The Best Universities in Texas for Combining Football and Academics

There’s nothing quite like college football in Texas. The atmosphere, the excitement, the rivalries, everything that makes college football exciting is bigger and better in Texas. When you pick a school, you’re likely picking a team to support for life so it’s important to choose wisely.

Of course, you’re going to squeeze in a little studying between the games, right? Fortunately, many of the Texas football powerhouses are excellent universities as well. We’ve ranked the best universities in Texas for combining football and academics. With one of these schools, you’ll have the time of your life while making a great move for your future.

#9 – Southern Methodist University

The Mustangs received the NCAA "Death Penalty" for the 1987 season. The 1988 season was also cancelled. Photo: http://bit.ly/1MBELuf

Average starting salary after graduation – $52,200

Debt load for graduating students – $34,671

Football wins per year – 5.2

For years, if you attended Southern Methodist University, you weren’t watching football. Due to NCAA violations, the SMU Wildcats were not allowed to play football from 1987 to 2007. Fortunately, the program has been reinstated.

They’ve had some good and bad years as the program tries to rebuild. SMU always had a lot to offer beyond football. It’s a strong, private university in Dallas with an excellent business program. Now that the Wildcats are back on the field, it’s just an added bonus for students.

#8 – Abilene Christian University

Shotwell Stadium is homefield for the local highschools as well. Photo: http://bit.ly/1HXofYO

Average starting salary after graduation – $44,500

Debt load for graduating students – $26,238

Football wins per year – 6

If you want your Christian faith to be an important part of your education, than Abilene Christian University could be a good choice. Regular chapel attendance is a requirement for students. In between school and prayer, Abilene students still make time for football with the Wildcats. They used to be a Division II school but have recently been bumped up to Division I to compete at the highest level.

#7 – Baylor University

In 2014 Baylor got a new $244 million stadium that seats fewer people. Photo: http://bit.ly/1X7O0r2

Average starting salary after graduation – $49,100

Debt load for graduating students – $25,281

Football wins per year – 7

Founded in 1845, Baylor University is the oldest university in Texas. It’s located in Waco, Texas in between Dallas and Austin. Baylor ranks quite well academically with its engineering program considered especially strong.

The Baylor Bears are also very popular and are another top competitor in the strong Big-12 Division. Because of the competition, Baylor hasn’t had as many wins as their rivals lately, but it’s still a nationally renowned program.

#6 – Texas Christian University

45,000 Horned Frogs gather to watch their alpha males on display. Photo: http://bit.ly/1X7NDN8

Average starting salary after graduation – $43,000

Debt load for graduating students – $35,468

Football wins per year – 10.5

The TCU Horned Frogs have been on a roll over the past few years. They’ve averaged more wins per year than any other school on our list and are a regular contender for major bowl events and the national title.

TCU is a private university so their enrollment is smaller than the large, public universities in Texas. While this is great for class size, it also makes the school a bit more expensive. Students leave TCU with the highest debt load.

#5 – University of Houston

Someone paid a unprecedented $15 million to name this TDECU Stadium. Photo: http://bit.ly/1SE84Qh

Average starting salary after graduation – $42,000

Debt load for graduating students – $20,426

Football wins per year – 8.4

If you’d like something a bit bigger in Houston, the University of Houston is a solid choice. While the average starting salary for graduates is a little low, the school makes up for it by keeping the debt load for graduates reasonable. The UH Cougars are a strong football program and regularly give their rivals from UT Austin and A&M a run for their money.

#4 – Rice University

Rice Owls in their native habitat. Photo: http://bit.ly/1HYyCWZ

Average starting salary after graduation – $59,900

Debt load for graduating students – $19,327

Football wins per year – 5.9

Rice University is one of the top academic schools in the country. With an amazing student-to-faculty ratio, at Rice you’d get a lot of personalized attention from some of the best instructors in the country. The small student population gives the school the feel of a liberal arts college.

Now, going to a small liberal arts college typically means giving up on quality football. Not so with Rice. They have a Division I program and regularly play the top teams in the nation. Of course, it’s hard for Rice to stay competitive with their small student body but at least you get to see top college level football every weekend, even if your team is losing.

#3 – Texas A&M

Kyle Field is the fith largest sports stadium... in the world. Photo: http://bit.ly/1j7J8Vr

Average starting salary after graduation – $52,900

Debt load for graduating students – $23,128

Football wins per year – 8.2

There’s big and then there’s Texas A&M big. It’s the largest university in Texas by enrollment and the fourth largest school in the United States. Texas A&M is a well known research institution and provides great career options for their graduates.

As the center of life in College Station, the Texas A&M Aggies dominate the social scene. Their football stadium has a capacity of over 100,000 so you’ll definitely get that big time feel on game day. The team is regularly competitive and has three national titles.

#2 – University of Texas at Austin

This world record busting scoreboard is named 'Godzillatron' for obvious reasons. Photo: http://bit.ly/1OQrbci

Average starting salary after graduation – $52,800

Debt load for graduating students – $19,112

Football wins per year – 9.4

The Texas Longhorns are not just one of the best football teams in Texas but also in the entire country. They’ve won four national titles and have made 53 bowl appearances, the second most out of all universities nationwide.

There’s more to the University of Texas at Austin than football though. Their graduates have the second highest average starting salary out of all the schools on our list and also leave with a reasonable debt load. As a state school, Austin’s tuition is lower than other universities. When the football season is over, students can also enjoy the world famous Austin nightlife.

#1 – Texas Tech

The Goin' Band from Raiderland was the first collegiate band to travel to an away game in 1926. Photo: http://bit.ly/1PA4LvM

Average starting salary after graduation – $65,000

Debt load for graduating students – $18,211

Football wins per year – 8.7

According to our rankings, Texas Tech does the best job of combining football with academics. The Red Raiders are always a strong team and typically boast a winning record, even in the extremely competitive Big-12 division.

Texas Tech is an academics powerhouse as well. Its students have the highest average starting salary after graduating, thanks to the school’s strong engineering, science, and business programs. Students also leave Texas Tech with the lowest total debt load because of a combination of reasonable tuition and financial aid. If you’re looking for a great football school in Texas, Texas Tech should definitely be on your list.

Methodology

Data researchers at Credit Sesame collect post graduation salary, employment, debt value data from Universities as reported by statistics on their career center website accumulated from graduates via surveys. Each data point is then ranked based on ascending or descending order for eg. salary level is in descending order (highest salary given a rank of 1) and debt level is in ascending order (lowest debt given a rank of 1).

After each school is given a rank per data point, the ranks for each school are added up across all data points. The aggregate of the ranks are then ordered in ascending order (smallest rank first) and that indicates the highest ranking.

This methodology is based on a rank system allowing readers to compare Universities/Institutions based on an aggregate rank system taking account multiple data points. We provide equal weightage to each data point so give an unbiased opinion.

RankingSchool Average Starting SalarySalary RankingAverage Student DebtDebt RankingAverage Football Wins per Season for Last 10 yearsFootball Ranking
1Texas Tech6500011821118.73
2University of Texas at Austin5280041911229.42
3Texas A&M5290032312858.25
4Rice 5990021932735.98
5Houston5220052042648.44
6TCU49100635468910.51
7Baylor44500725281677
8Abilene43000826238786
9Southern Methodist4200093467185.29

Sources:

https://collegescorecard.ed.gov

http://www.payscale.com

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