Alabama, Texas, Florida, Louisiana or Utah: Which States Are Best for CFB?

Scott GallowayContributor IJanuary 31, 2011

Where do Alabama and Texas rank as football scholarship-awarding states?
Where do Alabama and Texas rank as football scholarship-awarding states?Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Which states are the best for college football?

Of course, that depends on who you ask and the criteria used.  Alabama could make the argument that it is the best since Auburn and Alabama each “won national championships” the last two years, but how does a state measure college football success?

So, which state is best?

That is a matter of opinion and a value judgment.  Since there are no NCAA national champions determined in the upper echelon Football Bowl Subdivision, the number of mythical championships a state has won is not a factor.

Which state offers the most scholarships?

Is that an important consideration?

What state has the most schools playing in the FBS or in the Football Championship Subdivision?

FBS schools are allowed to offer 85 athletes full scholarships.  Texas leads the nation with ten schools in the FBS. Second is the state of Ohio with eight colleges fielding teams in the NCAA’s top division.

California and Florida are tied with seven schools.  The state of Louisiana surprises, tied with Michigan and North Carolina for the fifth spot with six schools playing in the FBS.

There are three other states rounding out the top ten with the most schools offering 85 scholarships—Alabama, Tennessee and Indiana—with four colleges each.

You could argue that the states with the largest population should be able to offer the most football scholarships.  California, Texas, Florida, Ohio, Michigan and North Carolina appear on the list of the top ten states in population and number of colleges offering football scholarships in the FBS.

The list of the nation’s most populous states shows that states of New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Georgia are among the top ten, yet fail to make the list of states with the most FBS scholarship-awarding colleges.

What about states which offer scholarships through colleges in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS)?

Should those scholarships be counted? With some exceptions, those schools playing in the FCS offer 63 scholarships to football athletes.

What does the list of states look like if the FBS and FCS school totals are factored?  

Texas tops the second list with 15 FBS/FCS colleges or 1,165 scholarships offered. North Carolina jumps to No. 2 with 12 total FBS/FCS teams and 866 scholarships.  California is third with 847 scholarships offered by 11 universities.  The state of Ohio drops to the fourth spot on the FBS/FCS list with 806 available scholarships.

Once again, Louisiana, ranked 25th in population, surprises by being fifth, with a total of eleven schools in the FBS and FCS. The Pelican State offers 803 football scholarships. Florida is sixth with 784 scholarships, followed by Pennsylvania (696), Alabama (677), Virginia (674) and Tennessee (655).

When both FBS and FCS scholarship totals are factored, the states of Michigan and Indiana are replaced by Pennsylvania and Virginia in the top ten of states offering the most NCAA Division I scholarships.

Louisiana and North Carolina displace Ohio and Florida in the top four when the states FCS scholarships are counted.  Again, Georgia, New York and Illinois fail to make the top ten in the combined FBS/FCS list even though the population of those states are among the nation’s top ten.

The state of Utah deserves some credit as the state ranks 35th in population with under three million residents, yet colleges in Utah offer more D-1 football scholarships (381) than Georgia (359), which has a top ten population of 9,687,653. 

It is ironic that Utah, a state which does more for college football with less population, is often discriminated against by the Bowl Championship Series. Twice, the University of Utah has finished the season undefeated, but failed to receive an invitation to the BCS title game.


For a solution to the chaos surrounding college football, read It’s Possible! Realignment and Playoffs – College Football’s Opportunity, available at The plan outlined in the book would bring sanity to college football, cut costs, increase revenues and most likely assist in boosting the number of scholarships offered to prospective college athletes.