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2021 Top Men's D1 (FBS) Football Schools

124 Colleges
$38,119 Avg Tuition & Fees*
59% Avg 4-Year Grad Rate*

Men's Football Bowl Subdivision Football BadgeWhen pursuing a degree in today's world, student athletes have many different options to choose from. College Factual has developed its Best Colleges for Division I (FBS) Men's Football ranking as one item you can use to help make this decision.

Our analysis looked at 124 schools in the United States to determine which ones were the best for D1 (FBS) Men's Football athletes. Instead of depending on subjective information, we focus on objective factors to determine this ranking. These factors include such things as the athletic competitiveness of the school and the school's overall quality. This means that a school must provide students with a great education in addition to having a good sports team if it wants to rank well.

Learn more about our ranking methodology.

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Top Colleges in the U.S. for D1 (FBS) Men's Football athletes

See which schools came out on top of our ranking:

#1

The University of Alabama

Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Top 20% in Quality in the United States

Our 2021 rankings named The University of Alabama the best school for D1 (FBS) Men’s Football athletes working on their bachelor’s degree. The University of Alabama is a large public school located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama that handed out 7,542 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

UA brought in $94,604,899 while tallying up $69,718,059 in expenses for its FBS Men’s Football team. Thus, the team actually made $24,886,840, which isn’t bad at all. The great academic progress rate of 990 shows that team members perform well in the classroom, too.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 87%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. UA excels when it comes to quality. It’s ranked in the top 20% of all schools on our overall quality list.

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#2

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, Michigan
Top 5% in Quality in the United States

Out of the 124 schools in the United States that were part of this year’s ranking, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor landed the #2 spot on the list. Ann Arbor, Michigan is the setting for this large institution of higher learning. The public school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 7,815 students in 2018-2019.

The team at U-M took home $122,270,243 in revenue and paid out $47,430,574 in expenses in recent times. Happily, this means that the team turned a profit of $74,839,669.

With a freshman retention rate of 97%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. As a testament to the quality of education it offers, U-M also is in the top 5% of our overall quality ranking.

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#3

Clemson University

Clemson, South Carolina
Top 10% in Quality in the United States

Out of the 124 schools in the United States that were part of this year’s ranking, Clemson University landed the #3 spot on the list. Clemson is located in Clemson, South Carolina and, has a large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 4,676 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergraduates.

Clemson brought in $61,378,516 while tallying up $55,649,888 in expenses for its FBS Men’s Football team. That boils down to a yearly profit of $5,728,628 for the sports team. The team members aren’t slouches in the classroom either, since the team academic progress rate is an excellent 993.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 93%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. Clemson excels when it comes to quality. It’s ranked in the top 10% of all schools on our overall quality list.

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Top 10% in Quality in the United States

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend University of Washington - Seattle Campus. It ranked #4 on our 2021 Best Colleges for D1 (FBS) Men’s Football athletes list. This large public school is located in Seattle, Washington, and it awarded 9,269 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The FBS Men’s Football team at UW Seattle made $84,041,770 in revenue, while incurring $40,474,139 in expenses. That boils down to a yearly profit of $43,567,631 for the sports team. The team members aren’t slouches in the classroom either, since the team academic progress rate is an excellent 999.

With a freshman retention rate of 94%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. As a testament to the quality of education it offers, UW Seattle also is in the top 10% of our overall quality ranking.

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Top 15% in Quality in the United States

Out of the 124 schools in the United States that were part of this year’s ranking, Ohio State University - Main Campus landed the #5 spot on the list. Ohio State is a public institution located in Columbus, Ohio. The school has a large population, and it awarded 11,596 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The FBS Men’s Football team at Ohio State made $115,091,304 in revenue, while incurring $60,076,743 in expenses. So, the team made money for the school, bringing in $55,014,561 in profit.

With a freshman retention rate of 94%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. As a testament to the quality of education it offers, Ohio State also is in the top 15% of our overall quality ranking.

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#6

University of Miami

Coral Gables, Florida
Top 10% in Quality in the United States

University of Miami did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges for Division I (FBS) Men’s Football ranking, coming in at #6. This fairly large private not-for-profit school is located in Coral Gables, Florida, and it awarded 3,118 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Speaking financially, the FBS Men’s Football team at U Miami took home $56,257,383 in revenue.

