When it comes to ranking college football towns, the beauty is often in the eye of the beholder.
What makes one town enjoyable for one may make it annoying to another. But there are some near-universal desires in measuring what makes a nice college town– delicious food, friendly people, beautiful architecture, a great university and, of course, an unforgettable game day experience.
And while we’re probably biased when we say most all SEC towns check those boxes, a panel of national college football experts agrees in the case of at least five of the league’s towns.
Athlon Sports’ Braden Gall conducted a poll of some of the most respected college football personalities, such as FOX Sports’ Bruce Feldman, Yahoo!’s Pat Forde and Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples, to try to determine the top college football town in the United States.
While the final rankings were technically organized into a Top 10, Gall revealed the complete voting. Twenty schools each received at least one vote on the 10 ballots.
Athens, Georgia, home of the Georgia Bulldogs, was the top college town on the list.
Here’s where the SEC wound up in the rankings:
1. Athens, Georgia
Score: 62/100 (3 first-place votes)
Panel quote: “It has it all. A great downtown area with a lot of great restaurants and bars, a pretty campus and my favorite football stadium.” – Pat Forde, Yahoo!
6. Oxford, Mississippi
Score: 33/100 (1 first-place vote)
Panel quote: “The square makes you feel like you’re in a [John] Grisham novel. It’s a really cool spot.” – Rick Neuheisel, SiriusXM/CBS Sports
12. Knoxville, Tennessee
15. Baton Rouge, Louisiana
18. Tuscaloosa, Alabama