At the Division 1 level, you’ll find the best football programs in the country. Division 1 football teams are classified in one of two subdivisions: FBS and FCS.
FBS, Football Bowl Subdivision, is the highest level of college football in the U.S. The most elite football teams are found in the NCAA FBS.
The most elite teams are found in the FBS subdivision. These schools are allowed to give out 85 full-ride scholarships, and usually attract five-star and four-star recruits at the top of their game.
FCS football teams are extremely competitive in their own right, with their fair share of five-star and four-star athletes, as well.
FCS stands for Football Championship Subdivision. FCS football teams can give out a maximum of 63 scholarships and can split up their scholarship money however they want.
Division 1 football teams are characterized by their rigorous schedules, and football is almost full-time job on top of the student-athlete’s academics. Student-athletes who play on these teams have to be prepared to put in a lot of work and potentially not see playing time until junior or senior year—or not at all. If an athlete has the talent and love of the game, D1 FBS or FCS good be a good fit for you.
There are 125 Division 1 FCS football teams and 129 FBS football teams. FCS, or the Football Championship Subdivision, comprises 14 conferences: the Big Sky, Big South, CAA, Independent, Ivy, MEAC, Missouri Valley, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot, Pioneer, Southern, Southland and SWAC conferences. FCS football teams compete in a 24-team playoff for the NCAA Division 1 Football Championship.
FBS, or the Football Bowl Subdivision, consists of 11 different conferences: the ACC, American, Big 12, Big Ten, C-USA, Independent, MAC, Mountain West, PAC-12, SEC and Sun Belt conferences. FBS football teams compete in a four-team tournament culminating in the National Championship Game to determine the national champion.
With 250+ four-year institutions offering college football, researching what program is right for a student-athlete can be time-consuming and stressful. To reduce the stress and help student-athletes more easily research prospective schools, NCSA has developed Power Rankings that analyze data such as cost, academics, size and location, to rank the top D1 football schools.
Visit the NCAA website for Division 1 FBS football rankings and Division 1 FCS football rankings
In this comprehensive list of Division 1 football colleges, families can look for college football teams by state, conference, city and more. Use this information to familiarize yourself with the wealth of schools available.