With a freshman retention rate of 91%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. In addition to its great ranking here, U Miami is in the top 10% of all schools on our overall quality list.

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#7

Pennsylvania State University - University Park

University Park, Pennsylvania
Top 10% in Quality in the United States

Pennsylvania State University - University Park ranked #7 on this year’s Best Colleges for Division I (FBS) Men’s Football list. University Park, Pennsylvania is the setting for this large institution of higher learning. The public school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 10,893 students in 2018-2019.

Penn State University Park brought in $100,133,983 while tallying up $48,538,956 in expenses for its FBS Men’s Football team. Thus, the team actually made $51,595,027, which isn’t bad at all. The great academic progress rate of 982 shows that team members perform well in the classroom, too.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 93%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. Penn State University Park excels when it comes to quality. It’s ranked in the top 10% of all schools on our overall quality list.

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#8

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, California
Top 5% in Quality in the United States

University of Southern California landed the #8 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges for Division I (FBS) Men’s Football ranking. University of Southern California is a large private not-for-profit school located in Los Angeles, California that handed out 5,337 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The team at USC took home $50,046,008 in revenue and paid out $32,124,522 in expenses in recent times. Happily, this means that the team turned a profit of $17,921,486. The academic progress rate of the team is 970.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 96%. In addition to its great ranking here, USC is in the top 5% of all schools on our overall quality list.

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#9

Northwestern University

Evanston, Illinois

With a ranking of #9, Northwestern University did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for Division I (FBS) Men’s Football ranking. Northwestern is a large private not-for-profit school situated in Evanston, Illinois. It awarded 2,770 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The team at Northwestern took home $63,246,903 in revenue and paid out $32,136,417 in expenses in recent times. Thus, the team actually made $31,110,486, which isn’t bad at all. The team has a great academic progress rate of 995, signifying that team members care about their grades.

With a student-to-faculty ratio of 6 to 1, it’s easy to see that the school is committed to helping their undergraduates succeed. On top of its placing in this ranking, Northwestern also did well on our overall quality list. It’s in the top 1% of all schools reviewed in this analysis.

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#10

University of Wisconsin - Madison

Madison, Wisconsin
Top 5% in Quality in the United States

University of Wisconsin - Madison landed the #10 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges for Division I (FBS) Men’s Football ranking. UW - Madison is located in Madison, Wisconsin and, has a large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 8,915 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergraduates.

UW - Madison brought in $89,944,636 while tallying up $31,714,090 in expenses for its FBS Men’s Football team. Thus, the team actually made $58,230,546, which isn’t bad at all. The team members aren’t slouches in the classroom either, since the team academic progress rate is an excellent 986.

With a freshman retention rate of 95%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. On top of its placing in this ranking, UW - Madison also did well on our overall quality list. It’s in the top 5% of all schools reviewed in this analysis.

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#11

Stanford University

Stanford, California

Stanford University landed the #11 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges for Division I (FBS) Men’s Football ranking. Located in Stanford, California, the fairly large private not-for-profit school handed out 1,892 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The team at Stanford took home $44,462,092 in revenue and paid out $30,470,121 in expenses in recent times. Thus, the team actually made $13,991,971, which isn’t bad at all. The team members aren’t slouches in the classroom either, since the team academic progress rate is an excellent 990.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 98%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. In addition to its great ranking here, Stanford is in the top 1% of all schools on our overall quality list.

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#12

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, Tennessee

Vanderbilt University ranked #12 on this year’s Best Colleges for Division I (FBS) Men’s Football list. Vanderbilt is a fairly large private not-for-profit school situated in Nashville, Tennessee. It awarded 2,280 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The FBS Men’s Football team at Vanderbilt made $32,108,897 in revenue, while incurring $28,610,632 in expenses. That boils down to a yearly profit of $3,498,265 for the sports team. The team members aren’t slouches in the classroom either, since the team academic progress rate is an excellent 984.

The impressive student-to-faculty ratio of 7 to 1 means that students may have more opportunities to work more closely with their professors than they would at other schools. Vanderbilt excels when it comes to quality. It’s ranked in the top 5% of all schools on our overall quality list.

