20 Awesome Under-the-Radar College Football Stadiums
Even the most casual college football fans have heard of the Horseshoe (Ohio State), the Swamp (Florida), Rocky Top (Tennessee), the Big House (Michigan) and the Rose Bowl (UCLA).
But, there are plenty of stadiums that perhaps get overshadowed by the biggest or most famous stadiums in the nation. If you are to truly experience all that is college football, you cannot miss these less famous stadiums.
Some of these stadiums get overlooked because of the great stadiums in their conferences. Others don't get enough attention because the teams that play there don't play up to the level of the stadiums they call home. But regardless of the reason, all of these 20 stadiums are worth a visit.
What are they? Read on.
Roos Field, Eastern Washington
By now, everyone has heard of Boise State's "Smurf Turf." But the Broncos aren't the only ones who get creative with their turf color.
FCS power Eastern Washington decided to make their opponents see red when they visit Roos Field. I wonder if opposing teams get disoriented while playing on this sea of red...
Amon G. Carter Stadium, TCU
Since TCU is upgrading from the Mountain West to the Big 12, Amon G. Carter Stadium is also getting a major renovation. It began last year with the west and north sides of the stadium, and the other two sides will be completed before the 2012 season begins.
It won't be the largest or most famous stadium in the Big 12, but it'll have some of the finest box seats and suites. Check out the full renderings of the completed stadium, including the sweet-looking suites, here.
Legion Field, UAB
Legion Field used to be one of the finest stadiums in the South. After all, it used to be the site of one of the best rivalry games in college football: the Iron Bowl between Alabama and Auburn.
In fact, the Iron Bowl got its name because they played that game every year in Birmingham, and Birmingham is known for its abundance of iron ore.
Sadly, Legion Field has fallen into disrepair a bit after the Iron Bowl was made into a home-and-home series rather than a neutral-site game. It is currently the home stadium of UAB, but the Blazers don't have the resources to fix this place up.
It really is too bad to see one of the college football's most historic stadiums fall apart, but maybe someday it'll get the TLC it needs to return to prominence once again...
Rice-Eccles Stadium, Utah
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Although not yet up to par with the likes of the Rose Bowl or the Coliseum, Rice-Eccles Stadium is a fine place to catch a football game. This was also the site of the 2002 Winter Olympics' opening and closing ceremonies.
It'll certainly be worth the effort to make it out to Salt Lake City...
Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati
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Built all the way back in 1901, Nippert Stadium is one of the oldest stadiums in college football. At a capacity of about 35,000, it is also one of the smallest in the Big East.
Surely, that is one of the reasons why Brian Kelly left the Bearcats for Notre Dame.
However, with a bit of an expansion, Nippert could be the premier stadium in the Big East.
Williams-Brice Stadium, South Carolina
When thinking of great stadiums in the SEC East, most think of the Swamp (Florida), Rocky Top (Tennessee) and Between the Hedges (Georgia).
But all too few remember the Cockpit.
After all, Williams-Brice Stadium is home to one of the greatest entrances in college football, with their 2001: A Space Odyssey theme (which, if you haven't seen, you can witness here).
Also, the upper deck is famous for swaying when the fans get rowdy, leading Joe Morrison to famously say, "If it ain't swayin', we ain't playin'."
At any rate, no run through the SEC's best stadiums is complete without a stop at the Cockpit.
Bobby Dodd Stadium, Georgia Tech
If rivers and mountains aren't your thing and you're looking for more of an urban setting for a football game, Bobby Dodd is your stadium.
Situated right in the heart of Atlanta, you can look up at the skyline while watching the game down on the field.
And besides that, the Yellow Jackets have been playing football here since 1905, although the stadium itself wasn't completed until 1913.
Liberty Bowl, Memphis
The Liberty Bowl doesn't get some of the credit it deserves because Memphis is one of the worst teams in the FBS.
Still, the Liberty Bowl is famous for the bowl game with the same name. It can hold 61,000 fans and was designed so that you get a great view of the filed from virtually any seat.
Too bad the Tigers aren't as good as their stadium...
Harvard Stadium, Harvard
First off, it's Haaaarvard.
OK, if that didn't convince you (and I wouldn't blame you...), Harvard Stadium was one of the first, as it was built all the way back in 1903. And Harvard was one of the biggest players back in the day. Any college-football pilgrimage would be incomplete without a visit to Harvard Stadium, particularly if Yale is in town...
