Power Ranking Every FBS Stadium

David Fidler Correspondent IAugust 6, 2012

Power Ranking Every FBS Stadium

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    The top stadiums in the world of college football.

    Putting them in order is quite a task. After all, how does one judge one against the other? Most fans think their stadium is the best and that is that.

    As for my full disclosure, I have been to most Big Ten and Big East stadiums, as well as some Big 12 and ACC venues. In effect, I acknowledge my ignorance as it concerns most non-AQ conference stadiums, as well as the SEC and Pac-12.

    Nevertheless, my criteria in ranking the stadiums was as follows:

    1. Firsthand knowledge, when applicable
    2. Last year's percentage of capacity filled
    3. How the stadiums have filled their capacity over the years
    4. Information I gleaned from various, more knowledgeable people than me
    5. What I could find around the Internet

    As for the Internet, I found most of my information on the following outstanding sources: StadiumJourney.com, CollegeGridirons.com, 2011 NCAA attendance, NCAA football attendance in the BCS era, various articles around the 'net, and a number of fellow FCs that were good enough to lend me their valuable assistance.

    Also, any team that rents out its home stadium, typically from an NFL team, automatically went to the back of the list. As John Milton said, "It is better to rule in hell than to serve in heaven." In other words, it's better to play in one's own dive than try to treat an state-of-the-art NFL stadium as one's own.

124. Gillette Stadium, UMass

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    Where Is It: Foxborough, MA

    Who Plays Here: UMass Minutemen (and the New England Patriots)

    Capacity: 68,756

    Been Around Since: 2002

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: N/A

    Distance From Campus to Stadium: 94.0 miles

123. Lincoln Financial Field, Temple

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    Where Is It: Philadelphia, PA

    Who Plays Here: Temple Owls (and the Philadelphia Eagles)

    Capacity: 68,532

    Been Around Since: 2003

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 40.94 percent

    Distance From Campus to Stadium: 7.8 miles

122. The Alamodome, UTSA

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    Where Is It: San Antonio, TX

    Who Plays Here: Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners (and a host of other events and sports attractions)

    Capacity: 72,000

    Been Around Since: 1993

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: N/A

    Distance From Campus to Stadium: 16.9 miles

121. Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego State

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    Where Is It: San Diego, CA

    Who Plays Here: San Diego State Aztecs (and the San Diego Chargers)

    Capacity: 71,294

    Been Around Since: 1967

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 78.17 percent

    Distance From Campus to Stadium: 5.8 miles

120. The Superdome, Tulane

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    Where Is It: New Orleans, LA

    Who Plays Here: Tulane Green Wave (and the New Orleans Saints)

    Capacity: 72,003

    Been Around Since: 1975

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 28.27 percent

    Distance From Campus to Stadium: 4.3 miles

119. Heinz Field, Pitt

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    Where Is It: Pittsburgh, PA

    Who Plays Here: Pittsburgh Panthers (and the Pittsburgh Steelers)

    Capacity: 65,050

    Been Around Since: 2001

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 70.77 percent

    Distance From Campus to Stadium: 5.4 miles

118. Raymond James Stadium, South Florida

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    Where Is It: Tampa, FL

    Who Plays Here: South Florida Bulls (and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

    Capacity: 65,857

    Been Around Since: 1998

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 67.65 percent

    Distance From Campus to Stadium: 12.9 miles

117. Sun Life Stadium, Miami (FL)

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    Where Is It: Miami Gardens, FL

    Who Plays Here: Miami (FL) Hurricanes (and the Miami Dolphins)

    Capacity: 76,100

    Been Around Since: 1987

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 64.94 percent

    Distance From Campus to Stadium: 21.3 miles

116. Rynearson Stadium, Eastern Michigan

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    Where Is It: Ypsilanti, MI

    Who Plays Here: Eastern Michigan Eagles

    Capacity: 30,200

    Been Around Since: 1969

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 14.13 percent

    Bottom Line: A track surrounds the field. Concrete stands support aluminum bleachers that run parallel to each sideline.

    Located only six miles from Michigan Stadium, if you can't get tickets to the Big House, this is a much less costly—and less exciting—option.

     


115. Legion Field, UAB

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    Where Is It: Birmingham, AL

    Who Plays Here: Alabama-Birmingham Blazers

    Capacity: 71,594

    Been Around Since: 1927

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 23.03 percent

    Bottom Line: Talk about history.

    Fifty-three Iron Bowls have been played here. The first SEC championship games were played here in 1992 and 1993.

    And all things considered, UAB does a good job of putting behinds in seats, given that UAB's home field has the largest capacity of any team in Conference USA.

    And if it were 1951 or thereabouts, Legion Field would be in the top 20.

    However, it's 2012, and Internet searches consistently yield the same information regarding UAB's home: If you're going to Legion Field, hold on to your wallet.

114. Scheumann Stadium, Ball State

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    Where Is It: Muncie, IN

    Who Plays Here: Ball State Cardinals

    Capacity: 25,400

    Been Around Since: 1967

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 55.40 percent

    Bottom Line: Outside of the Brady Hoke-led 12-0 2008 season, Ball State has consistently ranked in the bottom 10 of the country in average home attendance.

113. L.T. Smith Stadium, Western Kentucky

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    Where Is It: Bowling Green, KY

    Who Plays Here: Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

    Capacity: 23,500

    Been Around Since: 1968

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 69.24 percent

    Bottom Line: It's not a bad stadium, and filling 69.24 percent of one's seats is respectable for a Sun Belt team.

    Still, there's no getting around the fact that it isn't much more than an upscale Texas high school stadium.

112. InfoCision Stadium, Akron

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    Where Is It: Akron, OH

    Who Plays Here: Akron Zips

    Capacity: 30,000

    Been Around Since: 2009

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 56.43 percent

    Bottom Line: There is a lot of investment is in this stadium, but fans don't show up.

    There might be more to the atmosphere if the Zips could win more than two games in two years.

111. UB Stadium, Buffalo

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    Where Is It: Buffalo, NY

    Who Plays Here: Buffalo Bulls

    Capacity: 29,013

    Been Around Since: 1993

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 54.77 percent

    Bottom Line: Among other things, beware all college football stadiums that double as track stadiums.

    As is evident from the accompanying picture, the crowd is miles away from the game. That is an energy-drain. It's hard to get into the game when one is that far away from the field.

110. FIU Stadium, Florida International

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    Where Is It: Miami, FL

    Who Plays Here: Florida International Golden Panthers

    Capacity: 23,500

    Been Around Since: 1995

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 92.05 percent

    Bottom Line: The team has delivered two bowl-eligible seasons in a row. As the numbers attest, the fans show up, but they don't seem to realize this is big-time college football.

    Given the relative success the team has delivered, one would hope for the fans to do more than show up.

109. Dix Stadium, Kent State

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    Where Is It: Kent, OH

    Who Plays Here: Kent State Golden Flashes

    Capacity: 29,287

    Been Around Since: 1969

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 46.35 percent

    Bottom Line: Noticing a lot of MAC stadiums on the tail end of this list?

    That's because most of them are pretty much the same, much like many of the Rust Belt cities in which they are located.

    That is not to diminish the Rust Belt, but even those living in the Rust Belt would be quick to admit it's seen better days. Much like the stadiums.

108. Aggie Memorial Stadium, New Mexico State

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    Where Is It: Las Cruces, NM

    Who Plays Here: New Mexico State Aggies

    Capacity: 30,343

    Been Around Since: 1978

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 49.89 percent

    Bottom Line: According to StadiumJourney.com, "the annual prep matchup between the Las Cruces High and Mayfield football teams" generate more excitement than the typical New Mexico State home football game.

    Only 11 winning seasons since WWII will do that to a stadium.

