The Pac-10 is one of the nation's elite conferences, and rightfully so. It is the home to 10 unique stadiums spanning all the way from rainy Seattle, Washington, down to scorching Tucson, Arizona. In this slide show, the stadiums will be ranked in terms of toughest places to play, all the way from No. 10 to No. 1.
Stanford can't really claim they have a tough place to play, although they did post an impressive home record in 2008. The amenities just aren't there for it to be tough, mostly due to poor attendance.
I don't want to take anything away from Stanford, however. Their newly renovated stadium is absolutely beautiful, and is a must see for any Pac-10 football fan.
This place is similar to Stanford. It's a nice stadium to see a game at, but the place just isn't tough to play at. In addition to rarely selling out, Oregon State just doesn't seem to have the rabid fan base seen in Eugene.
This place, however, is famous for its "Orange outs," especially in games against USC.
Don't fool yourself by just looking at the home record, that's due to how good the Trojans have been since 2002. This place doesn't really get loud, and the stadium seems to just be full of displaced Raider fans.
In addition, this may be the worst place in the Pac-10 to watch a game, with it's poor views and horrible amenities.
UCLA's Rose bowl stadium can sometimes be a tough place to play. The fans do get loud, but only when they want to be, and the sheer number of people can be intimidating for any team...that is when they at least sell a substantial amount of tickets. The problem here is that UCLA rarely sells out, and when they do it's against USC and the stadium is half Trojans (pictured above).
Get some fans in those seats and this place will move up.
Husky Stadium is impressive, in that it still holds good crowds even in these times of abysmal Washington football, but that just speaks testament to how good the fans are. This place will get loud for the Huskies, mostly due to the metal rafters overhead, but if the team can get any better, this place will move up right next to Autzen. The horrible home record is what holds it back.
The stadium is absolutely in a gorgeous setting, and is a must see for anyone.
Ranking in fifth place is memorial stadium, home of the California Golden Bears. Memorial stadium is never a destination any team really wants to play at. It features a rabid, vocal fanbase that fills the seats, and even the trees, and a Cal team that is generally good at home. A lot of Pac-10 championships run through Berkeley, and it's not a place anyone likes to go to.
The sheer heat alone is enough to make Sun Devil Stadium the fourth pick in the countdown. In August, September, and October the temperature soars well above the century mark and makes it a place no one wants to be at.
The stadium, when full, holds a rabid, hungry fanbase. Sun Devil Stadium will get loud, and I mean loud as in Autzen loud. The stadium holds around 74,000 people, and every seat holds a good view of the playing field, which makes it a favorite of national networks.
In Tucson, Arizona you will find Arizona Stadium, home of the Wildcats.
This stadium has been popularized by its famous field rushes, in which the field is turned into a sea of red almost instantaneously after a wildcat victory (see Oregon 2007). Arizona Stadium is also home to the "Zona Zoo," the largest student section in the Pac-10, and houses very rabid, very loyal fans. Arizona stadium is like the death valley of the Pac-10; it's where great teams go to lose.
Coming in second, with a seating capacity of only 35,000, is Martin Stadium, home to the WSU Cougars.
Martin Stadium has that feel that is just not exciting. It's hard for a team to really take a game in Pullman, a middle of nowhere town, seriously. Unfortunately for the opposition, the Cougars don't see it that way. The climate and relative boring feel will always make Martin Stadium a tough place to play at, and in better years it is a place where WSU can go undefeated at home.
Autzen Stadium. The graveyard of the Pac-10.
They say the noise at Autzen is so loud, that you have to scream as loud as you can just to talk to the person next to you, and that noise is as advertised.
In the 2007 game against the USC Trojans, an FSN reporter picked up a reading of around 130 decibels on the field, and believe me, it's like that all the time. The fans are relentless—loud if they're winning, and loud and rowdy as hell if they aren't. The stadium has a big metal rafter over the press boxes and suites that holds the noise in, and the layout of Autzen stadium does the rest to project all of the noise onto the field.
Former Michigan Wolverines coach Lloyd Carr once commented that "Autzen is the loudest stadium I've ever been in." That's why it takes the No. 1 spot in the Pac-10.