Yale Bowl, Yale
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It may not be a top-division stadium, but the Yale Bowl still puts many FBS stadiums to shame.
With a capacity of 64,246, the Yale Bowl is currently the largest FCS stadium that is owned by a university. And a good bit of college football's history originated here, as the Bulldogs used to be one of the premier teams in the country back in 1914, when this place was built.
Plus, you can catch one of college football's oldest rivalries between Yale and Harvard here.
Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, East Carolina
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If you're visiting stadiums in the Eastern US, make sure to to visit Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
It's one of the largest stadiums associated with a non-AQ team, and that pirate ship out of which the Pirates run onto the field is pretty awesome. It also has one of the newest and largest scoreboards in college football.
Bright House Networks Stadium, UCF
Bright House Stadium is one of the newest in college football, as well as one of the bounciest.
Nicknamed "The Trampoline" or the "Bouncy House," the stadium—though structurally stable—is known for bouncing, particularly on the upper decks when the fans jump up and down to "Zombie Nation."
Don't believe me? Check out this video.
Falcon Stadium, Air Force
Taken by David Shankbone
High in the Colorado mountains, Air Force has the second-highest altitude of any stadium in the FBS. Also, said mountains provide a beautiful landscape to watch a football game. Just make sure to go to a game early in the season, as watching a game in the snow is a distinct and unpleasant possibility later in the year.
It's also a great place to get an up-close-and-personal look at some of the Air Force's finest aircraft as they fly over.
Kinnick Stadium, Iowa
First off, look at the fans making those black and yellow stripes! Such dedication is impressive.
It's a not-so-great place to visit if you're a member of the visiting team, thanks to Hayden Fry's pink locker rooms. And the fans make this one of the loudest stadiums to visit.
Aloha Stadium, Hawaii
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Aloha Stadium automatically benefits from being in Hawaii. It's also the site of the NFL's Pro Bowl, and who can blame the pros for wanting to play on the islands?
That being said, the stadium itself is in pretty poor shape. Though it's received some renovations, like a new video screen and some repair to the roof, this report from Honolulu Weekly outlines what still needs to be done. Also, it's doubtful that this stadium will last another 20-30 years.
Still, it's an excuse to visit Hawaii...
Rice Stadium, Rice
Rice Stadium isn't highly thought of due to the general quality of Rice football (or lack thereof...). However, Rice Stadium is famous for hosting Super Bowl VIII in 1974. Also, this was where President John F. Kennedy challenged the country to make it to the moon by the end of the 1960s.
This stadium is certainly worth a visit, but right now, it isn't the home of great college football.
LaVell Edwards Stadium, BYU
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With 63,725 seats, BYU's LaVell Edwards Stadium is the largest that doesn't belong to one of the "Big Six" conferences. It's also one of the most picturesque places to catch a football game, as it is surrounded by the Wasatch Mountains.
However, if you want great tailgating, you'll have to look elsewhere...
Spartan Stadium, Michigan State
Spartan Stadium, much like the Spartans themselves, doesn't get the love it deserves because it's in the same conference as the Horseshoe, the Big House, Beaver Stadium and Camp Randall Stadium. But with a capacity of 75,005, this stadium rocks when sold out.
In addition, Spartan Stadium is the site of the "Game of the Century" that took place between Michigan State and Notre Dame in 1966.
Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Ole Miss
Vaught-Hemingway Stadium can get overlooked because of the caliber of the other stadiums in the SEC. But, the overall experience of watching a game at Vaught-Hemingway is topnotch.
First off, the Ole Miss campus is stunningly beautiful, setting the scene for one of the best tailgating spots in the country. After spending some time tailgating in the Grove, you make your way into the stadium. At a capacity of 60,582, Vaught-Hemingway is one of the smaller stadiums in the conference, but it's still decent.
One of the greatest things about watching a game at Vaught-Hemingway is the way the fans dress. In fact, going to an Ole Miss game is much like going to a dance for the students.
Overall, catching a game at Ole Miss is one of the most underrated experiences in college football.
Michie Stadium, Army
When people think of watching a game next to the water, they think of Huskie Stadium in Washington and Neyland Stadium in Tennessee.
But, one stadium that doesn't get enough credit is Michie Stadium on Army's West Point campus.
Overlooking the Hudson River, Michie Stadium offers beautiful views. Unfortunately, the quality of the football on the field isn't as great as it was in Army's heyday back in the 1940s. Still, the history, military association and natural beauty make Michie Stadium a must-visit on any hardcore college-football list.