10 Best Football Colleges in Colorado in 2024


Football Colleges in Colorado combine academics and sporting activities, creating a fine balance between sporting and intellectual learning.

As an athlete or football enthusiast seeking knowledge on college football, it will interest you to know that college football is a major attraction that many students value because of the rivalry, excitement, and pride it brings to them as members of their institution.


For students who value this and want to experience the thrill of participating in the game, it is important to find colleges and universities with an intense football culture and perform at a high level of competition.

To help student-athletes find the right option, we have researched and evaluated the best football colleges in Colorado.


Does Colorado have Football Colleges?

Home to the Colorado Buffalo football team, which represents the University of Colorado, Boulder, the state of Colorado has some of the best football colleges and universities making waves in major college football competitions.

Furthermore, rankings have shown that the state of Colorado has some of the best colleges for football in the United States.

Also read, 10 Best Football Colleges in Illinois


How Many College Football Teams are in Colorado?

Colorado College football officially was born on Christmas Day, 1882, and ever since, college football athletes have been representing their schools both home and away.

Although there are four (4) major college football programs, Colorado has about 15 active college football teams. These teams include Colorado State Rams, Northern Colorado Bears, Colorado Buffaloes, and Colorado College Tigers.

For Further Reading, check: 10 Best Football Colleges in South Carolina

Does Colorado Have Ivy League Schools?

The Ivy League is an American collegiate athletic conference comprising eight private research universities in the Northeastern United States. 

Although the state of Colorado does not have any of the famous Ivy League schools, without a doubt, there are some prestigious universities in Colorado. These include;

  • Colorado School of Mines
  • University of Denver
  • Colorado State University 
  • Colorado College
  • University of Colorado, Boulder
  • University of Colorado, Denver
  • Regina University
  • Colorado Christian University 
  • University of Colorado, Colorado
  • The United States Air Force Academy

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What are the Best Football Colleges in Colorado?

When it comes to choosing a college, student-athletes have a lot of options – but not all of them are good.

We understand the need to combine academic work, social life, and football training. That’s why our main priority is to ensure that students gain the full college experience by enlisting in some of the best colleges.

Here, we have carefully curated a list of Colorado’s 10 best football colleges to help students and their parents make the right choice.

1. Colorado College

Colorado College is a private liberal arts college in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It was founded in 1874 by Reverend Thomas Nelson Haskell.

The Tigers are the athletic team comprising 16 teams representing Colorado College in intercollegiate athletics, including men’s and women’s basketball, cross country, lacrosse, soccer, swimming & diving, tennis, and track, and field. 

Also, the Tigers compete in NCAA Division III. They are members of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference for all sports except men’s ice hockey and women’s soccer, which compete in NCAA Division I. 

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2. Colorado State University (CSU)

As one of the best universities in Colorado, 

Colorado State University is a public land-grant research university in Fort Collins, Colorado. It is the flagship university of the Colorado State University System. 

The Colorado State Rams football program (established in 1893) represents Colorado State University in major competitions. It is also a member of the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision and the Mountain West Conference. 

The Rams have long-standing rivalries with Colorado, Wyoming, and Air Force. The team is currently led by first-year head coach Jay Norvell, who was hired in December 2021.

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3. University of Colorado, Boulder 

With Ralphie, the mascot, the University of Colorado has one of the most exciting football game experiences to watch out for.

The Colorado Buffaloes football program represents the University of Colorado Boulder in college football at the NCAA Division I FBS level. The team is a member of the Pac-12 Conference, having previously been a charter member of the Big 12 Conference.

The Buffaloes have appeared in numerous bowl games (28 appearances in bowl games (12–16), 36th all-time), and won 27 conference championships, 5 division championships, and a national championship.

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4. The United States Air Force Academy (USAFA)

The United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) is a United States service academy immediately north of Colorado Springs, Colorado. It educates cadets for service in the officer corps of the United States Air Force and the United States Space Force.

The Falcons are the athletic team that represents the United States Air Force Academy in college football at the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) level.

Also, the Air Force has been a member of the Mountain West Conference since its founding in 1999. The Falcons play their home games at Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Troy Calhoun has been the team’s head coach since 2007.

