The Top 25 College Football Stadiums To See Before You Die
Yes, the 1,000-foot flat screen is a sight to see at Cowboys Stadium.
Walking through pro stadiums like Jerry Jones' new tribute to technology makes it all the more apparent why we love Saturdays so much.
When Rudy's dad enters Notre Dame Stadium and says, "This is the most beautiful sight these eyes have ever seen," it's not just because his son is on the field.
The best college football stadiums drip with history. The passion is all around you. The experience of being there never leaves you.
What, you haven't felt that high enough in your life? Here's your bucket list for the best spots to feel the essence of what makes Saturday pigskin so addictive.
25. LaVell Edwards Stadium (BYU)
The view alone is worth the trip Mt. Timpanogos and the Wasatch Mountain Range surround a truly unique pigskin experience.
The Cougars fan base is among the most diehard in the nation. But they're also the most clean-cut and polite. That's what makes it so fun to see them go crazy over a blown block.
24. Lane Stadium (Viriginia Tech)
The isolation factor alone makes Lane one of the beauties. The nearest airport is 45 minutes away, so the visiting teams rarely make a dent on the tickets.
No matter. The Hokies faithful always fill the 65,000-seat stadium. It's not one of those spots that overpowers you with its size.
But the fans are among the best at using the home field to their advantage. When they get riled up, there's no louder home stadium.
23. Camp Randall (Wisconsin)
The stadium sits on the site of a former Union Army training camp during the Civil War. The fact is not lost on the Badgers faithful.
They make every game feel like a war...that is, if war was like Mardi Gras.
The Fifth Quarter is a unique experience: a 20-minute post-game party in the stands while the band plays a selection of songs like The Chicken Dance.
Don't get caught not jumping between the third and fourth quarters; everyone gets up and dances to House of Pain's "Jump Around."
22. L.A. Memorial Coliseum (USC)
The stadium is surprisingly generic and feels too big for any kind of real fan experience.
It's the matchups that make the place special. The Trojans rarely play a game that doesn't have a BCS impact.
21. Husky Stadium (Washington)
This is another visual stunner.
The open end of the stadium overlooks Lake Washington and the Cascade Mountains.
Husky fans claim this is the home to the first wave on Halloween 1981. The design is unique: 70 percent of the seats are between the end zones, covered by metal roofs.
ESPN measured the sound at 135 decibels during a Nebraska game in 1992, making it the loudest recorded stadium in history.
20. Michigan Stadium aka The Big House (Michigan)
Appalachian State fans will be the first to tell you that the home-field advantage isn't what it used to be.
Still, "The Big House" lives up to its name: its 106,000-plus capacity makes it the second largest college stadium in the country. Renovations are expected to be finished this year to put it back on top.
History is key here: no matter what you think of the Big Ten, there's no arguing that it is the home of one of sports' all-time great rivalries. No matter the records, whenever Ohio State and Michigan play, it's an event.
19. Beaver Stadium (Penn State)
The current home to the largest stadium in the country at 107,282 capacity.
A few things that make Beaver stand out:
- the "S Zone", where students are given white and blue shirts to carve out an "S" in the senior student section;
- the WhiteOut, a night game when students wear all white and the WhiteHouse game, a day game when all spectators are "encouraged" to wear white (try being the game that doesn't, I dare you).
- big plays bring on Zombie Nation, where all Nittany Lions fans wave towels and stomp the stands while the band plays ""Kernkraft 400" by Zombie Nation.
18. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium (Texas)
With a 100,119 capacity, it's the seventh largest non-racing stadium in the world.
Beyond that, it's the Longhorns, man. The stadium is full of some of the most beautiful women you'll ever see. The football always matters. What else do you need?
17. Rose Bowl (UCLA)
The history far overrides most of the football being played there during the regular season these days.
To set foot on a spot where literally every great college football player has played is all the motivation you need to have the Rose Bowl on your bucket list.
16. Folsom Field (Colorado)
The elevation is off-putting: at 5,380 feet, it's behind only Air Force and Wyoming.
