The 20 US colleges where sports are a way of life

Do you bleed your alma mater's colors? Your school might be on this list.

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Do you bleed your alma mater’s colors? Your school might be on this list.
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Joe Robbins/Getty

Rabid college sports fans know every word to their fight song, bleed their school colors, and rarely miss a game.

Sound familiar? You just might be a graduate of one of the schools Princeton Review tapped as having the most popular sports teams.

The ranking, called “Students Pack the Stadiums,” was compiled using survey responses from more than 140,000 students who answered the questions, “How popular are intercollegiate sports at your school?”

From those results, the company determined the schools with the most popular sports teams in the US.

Read on for the 20 colleges with the most school spirit.


20. University of Southern California — Trojan pride is lively and infectious. One student says, “There is absolutely nothing that can top watching our unbelievable football team throttle the competition.”

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University of Southern California/Facebook

Source: Princeton Review


19. University of Louisville — Cardinal pride is universal at Louisville. Students from all corners of campus come together to support their student athletes.

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University of Louisville/Facebook

Source: Princeton Review


18. Florida State University — “Sports is basically your whole life here,” says one student about FSU. A student body of 40,000 comes together for football games every fall to cheer on the Seminoles.

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Doug Benc/Getty

Source: Princeton Review


17. University of Iowa — Hawkeyes take Saturday game days seriously. According to one student, “There is just a sea of black and gold swarming toward the stadium. Nothing can really compare to 70,000 Hawkeye fans in one place.”

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Sean M. Haffey/Getty

Source: Princeton Review


16. University of Wisconsin at Madison — At UW football isn’t just a game, it’s a way of life. Before a Badgers game even begins, “attendees share brats, offer up beers, and join in singing some of [their] most memorable chants.”

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Jonathan Daniel/Getty

Source: Princeton Review


15. West Virginia University — Mountaineers love WVU for its balance of academics and athletics. One student describes it: “[It’s] only something you can feel at a football game singing ‘Country Roads’ with 50,000 of your closest friends.”

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Joe Robbins/Getty

Source: Princeton Review


14. University of Arizona — Wildcats love tailgating and attending football and basketball games to the tune of “Bear Down, Arizona,” U of A’s popular fight song.

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Christian Petersen/Getty

Source: Princeton Review


13. University of Nebraska at Lincoln — Students attending UNL love the fact that its a Big Ten school. The school’s strong sense of community shows at football games when students throw on their corn hats and root for the Huskers.

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Eric Francis/Getty

Source: Princeton Review


12. University of Kansas — Basketball at KU is a way of life. Jayhawk pride is such a tradition that many students even plan their social schedules around games.

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Jamie Squire/Getty

Source: Princeton Review


11. United States Air Force Academy — USAFA students are “driven” and “super smart,” which is why one student describes the Air Force Falcons as, “the smartest offensive line in the NCAA.”

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Brian Bahr/Getty

Source: Princeton Review


10. Pennsylvania State University at University Park — With over 100,000 seats, Penn State’s Beaver Stadium has the second-highest seating capacity of any stadium in the country. Students say, “game days are super exciting and unifying for the student population.”

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Penn State/Facebook

Source: Princeton Review and PSU Sports


9. Gonzaga University — Basketball is a “way of life,” according to students at Gonzaga. Bulldogs say one of the largest social experiences on campus is waiting in line to buy tickets and going to the games.

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Gonzaga University/Facebook

Source: Princeton Review


8. Xavier University —”All for one. One for all,” is the motto at Xavier. Its students love to cheer on the Musketeers, especially at the men’s basketball games and soccer games.

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Joe Robbins/Getty

Source: Princeton Review


7. University of Connecticut — UConn’s first-rate athletics are considered legendary. Students love to root for the Huskies at sporting events like football and both men and women’s basketball. One student states, “the celebrations after victories are unlike anything I’ve ever experienced elsewhere.”

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Joe Robbins/Getty

Source: Princeton Review


6. Marquette University — The love for basketball is strong at Marquette. Every game, students don blue and gold to cheer on the Golden Eagles in downtown Milwaukee.

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Andy Lyons/Getty

Source: Princeton Review


5. University of Oklahoma — Attending football games and other athletic events is one of the most popular ways students have fun at OU. Over 80,000 students pack the university’s Oklahoma Memorial Stadium to cheer on the Sooners.

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Ronald Martinez/Getty

Source: Princeton Review and Sooner Sports


4. Auburn University — Football reigns supreme at this big-time Alabama school. Auburn students say Tigers football games, “drive a ton of campus life and help unite the student body.”

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Michael Chang/Getty

Source: Princeton Review


3. Kansas State University — Sports are a key part of the social life at KSU. Tons of students leave their Saturdays free to watch their beloved Wildcats play football.

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Kansas State University/Facebook

Source: Princeton Review


2. Clemson University — Students from all backgrounds are bonded by their “sheer love of Clemson.” School spirit is a color at Clemson, and you can see it on 80,000 fans on game day cheering on the Tigers at the school’s stadium, aka “Death Valley.”

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Clemson University/Facebook

Source: Princeton Review and Clemson Tigers


1. Syracuse University — Students at ‘Cuse bleed orange. Their school spirit is felt far and wide, and it is always evident at jam-packed football and basketball games.

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Craig Jones/Getty

Source: Princeton Review


Tanza Loudenback and Alexa Pipia contributed to a previous version of this story.