Recently, there have been a lot of people posting the toughest places to play in the country. I have been to many of these, and some of them are good, and some are just a plain joke. So I have decided to make my own list.
Now to cut out all of the SEC, Big Ten, and Pac-10 biases, I am just going to use the Big XII. The 12 teams will be ranked 1-12 on how difficult it is to play there, how loud it is, and how good the fan base is.
Remember, this is my opinion. I know I will get some fans to disagree with me, but once again, this is just what I think.
Feel free to correct me on all the errors I made, and leave a comment on what you think about the list.
Avg. 2009 Att.: 36,306
Percentage of Capacity Filled: 72.61
Throughout the years, Baylor has been the doormat of the Big XII. It's not hard to imagine why when they play OU, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma St. every year. With Robert Griffin in at quarterback, they finally got a playmaker who can win them games. Unfortunately, he was hurt all of last year and they really struggled.
It really isn't a disadvantage for opposing teams to play here. With fans that don't have to travel far along with fans that travel anyway, it is basically a home game. The stadium never seems to be full, and there's not too much Baylor can do about that.
Avg. 2009 Att.: 46,242
Percentage of Capacity Filled: 84.08
Iowa State is the Baylor of the North division, and they are usually the doormat of the Big XII as well. However, they do have their years where they are good and can compete with the middle-top tier of the Big XII.
Fans are nice and it's a fun atmosphere to go watch a game with the family, but not really an intimidating place for opposing teams. Teams with good traveling fan bases can usually get a good chunk of the stadium filled.
Avg. 2009 Att.: 50,249
Percentage of Capacity Filled: 93.44
Aside from the Texas game in 2008, I have never really seen the place get intimidating. It's a small stadium that isn't really built to keep the sound in at all. It wasn't until recently when their fans started showing up to sell out their games.
Fan base isn't really that good. Only in recent years—when they've finally been able to play with Texas and OU in the South—have they actually been proud to be Red Raider fans. And that gun sign thing that they do with their hands just gets annoying, and shows that they are desperate to do anything to separate themselves from UT.
Avg. 2009 Att.: 50,581
Percentage of Capacity Filled: 100.66
Just like Texas Tech, it has taken a recent surge by the football team to get fans to the games. Kansas has always been, and always will be a basketball school, so one can understand this. KU does have one of the best campuses to go to during gameday. There is a bar down there, which I believe is called, "The Hawk" (correct me if I'm wrong KU fans), that I have heard is an absolute blast.
The stadium only holds 50,000, and as you can see in the picture, it is not built to keep the sound in. Rock Chalk Jayhawk can really get on your nerves, just as much as the "Rip his f***ing head off" yell after KU kicks off.
Avg. 2009 Att.: 50,088
Percentage of Capacity Filled: 93.42
The two reasons Colorado is No. 8 are the elevation, and the fans. This is one of the worst places, not just in the Big XII, but in the country to go watch a football game as a visitor. People being spit on, constant harassment by the fans, and drinks thrown onto visitors. That is not the way to act during a football game.
If the fans don't get to the players, the elevation will. It sits up at an elevation of 5,360 feet. That has to be the toughest thing about playing at Folsom Field for opposing players. I will give them this: The way their stadium sits, the view is absolutely beautiful. The mountains in the background really lets you know that you are playing in thin air.
Avg. 2009 Att.: 46,763
Percentage of Capacity Filled: 93.53
Yes, the stadium is really small, but the way it was built allows it to keep the noise in. Kansas State fans can become pretty hostile, but haven't really had the reason to be lately. With Bill Snyder back, they are on track, and don't be surprised to see his stadium as a really tough place to play.
The fans can get pretty noisy like I said, and with the stadium being built into the ground, it allows the noise to funnel down. But when the Wildcats aren't playing that well, it can become pretty quiet. The fans definitely have a sense of pride, and it's on its way back with Snyder at the helm.
Avg. 2009 Att.: 64,120
Percentage of Capacity Filled: 90.30
Recently, Faurot Field has become a tougher place to play. With their recent success, the Tigers were able to draw a crowd of their own fans, and not the other teams'. Some of their fans are pretty nasty and can become pretty noisy during the game.
If the fans don't get to you, either the amount of gold in the stadium, or the annoying M-I-Z Z-O-U chant will. Let me just say: Learn how to spell Missouri. There has never been, or will ever be any Z's in Missouri. It's an attempt for Tiger fans to establish a tradition, and to help them catch up to their big brother in Lincoln.
Avg. 2009 Att.: 53,719
Percentage of Capacity Filled: 89.21
Without the money from Boone Pickens, this stadium drops down to No. 8 or 9 in this countdown. It was also helped by their recent surge with Zac Robinson, and Dez Bryant. The new renovations made this one of the most modern-looking stadiums.
The fact that they only filled their stadium to 89 percent capacity really surprised me, especially with all of the hype going into the football season. Boone Pickens Stadium could definitely drop down this list like a rock if they don't perform well in the next few years.
Avg. 2009 Att.: 84,788
Percentage of Capacity Filled: 103.25
Don't let that No. 4 next to Oklahoma fool you. Norman is a difficult place to play and win. It doesn't hurt when you got the talent that Bob Stoops has to work with. When you fill a stadium over its capacity, it really shows what kind of fan base you have. The OU fans I know are kind people who really know the game of football. Yes, Texas fans, I said kind people.
The next few years could be a little rough for the Sooners, but don't be surprised if they are able to come back on top of the Big XII in 2010. With the out-of-conference schedule they have, the Sooners will need their fans to back them up when they play at home.
Avg. 2009 Att.: 101,175
Percentage of Capacity Filled: 100.11
With last year's whole Big XII South BCS fiasco, it was expected to see the Longhorn fans out in full force to support their team this year. It didn't hurt that it was Colt McCoy's last season either. And with an appearance in the National Title game, attendance isn't going to go down.
The horseshoe design with the upper deck is pretty neat, and it helps keep the noise in. Add the fact that there are over 100,000 people yelling while your on the field, and it makes it a really tough place to play. The atmosphere is also great with the "Hook'em Horns," Texas Fight, and the huge drum. It's definitely a place to see a game at some point in your life.
Avg 2009 Att: 76,800
% Capacity: 92.53
Kyle Field. The 12th Man. Whatever you want to call it, you know where it is and how intimidating it can be. The stadium is built vertically so it creates a sound barrier, and forces the noise down onto the field. It also makes you feel like all of the Aggie faithful are right on top of you.
With all of the different traditions that go on, Texas A&M fans separate themselves from the norm. It all starts with the yell practice the night before the game. These fans take the game seriously and show up to support their beloved Aggies. Also the kissing your date after each score is a great tradition as well.
As a side note, I came across what Kyle Field looked like after the 9/11 attacks. If you haven't seen it, I strongly suggest it, it is absolutely breath taking.
Avg 2009 Att: 85,888
The "Sea of Red" in Lincoln, Nebraska is a place that everyone should visit during a game. The game day atmosphere is amazing, and the fans are some of the nicest people that you will meet. That is until kickoff. They pack the stadium every single game, and when the Huskers are challenged that is when they get the loudest.
With the edition of the sky boxes on two sides of the stadium, it added 6,000 seats and also created a barrier to keep the noise in. There have been talks about building a sky box on another side. This would make it even louder and more difficult to play. Walking away from Lincoln with a win, is something that is not very easy and very few teams can do.