What is the best college football town in America?

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What is the best college football town in America?

Sep 17, 2021

  • ESPN staff members

It is really been two months because Ga and Clemson achieved on the discipline in a single of the most effective nonconference games of the time. The Bulldogs gained 10-3, but how does their residence — Athens, Ga — stack up versus the Tigers’ town up north: Clemson, South Carolina.

This off-the-field matchup is 1 of eight in the Soccer Town Showdown as fans will determine which school city across the region is supreme. From fierce rivalries such as Auburn, Alabama, against Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to nuanced matchups these types of as Ames, Iowa, against Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the 16-staff industry provides a little bit of all the things when it comes to college or university soccer lifestyle.

Does State College’s ice cream from the Creamery outweigh Ann Arbor’s Big House? How does the watch of the Appalachian Mountains in Boone look at with the ongoing get together at The Grove in Oxford? And what’s the greater tune: “Rocky Top” or “Enter Sandman”? It really is up to you, the admirer, to determine which school town is football’s greatest this slide.

You can vote commencing each and every Wednesday on Twitter and Instagram @ESPNCFB

Auburn, Ala. vs. Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Why Auburn is a excellent faculty town: They never contact it the Loveliest Village on the Plains for absolutely nothing. Whilst the city has surely grown in current yrs, it has done a superior position of retaining substantially of its compact-city attraction. The redbrick properties, the large oaks and quaint downtown experience like stepping again in time. But the place Auburn has improved the most in the earlier 10 years is its food scene. Really don’t get me incorrect, outdated standbys these types of as Amsterdam Cafe are fantastic and really worth browsing. But newer dining places such as Acre and The Hound have stepped up and elevated the entire food items scene. — Alex Scarborough

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Why Tuscaloosa is a terrific faculty town: You can get a amazing pork chop at 5 and great sushi at Chuck’s, but the actual attractiveness of a take a look at to the dwelling of the University of Alabama is the sense of college or university football background it presents. At the Waysider, you can eat biscuits and gravy in which Paul “Bear” Bryant after sat. At the Bryant Museum, you can see scores of soccer artifacts, even a Waterford crystal duplicate of the Bear’s popular houndstooth hat. And, as you head into Bryant-Denny Stadium for kickoff, you can stroll via the Wander of Champions, the household to statues of Bryant and Gene Stallings and just about every other Bama head mentor to earn a title, Nick Saban involved. — Scarborough

Boone, N.C. vs. Oxford, Overlook.

Why Boone is a terrific college or university city: It is not straightforward to get to the property of Appalachian Point out, but people are greeted by amazing sights of the Appalachian Mountains at the time they’re there. Number of faculty cities in America offer you far more for college students to do than Boone, which sits in North Carolina’s Higher Place. With snowboarding at close by slopes in the winter, whitewater rafting in the summer months, and hiking and tenting in between, Boone is a single of the most well-liked outdoor places on the East Coast. The Blue Ridge Parkway provides college students an uncomplicated route for weekend getaways. And the Mountaineers aren’t bad at football, either. Just check with Michigan. — Mark Schlabach

There is certainly no question which faculty city is most effective in accordance to Appalachian State mascot Yosef. Bobby McDuffie/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

Why Oxford is a terrific school town: The Grove, total with majestic oak trees and sprawling eco-friendly grass in the center of campus, is famous for its tailgating. Speak about one particular significant celebration. It never receives outdated, no make a difference how superior or bad Ole Miss’ soccer staff is that period. And if you want to go again in time, verify out the Sq. just off campus, where eateries these types of as Ajax Diner offer you the best in accurate Southern soul foodstuff, and about 20 minutes exterior of town, you can find Taylor Grocery. Get the catfish! Oxford is hardly a large city. The university is quite considerably the heart of this cozy city of 28,000 men and women, and you can find a emotion of nostalgia, anticipation and good old-fashioned pleasurable any time the Rebels are property at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. — Chris Very low

Boulder, Colo. vs. Morgantown, W.Va.

Why Boulder is a excellent higher education town: Sitting at the base of the Rocky Mountains, Boulder has a natural elegance several university towns in the place can hope to compete with. And that is ahead of factoring in a food items and drink scene that is really worth making the trek at any time of calendar year. As a blend, it is a family vacation-worthy spot even without football in the equation. On game times, however, Boulder comes alive. The crisp slide weather oozes soccer and provides to the excitement as the day builds toward kickoff. — Kyle Bonagura

Why Morgantown is a great college or university town: West Virginia’s rolling hills on the financial institutions of the Monongahela River set it aside from the numerous Major 12 educational facilities residing on the plains. This is one of school football’s great tailgating places, notable for pepperoni rolls and a extensive, happy custom of moonshine accessible in all diverse flavors. Basic college or university bars these kinds of as Kegler’s and Mario’s Fishbowl are rowdy, and singing along with 60,000 or so pals to “Place Roadways” right after a large gain will cap the knowledge — unless you stumble throughout a sofa or two receiving burned afterward. — Dave Wilson

Ann Arbor, Mich. vs. Condition School, Pa.

Why Ann Arbor is a fantastic college town: Ann Arbor is your quintessential college or university city with every little thing from a fantastic match-day environment to foodstuff and places to eat galore and a beautiful campus sprawled across the city. Just about all the things is geared all around the college and even these who reside in Ann Arbor but are not attending lessons are nonetheless element of the faculty town come to feel. On any provided sport day, you can wander from downtown to the stadium and see the support the neighborhood has for the soccer plan and the university. — Tom VanHaaren

Why Point out Higher education is a good college or university city: State Faculty is an oasis in the center of Pennsylvania. It is far from most of the main cities, but at the time you get on campus, it truly is like really number of in the place. On any supplied Saturday, the Creamery will have a line of eager fans wrapped all over the block waiting around for the famed ice cream. Those fans meander as a result of tailgates and parties to finally arrive at the stadium, and the emphasis on individuals Saturday afternoons is all about the football team. — Tom VanHaaren

Regardless of whether it really is the ice product or the White Out evening online games, Condition Faculty, Pa., is a exclusive place to catch a recreation. AP Image/Gene J. Puskar

Athens, Ga. vs. Clemson, S.C.