107. Spartan Stadium, San Jose

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    Where Is It: San Jose, CA

    Who Plays Here: San Jose State Spartans

    Capacity: 30,456

    Been Around Since: 1933

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 59.81 percent

    Bottom Line: Unfortunately, San Jose State, which nurtured such football royalty as Bill Walsh, Jack Elway and Pop Warner, hasn't been relevant for a long time, and that is reflected in the stadium.

    It's old, but not so old as the LA Coliseum. However, unlike the Coliseum, Spartan Stadium is usually empty.

106. Malone Stadium, ULM

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    Where Is It: Monroe, LA

    Who Plays Here: Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks

    Capacity: 30,427

    Been Around Since: 1978

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 50.98 percent

    Bottom Line: First of all, the facade looks like a top-of-the-line '50s style diner.

    Secondly, the attendance isn't cutting it.

    There have been a number of recent upgrades, including a new high definition video display board. Nevertheless, how entertaining is it with nobody there to appreciate it?

105. Bobcat Stadium, Texas State

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    Where Is It: San Marcos, TX

    Who Plays Here: Texas State Bobcats

    Capacity: 30,000

    Been Around Since: 1981

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: N/A, as Texas State doubled its capacity in preparation for joining FBS

    Bottom Line: I admit I'm a sucker for a facade that resembles the Alamo.

    That said, Texas State formerly did a good job of almost filling out its stadium when it had a 16,000-seat capacity. Its average attendance figure between 2006-2010 was 12,162. Don't expect the same this season, but it's worth giving the Bobcats the benefit of the doubt for a few years.

104. University Stadium, New Mexico

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    Where Is It: Albuquerque, NM

    Who Plays Here: New Mexico Lobos

    Capacity: 39,224

    Been Around Since: 1960

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 51.06 percent

    Bottom Line: Multiple losing seasons haven't helped, but New Mexico bears the stigma of a baskeball-first school. Due to this, building up a fanbase has been difficult.

    In effect, the Lobos play to a lot of empty houses.

103. Rice Stadium, Rice

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    Where Is It: Houston, TX

    Who Plays Here: Rice Owls

    Capacity: 47,000

    Been Around Since: 1950

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 36.87 percent

    Bottom Line: Rice Stadium can "expand" to hold 70,000—its former capacity—but as it evident, it has trouble packing 47,000 in.

    Its 2011 average attendance—17,329—isn't bad for a mid-sized school, but the stadium would be more impressive if the administration could cut capacity back another 17,000.

102. Johnny 'Red' Floyd Stadium, Middle Tennessee State

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    Where Is It: Murfreesboro, TN

    Who Plays Here: Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders

    Capacity: 31,000

    Been Around Since: 1998

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 59.38 percent

    Bottom Line: An open end zone on the south hurts in terms of capturing noise.

    On top of that, the attendance is dependent entirely on how the team is doing. That might seem like an obvious statement, but that white and orange team from the Volunteer State manages to fill its 100,000-plus stadium regardless of record.

101. Ladd Peebles Stadium, South Alabama

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    Where Is It: Mobile, AL

    Who Plays Here: South Alabama Jaguars

    Capacity: 40,646

    Been Around Since: 1948

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: N/A

    Bottom Line: Last season, South Alabama had the sixth-highest attendance in FCS, though that was still half of the Ladd Peebles' capacity. 

    Also, the stadium itself looks like an erector set, which could probably be said for at least half of the non-AQ stadiums.

100. Mackay Stadium, Nevada

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    Where Is It: Reno, NV

    Who Plays Here: Nevada Wolf Pack

    Capacity: 29,993

    Been Around Since: 1966

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 52.60 percent

    Bottom Line: Unfortunately, a beautiful view of the Sierra Mountains is the best thing about this stadium.

    That, and reputedly, the food.

99. Waldo Stadium, Western Michigan

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    Where Is It: Kalamazoo, MI

    Who Plays Here: Western Michigan Broncos

    Capacity: 30,200

    Been Around Since: 1937

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 66.18 percent

    Bottom Line: Waldo has a unique set up in that the south, north, east and west grandstands are all separate structures.

    It's a cozy stadium and one of the better MAC venues.

98. Sam Boyd Stadium, UNLV

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    Where Is It: Las Vegas, NV

    Who Plays Here: UNLV Rebels

    Capacity: 36,800

    Been Around Since: 1971

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 57.61 percent

    Bottom Line: UNLV manages to get a lot of AQ to sign home-and-home contracts with them.

    Last year, Wisconsin and Washington State traveled to the city that never sleeps. In 2010, West Virginia visited.

    I suspect it has more to do with the city than the stadium.

    It also doesn't help that the Rebels have won four games in the last two years.

97. Apogee Stadium, North Texas

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    Where Is It: Denton, TX

    Who Plays Here: North Texas Mean Green

    Capacity: 30,850

    Been Around Since: 2011

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 61.15 percent

    Bottom Line: Apogee Stadium replaced Fouts Field, the home of the Mean Green since the Eisenhower Administration.

    It is certainly an upgrade, but unless the Mean Green upgrades their play on the field, the surge in attendance will drop back down to pre-upgrade lows.

96. Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium, Tulsa

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    Where Is It: Tulsa, OK

    Who Plays Here: Tulsa Golden Hurricane

    Capacity: 30,000

    Been Around Since: 1930

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 75.14 percent

    Bottom Line: The smallest stadium in Conference USA is also one of the most homely. "Homely" could mean good or bad, and in this case, it means both.

    Homely in that it lacks a rowdy game-day atmosphere, but also homely in that it is nice place for a family to enjoy a safe game-day atmosphere.

95. FAU Football Stadium, Florida Atlantic

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    Where Is It: Boca Raton, FL

    Who Plays Here: Florida Atlantic Owls

    Capacity: 30,000

    Been Around Since: 2011

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 58.55 percent

    Bottom Line: The new stadium is certainly an upgrade over the extensive traveling the Owls formerly had to do.

    The view of the ocean also makes FAU Stadium pleasurable.

    Now, the Owls have to give fans a reason to show up.

94. Doyt Perry Stadium, Bowling Green

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    Where Is It: Bowling Green, OH

    Who Plays Here: Bowling Green Falcons

    Capacity: 24,000

    Been Around Since: 1966

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 62.53 percent

    Bottom Line: Doyt Perry is the MAC's smallest stadium and the third-smallest FBS stadium in the country.

    As such, one would think the university could do a better job of filling the place up.

    Nevertheless, the marching band has a reputation for being one of the best in the country, which helps a great deal with the stadium's energy.

93. Veterans Memorial Stadium, Troy

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    Where Is It: Troy, AL

    Who Plays Here: Troy Trojans

    Capacity: 30,000

    Been Around Since: 1950

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 59.66 percent

    Bottom Line: For the 23rd most populous state in the country, Alabama has a lot of FBS institutions.

    Perhaps that accounts for Troy's poor showing on game day, despite consistently fielding the strongest team in the Sun Belt Conference.

92. Kelly/Shorts Stadium, Central Michigan

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    Where Is It: Mount Pleasant, MI

    Who Plays Here: Central Michigan Chippewas

    Capacity: 30,255

    Been Around Since: 1972

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 50.54 percent

    Bottom Line: As with so many non-AQ, as well as less successful AQ programs, Kelly/Shorts has more visitors depending upon how the team is doing.

    The place was cleaning up while Dan LeFevour was under center.

    On the other hand, the last two years haven't been as kind to CMU.

91. AsU Stadium, Arkansas State

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    Where Is It: Jonesboro, AR

    Who Plays Here: Arkansas State Red Wolves

    Capacity: 33,410

    Been Around Since: 1974

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 69.22 percent

    Bottom Line: ASU Stadium originally held 16,000, but prior to ASU's 1991 move to FBS—then Division I—the stadium upgraded to hold over 30,000.

    All things considered, the No. 2 program in the state still does a decent job of filling the place.

