Through the years, there has been an arms race in the SEC for facilities. Because of this there are some absolutely beautiful stadiums in the conference. Has your favorite school been keeping up?
While traveling around the SEC, I have ranked stadiums by the following criteria: the structure itself, atmosphere, cleanliness, field condition, technological advances, locker rooms, and beauty.
The following are the rankings:
The Commodores have been behind in the arms race since the beginning of time, but Bobby Johnson has been receiving larger donations and improving the stadium. Still, the stadium has small visiting locker rooms and the home lockers are across the street from the stadium. This stadium never sells out and has a capacity of 39,773. Of course, what else would you expect from Vanderbilt?
11. Mississippi State
Scott Field has no stands on one end of the stadium and temporary bleachers on the other end of the stadium—not to mention all the sections smell like bourbon and sound like a cattle farm. The playing surface is manicured nicely, and the hedges are trimmed.
The visiting locker room is on the second floor of the building in the end zone—not to mention that I do not believe it has been touched since 1960. The home locker room is nice as would be expected, but nothing to write home to your mother about. Mississippi State usually does not play in front of a sold-out crowd, but if they did it would reach 55,082.
10. Ole Miss
Let's face it, when you come to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium the last thing you're worried about is the game. I recommend not even entering and staying at The Grove.
The first thing you notice when you walk into the Rebels' home is there is no grass. A SEC school does not have grass. It has Astroplay! The locker rooms are average, but connected to the stadium is an indoor practice facility. This facility is nice, but really should not count towards the smallish stadium that has no grass. Again, stay at The Grove!
Razorback Stadium is state of the art! There is no doubting this, and there is no doubting they have spent a great deal of money on it. Its locker rooms and jumbotron are as nice as you will see anywhere.
The problem here is they have two stadiums—one in Little Rock and one in Fayetteville. The Fayetteville stadium is beautiful, but for some reason the fans do not seem into the game there. Little Rock is a dump, and the stadium is right up on the field, but the stadium may be the loudest of all in the SEC. This would be rated much higher if the fans would come from Little Rock to Fayetteville, and never play at that dump!
Commonwealth Stadium is a very nice and clean stadium. This stadium is not intimidating but looks like it holds more than it actually does. The Kentucky Blue grass is a nice change on the field also. The locker room area is nice and clean for both home and visitors and has twin jumbotrons on each end of the stadium. This stadium reminds me of a nice ACC school stadium.
There's no doubt LSU is one of the best places to attend a game, but the actual stadium could be revamped a bit—from the scoreboard to blind spots in the end zone.
The positive of this stadium is definitely the uniqueness of the field, with markings every five yards and twin post goalposts—not to mention it's one of the loudest in the land. If you put this stadium in many other conferences it would be ranked two or three, but in the SEC it lags behind.
6. South Carolina
This is another stadium that would be one of the best in another conference but is ranked low in the SEC. The interior of the stadium is very nice and has unique structured lights. The scoreboard is subpar to most others in the SEC but has the running boards on the upper deck as many do now. The locker room areas are nice but nothing spectacular, but their connecting weight room is very impressive.
The fans are very loud and have sold out the 82,500 capacity stadium for many years in a row—including during their tough times. The major drawback to this stadium is it isn't on campus. The tailgating is done at the state fairgrounds.
Jordan Hare is a beautiful stadium with a great game day atmosphere. You could put it higher if you chose to have a good argument. The locker rooms are absolutely gorgeous, and the recruiting lounge is equally as nice. They also have running boards on the upper deck, and the scoreboard is nice but doesn't blow you away.
One of the beauties of this stadium is the condition of the field and the flowers in the corner of the end zones. One flaw is the placement of the play clocks. It is definitely an advantage for the Tigers. A beautiful facility that could be ranked higher.
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium is one of the most unique structures in the SEC. It sits in a hole on the campus of Florida and has a roundish shape. The stands are built right up on top of the field, and the stadium holds the sound in well. It is right up there with LSU and Arkansas' Little Rock Stadium as one of the loudest. The scoreboard is basic but it does keep running stats during the game which is nice. Overall this is a great venue to go see a college football game!
With the new end zone project finished last year, a stadium that would have already have been a top five stadium moved up a couple of slots. The stadium is very clean and has top-notch locker rooms. The fans are very passionate and live for Alabama football. This stadium now holds around 92,000 and is right in the middle of campus. Alabama's home is another stadium that would be ranked No. 1 in almost any conference other than the SEC.
The largest stadium in the SEC is in Knoxville, which seats 102,037 people. Sometimes it seems they fit in more than that because the seats are very narrow. This stadium is right on the Tennessee River where many people tailgate on their boats and leave the stadium by water. The fans are very loud, and nothing sounds like 100,000 people singing Rocky Top.
The locker room areas are state of the art and has many acknowledgements of the former players that now play in the NFL. This is a must if you are planning on going to an away game!
The ole boys from Georgia have added and added to an already nice stadium. Everything here—the locker rooms, the field, the scoreboard—is first class. The stadium sits by the old traditional railroad tracks that used to bring people to the game. The stadium sits in the middle of campus, and people tailgate throughout. This stadium is very impressive in every area imaginable and gets nicer every year.