Why Athens is a terrific university city: With its unmatched audio scene, eclectic food items and renowned nightlife, the Classic Town is a more compact version of Austin, Texas, or Oxford, Mississippi, on steroids (only greater). The city that gave us R.E.M., the B-52s, Prevalent Stress, Drive-By Truckers and so quite a few other musical functions as soon as provided visitors 80 bars in 1 sq. mile — far more than any other town in The usa — and it has only gotten far better with the addition of area breweries. And the finest part is it truly is all inside walking length of the UGA campus. Certainly, before Mark Richt and Kirby Good arrived to coach the Bulldogs, Athens was the bash town with the soccer problem.– Schlabach

Why Clemson is a great college or university city: Clemson is a higher education town in just about every feeling, starting off with the simple fact the university is found in Clemson, S.C. All the things in and all-around Clemson in essence revolves all over the college. Orange tiger paws are marked on the roadways major to campus. But beyond the relationship amongst the town and the university, Clemson has the very best traditions, paired with legendary neighborhood establishments acknowledged past its borders. Watching Clemson gamers and coaches touch the Rock and run down the Hill has to be on just about every college soccer fan’s bucket checklist. So does a beverage or two at the neighborhood Esso Club before or after kickoff. — Andrea Adelson

Baton Rouge, La. vs. Ames, Iowa

Why Baton Rouge is a wonderful university town: The vibe in Louisiana is distinct from everywhere else. The Cajuns are severe about their food, their beverages and their football. And all all those items collide wonderfully in Baton Rouge, which is home to a lot more than its good share of high quality bars and places to eat. But to definitely respect the metropolis, you have to see it arrive alive on game day. You have to stroll the campus, visit Mike the Tiger and fall into as several tailgates as you can, seeking any cup of gumbo you take place to be supplied. Prospects are it really is likely to be excellent. The pregame electrical power is palpable, and the stadium knowledge is arguably the very best the activity has to offer. — Scarborough

Night video games in Baton Rouge are just just one of the factors this higher education town lands in the blend. Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire by means of Getty Pictures

Why Ames is a excellent college football town: Faculty college students make up about 50 percent the population of Ames, so they’ll hold you young there. The Cyclones trustworthy are some of the most devoted in the region. At 6 a.m. on activity working day, they are presently singing at the Idea Major Lounge and RVs and buses are lined up outside the house Jack Trice Stadium. The tailgating scene is remarkable, with foodstuff and drink — specially their beloved Busch Mild — just about everywhere. The lovers value a winner but never spew vitriol following a reduction, and they adhere to their motto: “Acquire or get rid of, we booze.” Close by Welch Avenue has a bustling bar scene in an region known as Campustown. — Wilson

Blacksburg, Va. vs. Knoxville, Tenn.

Why Blacksburg is a excellent college city: Tucked into the northern Blue Ridge Highlands area of Virginia, Virginia Tech is not only a attractive place to cling out on a higher education football weekend but also supplies one of the coolest recreation-day ordeals in the region. You should not feel me? Google “Enter Sandman” right before the year opener against North Carolina. A sea of orange enthusiasts jumped up and down in time to the new music, roaring as quickly as the Hokies entered the industry. It truly is a custom that ranks among the very best in the nation. No vacation to Lane Stadium is finish with no a turkey leg, smoked right there in the stadium, to the delight of all who have waited in line considering that they started out remaining provided more than 20 many years back. — Adelson

Why Knoxville is a great faculty city: Neyland Stadium famously towers above the banking institutions of the Tennessee River, making it just one of the couple of on-campus stadiums in school football accessible by both land and water (Washington and Baylor are many others). The web page of the Vol Navy pouring in on a Saturday afternoon is topped only by “Rocky Best” blaring throughout campus as orange-clad tailgaters revel in the pregame and postgame festivities. And correct there close to campus is every type of cafe and watering gap possible, both on the Cumberland Avenue Strip and in the refurbished Industry Square and Aged Town parts. The Smoky Mountains hovering in the distance combined with Knoxville staying 1 of the major metropolitan areas in the state of Tennessee make it a prime location to soak in the sights and appears of higher education football. — Very low

Madison, Wis. vs. Pullman, Wash.

Why Madison is a fantastic university city: You would not genuinely know how lovely Madison, Wisconsin, is right up until you see it for by yourself. If you happen to be driving in from the east, you will eventually break up by means of Lake Mendota and Lake Monona, which established the scene for the town, earning it glance like a authentic-lifestyle postcard. When on campus, persons flock to Mickie’s Dairy Bar for an outdated-fashioned breakfast or are distribute across the town, inevitably converging at Camp Randall Stadium. — VanHaaren

Why Pullman is a excellent faculty city: At just shy of 33,000, the ability of Martin Stadium is relatively little, but just hunting at that whole misses significant context. The stadium, which sits as the centerpiece in the center of campus, is virtually massive enough to host Pullman’s full inhabitants and approximately two-thirds of Whitman County. On the West Coastline, the place most big football-taking part in colleges are in urban environments, Pullman is one of a kind. It can be really a university town — Washington Point out is its largest employer — and it swells with guests from all about the condition as tailgating and other pregame things to do pop up all about city.– Bonagura