90. Cajun Field, UL-Lafayette

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    Where Is It: Lafayette, LA

    Who Plays Here: Louisiana-Lafayette Rajin' Cajuns

    Capacity: 31,000

    Been Around Since: 1971

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 94.10 percent

    Bottom Line: Filling 94 percent of the stadium does the trick, though grabbing eight regular season wins helps.

    That said, Cajun Field is known to fill up, even in down years, and the university is known for delivering a nice bang for one's buck.

    For these reasons, Cajun Field is the No. 1 field in the Sun Belt Conference.

89. Fred Yager Stadium, Miami (OH)

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    Where Is It: Oxford, OH

    Who Plays Here: Miami (OH) RedHawks

    Capacity: 24,286

    Been Around Since: 1983

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 66.60 percent

    Bottom Line: The best element of this stadium is the "Cradle of Coaches" Plaza that honors such luminaries as Ara Parseghian, Bo Schembechler, John Pont, Weeb Ewbank and Red Blaik.

    Hey, when are they going to add Ron Zook?

88. Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium, Colorado State

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    Where Is It: Fort Collins, CO

    Who Plays Here: Colorado State Rams

    Capacity: 34,400

    Been Around Since: 1967

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 67.28 percent

    Bottom Line: This is the first Mountain West stadium on this list, and it's no coincidence that it is the MWC bottom feeder.

    It's a nice home, and unlike most other non-AQ's, has the benefit of hosting some nationally-recognized quality programs such as TCU and Boise State.

    However, until the Rams win some games, the stadium will be short on fan enthusiasm.

87. Joe Aillet Stadium, Louisiana Tech

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    Where Is It: Ruston, LA

    Who Plays Here: Louisiana Tech Bulldogs

    Capacity: 30,600

    Been Around Since: 1968

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 70.32 percent

    Bottom Line: The 2009 addition of Dawgzilla, a Jumbotron, adds greatly to the stadium's overall appeal.

    Other than that, it's a pretty standard college football stadium, which, incidentally, has never sold out.

86. Romney Stadium, Utah State

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    Where Is It: Logan, UT

    Who Plays Here: Utah State Aggies

    Capacity: 25,513

    Been Around Since: 1968

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 68.47 percent

    Bottom Line: No, the stadium is not named after Mitt, but after the all-time winningest football coach at Utah State, E.L. Romney, though I'd bet Mitt is somehow related to him.

    I can't say anything bad about a stadium that has a statue of Merlin Olsen—Logan, Utah's favorite son—in front of its south entrance.

85. War Memorial Stadium, Wyoming

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    Where Is It: Laramie, WY

    Who Plays Here: Wyoming Cowboys

    Capacity: 29,181

    Been Around Since: 1950

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 75.95 percent

    Bottom Line: At 7,220 feet above sea level, War Memorial Stadium is the highest FBS stadium in America.

    It also does a good job of packing them in, which is no surprise, as it is the only big-time sports attraction in the state.

84. Huskie Stadium, Northern Illinois

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    Where Is It: DeKalb, IL

    Who Plays Here: Northern Illinois Huskies

    Capacity: 30,076

    Been Around Since: 1965

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 49.06 percent

    Bottom Line: Huskie Stadium is nice, but more than anything, it's in need of an upgrade—a new speaker system and a new scoreboard especially.

    Also, 49.06 percent? NIU has won 10-plus games each of the last two seasons. 49.06 percent of capacity is unacceptable.

83. Peden Stadium, Ohio

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    Where Is It: Athens, OH

    Who Plays Here: Ohio Bobcats

    Capacity: 24,000

    Been Around Since: 1929

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 82.88 percent

    Bottom Line: This is one of the older non-AQ stadiums in the country.

    Older stadiums generally have to depend upon ambiance in order to sell the product, and sometimes it works, but in the case of Peden, it is unsuccessful.

    Nonetheless, the crowd is into the Bobcats, and Ohio generally delivers as one of the top teams in the MAC.

82. Joan C. Edwards Stadium, Marshall

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    Where Is It: Huntington, WV

    Who Plays Here: Marshall Thundering Herd

    Capacity: 38,016

    Been Around Since: 1991

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 68.06 percent

    Bottom Line: The stadium is a horseshoe with the open end closed off by the athletic facilities, as is visible in the accompanying picture. In effect, it does a nice job of keeping noise in.

    Also, the Marshall fans are fairly rowdy and do a good job of supporting their team.

81. Rentschler Field, Connecticut

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    Where Is It: East Hartford, CT

    Who Plays Here: UConn Huskies

    Capacity: 40,000

    Been Around Since: 2003

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 91.67 percent

    Bottom Line: The Rentschler Field game-day experience is hurt because the field is not located on campus. The crowds do a decent job of showing up, but due to logistics, there are limitations.

    Moreover, anybody that has ever spent any considerable time in Hartford knows there isn't much to say about the surrounding area.

80. Sun Bowl, UTEP

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    Where Is It: El Paso, Texas

    Who Plays Here: Texas-El Paso Miners

    Capacity: 51,500

    Been Around Since: 1963

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 51.45 percent

    Bottom Line: Most people know the Sun Bowl as the home of the annual bowl game that has been played in some capacity since 1935.

    However, it is also home the UTEP Miners, and, as is evident, Miners' fans do a quality job of filling the place up.

    The picturesque scenery adds to it, as the stadium is less than a mile from the Rio Grande.

79. Glass Bowl, Toledo

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    Where Is It: Toledo, OH

    Who Plays Here: Toledo Rockets

    Capacity: 26,284

    Been Around Since: 1937

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 84.41 percent

    Bottom Line: Toledo has the right idea.

    Instead of expanding its stadium and having trouble filling it, the university has kept it as is.This has made it easier to fill, and a full stadium perpetuates its own excitement.

    The place is old, but that adds to its charm.

    It even has an interesting name, which, incidentally, was so named in 1946, both for the city's glass-producing industry, as well as the elements used to construct the edifice.

    Due to this, the Glass Bowl is the best stadium in the MAC, the lowest-grossing conference in all of FBS football going as far back as 2008.

78. Gerald J. Ford Stadium, SMU

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    Where Is It: University Park, TX

    Who Plays Here: SMU Mustangs

    Capacity: 32,000

    Been Around Since: 2000

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 65.29 percent

    Bottom Line: First of all, this is Gerald J. Ford Stadium. Gerald J. Ford is a billionaire banker that financed the stadium. He and the stadium have nothing to do with former president Gerald R. Ford, a Michigan alum and a superb football player in his time.

    As it is Texas, people show up for the games. For that reason, Texas has high school stadiums that put a number of the aforementioned college stadiums to shame.

    Even though it's not the Longhorns or the Aggies, SMU football represents the Lone Star State well.

77. Liberty Bowl, Memphis

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    Where Is It: Memphis, TN

    Who Plays Here: Memphis Tigers

    Capacity: 61,008

    Been Around Since: 1967

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 32.92 percent

    Bottom Line: On Memphis game day, the Liberty suffers—and by extension, the game-day atmosphere suffers—because the stadium is too big for the crowd.

    Obviously, it is more well known and sufficiently holds crowds for the bowl game that has existed since 1959, with a one-year break in 2007.

    It also is the home stadium for the Memphis Tigers, which, if their fans could fill up the stadium, would make for a much better home than it is.

76. Martin Stadium, Washington State

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    Where Is It: Pullman, WA

    Who Plays Here: Washington State Cougars

    Capacity: 35,117

    Been Around Since: 1972

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 81.99 percent

    Bottom Line: Martin Stadium is the first of the AQ-conference stadiums (outside of the pro stadium tenants).

    It is also the smallest of all AQ-conference stadiums.

    The fans do their best to support a team that hasn't been especially good since 2003, when the Cougars completed three 10-win seasons in a row. They also weren't much of a program before that.