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#13

Auburn University

Auburn, Alabama
Top 15% in Quality in the United States

Auburn University came in at #13 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for Division I (FBS) Men’s Football ranking. Auburn is a large public school situated in Auburn, Alabama. It awarded 5,370 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The team at Auburn took home $95,157,216 in revenue and paid out $47,846,261 in expenses in recent times. That boils down to a yearly profit of $47,310,955 for the sports team. The team members aren’t slouches in the classroom either, since the team academic progress rate is an excellent 980.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 92%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. In addition to its great ranking here, Auburn is in the top 15% of all schools on our overall quality list.

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#14

University of Florida

Gainesville, Florida
Top 5% in Quality in the United States

University of Florida landed the #14 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges for Division I (FBS) Men’s Football ranking. This large public school is located in Gainesville, Florida, and it awarded 9,663 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The FBS Men’s Football team at UF made $84,837,920 in revenue, while incurring $39,149,664 in expenses. That boils down to a yearly profit of $45,688,256 for the sports team. The academic progress rate of the team is 973.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 96%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. UF also claimed a spot on our overall quality list. It’s in the top 5% of all schools in this category.

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Top 20% in Quality in the United States

With a ranking of #15, University of Oklahoma Norman Campus did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for Division I (FBS) Men’s Football ranking. Norman, Oklahoma is the setting for this large institution of higher learning. The public school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 4,805 students in 2018-2019.

The FBS Men’s Football team at University of Oklahoma made $94,817,907 in revenue, while incurring $43,453,315 in expenses. So, the team made money for the school, bringing in $51,364,592 in profit.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 92%. University of Oklahoma also claimed a spot on our overall quality list. It’s in the top 20% of all schools in this category.

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Top 5% in Quality in the United States

Georgia Institute of Technology - Main Campus did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges for Division I (FBS) Men’s Football ranking, coming in at #16. Georgia Tech is a public institution located in Atlanta, Georgia. The school has a large population, and it awarded 3,717 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The team at Georgia Tech took home $42,553,892 in revenue and paid out $29,744,089 in expenses in recent times. So, the team made money for the school, bringing in $12,809,803 in profit. The team members aren’t slouches in the classroom either, since the team academic progress rate is an excellent 978.

With a freshman retention rate of 97%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. On top of its placing in this ranking, Georgia Tech also did well on our overall quality list. It’s in the top 5% of all schools reviewed in this analysis.

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#17

Virginia Tech

Blacksburg, Virginia
Top 10% in Quality in the United States

Virginia Tech landed the #17 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges for Division I (FBS) Men’s Football ranking. Virginia Tech is a large public school located in Blacksburg, Virginia that handed out 7,156 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Virginia Tech brought in $56,224,912 while tallying up $30,123,282 in expenses for its FBS Men’s Football team. Happily, this means that the team turned a profit of $26,101,630. The academic progress rate of the team is 958.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 93%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. Virginia Tech excels when it comes to quality. It’s ranked in the top 10% of all schools on our overall quality list.

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#18

Florida State University

Tallahassee, Florida
Top 10% in Quality in the United States

Florida State University came in at #18 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for Division I (FBS) Men’s Football ranking. Florida State is a large public school situated in Tallahassee, Florida. It awarded 9,688 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

On the financial side of things, the FBS Men’s Football team at Florida State made $68,893,857 in revenue. The team has a respectable academic progress rate of 942.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 94%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. On top of its placing in this ranking, Florida State also did well on our overall quality list. It’s in the top 10% of all schools reviewed in this analysis.

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#19

Boston College

Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
Top 5% in Quality in the United States

Boston College did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges for Division I (FBS) Men’s Football ranking, coming in at #19. Boston College is a private not-for-profit institution located in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. The school has a fairly large population, and it awarded 3,062 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The team at Boston College took home $32,347,820 in revenue and paid out $24,855,252 in expenses in recent times. That boils down to a yearly profit of $7,492,568 for the sports team. The team members aren’t slouches in the classroom either, since the team academic progress rate is an excellent 989.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 95%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. On top of its placing in this ranking, Boston College also did well on our overall quality list. It’s in the top 5% of all schools reviewed in this analysis.

