Power Ranking Big Ten Teams with the Biggest Home Field Advantage
The Big Ten is loaded with some of the greatest rivalries and fanbases in the country. Programs like Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan have helped build college football over the past century.
Along the way, the Big Ten schools and fans have built some of the nicest and loudest houses in the country, giving it some of the country’s most hostile home-field crowds.
Even when the crowds are tame, simply playing on the same field as some of college football legends is enough to get the butterflies fluttering during pregame. Home-field advantage is never overrated when you step onto the gridiron in these stadiums.
This slideshow will show how the 10 best venues in the Big Ten stack up against one another.
No. 10: Minnesota, TCF Bank Stadium
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The Minnesota Golden Gophers recently took on a new home, moving their home field to TCF Bank Stadium in 2009. Despite that, the Minnesota program has been struggling lately, and the attendance numbers show it.
But the new stadium is still one of the best in the Big Ten, and the crowds are hostile when they come out in force.
While Minnesota is not a powerhouse in the Big Ten, the Golden Gophers have been winners before, and the home-field advantage provided by their new stadium should help the program moving forward.
This is a team that got it together a bit last fall, finishing in a bowl game. If 2013 is another winning year, this stadium will reach its highest capacity since it opened, and its home-field advantage will be one of the hidden gems in the Big Ten.
No. 9: Indiana, Memorial Stadium
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Indiana has seen an increase in attendance over the last few seasons, and Memorial Stadium is getting rowdier with each passing game as a result. The growth in attendance has led to excitement on the field as well.
The Indiana Hoosiers are known to be hardcore basketball fans, but their success on the gridiron has begun to bring a new passion for football to Bloomington. The team finished just 4-8 a year ago, but this program is on the rise.
The Hoosiers landed a solid recruiting class in 2013 and will continue to gather momentum with their fanbase.
And as this program continues to grow, its home-field advantage may overwhelm others on this list.
No. 8: Northwestern, Ryan Field
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Northwestern is another team that has witnessed increased home attendance over the past few years. The Northwestern Wildcats are becoming a regular winner inside the Big Ten, and the fans are becoming aware of that.
Ryan Field is becoming a very hostile environment, as students and alumni descend on the Northwestern campus in droves, especially now that Pat Fitzgerald has this team consistently in the postseason.
NW is the fastest rising program in the conference, and the home-field advantage that it is developing is quickly becoming one of the most hostile.
No. 7: Iowa, Kinnick Stadium
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The Kinnick Stadium allure is more than just bad weather and crazy fans.
It is the pink visitors’ locker room.
When teams walk into Kinnick Stadium, they are dealing with a traditionally hard-nosed football team and a rowdy crowd. While there is always a weather factor present, the toughest hurdle for visiting teams is the embarrassment that is the pink decor of the visitors' locker room.
Iowa has the entire locker room painted and adorned with pink—even the toilets have a pink hue.
This is a tough stadium to play in for so many reasons, but the pink walls take the prize as the most unique approach to game-day psychological warfare in college football.
No. 6: Michigan State, Spartans Stadium
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Michigan State has been playing its home games in Spartan Stadium since 1923.
The home crowd in East Lansing is not forgiving and is one of the toughest in the Big Ten.
The Michigan State Spartans have been one of the best teams in the conference over the past few years and have witnessed an increase in attendance thanks to the success.
A handful of wins over rival Michigan over the past half-decade has encouraged fans to flood into the stadium.
Big Ten opponents know that this is as tough an environment as any to travel to in the conference.
No. 5: Nebraska, Memorial Stadium
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Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium is known as the “Sea of Red," thanks to the droves of fans that flock to the stadium on Saturdays in their Husker red.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers may be one of the Big Ten’s newest members, but they are one of the most storied programs in college football history.
That has helped create one of the most hostile environments in the country.
Nebraska fans love their football and show up to prove it every weekend during the fall.
An expansion is set to be complete for the coming 2013 season, adding more than 5,000 fans to the crowd on game days.
No. 4: Michigan, Michigan Stadium
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The Big House is a stadium that is recognized by silhouette alone.
Very few venues can claim that type of notoriety, but Michigan Stadium is one of them.
The Michigan Wolverines home stadium is rich in football history, and when Michigan is playing in Ann Arbor, it hosts one of the best game-day environments around.
The crowds aren’t the loudest in the country, but it is the aura that the field and stadium exudes that is overwhelming.
Players that walk into this stadium are playing where legends have played.
The Big House is one of the greatest venues in all of sports.
No. 3: Wisconsin, Camp Randall Stadium
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Camp Randall Stadium is almost as wild as the tailgating that goes down in the streets of Madison prior to kickoff.
This program is one of the best in the country, and the fans bring one of the greatest home-field advantages in the Big Ten because of it.
This stadium is extremely loud and built to retain sound. The Wisconsin Badger faithful are constantly loud, and the student section is one of the wildest in the country, rivaling Duke’s basketball student section.
If there was a doubt that this stadium was one of the wildest in the Big Ten, stick around for the fourth quarter when "Jump Around" hits the stadium sound system.
No. 2: Ohio State, Ohio Stadium
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Ohio Stadium is far and away the most lauded for its home-field advantage of all the Big Ten stadiums.
The Horseshoe is considered to be one of the most hostile environments in all of sports.
The Ohio State Buckeyes are thriving on the football field right now, helping this stadium continue to pull its weight on the national stage.
But there have been some jabs thrown its way lately.
Central Florida head coach George O’Leary told fans on his radio show earlier this fall the following about a pending visit to the Horseshoe:
I tell you what, it’s like Michigan. It’s not a loud stadium. I mean, they sit on their hands in that stadium. I’ve been there before, and you take Wisconsin, you take Iowa, you take UCF is much louder than that stadium. It really is as far as the noise is concerned, because it is so far away from the field. But a lot of stadiums are a lot louder than that place.
Not that one man’s opinion makes the case, but that is a pretty bold statement.
Ohio Stadium will always be one of the best in the Big Ten, but even Buckeyes players concede it is not the loudest and nastiest home field any longer.
No. 1: Penn State, Beaver Stadium
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The Penn State Nittany Lions have put together a strong football tradition over the years and, along the way, built the best home-field advantage in the Big Ten.
Happy Valley is always loaded with fans and consistently the loudest stadium from kickoff until finish in the country.
Even rival players agree that this stadium is the loudest in the conference.
The Penn State faithful love their football program, and that love has even grown stronger with the recent scandal that has plagued the program.
This coming fall may bring mediocre results for this struggling program, but the fans will turn out and bring as much passion as ever for their Nittany Lions.
Few stadiums in the country can rival the noise and passion that comes from the Penn State home turf.
Beaver Stadium is the best home-field advantage in the Big Ten.