Air Force has a traditional rivalry against the other two FBS service academies, Army and Navy; the three play for the right to hold the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy. The Air Force has won the trophy 20 times, more than either Army or Navy.

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5. Adams State University

Adams State University is a public university located in Alamosa, Colorado. The Grizzlies is the university’s athletic teams competing in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC).

The Grizzlies have won 222 RMAC team championships and 64 team National Championships. Single-Handedly, Adams State University has produced 268 national champions and 1,937 All-Americans.

The University has produced prominent footballers the likes of Chris Perry, Bill Stone, and Don Cockroft. 

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6. Colorado School of Mines

Founded in 1874, the Colorado School of Mines is undeniably one of the best colleges for football in Colorado. 

The Colorado Mines Orediggers football team represents the Colorado School of Mines in American football, and Brandon Moore has been the head coach since 2022.

The Orediggers have played in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference since 1909. They have won 23 conference titles, with 10 occurring before joining the RMAC. They have also won 13 conference titles in the RMAC.

The Marv Kay Stadium at Campbell Field is the official stadium used by the Orediggers in their home matches and training and can contain a capacity of about 4,000.

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7. University of Denver 

This is the oldest and most independent private university in the Rocky Mountain Region of the United States. It is classified as a private research university as one of the top doctoral universities for its high-quality research.

DU’s athletic teams are known as the Denver Pioneers. The school has been fielding athletic teams since 1867, winning 33 NCAA Division One titles since 1949—among the top 15 of all schools.

With such accomplishments, student-athletes are certain that their academic and football career journey will be accomplished at the university. 

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8. Colorado Mesa University 

The Colorado Mesa Mavericks football team represents Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, Colorado. Before 2011, the school and team were known as the Mesa State Mavericks.

The Mavericks are an NCAA Division II Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference member and play their home games at Stocker Stadium in Grand Junction. Miles Kochevar currently coaches the Mavericks.

A rearing bull’s head symbolizes CMU’s mascot with flaring nostrils. Also, the official colors are maroon, white, and gold and the student body fans are known as The Herd.

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9. Colorado State University, Pueblo

The Thunderwolves are the football team representing Colorado State University-Pueblo located in Pueblo, Colorado. The football team began in 1963 but was discontinued after the 1984 season. However, the Thunderwolves football program was revived in 2007

The Thunderwolves are an NCAA Division II Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference member and play their home games at the Neta & Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl (capacity 6,500) in Pueblo. John Wristen currently coaches the Thunderwolves.

The official colors are blue and red, and the mascots are Wolfie (costume) and Tundra (living mascot).

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10. University of Northern Colorado

Founded in 1889, the University of Northern Colorado is a public university in Greeley, Colorado.

The Bears is the nickname for a football team that represents the University.

Bears are an NCAA FCS Big Sky Conference member and play their home games at Nottingham Field in Greeley. Ed McCaffrey currently coaches the Bears

Also, the school mascot is Klawz the Bear, and the school’s official colors are navy blue and gold. 

Some notable football alumni include Vincent Jackson, Aaron Smith, Dirk Johnson, and Reed Doughty.

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What Division 1 (d1) Football Colleges are in Colorado?

Division 1 (D-1) is the highest level of intercollegiate athletics sanctioned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in the United States.

D1 colleges include the major collegiate athletic powers with large budgets, and more elaborate facilities.

Below is the list of the Divison 1 colleges in Colorado.

The United States Air force Academy

  • Team: Air Force Falcons
  • City: Colorado Springs

University of Colorado Boulder

  • Team: Colorado Buffaloes
  • City: Boulder

Colorado State University

  • Team: Colorado State Rams
  • City: Fort Collins

University of Denver

  • Team: Denver Pioneers
  • city: Denver

University of Nothern Colorado

  • Team: Northern Colorado Bears
  • City: Greeley

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What Division 2 (d2) Football Colleges in Colorado?

Division 2 (d2) is the second-highest intermediate-level competition division in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

The Colorado division consists of about 10 teams. Arranged in no particular order, here are some of the football colleges belonging to the d2 category

Adams State University

  • Team: Adam State Grizzlies
  • City: Alamosa

Colorado Christian University

  • Team: Colorado Christain Cougars
  • City: Lakewood

Fort Lewis College

  • Team: Fort Lewis Skyhawks
  • City: Durango

Metropolitan State University of Denver 

  • Team: Metro State Roadrunners
  • City: Denver

Regis University

  • Team: Regis Rangers
  • City: Denver

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What Division 3 (d3) Football Colleges are in Colorado?

