I grabbed four lists. Sorry about the crappy formatting.
|1||Boulder, CO||Ames, IA||Santa Barbara, CA||Ithica, NY|
|2||Ann Arbor, MI||Logan, UT||State College, PA||State College, PA|
|3||Madison, WI||Oxford, OH||San Luis Obispo, CA||Iowa City, IA|
|4||Ithica, NY||Fayetteville, AR||Durango, CO||Ames, IA|
|5||Ames, IA||Tempe, AZ||Chapel Hill, NC||Champaign-Urbana, IL|
As you can see, not a lot of agreement. Ithica NY does well. And the lists love Iowa. Athens, Ga., where I teach, doesn't score well on these lists (39th on one, 41st on another, not mentioned in others). Oddly, lists often put it as the #1 or #2 college town in America, but as you can see not everyone agrees with this assessment. In general, southern schools don't do well, with the exception being Chapel Hill and, weird, Fayetteville, Arkansas. Really?