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Top 15% in Quality in the United States

The University of Tennessee - Knoxville ranked #20 on this year’s Best Colleges for Division I (FBS) Men’s Football list. This large public school is located in Knoxville, Tennessee, and it awarded 5,103 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

UT Knoxville brought in $91,022,335 while tallying up $35,170,599 in expenses for its FBS Men’s Football team. That boils down to a yearly profit of $55,851,736 for the sports team. The academic progress rate of the team is 967.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 86%. In addition to its great ranking here, UT Knoxville is in the top 15% of all schools on our overall quality list.

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#21

University of Georgia

Athens, Georgia
Top 10% in Quality in the United States

University of Georgia came in at #21 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for Division I (FBS) Men’s Football ranking. UGA is a large public school situated in Athens, Georgia. It awarded 8,022 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

UGA brought in $123,073,722 while tallying up $49,207,808 in expenses for its FBS Men’s Football team. Thus, the team actually made $73,865,914, which isn’t bad at all. The academic progress rate of the team is 969.

With a freshman retention rate of 95%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. UGA excels when it comes to quality. It’s ranked in the top 10% of all schools on our overall quality list.

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#22

University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Lincoln, Nebraska
Top 15% in Quality in the United States

University of Nebraska - Lincoln landed the #22 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges for Division I (FBS) Men’s Football ranking. Located in Lincoln, Nebraska, the large public school awarded 4,859 diplomas to qualified bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

The team at UNL took home $94,336,296 in revenue and paid out $34,574,999 in expenses in recent times. Happily, this means that the team turned a profit of $59,761,297. The team has a respectable academic progress rate of 974.

On top of its placing in this ranking, UNL also did well on our overall quality list. It’s in the top 15% of all schools reviewed in this analysis.

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#23

University of Colorado Boulder

Boulder, Colorado
Top 15% in Quality in the United States

University of Colorado Boulder ranked #23 on this year’s Best Colleges for Division I (FBS) Men’s Football list. Located in Boulder, Colorado, the large public school awarded 6,744 diplomas to qualified bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

The team at CU - Boulder took home $43,461,696 in revenue and paid out $29,642,881 in expenses in recent times. Thus, the team actually made $13,818,815, which isn’t bad at all. The team has a respectable academic progress rate of 955.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 87%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. As a testament to the quality of education it offers, CU - Boulder also is in the top 15% of our overall quality ranking.

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#24

University of Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah
Top 15% in Quality in the United States

University of Utah landed the #24 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges for Division I (FBS) Men’s Football ranking. This large public school is located in Salt Lake City, Utah, and it awarded 5,236 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The FBS Men’s Football team at U of U made $63,181,908 in revenue, while incurring $29,262,589 in expenses. So, the team made money for the school, bringing in $33,919,319 in profit. The team members aren’t slouches in the classroom either, since the team academic progress rate is an excellent 988.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 90%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. As a testament to the quality of education it offers, U of U also is in the top 15% of our overall quality ranking.

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#25

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Minneapolis, Minnesota
Top 10% in Quality in the United States

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities landed the #25 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges for Division I (FBS) Men’s Football ranking. UMN Twin Cities is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota and, has a large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 8,988 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergraduates.

UMN Twin Cities brought in $63,016,508 while tallying up $32,403,693 in expenses for its FBS Men’s Football team. That boils down to a yearly profit of $30,612,815 for the sports team. The team has a great academic progress rate of 980, signifying that team members care about their grades.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 93%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. On top of its placing in this ranking, UMN Twin Cities also did well on our overall quality list. It’s in the top 10% of all schools reviewed in this analysis.

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Notes and References

Footnotes

*Avg Tuition and Fees and Avg 4-Year Grad Rate are for the top 25 schools only.

References

  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of our data about colleges.
  • Revenue and expense information comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s Equity in Athletics Data Analysis (EADA) website.
  • The academic progress rate (APR) of each team was made available by the NCAA.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Information about the national average student loan default rate is from the U.S. Department of Education and refers to data about the 2016 borrower cohort tracking period for which the cohort default rate (CDR) was 10.1%.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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