College football and fall foliage are two beloved elements of the autumn season in much of the United States.
The vibrant fall colors add to the festive atmosphere of rowdy tailgating. Fans can enjoy their favorite game-day foods and too many drinks surrounded by the picturesque beauty of the changing leaves.
Several Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) college campuses in the United States are known for their stunning fall foliage, offering breathtaking views and a vibrant autumn atmosphere on football Saturdays.
Here are the top 20 FBS college football scenes ranked by The Foliage Report for exceptional fall colors while attending a game on-campus:
- Appalachian State University (Boone, North Carolina): Appalachian State University, commonly called App State, is the top fall foliage scene to experience gameday. App State is situated in Boone, North Carolina, which is known for its stunning fall foliage. The region’s location in the Appalachian Mountains provides a perfect backdrop for experiencing the vibrant colors of autumn.
(Photo Cred: Appalachian State University)
- The United States Military Academy (West Point, New York): The United States Military Academy, often referred to as West Point, is situated in West Point, New York, along the Hudson River. The academy’s location in the Hudson River Valley provides a scenic backdrop for experiencing fall foliage while also watching the triple option formation.
The campus of West Point itself features a mix of historic buildings, expansive lawns, and trees that create a picturesque setting for experiencing fall foliage.
(Photo Cred: United States Military Academy)
- Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, Virginia): Can you hear 65,000 fans jumping up and down to “Enter Sandman”? While we are not sure what a Hokie is… we sure know that Lane Stadium is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains and offers spectacular views of fall foliage during a football game.
(Photo Cred: Virginia Tech University)
- Notre Dame (South Bend, Indiana): The iconic “Touchdown Jesus” mural and the historic architecture of Notre Dame Stadium are complemented by the changing leaves during the fall months. Unlike Rudy, there’s nothing underdog about the fall foliage here.
(Photo Cred: Notre Dame University)
- Oregon State University (Corvallis, Oregon): One sneaky, yet fantastic fall foliage experience during a football game in the Pacific Northwest is Oregon State University located in Corvallis, Oregon. This experience is top for the Pac-12 Conference (future Mountain West Conference member??) and current Pac-12 members should enjoy the scene before leaving for other conferences.
(Photo Cred: Oregon State University)
- Michigan State University (East Lansing, Michigan): Michigan State’s campus is known for its beautiful fall foliage during the autumn season.
Whether you’re a student at Michigan State University or a visitor to the area, experiencing fall foliage on campus and in the surrounding region is a delightful way to embrace the beauty of autumn in Michigan.
(Photo Cred: D.L. Turner from Facebook)
- Pennsylvania State University (State College, Pennsylvania): Getting ready for a night “White Out” game? The beauty of the changing leaves in the fall season adds to the excitement of Penn State football games. The campus itself is known for its iconic Nittany Lion Shrine and historic buildings surrounded by trees that turn brilliant shades of red, orange, and yellow during the fall.
Combining Penn State football and fall foliage in State College creates a unique blend of spirited game days and the serene beauty of autumn.
(Photo Cred: Sarah Lynn DeCarlo | Onward State)
- West Virginia University (Morgantown, West Virginia): “Almost heaven, West Virginia” While not located near the Shenandoah River, as the song lyrics state, Mountaineer fans will see the glow of burning couches as well as some absolutely great fall foliage.
Attending a Mountaineers football game allows fans to experience the excitement of college football while being surrounded by the colors of autumn.
(Photo Cred: West Virginia University)
- Boston College University (Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts): When you think of fall foliage, you probably think of New England first, that’s no exception for Boston College. The campus itself, nestled in the Boston suburbs, offers a picturesque environment for enjoying the vibrant colors of autumn.
(Photo Cred: College Gridirons)
- University of Indiana (Bloomington, Indiana): Everyone knows Indiana is a basketball school. Yet during the fall season, football fans and those who are mandated to purchase season football season tickets because they’re basketball season ticket holders, can enjoy some great autumn scenes. Coach Allen’s uncertain future is another story.
(Photo Cred: Visit Bloomington)
- University of Colorado Boulder (Boulder, Colorado): Many may not think of the University of Colorado as a traditional fall foliage place to visit; however, the stunning campus of the University of Colorado Boulder is situated against the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains. If the Coach Prime experiment fails, fans can still experience the combination of aspen trees and mountain scenery creating a unique fall experience.
(Photo Cred: The University of Colorado at Boulder)
- Miami University (Oxford, Ohio): Representing some MACtion, Miami University’s campus gives great opportunities to relive the Big Ben days and enjoy mediocre football. While Oxford, Ohio may not be surrounded by mountains or forests like some other universities, it still provides a charming backdrop for enjoying the vibrant colors of autumn.
(Photo Cred: HER Realtors)
- University of Virginia (Charlottesville, Virginia): Wahoos! Break out your critter pants and navy blazer because it’s football tailgating time in Charlottesville. The campus and stadium area offer picturesque fall colors.
(Photo Cred: University of Virginia)
- University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill, North Carolina): Tar Heel football games provide a charming setting for experiencing fall foliage despite the clash of powder blue and autumn colors. Enjoy Coach Mack Brown’s teams while always having some hype but under-delivering.
(Photo Cred: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
- University of Arkansas (Fayetteville, Arkansas): Surrounded by the natural beauty of the Ozark Mountains, Razorback fans can be heard chanting “Woo Pig Sooie” while enjoying some spectacular colors.
The entire region of Northwest Arkansas is a hidden gem for great fall foliage.
(Photo Cred: The University of Arkansas)
- Ohio State University (Columbus, Ohio): OH-IOooo check out that fall color! While fans are singing “Hang on Snoopy,” they will enjoy the vibrant colors on campus while exchanging incredibly harsh words with a certain school up north.
(Photo Cred: TheOzone.net)
- University of Washington (Seattle, Washington): Sailgating is the thing to do at the University of Washington; however, if you’re aground you’ll see some majestic fall colors while getting ready to cheer on the Huskies.
(Photo Cred: University of Washington)
- Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo, Michigan): Two words: Fall Snowliage. While fall colors are great on all FBS Michigan university campuses, Western Michigan always seems to have some snow coupled with fall foliage which we think is a huge win.
(Photo Cred: WMU News)
- University of Oregon (Eugene, Oregon): While the Pacific Northwest isn’t well known for traditional fall foliage, the scenic backdrop of Autzen Stadium against the backdrop of Oregon’s landscape offers a unique autumn experience. Also, Animal House was filmed on this campus. As Otis Redding and the Knights say “Shama Lama Ding Dong.”
(Photo Cred: Don Hankins)
- University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia): Calling them dawgs! Not only does the University of Georgia win on the field, fans can expect some wonderful fall feels in November for home games.
While this area of Georgia is not typically known for its dramatic fall foliage in the same way as northern Georgia, you can still enjoy some beautiful autumn colors in Athens. Fact or fiction, some of the trees are younger than former QB Stetson Bennett.
(Photo Cred: University of Georgia)
Others schools considered: Washington State University, University of Connecticut, Central Michigan University, University of Michigan, Tulsa University, Southern Methodist University, Fresno State University, University of Iowa, University of Illinois, University of Minnesota, University of Tennessee, University of Alabama.
If you’re planning to experience fall foliage and tailgating together, check out The Foliage Report to track the fall colors.