    It also doesn't help that it's in the middle of nowhere.

75. Wallace Wade Stadium, Duke

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    Where Is It: Durham, NC

    Who Plays Here: Duke Blue Devils

    Capacity: 33,941

    Been Around Since: 1929

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 71.87 percent

    Bottom Line: Let's face it. Duke is all about basketball, and football takes a decided backseat to that.

    There is an air of desperation around the stadium. Everybody wants to believe, but years of frustration have taught them well.

    Lastly, the state of North Carolina is not big enough to sustain four BCS football programs. Therefore, it's academics and basketball for Duke and Wallace Wade Stadium has to pay the price for that.

74. Aloha Stadium, Hawaii

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    Where Is It: Honolulu, HI

    Who Plays Here: Hawaii Warriors

    Capacity: 50,000

    Been Around Since: 1975

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 63.57 percent

    Bottom Line: Aloha Stadium is typically as exciting or as dull as the caliber of opponent allows.

    When Boise State or Southern Cal makes the trip, the place is energetic. But the place is dull when it's a home matchup against Utah State or Louisiana Tech.

73. Ryan Field, Northwestern

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    Where Is It: Evanston, IL

    Who Plays Here: Northwestern Wildcats

    Capacity: 47,130

    Been Around Since: 1926

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 70.96 percent

    Bottom Line: Firstly, Ryan Field only fills up when one of the devoted traveling fanbases of the Big Ten—Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa, Wisconsin, Penn State and Nebraska—comes to town.

    Secondly, if you are one of those traveling fanbases, the visitors section is so embarrassing the university should be ashamed to charge people $50 to sit in it.

    If this sounds like sour grapes, then so be it, but I attended a game at Northwestern and the seats were so bad—the view of the field so impossible to see—that I left my seat, went the area behind the visiting team's field goal and watched the game on the Jumbotron.

    In other words, I paid $50 to watch the game on a TV at the field. And I wasn't the only one.

    Maybe it's a different experience when you're sitting somewhere other than the visitors section, but I've sat in other visitors sections before and never had a problem with the view.

72. Bulldog Stadium, Fresno State

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    Where Is It: Fresno, CA

    Who Plays Here: Fresno State Bulldogs

    Capacity: 41,031

    Been Around Since: 1980

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 71.40 percent

    Bottom Line: Aesthetically, Bulldog Stadium is one of the more pleasant stadiums in the country. The weather is perfect and the fans are into it whenever the Bulldogs are keeping it close or winning.

71. Kibbie Dome, Idaho

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    Where Is It: Moscow, ID

    Who Plays Here: Idaho Vandals

    Capacity: 16,000

    Been Around Since: 1975

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 74.87 percent

    Bottom Line: Yes, it looks more like a basketball court than a football stadium. Yes, it is the smallest stadium in FBS.

    Yes, the facade of the building, as seen on CollegeGridirons.com looks more like a 1970's-style school than any sort of athletic facility.

    But in all these respects it is unique. It has charm.

    In effect, it is the top football stadium in the Western Athletic Conference (aka, the WAC).

70. Memorial Stadium, Kansas

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    Where Is It: Lawrence, KS

    Who Plays Here: Kansas Jayhawks

    Capacity: 50,071

    Been Around Since: 1921

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 84.15 percent

    Bottom Line: As previously mentioned, football fields that are surrounded by tracks are an absolute buzz-kill.

    This doesn't help a fanbase that, once again, is basketball-first and that outside of fits and spurts, have had very little to cheer about over the duration of its existence.

    The stadium itself is nice enough, but that could be said of many stadiums.

69. M.M. Roberts Stadium, Southern Miss

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    Where Is It: Hattiesburg, MS

    Who Plays Here: Southern Miss Golden Eagles

    Capacity: 33,000

    Been Around Since: 1976

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 78.89 percent

    Bottom Line: M.M. Roberts is home to one of the more exciting and pageantry-filled experiences of all of the non-AQ teams, which, in some fairness, don't have the money to put on a show like Bama, for example.

    The "Nasty Bunch" cheer, the Pride of the Mississippi Band and the Dixie Darlings get the crowd set for a great show.

68. Vanderbilt Stadium, Vanderbilt

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    Where Is It: Nashville, TN

    Who Plays Here: Vanderbilt Commodores

    Capacity: 39,790

    Been Around Since: 1922

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 82.65 percent

    Bottom Line: Vanderbilt Stadium is a nice place, but despite a strong showing in 2011, the Commodores have a history of losing, and the energy of the place is predicated on the traveling fanbases of whomever the Commodores are playing that week.

67. Bright House Networks Stadium, Central Florida

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    Where Is It: Orlando, FL

    Who Plays Here: Central Florida Knights

    Capacity: 45,301

    Been Around Since: 2007

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 75.64 percent

    Bottom Line: Central Florida has a student body bigger than many AQ schools, and the Big East, if it can stay afloat, should be well advised, as every Florida school has every opportunity to be the next Miami (FL).

    The stadium is known for bouncing to "Zombie Nation," and if recent sanctions (via The Orlando Sentinel) don't set the school back, UCF and Bright House Networks Stadium have a bright future.

66. Memorial Stadium, Indiana

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    Where Is It: Bloomington, IN

    Who Plays Here: Indiana Hoosiers

    Capacity: 52,929

    Been Around Since: 1960

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 78.18 percent

    Bottom Line: The stadium is pleasant, and there are few places more amenable and enjoyable than Bloomington.

    However, Memorial Stadium is one of those cases where generations of football futility and the dedication of the school and fanbase to another sport—basketball—renders the stadium itself less than it could be.

65. Byrd Stadium, Maryland

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    Where Is It: College Park, MD

    Who Plays Here: Maryland Terrapins

    Capacity: 54,000

    Been Around Since: 1950

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 82.24 percent

    Bottom Line: The stadium itself and the whole of the fandom isn't overly impressive. However, the student section brings their game as much as any student section in the country, and that, as much as anything makes Byrd Stadium.

64. Falcon Stadium, Air Force

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    Where Is It: Colorado Springs, CO

    Who Plays Here: Air Force Falcons

    Capacity: 46,692

    Been Around Since: 1962

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 75.61 percent

    Bottom Line: The backdrop of the Rocky Mountains is spectacular, and Air Force, which consistently fields a competitive team, makes the game exciting.

    Being a military academy, the environment is not typical fare of a college football game, but the dedication of the cadets and of the university to the cadets, is impressive.

63. High Point Solution Stadium, Rutgers

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    Where Is It: Piscataway, NJ

    Who Plays Here: Rutgers Scarlet Knights

    Capacity: 52,454

    Been Around Since: 1993

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 83.43 percent

    Bottom Line: "RU! Rah Rah!"

    My home team, so to speak, and the RU fans had been loyally waiting for a decent team for years.

    Finally, Greg Schiano brought them one and they have responded in kind.

    It remains to be if Rutgers football will continue its presence success under a new head coach, but High Point Stadium will find itself awash in red any which way.

62. Carrier Dome, Syracuse

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    Where Is It: Syracuse, NY

    Who Plays Here: Syracuse Orange

    Capacity: 49,250

    Been Around Since: 1980

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 82.22 percent

    Bottom Line: The big problem with the Carrier Dome is that it looks like a big basketball stadium. Which it is.

    It gets loud and it's a tough place for opposing teams to get an offensive rhythm going.

    However, the fans can be inconsistent, and when they are MIA or not into the game, the Carrier Dome is sepulchral.

61. Ross-Ade Stadium, Purdue

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    Where Is It: West Lafayette, IN

    Who Plays Here: Purdue Boilermakers

    Capacity: 62,500

    Been Around Since: 1924

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 72.36 percent

    Bottom Line: I give the Purdue fans credit. They show up, they support their team and they have some great traditions including the Boilermaker special and the giant drum.

