Mizzou fans were pretty apathetic and most of them were not in the stadium at kickoff.

      On the other hand, I have never had a bad time in Gainesville. Unrelatedly, having LA on the list is a joke. It is the most un-college town I can think of; you barely know it is a game day on most Saturdays.

    • Agree with Jake – When I moved to CoMO, I had no idea what to expect. Now I’m graduating from my graduate program and dreading the thought of leaving. I love it. I’ve also enjoyed my trips to Knoxville!

      I’ve been to Oxford and Tuscaloosa and really enjoyed my time there. I was at the Mizzou @ UGA game last season and Athens seemed nice, but I didn’t get a chance to stay since I had to return in ATL for a conference.

  • Tuscaloosa is a vile cesspool

  • How is Baton Rouge and LSU not on this list?

  • Columbia, South Carolina was snubbed. We have a top ten football and baseball program, year in year out. As the largest city in a state with no professional sports teams, we show out for our teams. Just ask our 17-0 win streak.

    • Technically the Panthers are a professional sports team for ALL of the Carolinas… That’s what Jerry Richardson said when he founded the franchise. So you might not have a pro sports team in South Carolina, but the Panthers are your team. If you can bring yourself to cheer for Cam Newton, lol.

  • “Fans in Knoxville” and “extremely educated” should never, ever, ever be used in the same sentence. Nice city, good team (except lately), storied program, but the fan base is absolutely the worst in the NCAA. Lived in Nashville for 20 years and was asked many times why I would not switch teams. My answer was always the same, I did not want to be associated with that backwoods, delusional fan base.

    • You lost all credibility with your response by saying Knoxville is a nice city. I lived there 4 years and it’s a dumpster fire. It was fun for undergrad but I would never live there. Also, our fan base that is delusional are uneducated sidewalk fans. Last time I checked every team has those fans. I will admit there is an abundance with our program but we are far from the worst fan base in college. Talk to the educated alumni and you’ll get into a solid conversation about football. For example I hear side walk fans saying we should win 8 games this year, I’m praying for 6. we still have work to do in order to compete but we’re certainly on the upswing. Please don’t generalize our fan base as backwoods and delusional.

  • A top college town list that excludes Oxford has no credibility. As to some of them on the list. Knoxville, at least right around the campus is fun. Tuscaloosa is basically Dothan, but with a major university. Gainesville is basically Ocala, but with a university. No shot at UF or Bama, they just don’t happen to occupy a “cool college town”. Not even close actually. Never been to Columbia, MO. As for others on the list I’ve been to, I’d say that neither Austin & especially LA don’t need to be on there. Been to both & both are fun. In neither did I ever think, “Man, this sure is cool college town”. As for cool SEC college towns (I’ll go with just 4 as this article did), I’d list, in no particular order, Oxford, Athens, Auburn, & Knoxville.

    • Can’t speak for T-town as I have never been, but you are totally off in terms of Gainesville. The city of Gainesville is a total college town that is absorbed by the UF. Gainesville and Ocala are over 40 miles apart. They are literally in different counties (Ocala is in Marion, Gainesville is in Alachua). So you are just sounding like a butthurt fan who is angry his college town didn’t get listed on some obscure list.

      • Sorry you didn’t understand my post. I meant that Gainesville, as a town, is about as cool as Ocala. Reading comprehension is good for you……

        • Gainesville, as a town, is a college town. Literally, it would not exist if it wasn’t for UF. Not to mention, the town is obsessed with everything Gators. And writing succinct arguments is key for someone for to comprehend your butthurt laden argument. Don’t be mad that the Ole Miss degree, sports, and town aren’t as good as they are at UF.

    • Saw this article and immediately knew an it was likely we’d see PCB and Army on here just SHOCKED that Oxford isn’t listed as the greatest college sports town in existence. Meanwhile I see no bulldogs trying to argue that Starkville is one of the top college towns in the nation because it isn’t. We love it anyways but we aren’t gonna go fooling ourselves that it’s the best. I would think Ole Miss could understand Oxford is the same in that way.

      The big difference between the two Starkville is a town that is built around the university and doesn’t really have an identity outside of the university. Oxford on the other hand has an identity outside of UM. It’s more of a town with a college in it than a college town some could argue. Which better supports the sports team though? A town built around the school or a town with it’s own culture outside of the school. My point in this being that if bulldog fans don’t think they fit in the top college SPORTS towns then Oxford surely doesn’t.

    • Are you kidding me? Oxford is Mayberry with a subpar sports program. If you think you rate in the top 10 on any list, except pretty girls, you are mistaken my friend. This list isn’t about the town in general it’s about sports towns and Oxford ain’t it my friend. You stick to making Senators, Judges and Authors and the teams on this list will stick to whoopin’ y’alls a** on the football field.

