Tiger Stadium: Breaking Down CFB's Most Intense Place to Play

Steve SilvermanFeatured ColumnistSeptember 19, 2017

Tiger Stadium: Breaking Down CFB's Most Intense Place to Play

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    Tiger Stadium is one of college football's most legendary venues.
    Tiger Stadium is one of college football's most legendary venues.Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

    A visit to Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana—also known as Death Valley—is just about the most intense experience any college football team can experience when playing away from home.

    While the crowd noise is the big factor, the stadium itself is a magnificent building that presents something of a regal atmosphere.

    Coming to Tiger Stadium is an experience in itself, and when the home team comes on the field, they are met by the most loyal supporters in college football.

The Noise at "Deaf" Valley

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    Nothing can prepare a visiting fan for the noise at Tiger Stadium, which seats 102,321.

    It doesn't matter how loud it gets at NFL venues in Seattle and Kansas City, it's a different kind of noise at Tiger Stadium.

    The sound envelops you and swallows you up. Your ears throb, but then again, so do your toes with the rhythm that goes along with the noise.

    The numbness hits your body and then you start to vibrate to a degree when sitting in the crowd at Tiger Stadium. It lasts the entire game, but your body does get used to it.

    However, when you leave the stadium, there's a feeling that your body has been attacked by pins and needles and that you need to wind down. It can take hours for that to happen.

Tailgating at Tiger Stadium

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    Tailgating at LSU is a special experience
    Tailgating at LSU is a special experienceDavid J. Phillip/Associated Press

    Louisiana means great food to its many visitors. While some may yearn for the cuisine in New Orleans some 80 miles to the southeast, the trip to Baton Rouge will bring about a food orgy for the many fans who get to Tiger Stadium hours before a Saturday game.

    Yes, you can find the regular fare that includes, steak, burgers, chicken and pork that can be found at nearly all SEC stadiums.

    But when you get to Tiger Stadium, the unique tailgate food includes jambalaya, gumbo, alligator and pastalaya. These are all native to Louisiana and a sensational taste experience.

LSU's Mike the Tiger

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    College mascots are usually run of the mill, as some college sophomore will dress up in a Halloween-type costume representing the school's namesake.

    That happens at LSU, but that's just part of the story. Mike the Tiger is a real Siberian Bengal tiger, and he is treated with reverence and respect.

    He's the real thing, and it's another area of intimidation for visiting fans and teams.

    Note: Mike the Tiger has never gotten loose, so visitors have that going for them.

Success at Home

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    The Tigers regularly roar at home.
    The Tigers regularly roar at home.Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

    Louisiana State football has been at a variety of levels. The Tigers have won national championships and have dominated bowl games.

    They have also had seasons when they have struggled, and the 2017 season may not be shaping up as one of the best because the Tigers suffered a 37-7 loss at Mississippi State on Sept. 16. The Tigers are 2-1 through their first three games.

    However, they always defend their home field, and Tiger Stadium can be a brutal place for all visitors, regardless of their talent level.

    LSU is 50-7 at home since the start of the 2009 season, and the Tigers have gone undefeated at home three times in that span.

2007 National Championship Team

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    The LSU Tigers won the national championship following the 2007 season, as they earned the title with a 38-24 triumph over Ohio State in the BCS title game at Louisiana Superdome.

    The Tigers, coached by Les Miles, had many telling moments that season, and perhaps the most important came in an early October home game against the No. 9 Florida Gators.

    The Tigers trailed by 10 points in the fourth quarter, but they rallied and came back with a 28-24 victory. The roar from the LSU fans left Tiger Stadium shaking and would help spur the team onto greater glory at the conclusion of the season.