    They have a decent stadium and palpable spirit, yet, the administration seems to do everything in its power to squash that spirit whether its closing its spring practice (via Purdue blog Hammerandrails.com) to raising prices when there is already trouble selling the place out.

    None of this takes away from a decent, albeit somber, stadium.

60. Scott Stadium, Virginia

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    Where Is It: Charlottesville, VA

    Who Plays Here: Virginia Cavaliers

    Capacity: 61,500

    Been Around Since: 1931

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 77.95 percent

    Bottom Line: Scott Stadium is something of a combination of the young and the old.

    This can be good, as with the environment. It can also be awkward, as with the fans who are not sure whether they want to be raucous, "modern" fans or old-school Southern-style, proper fans.

    It also doesn't help that the program has a history of inconsistency, though last year, the Cavs did win eight. One would have hoped the fans would have shown up for that.

59. Jack Trice Stadium, Iowa State

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    Where Is It: Ames, IA

    Who Plays Here: Iowa State Cyclones

    Capacity: 55,000

    Been Around Since: 1975

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 97.54 percent

    Bottom Line: Jack Trice has historically filled up twice every two years—when Iowa comes to town and when Nebraska came to town.

    Nebraska is no longer in the mix, so the 'Clones have adjusted to fill the place up for Iowa, Texas and Oklahoma. Last year, Missouri was also in that group, but they have also switched conferences.

    The good news is that when Iowa is in town or when ISU is upsetting Oklahoma State, as was the case last year or Nebraska, as was the case in 2009, the place is as alive as any stadium in the country.

    This is especially true since head coach Paul Rhodes has pulled ISU back from the mess left by former coach—and current Auburn coach—Gene Chizik.

58. Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, Louisville

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    Where Is It: Louisville, KY

    Who Plays Here: Louisville Cardinals

    Capacity: 55,000

    Been Around Since: 1998

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 88.25 percent

    Bottom Line: The recent and quick ascendency of the University of Louisville football program owes a good deal to its stadium.

    It was the stadium and the money it generated that made it possible for the Cardinals to join the Big East in 2005. That move made it possible for UL to get a bid to the Orange Bowl and ultimately win it.

    Despite this, the stadium itself, though usually full, is also quieter than one would expect.

    Nonetheless, there is a lot of potential here. If the Cardinals can deliver on the promise of bid to a BCS game, the stadium could be the best in the conference, if not one of the best in the country.

57. Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati

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    Where Is It: Cincinnati, OH

    Who Plays Here: Cincinnati Bearcats

    Capacity: 35,097

    Been Around Since: 1916

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 92.27 percent

    Bottom Line: Nippert Stadium is the fifth-oldest stadium in college football.

    As such, it has gone through a number of renovations since its humble beginnings. However, it hasn't lost its original charm, as is evidenced in its early-century brickwork and wrought-iron gates.

    Overall, the university has done right by the stadium and program in not switching to an NFL stadium or upgrading to the point of degrading the stadium.

    And the fans respond in kind.

    All of this makes it the best field in the Big East.

56. Floyd Casey Stadium, Baylor

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    Where Is It: Waco, TX

    Who Plays Here: Baylor Bears

    Capacity: 50,000

    Been Around Since: 1950

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 82.74 percent

    Bottom Line: Floyd Casey Stadium does a good job in bringing the noise and providing a solid atmosphere for college football.

    Of course, Baylor has long been the doormat of whatever conference it has played in. Nonetheless, last year, with Robert Griffin III under center, Bears' fans only filled their home 82.74 percent of the time? Do they think they will ever have a chance to see a more dynamic player in person, in their own home stadium?

55. Boone Pickens Stadium, Oklahoma State

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    Where Is It: Stillwater, OK

    Who Plays Here: Oklahoma State Cowboys

    Capacity: 60,000

    Been Around Since: 1920

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 95.04 percent

    Bottom Line: Make no mistake, the newly renovated stadium courtesy of the amazingly generous T. Boone Pickens has had no small part in the recent success over the last few years.

    There is no getting around the fact that glitz, glamor and state of the art facilities attract top recruits.

    They also facilitate a loud and exciting home game experience.

54. Alumni Stadium, Boston College

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    Where Is It: Chestnut Hill, MA

    Who Plays Here: Boston College Eagles

    Capacity: 44,500

    Been Around Since: 1967

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 80.25 percent

    Bottom Line: More than anything else, Alumni Stadium suffers from being a college sport in a pro sports town, much like Pittsburgh. On the other hand, unlike Pitt, BC has its own home stadium.

    The crowd could aptly be described as "tame," and as with many stadiums, too dependent upon the team in question to produce a big-time winner.

    Overall, it's a nice stadium, but the only game in any given year that is a guaranteed event is the contest against Notre Dame.

53. Stanford Stadium, Stanford

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    Where Is It: Stanford, CA

    Who Plays Here: Stanford Cardinal

    Capacity: 50,000

    Been Around Since: 2006

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 99.99 percent

    Bottom Line: Stanford Stadium used to have a capacity of 85,000. Following the 2005 season, the stadium was renovated and 35,000 seats—many of which were obstructed and often unfilled—were removed. This was a good plan.

    Since then, rather than playing in front of a half-empty house, the Cardinal have been playing to a sold-out venue.

    Of course, Jim Harbaugh, Andrew Luck and the recent success of Stanford may have played a part in that.

    Stanford Stadium isn't the biggest, loudest or most legendary place in the Golden State, but it may be the most idyllic.

52. Arizona Stadium, Arizona

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    Where Is It: Tucson, AZ

    Who Plays Here: Arizona Wildcats

    Capacity: 57,400

    Been Around Since: 1929

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 85.88 percent

    Bottom Line: Arizona Stadium has undergone a number of upgrades over its history.

    Specifically, there have been seventh with an eighth currently underway that will include an expansion of the north end zone stands, and a new video board that will be the fourth largest in college football.

    Now, it will be up to new head coach Rich Rodriguez to improve the team and bring in the fans.

51. Robertson Stadium, Houston

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    Where Is It: Houston, TX

    Who Plays Here: Houston Cougars

    Capacity: 32,000

    Been Around Since: 1946

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 99.16 percent

    Bottom Line: In many ways, Robertson Stadium could fall into the rented stadium scenario of many other teams.

    It has been host to the AFL's Houston Oilers, among others and even the Cougars didn't officially call it home until 1998.

    Despite a massive renovation project in 1999, the place is still in need of upgrades.

    Nonetheless, it is still the Cougars' home, and it does pack the house and provide a great college football atmosphere.

50. Sun Devil Stadium, Arizona State

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    Where Is It: Tempe, AZ

    Who Plays Here: Arizona State Sun Devils

    Capacity: 71,706

    Been Around Since: 1958

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 80.11 percent

    Bottom Line: The Sun Devils faithful are a wild and loyal crowd, but the big problem with Sun Devil Stadium is that it is too big.

    Certainly, it fills up when it hosts the Fiesta Bowl, but as is evident, it is nowhere near capacity during the football season.

    The team's "meh" performances over the last few years have played a part in that, but a team's play can only take so much blame for a crowd's lackluster showings.

49. TCF Bank Stadium, Minnesota

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    Where Is It: Minneapolis, MN

    Who Plays Here: Minnesota Golden Gophers

    Capacity: 50,805

    Been Around Since: 2009

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 93.92 percent

    Bottom Line: The Gophers made a 25-plus year mistake in knocking down the old Memorial Stadium and opting to play in the Metrodome. It was a mistake that all but killed the football team's fan support.

    However, the university has righted its wrong, and built a superb new on-campus, outdoor venue, where fans are treated to the coldest climate in the FBS.

    If Jerry Kill can upgrade the team, this can be one of the better environments in the Big Ten.