Division 3 (d3) is the lowest division of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in the United States. It consists of athletic programs at colleges and universities that choose not to offer athletic scholarships to student-athletes.

The only D3 football college in Colorado is Colorado College, situated in Colorado Springs, and its athletic team is known as Colorado College Tigers.

Also Read: 10 Best Football Colleges in California

What are the Best Junior Colleges in Colorado for Football?

Junior football colleges in Colorado are a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), founded in 1938. It is the governing association of community college, state college, and junior college athletics throughout the United States.

Arranged alphabetically, here are the best junior football colleges in Colorado.

Colorado Mountain College

  • Team: Colorado Mountain Eagles
  • City: Glenwood Springs

Colorado Northwestern Community College

  • Team: Colorado Northwest Spartans
  • City: Rangely

Lamar Community College

  • Team: Lamar Runnin’ Lopes
  • City: Lamar

Northeastern Junior College

  • Team: Northeastern (Colorado) Plainsmen
  • City: Sterling

Otero College

  • Team: Otero Rattlers
  • City: La Junta

Trinidad State College

  • Team: Trinidad State Trojans
  • City: Trinidad

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How to Join a Football Club in Colorado 

If you’re wondering how to join a football club in Colorado, you’ll realize that doing so requires more than just natural talents and motivation. However, you’ll need connections, feedback regarding your performance, and probably a lot of luck.

There is no one answer to the question regarding how to join a football club in Colorado. Of course, all professional players have unique paths and opinions on getting into their dream club, but the workload is on you.

That being said, these are the general ways to join a football club in Colorado.

Also Read: 10 Best Football Colleges in the UK

Join a Scouting Network

The work of a scouting network is to link young athletes aspiring to become footballers to the club of their choice.

Now, each football club has its scouts scattered around Colorado, searching for the best to join their football club.

While joining a scouting network, make an explicit video of yourself displaying your football skills, as this would prove your talent. With that, fingers crossed, you just might get picked.

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Enroll at a Football College.

Colorado has some of the top-ranking universities and colleges for football in the United States.

Ensure you enroll at a suitable football college, as scouts usually visit these colleges and universities during competitive games.

Read More: 10 Best Football Colleges in Florida | All You Need to Know

Get a Football Agent

A Football agent does all the heavy-duty, that is, as an intermediary between the football club and the young talent.

The football agent also scouts for clubs on behalf of his client, ensuring that contracts are drawn up to benefit the young athlete.

As nothing good comes easy, these agents usually come with a fee; although high, it is always worth it.

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Join a local team

As local teams are scattered within the state, it is advisable to be affiliated with a local team.

These local teams serve as grounds for different scouts looking for the best among players.

To ensure you are seen, display your best skills at all times and be a team player. You never can tell; luck may be on your side.

Also Read: 10 Best Football Colleges in Virginia

Attend Open day trials and tournaments

Open-day trials and tournaments are organized by football clubs serving as an avenue to search for young talents.

During these events, young athletes are advised to bring their A-game, as only those with the best skills will be chosen.


You can have a worthwhile academic and footballing experience in college if and only if you select the right option made available for you.

Now, as no university has the ultimate title of being the best, we have researched some of the top-ranking universities in Colorado that are sure to give the whole college experience and provide a highway to the best football club in Colorado.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How many D1 schools does Colorado have? 

The state of Colorado has Five (5) d1 schools.

What are the most affordable football colleges and universities in Colorado?

Some of Colorado’s most affordable colleges and universities are Aspen University, United States Airforce Academy, Colorado Mesa University, Colorado State University, and the University of Colorado, Denver.

Are there college football teams in Colorado?

The answer is yes. There are several football clubs in Colorado. Colorado Buffaloes, Air Force Falcons, Adams State Grizzlies, and Colorado Mesa Mavericks are examples of college football teams.

Can you be 17 and play college football?

The NCAA does not have any age restrictions for athletes playing football. If the player is taking classes and has not used up his five years of eligibility, he can play on the football team.


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