    • The fact that you say this list has no credibility because Oxfart is not on it takes away any credibility you had. It only means anything to ole miss fans and no one else. I expect nothing less from you. To bring you up to speed, ole miss hasn’t been relevant in any serious way since the early 60′s and that really isn’t anything to be excited about since it was pre integration.


    • Spot on observation for Austin and LA. In fact, I chuckled when I saw LA. LA sports fans are the worst. Even in the Lakers’ 80s heydays fans showed up late in the first quarter and left early in the fourth to beat the traffic. And that was a team the city agreed on.

      And Austin? I lived there 8 years. Whiners and complainers the lot of them. I knew one family that went to the games. One. In 8 years.

      I’m no Aggie fan but I’d put College Station ahead of Austin in this poll anytime. Hell, I’d put Waco in there before Austin.

  • Tuscaloosa AL over Athens GA???? nuff said !!

  • This is a joke, I think the real Columbia should be represented and how do you leave off Athens!

  • I live in CA and agree with Jay Johnson, LA on this list is a joke. And The Loveliest Village on the Plains should be there instead the dump of a town they call Tuscaloosa.

  • “Best college sports town” title is a little ambiguous. People on this thread seem to believe that the stature of the school’s football program and the size of the town are the primary determinants of being one of the “best college towns”. If you look at Gainesville for instance, it has one of the top 5 athletic programs in the country if not the best. Look outside of the major top sports (Basketball, Football, and Baseball) and you’ll find national titles galore. Track and field, swimming and diving, tennis, and gymnastics NCAA titles all in the last 5 years (we won 9 NCAA titles just in my four years as student). They keep winning everything and everyone attends everything. That seals the “sports” argument. As for the “town” argument, Gainesville wouldn’t exist if there wasn’t a university there…Ocala is 45 minutes away and isn’t even in the same county. I’m not arguing against any other school as I haven’t traveled to many other college towns, but I will say that Gainesville deserves to be on this list as it epitomizes the college sports town experience.

  • How in the world is Oxford not listed? That town is all about Ole Miss sports. Plus it is by far the nicest town out of all these places.

    • Because it doesn’t deserve to be on the list. It’s not relevant to anyone but ole miss grads and fans. And it is far from the nicest town on this list.

      • Ouch, … well, … you are right though

      • Which is why it ends up number 1 on Sports Illustrated’s best tailgate. And why Oxford makes SEVERAL “best college town” lists every year. Something a State fan would know nothing about. Starkville is a complete dump….an eyesore for the state of Mississippi.

        • Several, every year? Produce some back up to that baseless claim. Or just shut up and get over the fact that your little neck of the woods in oxford is no more than a crap hole. Any list that would have them listed probably has an ole miss grad on the team putting the list together.

  • Been to almost all those stadiums and towns. Tuscaloosa campus one of the prettiest in the country. Must be Auburn or GA fans. I don’t care cause I am a USC fan.

  • Any list like this without Oxford Mississippi on it is completely void of any credibility.

  • I call B.S. on Los Angeles making this list, as someone who lives here. Yes, they have USC and UCLA, but the city doesn’t really give a crap. L.A. is about the Lakers, the Dodgers (when they’re good), the Kings (when they’re good) and to an extent, the Clippers. USC and UCLA come in behind these teams. You can’t be considered a great college sports town when your college sports take a back seat. Word to your mother ;)

  • There are two missing from the list in the SEC; Auburn, AL for Auburn University. This is a true college town and on game days; nothing else happens. The other is Baton Rouge, LA for LSU; some of the best tailgaiting anywhere in the country. I am ok with Florida, I have not been to a game in Missouri and totally disagree with Tennessee and Alabama. Tennessee fans are not friendly to the oponent and Tuscaloosa for the University of Alabama is just not a college town. They didn’t play most of their home games there until the late 80′s They called Legion Field in Birminham, AL their home stadium.

  • This list has absolutely zero credibility. If it doesn’t include Starkville as one of the top ten it is totally bogus!

  • CoMo is a gem come football season! Mid Missouri in the fall is simply gorgeous. I hope all of you SEC fans get a chance to travel up here and behold the beauty, especially in October when the leaves are changing. If you come, be sure to check out Les Bougeois Winery. Wind down after your travel and enjoy a local glass of wine and witness a spectacular view perched high above the Missouri River. You will love me for this. Come see our version of “God’s Country”. Simply Perfect weather, college football and cuties everywhere.