How Many D1 Football Teams Are There?

How Many D1 Football Teams Are There?: College football in the United States is a spectacle that captivates millions of fans each year. The heart-pounding action, intense rivalries, and the pursuit of championship glory make it one of the most celebrated sports in the nation.

At the pinnacle of collegiate football is the Division I level, a tier that encompasses the most competitive and well-known teams.

If you’ve ever found yourself wondering, “How many D1 football teams are there?” – you’re in the right place.

In this article, we’ll explore the landscape of Division I football, breaking down the numbers and shedding light on the rich tapestry of college football.

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How Many D1 Football Teams Are There?:

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) oversees college sports in the United States, including football.

Division I is the highest level of competition within the NCAA, and it is further subdivided into 2 categories:

1) Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS)

2) Football Championship Subdivision (FCS)

1. FBS – The Premier Division:

The FBS represents the elite level of college football, featuring schools that compete at the highest level and often contend for prestigious bowl game invitations.

As of the latest information available, there are 130 FBS football teams. These teams are spread across conferences such as the SEC (Southeastern Conference), ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference), Big Ten, Pac-12, and others.

The FBS is known for its high-profile matchups, extensive media coverage, and the College Football Playoff (CFP) system, which determines the national champion.

With iconic programs like Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, and Oklahoma, the FBS captures the attention of football enthusiasts nationwide.

2. FCS – The Thriving Second Tier:

While FBS schools vie for national championships and major bowl appearances, the FCS provides its brand of compelling football.

As of the latest count, there are 125 FCS football teams. These schools may not receive the same level of mainstream attention as their FBS counterparts, but they play a crucial role in the overall landscape of college football.

The FCS features its playoff system, with the championship game being the pinnacle of achievement for these programs.

Schools like North Dakota State, James Madison, and Montana have established themselves as perennial contenders in the FCS, showcasing the depth and diversity of talent within Division I football.

Conference Alignments and Dynamics:

To grasp the complexity of Division I football, it’s essential to understand the role of conferences. Teams within a conference compete against each other in a round-robin format, and each conference operates independently, with its unique set of rules and regulations.

This conference structure adds another layer of excitement to the college football landscape.

1. Power Five Conferences:

The Power Five conferences are considered the most influential in college football due to their high-profile teams and substantial resources.

These conferences include the SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12, and Big 12. FBS teams from these conferences often receive more media exposure, better recruiting opportunities, and larger financial resources.

2. Group of Five Conferences:

Outside the Power Five, there are the Group of Five conferences, which also compete at the FBS level. These conferences include the American Athletic Conference (AAC), Conference USA, Mid-American Conference (MAC), Mountain West Conference (MWC), and Sun Belt Conference.

While these schools may not have the same level of visibility as Power Five programs, they play a crucial role in the overall competitiveness of FBS football.

3. Independent Programs:

Some schools, like Notre Dame, Army, and BYU, are not affiliated with a specific conference and are classified as independent programs. These schools have the flexibility to schedule games against teams from various conferences, adding an intriguing dynamic to the college football landscape.


In the vast and dynamic world of college football, Division I stands tall as the pinnacle of competition. Whether you’re a fan of the powerhouse programs in the FBS or the underdog stories that unfold in the FCS, the diversity of teams and conferences within Division I ensures that there’s something for every football enthusiast.

So, the next time you find yourself pondering how many D1 football teams there are, remember the rich tapestry of schools and the vibrant history that makes college football a beloved American tradition.

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