48. Memorial Stadium, California-Berkeley

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    Where Is It: Berkeley, CA

    Who Plays Here: Cal Golden Bears

    Capacity: 62,717

    Been Around Since: 1923

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 83.68 percent

    Bottom Line: The Bears played their 2011 home games at AT&T Park, in order to allow for time to undergo major renovations. The renovation project addressed existing seismic safety issues. That's life on the fault line.

    2012 will see a return to Memorial Stadium, which will include a decreased capacity from the former 72,000.

    In effect, the attendance, which fell off severely in 2011, is likely to jump back up into near-packed houses.

47. Rose Bowl, UCLA

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    Where Is It: Pasadena, CA

    Who Plays Here: UCLA Bruins

    Capacity: 92,542

    Been Around Since: 1922

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 62.15 percent

    Bottom Line: Pageantry, tradition, capacity, excitement—the Rose Bowl has it all.

    The problem is it's almost 25 miles away from campus, and 25 miles in L.A. traffic is no fun.

    Still, the UCLA fans do a good job of making the trip, and making the stadium at least measure up to its once-a-year potential as "The Granddaddy of Them All."

46. BB&T Field at Groves Stadium, Wake Forest

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    Where Is It: Winston-Salem, NC

    Who Plays Here: Wake Forest Demon Deacons

    Capacity: 31,500

    Been Around Since: 1968

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 101.48 percent

    Bottom Line: BB&T Field is an example of how much a smaller stadium can do with a little creativity.

    The stadium itself is not going to wow anybody, and the atmosphere would more appropriately be described as laid back rather than raucous.

    Nevertheless, one needs no more proof than the box office to know that Wake Forest is doing something right. And that was with a six-win season.

45. Bobby Dodd Stadium, Georgia Tech

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    Where Is It: Atlanta, GA

    Who Plays Here: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

    Capacity: 55,000

    Been Around Since: 1930

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 87.69 percent

    Bottom Line: Tech does about as well as a city college can do in a pro sports town.

    As is evident in the accompanying picture, the stadium blends seamlessly into Atlanta.

    The spread-out nature of the stadium invites noise to get out, but the crowd does everything in its power to make up for it.

44. Faurot Field, Missouri

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    Where Is It: Columbia, MO

    Who Plays Here: Missouri Tigers

    Capacity: 71,004

    Been Around Since: 1926

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 90.85 percent

    Bottom Line: Nothing says home to Mizzou fans like a huge, rock "M" in the north end zone.

    The stadium itself has an old-school charm, and the fans have been reinvigorated by a decade-long rise under head coach Gary Pinkel. Time will tell if a new conference will help the Tigers to continue that rise or if it will see them fade.

43. Jones At&T Stadium, Texas Tech

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    Where Is It: Lubbock, TX

    Who Plays Here: Texas Tech Red Raiders

    Capacity: 60,454

    Been Around Since: 1947

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 102.92

    Bottom Line: The Jones gets overshadowed by the two big boys in the Lone Star State, but the stadium doesn't take a back seat to anybody.

    The fans show up win or lose, and, once again, show up beyond capacity. Perhaps, they're allowing them on the field.

42. Memorial Stadium, Illinois

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    Where Is It: Champaign, IL

    Who Plays Here: Illinois Fighting Illini

    Capacity: 60,670

    Been Around Since: 1923

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 81.67 percent

    Bottom Line: Memorial Stadium is much like the Illinois football program—a dormant, sleeping giant.

    The stadium itself looks its age, as the brickwork in the accompanying picture suggests. The fans and the energy of the place could be woken up, but it has been missing for a long time.

    Nevertheless, the potential, and the ghosts, are still in the old stadium's skeleton.

41. Commonwealth Stadium, Kentucky

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    Where Is It: Lexington, KY

    Who Plays Here: Kentucky Wildcats

    Capacity: 60,081

    Been Around Since: 1973

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 88.76

    Bottom Line: Commonwealth Stadium can best be called congenial and underrated. After all, when it shares, or rather defers, the limelight to fellow SEC programs like LSU or Georgia, it will obviously get overlooked.

    This is complicated by years of being one of the conference's basement dwellers.

    Despite this, Kentucky fans do an admirable job of packing the place, even though, more often than not, they know their team will lose.

40. Carter-Finley Stadium, North Carolina State

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    Where Is It: Raleigh, NC

    Who Plays Here: North Carolina State Wolfpack

    Capacity: 60,000

    Been Around Since: 1966

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 97.75 percent

    Bottom Line: The most impressive element of Carter-Finley Stadium is that it sells out despite the mediocre performance of the Wolfpack.

    It is fine and well to sell out when the team is 12-0. On the other hand, when the team has a history of so-so play, yet the stadium sells out its season tickets nine years in a row, the stadium and its fans must be doing something right.

39. Amon G. Carter Stadium, TCU

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    Where Is It: Fort Worth, TX

    Who Plays Here: TCU Horned Frogs

    Capacity: 50,000

    Been Around Since: 1930

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 105.27

    Bottom Line: Through 2011, the Horned Frogs' home held 44,358. Now, as the TCU prepares to join the Big 12 next season, the stadium is being expanded to hold 50,000.

    As it has held over capacity for a number of years, filing up the extra seats shouldn't be a problem.

    By the way, how does a stadium sell more than 100 percent capacity? That's like volume 11 in Spinal Tap.

36. Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium, Kansas State

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    Where Is It: Manhattan, KS

    Who Plays Here: Kansas State Wildcats

    Capacity: 50,000

    Been Around Since: 1968

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 98.06 percent

    Bottom Line: If anybody has ever deserved to have a stadium named in his honor, it is Bill Snyder.

    The current coach of the Kansas State Wildcats made KSU football relevant, and is the sole reason for the packed houses. Not too long ago, the former KSU Stadium could barely fill 10,000 seats.

    Now, it is the epicenter of football in Kansas, and includes such traditions as fans and players alike erupting during "Wabash Cannonball" and "Crazy Train."

38. Kenan Memorial Stadium, North Carolina

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    Where Is It: Chapel Hill, NC

    Who Plays Here: North Carolina Tar Heels

    Capacity: 62,980

    Been Around Since: 1927

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 88.89

    Bottom Line: Word is that the North Carolina administration does a quality job of selling their product despite inconsistent results. That is evident in the turnout.

    The word further is that it comes at the cost of comfort, as seating can be painful.

    Either way, as with almost every other North Carolina home venue, the stadium outshines the product on the field.

37. Rice Eccles Stadium, Utah

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    Where Is It: Salt Lake City, UT

    Who Plays Here: Utah Utes

    Capacity: 45,017

    Been Around Since: 1998

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 100.29

    Bottom Line: Historically, BYU are the kings of the Beehive State, but don't tell that to Utah fans.

    In fact, they wouldn't know it, as they flock to see their Utes to the tune of a current streak of 12 sellouts in a row.

    Expect that to continue as the Utes enter their second year in the Pac-12.

35. Reser Stadium, Oregon State

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    Where Is It: Corvallis, OR

    Who Plays Here: Oregon State Beavers

    Capacity: 45,674

    Been Around Since: 1963

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 92.88

    Bottom Line: Oregon State tends to get overshadowed by its intrastate rivals in the gaudy uniforms, but Beavers' fans do a fine job of packing the place regularly.

34. Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Navy

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    Where Is It: Annapolis, MD

    Who Plays Here: Navy Midshipmen

    Capacity: 34,000

    Been Around Since: 1959

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 101.80

    Bottom Line: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium is known as a "memorial that happens to be a stadium," and that's exactly what you'll get.

    In terms of history and tradition, there are very few that can beat it.

33. Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, ECU

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    Where Is It: Greenville, NC

    Who Plays Here: East Carolina Pirates

    Capacity: 50,000

    Been Around Since: 1963

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 100.02

    Bottom Line: ECU is arguably bigger than its co-Carolina BCS programs.

