College Sports in Pennsylvania

PA College Sport, teams, rankings, and sports betting in the Keystone State. All you need to know about PA college sports.

Pennsylvania State Guide

Pennsylvania has 14 Division I schools, one of the more heavily populated states in the country. There are three schools in one of the biggest six conferences then a lot of mid-major schools have made noise in a variety of sports throughout the years. Most of the schools are concentrated in either Philadelphia or Pittsburgh with a few smaller cities sprinkled in.
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    Top Colleges in Pennsylvania

    Top colleges in Pennsylvania ranked based on how well they perform in college sports.

    CollegeCollege TeamConference
    Villanova UniversityVillanova WildcatsBig East
    Penn State UniversityPenn State Nittany LionsBig Ten
    University of PittsburghPittsburgh PanthersACC
    Temple UniversityTemple OwlsAmerican
    University of PennsylvaniaPenn QuakersIvy League
    Saint Joseph's UniversitySaint Joseph's HawksAtlantic 10
    Bucknell UniversityBucknell BisonPatriot
    Duquesne UniversityDuquesne DukesAtlantic 10
    La Salle UniversityLa Salle ExplorersAtlantic 10
    Drexel UniversityDrexel DragonsColonial
    Lehigh UniversityLehigh Mountain HawksPatriot
    Lafayette UniversityLafayette LeopardsPatriot
    Robert Morris UniversityRobert Morris ColonelsHorizon
    Saint Francis UniversitySaint Francis Red FlashNortheast

    Top college teams in Pennsylvania

    Pennsylvania is a very interesting state for college sports with several brand-name schools spread throughout the state. Penn State is probably the best athletics department in the state with a historic football program and a basketball team that has had its fair share of good moments recently. Pittsburgh basketball is going through a downturn, but it was once a dominant force while its football team has been consistent winners. Villanova basketball is one of the elite programs in the nation while Bucknell is known as the plucky underdogs in many different sports. Temple is just solid in every sport and then there are the plethora of smaller schools trying to find their moments in the spotlight whenever they arrive.

    NCAAB in Pennsylvania

    It is hard to talk about college basketball in Pennsylvania without starting in Philadelphia. The historic Big Five are an iconic brand of itself, let alone that the group includes Villanova. The Wildcats are among the best programs in the country with titles in 2016 and 2018 and appearances in the last seven NCAA Tournaments. Elsewhere in Philly, La Salle and Saint Joseph's are trying to rebuild their way to relevance in the Atlantic 10 while Drexel is trying to lock down a bid out of the Colonial. Penn has made the tournament just once since 2007 and Temple is no longer the same dominant force it once was on the court. Penn State and Pittsburgh are both trying to dig out of the bottom in difficult conferences as well, and Duquesne is a mid-tier Atlantic 10 program at the moment. That leaves the plethora of one-bid leagues, which have not produced many successful NCAA Tournament teams but has given programs like Bucknell and Lehigh a bigger stage every few years. 

    NCAAF in Pennsylvania

    There are only three FBS programs in the state and each have had their share of success. Penn State is the household brand that has rebounded well from the scandal a decade ago to again become a Big Ten power. Pittsburgh is a consistent bowl participant, but it has never reached the level of the national program consistently. Meanwhile, Temple is trying to rebound to being a contender in American, which it was when the league was first formed. At the FCS level, Villanova has become a consistent top-15 program while Lehigh and Lafayette are constant contenders in the Patriot League for the automatic bid. 

    NCAA Hockey in Pennsylvania

    Penn State is the only school in the state that sponsor's ice hockey, and it's a relatively new program in Happy Valley. The program launched for the 2012-13 season and has qualified just twice for the NCAA Tournament. The Nittany Lions won their first tournament game in 2017 before losing in the regional final then lost in the first round of the 2018 tournament. Penn State also won the Big Ten regular-season title in 2020 before the season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    NCAA Baseball in Pennsylvania

    Only about half of the schools in Pennsylvania field a baseball team, but success hasn't followed many of these schools. Baseball is Pittsburgh's oldest varsity sport, but the Panthers haven't played in the NCAA Tournament since 1995, the same year Penn last played in the tournament. It hasn't been much better at Penn State, which hasn't played in the tournament since 2000, and Villanova has a longer streak having not qualified for the postseason since 1991. Saint Joseph's has never played in the NCAA Tournament, leaving just the three smaller schools as the most recent Pennsylvania teams to reach the NCAA Tournament. Lafayette did it most recently in 2007, Bucknell in 2014, and Lehigh played in the 2015 tournament.