What makes a college sports town great? It certainly helps to eat, live and breathe the experience of the school’s athletic programs. Longstanding traditions built over many decades also play a huge role. On campus activities, as well as scheduled off campus events bring up the energy level surrounding a program, and are often main reasons why students(athletes and non-athletes alike) choose to attend a university.
Earlier this month, 247Sports had the enjoyable but inherently difficult task of cherrypicking some of the best college towns in the country. This exercise was done in conjunction with the return of fans at recognizable pre-pandemic capacities, and included 16 different towns. They did not count down or count up from 16-1, so we have to view each inclusion with the understanding that they are not materially “better” than another.
We took a look at their list, and will give our thoughts on a few of their choices.
Rooting for their University of Colorado Buffaloes with a frenzied level of fervor, Boulder is an excellent choice for a top level college town. While Denver gets most of the acclaim as the Mile High City, Boulder’s elevation is actually even higher than the state’s capital city. This gives them an inherent advantage against visiting teams who are not ready to play four quarters at Folsom Field.
Imagine not feeling your best midway through the second half in a scene where a passionate fanbase is giving you the business. For the nature-lover fans, there are a bunch of scenic views to take in and walks to embark on, making this a well rounded location.
Morgantown, West Virginia
Morgantown is a really cool place to watch a college football game. The town has traditions linked with the state’s past that are interwoven with the Mountaineers football team. West Virginia has a rich coal mining tradition, and the “Mantrip” lead-in before kickoff really helps get the energy going.
The football team and its staff* are dropped off at the university medical center a couple of hours before the game—the marching band, cheerleaders, mascot and other selected fans escort them to the stadium. It’s an ode to the transportation mechanism that brought miners underground to start their shifts.
Fans of the Badgers are known for being some of the most ardent in the nation. Perhaps their most well known tradition is their “jump around” routine at the beginning of the 4th quarter of each home game. While it isn’t that old*(it’s only been around since 1998), Jump Around is one of the most fun in-game traditions in the game.
In addition to that, Badger fans are so in love with their team that they hang around after the game regardless of the outcome for “Bucky’s 5th Quarter.” This is usually a 30-45 minute performance held by the Wisconsin band that closes out gameday for the fans.
Boone, North Carolina
This one doesn’t necessarily come to mind when thinking of college football powerhouse cities. However, Boone is home to the Appalachian State Mountaineers. Yes, the very same Appalachian State football program who shocked the world in 2007 by going to the Big House and defeating the Michigan Wolverines.
The Mountaineers have played in Boone since 1928, establishing a long-standing relationship with the town in the northern part of the state. At their homecoming game, students have competitions playing a one minute song on the kazoo, which is definitely a fun wrinkle. Boone also features some stunning views of local mountain ranges as well.