    It regularly sells out and puts on just as much of a show as most of the bigger venues.

    Without a doubt, the Pirates are the biggest thing in the state of East Carolina.

32. Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium, West Virginia

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    Where Is It: Morgantown, WV

    Who Plays Here: West Virginia Mountaineers

    Capacity: 60,000

    Been Around Since: 1980

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 94.22

    Bottom Line: As the old poet once said, "I spent a year in Morgantown one day."

    And when in Morgantown there is nothing better than to visit Mountaineer Stadium and join the locals in a rousing rendition of "Take Me Home, Country Roads."

    And don't dare wear Pitt's or any opposing team's colors.

31. Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Ole Miss

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    Where Is It: Oxford, MS

    Who Plays Here: Mississippi Rebels

    Capacity: 60,850

    Been Around Since: 1915

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 93.24

    Bottom Line: The great thing about a game at Vaught-Hemingway are the peripheral aspects of it. Specifically, the Grove, which is 10 acres of tailgating heaven.

30. Michie Stadium, Army

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    Where Is It: West Point, NY

    Who Plays Here: Army Black Knights

    Capacity: 38,000

    Been Around Since: 1924

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 87.68

    Bottom Line: As with all the service academy stadiums, Michie Stadium stands as more than just a place to play ball.

    It is tradition incarnate, and, as the accompanying picture testifies, it is surrounded by the best upstate New York has to offer.

29. Davis Wade Stadium, Mississippi State

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    Where Is It: Starkville, MS

    Who Plays Here: Mississippi State Bulldogs

    Capacity: 55,082

    Been Around Since: 1914

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 101.57

    Bottom Line: Davis Wade is located in a pastoral setting, and as the SEC doesn't allow noisemakers, the Bulldogs fans have gotten special permission to use cowbells, though only at certain times.

    Moreover, MSU fans are some of the nicest and most hospitable in the country.

28. Spartan Stadium, Michigan State

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    Where Is It: East Lansing, MI

    Who Plays Here: Michigan State Spartans

    Capacity: 75,005

    Been Around Since: 1923

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 98.76

    Bottom Line: Spartan Stadium is, as much as any stadium in the country, about the student section. They come out en masse for their team, and they come out loud.

    And they taunt the opposing team until the opposing team is on its knees.

27. Lane Stadium, Virginia Tech

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    Where Is It: Blacksburg, VA

    Who Plays Here: Virginia Tech Hokies

    Capacity: 66,233

    Been Around Since: 1965

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 100.00

    Bottom Line: Lane Stadium is possibly the second-loudest stadium in the country with a capacity under 70,000—I'll get to the loudest shortly.

    The stadium is always standing room only, so to speak, and the final ticket buyers find themselves sitting in iron bleachers. Uncomfortable, but a constant reminder of why you're here.

26. Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, Arkansas

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    Where Is It: Fayetteville, AR

    Who Plays Here: Arkansas Razorbacks

    Capacity: 72,000

    Been Around Since: 1938

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 93.04

    Bottom Line: Given who I've talked to and what I've read, I suspect observing a game at Razorback Stadium as a Hogs fan, and observing it as the fan of the opposing team or even an objective bystander are two separate events.

    This could be said for any game, but it would appear particularly in Fayetteville.

    Nevertheless, one thing is consistent: The only thing going on in Fayetteville on game day is the game.

25. Kinnick Stadium, Iowa

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    Where Is It: Iowa City, IA

    Who Plays Here: Iowa Hawkeyes

    Capacity: 70,586

    Been Around Since: 1929

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 100.00

    Bottom Line: Beginning with "Back in Black," to "Enter Sandman," to The Swarm to "In Heaven There is No Beer."

    That said, the atmosphere was better before the student section was moved. It was formerly behind the visitors bench.

24. LaVell Edwards Stadium, Brigham Young

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    Where Is It: Provo, UT

    Who Plays Here: BYU Cougars

    Capacity: 63,725

    Been Around Since: 1964

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 94.10

    Bottom Line: If you're looking for drinks and a "party" and the same game-day experience you'll get at many other campuses, you are out of luck.

    On the other hand, you can't beat the view, and the Cougars fans are as enthusiastic as any in the country.

23. Folsom Field, Colorado

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    Where Is It: Boulder, CO

    Who Plays Here: Colorado Buffaloes

    Capacity: 53,613

    Been Around Since: 1924

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 93.92

    Bottom Line: I take back what I wrote about BYU's view. The view at Folsom Field can beat it—just barely.

    Of course, hard times have lately fallen on the Buffaloes, but that hasn't detracted its fans. Colorado has remained in the top 40 in terms of attendance in the country.

22. Kyle Field, Texas A&M

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    Where Is It: College Station, TX

    Who Plays Here: Texas A&M Aggies

    Capacity: 83,002

    Been Around Since: 1929

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 105.04

    Bottom Line: Talk about crowd support.

    "The Twelfth Man" earns its name and then some.

    That said, as with TCU, I find it funny that a university known for its math doesn't realize that more than 100 percent capacity is impossible. Unless, of course, 100 capacity is really 95 percent capacity.

21. Bronco Stadium, Boise State

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    Where Is It: Boise, ID

    Who Plays Here: Boise State Broncos

    Capacity: 37,000

    Been Around Since: 1970

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 101.55

    Bottom Line: One could argue which stadium is the best, one could argue which is the loudest and one could argue which is the most comfortable.

    However, there is no argument about which is the most unique.

    There is also no argument about how much of home-field advantage Boise gains because of the turf. Certainly, BSU doesn't play a difficult home stand in terms of opponents, but having to adjust to the turf is a big reason why head coach Chris Petersen has a career record of 37-1 at home.

20. Williams Brice Stadium, South Carolina

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    Where Is It: Columbia, SC

    Who Plays Here: South Carolina Gamecocks

    Capacity: 82,250

    Been Around Since: 1934

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 98.61

    Bottom Line: Williams Brice Stadium is something of a surprise for those that aren't immersed in SEC culture or don't live in the area.

    Certainly, any college football fan knows of The Swamp or Death Valley, but the home of the Gamecocks doesn't take a backseat to any of them.

    Furthermore, though Gamecocks fans are thrilled to have a winning team, but unlike so many other teams, they have and will continue to show up win or lose.

19. Husky Stadium, Washington

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    Where Is It: Seattle, WA

    Who Plays Here: Washington Huskies

    Capacity: 72,500

    Been Around Since: 1920

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 86.25

    Bottom Line: Didn't I say you couldn't beat the view in Provo or Boulder? It appears they managed it in Seattle.

    It's almost too much, as a viewer wants to look at the lake instead of the game.

18. Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium, Florida State

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    Where Is It: Tallahassee, FL

    Who Plays Here: Florida State Seminoles

    Capacity: 82,300

    Been Around Since: 1950

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 94.58

    Bottom Line: From the Walk to the War Chant to Burt Reynolds' mustache, there aren't many stadiums that can top the Doak.

    The FSU program has fallen on hard times lately, but many are picking Florida State to be this year's sleeper. You can be sure the Doak is ready to play a part.

17. Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, USC

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    Where Is It: Los Angeles, CA

    Who Plays Here: Southern California Trojans

    Capacity: 93,607

    Been Around Since: 1923

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 79.92

    Bottom Line: There are few venues in the world of sports, let along college sports, that have the history and prestige of the Coliseum.

    Nonetheless, I was surprised to see USC draw only 79.92 percent of capacity last season. The Trojans were exempt from a bowl, but I guarantee Ohio State, which is bowl-exempt, will fill to capacity this year. I guarantee Tennessee or LSU or any number of other programs, if on sanctions, would fill to capacity.

    Furthermore, Southern Cal seems complacent, unlike so many other venues that are always looking for something new to draw people in.

    That said, this is not an excuse to harp on USC and the Coliseum. If it is No. 17, it must be doing something right.

16. Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn

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    Where Is It: Auburn, AL

    Who Plays Here: Auburn Tigers

    Capacity: 87,451

    Been Around Since: 1939

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 98.10

    Bottom Line: Auburn, and by extension, Jordan-Hare, might have the best and most recognizable traditions in college football including the Tiger Walk, War Eagle and Toomer's Corner.

15. Michigan Stadium, Michigan

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    Where Is It: Ann Arbor, MI

    Who Plays Here: Michigan Wolverines

    Capacity: 109,901

    Been Around Since: 1927

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 102.07

    Bottom Line: One word comes to mind when thinking of the "The Big House," and that word is awesome.

    Seeing 109,901 screaming fans—UM always sells out—is no less than awesome.

    Michigan Stadium, due to its wide-open architecture, has a well-deserved reputation for letting noise out. There were renovations completed in 2010 that, among other things, included a new large press box that reputedly keeps in 30 percent more noise.

    I haven't been to The Big House since before the renovation, but if it is indeed louder, then Michigan Stadium might deserve to move up.

14. Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, Oklahoma

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    Where Is It: Norman, OK

    Who Plays Here: Oklahoma Sooners

    Capacity: 82,112

    Been Around Since: 1923

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 103.71

    Bottom Line: Football is king in Oklahoma and Norman is king in Oklahoma.

    As for beating the Sooners at home, forget it. Head coach Bob Stoops is 77-3 in Norman.

13. Memorial Stadium, Clemson

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    Where Is It: Clemson, SC

    Who Plays Here: Clemson Tigers

    Capacity: 81,500

    Been Around Since: 1942

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 95.99

    Bottom Line: "Death Valley" is such a premium sight, that the usual dynamic went backwards—the NFL's Carolina Panthers played there before moving into Bank of America Stadium.

    The reason it is called "Death Valley," by the way is for several reasons. Firstly, it sits in a valley. Secondly, it once overlooked the university cemetery, and finally, opponents have claimed to be "killed" there.

    It first took on the moniker of "Death Valley" in the 1950s.

12. Memorial Stadium, Nebraska

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    Where Is It: Lincoln, NE

    Who Plays Here: Nebraska Cornhuskers

    Capacity: 81,076

    Been Around Since: 1923

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 105.15

    Bottom Line: Memorial Stadium in Lincoln is the home to the longest sell-out streak in the country. The record stands at 318 games, as the college football world winds into the 2012 season. That sell-out streak dates back to 1962.

    While a "sea of red" seems to have biblical allusions, in Nebraska it means a typical autumn day.

11. Sanford Stadium, Georgia

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    Where Is It: Athens, GA

    Who Plays Here: Georgia Bulldogs

    Capacity: 92,746

    Been Around Since: 1929

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 99.86

    Bottom Line: Speaking of seas of red...

    I suppose Nebraska has that one patented, but "between the hedges" is pure Georgia. Beside, the Bulldogs have the best mascot in all of college football.

10. Camp Randall, Wisconsin Badgers

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    Where Is It: Madison, WI

    Who Plays Here: Wisconsin Badgers

    Capacity: 80,321

    Been Around Since: 1917

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 99.37

    Bottom Line: The Wisconsin student section is the best, or the second-best, in college football. Either way, they're the best above the Mason-Dixon line.

    Imagine thousands of students jumping in the bleachers to an otherwise forgettable '90s rap song. I'm a fan of one of the Badgers' rivalry teams and I get goosebumps.

    And when the game ends, be sure to hang around for the Fifth Quarter.

9. Autzen Stadium, Oregon

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    Where Is It: Eugene, OR

    Who Plays Here: Oregon Ducks

    Capacity: 54,000

    Been Around Since: 1967

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 109.90

    Bottom Line: The House that Phil Knight built. Well, he had a hand in it.

    Either way, Oregon is probably the loudest stadium per person in the country, and officially, it has had the second-highest decibel level ever recorded.

8. Bryant-Denny Stadium, Alabama

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    Where Is It: Tuscaloosa, AL

    Who Plays Here: Alabama Crimson Tide

    Capacity: 101,821

    Been Around Since: 1929

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 100.00

    Bottom Line: We're now in hallowed territory.

    Upon surveying a number of more knowledgeable-than-me SEC fans, more than one listed Bryant-Denny as the No. 1 stadium in the SEC. In fact, one Auburn fan listed Bryant-Denny as the No. 1 stadium in the SEC. Is that tantamount to treason?

    Either way, at this point, one could make an argument for Bama's home being No. 1 on the list, and I would be disinclined to argue.

7. Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, Texas

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    Where Is It: Austin, TX

    Who Plays Here: Texas Longhorns

    Capacity: 100,119

    Been Around Since: 1924

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 100.40

    Bottom Line: In Texas, the motto is if you're going to do something, do it big, and football is no exception.

    Texans take their football serious from high school through the pros, but nowhere is it bigger than game day in Austin.

    Some Longhorn traditions include Bevo, Big Bertha, "The Eyes of Texas", Hook 'em Horns, "Texas Fight," Smokey the Cannon, The World's Largest Texas Flag and Lighting the Tower.

    If in the People's Republic of Austin, be sure to stop by Darrell K. Royal Stadium.

6. Beaver Stadium, Penn State

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    Where Is It: University Park, PA

    Who Plays Here: Penn State Nittany Lions

    Capacity: 107,282

    Been Around Since: 1960

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 95.17

    Bottom Line: Despite all current notoriety, there is no getting around the fact that Penn State fans take their football seriously. After all, what else is there to do in State College?

    We'll see just how seriously they take their football over the next few years, but right now, Beaver Stadium is one of the most impressive in the country.

5. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Florida

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    Where Is It: Gainesville, FL

    Who Plays Here: Florida Gators

    Capacity: 88,548

    Been Around Since: 1930

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 100.58

    Bottom Line: Earlier I mentioned the best student section in the country. If it isn't in Madison, then it is certainly in Gainesville.

    Throw in the stifling heat and humidity and the fans right on top of you, and, as Tennessee running back Travis Stephens said, "There's nothing like Florida."

4. Notre Dame Stadium, Notre Dame

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    Where Is It: South Bend, IN

    Who Plays Here: Notre Dame Fighting Irish

    Capacity: 80,795

    Been Around Since: 1930

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 100.00

    Bottom Line: Take a random sampling of 100 die-hard college football fans from all over the country, and have them make a list of the top 10 stadiums they'd like to see before they die. I guarantee almost every one of them will have Notre Dame Stadium on that list.

    It terms of pageantry, tradition and classicism, there is Notre Dame and then everybody else.

3. Neyland Stadium, Tennessee

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    Where Is It: Knoxville, TN

    Who Plays Here: Tennessee Volunteers

    Capacity: 102,455

    Been Around Since: 1921

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 92.37

    Bottom Line: This is what I thought of when I saw that USC had barely sold 72 percent of its tickets last season.

    Tennessee, which has been less than competitive over the last few years, yet still easily tops the 90 percent mark.

    And Tennessee is far less populated than California.

    Take that, Lane Kiffin.

2. Tiger Stadium, LSU

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    Where Is It: Baton Rouge, LA

    Who Plays Here: LSU Tigers

    Capacity: 92,542

    Been Around Since: 1924

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 100.51

    Bottom Line: Is Tiger Stadium the loudest in the country?

    I couldn't say, but isn't it the only stadium to have ever measured on the Richter Scale? Does anything more than that need to be said?

1. Ohio Stadium, Ohio State

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    Where Is It: Columbus, OH

    Who Plays Here: Ohio State Buckeyes

    Capacity: 102,329

    Been Around Since: 1922

    2011 Percentage Capacity Filled: 102.84

    Bottom Line: From the dotting of the "i," to "Hell's Bells" to the O-H-I-O, this is the heartland of college football.