College Football: Teams' Second Homes

Charles Bennett@chasbennettonbrSenior Analyst IAugust 30, 2012

College Football: Teams' Second Homes

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    Nowadays, most big-time college football programs play in cavernous on-campus venues seating sixty thousand or more.  But many of them have, or had, a secondary venue where they have, or had, perennial success.

    Here's a look at the alternate venues, bowl sites, neutral sites and rivalry sites of a dozen college football programs.

Army & Navy: Philadelphia

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    The first one on this list is one of a few rivalry games to be played primarily at a neutral site. 

    83 of the 112 games in the service academies’ series have been played in the city where the Declaration of the Independence and the U.S. Constitution were signed, in four different stadiums: Franklin Field, John F. Kennedy Stadium, Veteran’s Stadium and Lincoln Financial Field.  

USC: Rose Bowl

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    This is one of a few "second homes" that works on two levels, as both a rivalry site and a bowl game site.

    USC has played in more Rose Bowls (32) and won more Rose Bowls (24) than any other school has played in or won any other bowl game.

    USC plays UCLA at the Rose Bowl in alternate years, with the years since UCLA moving there (1982) not being particularly good for the Bruins: just one win against the Men of Troy this millennium.

LSU: Mercedes Benz Superdome/Tulane Stadium

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    Again, a home-away-from-home that works both on the bowl level and the rivalry level.

    LSU has won half a dozen Sugar Bowls, and played in the last three BCS National Championships held in the Big Easy. 

    For many years, LSU also had a strong rivalry with Tulane, who has always shared a stadium with the Sugar Bowl.  That rivalry has nearly always gone LSU’s way, with the Tigers holding a 69–22–7, and the Green Wave winless against the Tigers since 1983.  

Grambling & Southern: Also the Superdome

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    The Sugar Bowl hosts one other event besides the Sugar Bowl, Tulane games, and Saints games.  That is the Bayou Classic between the Grambling State Tigers and the Southern University Jaguars.

    The Bayou Classic is the biggest of the black college rivalries and classics, if for no other reason than the Battle of the Bands. 

Oklahoma & Nebraska: Orange Bowl

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    Oklahoma and Nebraska have won a number of national championships, many of which were earned after a victory in the Orange Bowl (most recently with Oklahoma in the 2001 Orange Bowl).  The two have combined for 35 Orange Bowl appearances and a score of victories.

    The 1979 Orange Bowl was played between Oklahoma and Nebraska, marking the only time the rivalry wasn’t played in Big Eight/Big XII territory in the league’s history.

Texas: Cotton Bowl

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    As with the USC and LSU games, something that works on both the bowl game and rivalry levels.

    Texas has played a rivalry game in Dallas for nearly a century, including over three-quarters of a century in the Cotton Bowl.   It has also played in 22 Cotton Bowl Classics, with a 11-10-1 record that amounts six more victories than any other Cotton Bowl participant.

Alabama: Legion Field

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    Legion Field in Birmingham, once the largest stadium in the state, served as both a home field and a neutral field for the Crimson Tide. 

    It hosted the Iron Bowl between Auburn and Alabama for more than forty years, alternating as a home field for each team.  The outcomes were not neutral, with the Tide 32-15 against Auburn in Birmingham.

    The Tide also played home games against other opponents in Birmingham until a few years ago, usually two or three other games every season.  They played the entire 1987 season at Legion when Bryant-Denny was being renovated.  Auburn played home games against SEC opponents in Legion from time to time as well.

    In an interesting quirk, though there have been several incarnations of bowl games in Birmingham, the Tide have yet to play in any of them.

Arkansas: War Memorial Stadium

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    Legion Field isn't the only stadium with a veterans'-related name to serve as secondary stadium for an SEC team.  Mississippi Memorial Stadium in Jackson served that function for Mississippi State, as does War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.

    Seating over 50,000, War Memorial Stadium was larger than Razorback until a few years ago, and has hosted at least two Razorbacks home games every season.

Florida: Gator Bowl

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    The last of four rivalries that works on two levels.  The Gator Bowl and its successor stadium EverBank Field have hosted the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party prior to the neutral site game between Florida and Georgia every year but two since the 1930s.  Florida is 16-4 in the last 20 meetings between the two teams in Jacksonville.

    And not surprisingly, the Gator Bowl has been good to the...Gators.   Florida has won more Gator Bowls (seven) than anyone else, and is tied for most total appearances in the Gator Bowl with nine.