Let’s face it, some college football fans are more passionate about their program than others. For fans of certain universities, college football is more than sport… it’s a way of life. After all, there’s a reason schools like Michigan, LSU, and Ohio State have stadiums that fit more than 100,000 screaming fans.
We’re here to highlight the top 13 fan bases in college football. Our list features teams from all five major conferences — along with one independent — you can probably guess which one. If your school didn’t make our list, drop us a line in the comment section, and tell us why your school should have made the cut!
Without further delay, here are the 13 best fan bases in college football!
The Hokies have taken a step back since their run of dominance in the early 2000’s, but the fan devotion to the Virginia Tech program hasn’t faded in the slightest. Blacksburg, Virginia — home of the Hokies — is a ghost town when the team is playing.
Although Lane Stadium doesn’t have the same seating capacity as many of its college football counterparts, it’s still one of the most terrifying and deafening venues in the entire nation. Watching over 65,000 fans jumping up and down when the team enters the field to Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” is one of the most electrifying entrances in college football.
Clemson fans will tell you THEY are the real Tigers, and THEY play in the REAL Death Valley. The loyal Tiger fans are a big reason why Clemson University has more Atlantic Coast Conference championships than any other program in the conference.
The fans go absolutely bananas each home game as the team gathers to “Run Down the Hill” after rubbing Howard’s Rock. One year removed from a loss in the National Championship, Clemson returns most of their star power. Expect another big season from the Tigers, and their fans.
In a state where football is practically religion, and its massive universities serve as Saturday congregations at the altar of pigskin… perhaps no school has more loyal followers than Texas A&M. The Aggies averaged 103,622 fans per game in 2015 (third most of any school in the nation). Their “Gig ’em!” slogan is part of the daily language in College Station.
Instead of male cheerleaders, they have “Yell Leaders” who incite the crowd to shout their brains out during games at Kyle Field. Watching the fans sway at the end of the Aggie War Hymn, causing the entire upper deck of Kyle Field to move, is one of the most awe-inspiring sights in collegiate sports. Gig em!
University of Oregon
True college football fans know that Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon — home of the University of Oregon Ducks — is among the most intimidating home venues in the entire nation. From the replay of Kenny Wheaton’s 1994 “pick six” (which is known as the the turning point for the program’s recent success), to the motorcycle man wearing an Oregon football helmet and leading the football team onto the field, the frenzy of the crowd can rival any stadium in America.
The fans make the stadium experience deafening, to the point where journalists have said it makes the experience of other college football stadiums sound like “a pathetic whimper.”
Penn State University
Penn State alumni associate themselves with their university as much as any alum of any school around the country. That loyalty extends to the school’s football team, even amidst all the adversity the school has faced with the Sandusky scandal.
Win or lose, no matter how the Nittany Lions chances may look in the Big 10, the fans wait for hours before kickoff, lining Porter Road south of Beaver Stadium and Curtain Road in front of Beaver Stadium, to cheer on the arrival of the Penn State Football Team.
They might not be the kingpin of football in the state of Alabama, but Auburn University fans might have the most widely known football traditions.
Whether it’s covering Toomer’s Corner with a sea of bathroom tissue strings, or lining up the east and west sides of Donahue Drive as the football team approaches the stadium, few fans revere their football program the way Tigers’ fans do.
University of Georgia
The Atlanta Falcons might be the state’s professional football team, but the University of Georgia is easily the most beloved football team in the state. Just shout “Go Dawgs!” anywhere you are, and you’ll instantly hear a chorus of people doing their best bulldog bark impersonation.
They take “walking the dog” to a whole new level, when they arrive two hours before kickoffs around the Tate Student Center parking lot to await the arrival of the football team. And once it’s time for kickoff, you’ll get another wave of “woofs!” when the crowd chants “Sic’em! Woof! Woof! Woof! Woof! Woof!” once the ball is in the air.
University of Florida
The University of Florida is one of the finer state schools in the nation, as far as academic merit. They also do a damn good job of teaching their students to be die-hard football fans. Every Saturday, they transform Ben Hill Griffin Stadium into “The Swamp” — one of the most frightening experiences for visiting teams in the nation.
All you can see is an ocean (or swamp?) of 90,000 fans “Gator chomping” their arms together. And in between games? They’re just preparing for the next one. The Gators are one of the most discussed football programs across all social media platforms.
Ohio State University
The passionate fans of the Ohio State Buckeyes will undoubtedly scoff at the idea of being ranked below those of the (hated) University of Michigan. After all, what school would have fans so amped up for their annual rivalry that they covered up all the “M’s” on campus buildings before playing Michigan?
The “Horseshoe” is no stranger to incredible football crowds, packing in an average of 107,244 fans per game last season (2nd in college football, behind only Michigan).
University of Michigan
Head coach Jim Harbaugh has revitalized the proud fans of one of the most hallowed football programs in the nation. The official capacity of Michigan Stadium is listed at 107,601 attendees. Yet, somehow, an average of 110,168 fans of the maize-and-blue packed “The Big House” each Saturday.
No stadium in the country had more fans attend each game than the Wolverines. Just as importantly: sales of ill-fitting khaki pants — a Harbaugh trademark — have skyrocketed around the Ann Arbor area, as the fans show their loyalty.
Louisiana State University (LSU)
There might not be a more fearsome venue for opposing teams to enter for a football game than Tiger Stadium — better known as “Death Valley” — in Baton Rouge. No school in the football-crazy SEC packs in more fans per game than the 102,000 plus at LSU.
The stifling heat and humidity of late summer football games in the bayou don’t even begin to deter the purple and gold faithful, who line North Stadium Drive prior to each home game, to cheer on the LSU team as they enter the stadium.
When you’re an alum or a fan of a school steeped in so much tradition, it’s hard not to be a proud member of that group. Notre Dame fans are so loyal, passionate, and powerful, the team was able to secure their own television broadcast package, knowing they would draw an insane number of viewers each game.
The school also used the same logic in their (unique) decision to remain independent from any football conference — knowing their fans would provide more than enough financial backing for the program to accomplish whatever it needed to, without ever having to take (or share) a penny from other conferences. That’s real power, and the Fighting Irish football program can thank their fans for their unique position in college football.
University of Alabama
There’s absolutely nothing like the fanaticism associated with the Alabama Crimson Tide. Paul “Bear” Bryant is a deity. Nick Saban is held as the second coming of the messiah. Families will disavow knowledge of their own offspring if they even think about the idea of rooting for another college football program.
Citizens in north Alabama don’t even need to exchange proper salutations with each other; simply stating “Roll Tide!” can replace the need for hello, goodbye, thank you, I love you, and even expletives cast upon someone else (especially if they happen to be Auburn fans).