Comparatively, the capacity is small at 53,500. The lack of high-level football has dropped Folsom on my list, but with the Flatiron mountain range as the backdrop, the majestic views still make this a must-visit spot.
15. Memorial Stadium (Cal)
You can say you watched football on a fault: the Hayward Fault passes right under the playing surface. Shockingly, a seismic study showed Memorial to be "an appreciable life hazard" in an earthquake.
You can avoid the drama, but you're likely to get heckled. There's a hill that overlooks the eastern side of the stadium that gives a stellar view of the action. It's been dubbed "Tightwad Hill."
This is a beautiful stadium in a stunning setting, a perfect place to get lost among 70,000 fans for an afternoon.
14. Michie Stadium (Army)
No one is kidding themselves about the quality of football being played at Michie these days. The setting is the thing here.
Located at West Point, the stadium overlooks the Hudson River. Plus, the pageantry on display from the cadets is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
13. Falcon Stadium (Air Force)
Very similar to Michie, just sub out the Hudson River and add in the Rampart Range of the Rocky Mountains.
12. Memorial Stadium aka Death Valley (Clemson)
The Tiger Rag, Howard's Rock, The Run Down the Hill.
I just wish the Tigers were in the SEC so the home games were better football.
The setting is one of the best in college football.
You must touch Howard's Rock on the hill of the east endzone. It was placed there in 1966, a rock given to head coach Frank Howard by a booster that was supposedly from Death Valley, Calif.
Howard told boosters to get it out of their office. So they put it in the stadium. The first time his team ran by the rock, they won; it's been used for motivation ever since.
11. Autzen Stadium (Oregon)
Ducks fans will argue that they have the loudest stadium in football thanks to the seats being so close to the field, the steep stands, the overhanging roof which traps the sound of the rowdy fans.
Coaches and TV analysts rarely argue. The Autzen Bounce is worth experiencing. The fact that the Ducks are winning again is a bonus.
10. Kyle Field (Texas A&M)
Many will put Kyle Field at the top of their list. While I love the stadium, the inconsistency of the football knocks it down my list.
If you want to teach your kids about loyalty, take them. The fans are there no matter what, every last one of them trying to pet Reveille, the border collie mascot.
Maybe I just don't like standing the whole game, which you'll be forced to do. But the views are stunning; like Texas, A&M has some of the most gorgeous fans in college football.
9. Bryant-Denny Stadium (Alabama)
History, atmosphere, stunningly hot co-eds and SEC football. You can say that about much of our favorites, but feeling the ghost of Bear Bryant puts the home of the Crimson Tide in our Top 10.
Take in the Bear Bryant Museum and be sure to ride down Colonial Drive for the view of the sororities.
It doesn't hurt that Nick Saban has brought the BCS back into play on the field.
8. Doak Campbell Stadium (Florida State)
Again, this is a spot where the football has fallen off in recent years.
The Sod Cemetery is the coolest and most unique thing at Doak Campbell: a tradition started by Bobby Bowden where the 'Noles scooped up part of the losing team's field after road wins and replanted on campus.
It's not going to be the same without coach Bowden. The intimidation factor that makes DC stand out is fading fast.
7. Sanford Stadium (Georgia)
My parents didn't believe me the first time I called them from Sanford Stadium.
"No, Dad, there are literally hedges lining the field!"
The history is everywhere you look; just say you've met UGA or Coach Dooley and you will become an instant tailgate hero.
6. Jordan-Hare Stadium (Auburn)
The heat and humidity, the scary rise of the stands. It's not a place opponents want to be. The fans get wild.
Get there early for the Tiger Walk, a tradition dating back to the '60s where the team parades down Donahue Drive from Sewell Hall to the stadium.
And where else are you going to witness a sanctioned TP'ing? It goes down at Toomer's Corner in downtown Auburn after big-time wins.
5. Tiger Stadium aka The Real Death Valley (LSU)
The SEC Tigers hold the true claim to the name, if for no other reason than because they've won more.
This is home to the most raucous tailgate in the nation. It's also the home grounds of Mike The Tiger, arguably the most in-your-face mascot in football.
You will be hard pressed to find a team that benefits more from the wild nature of their fans than LSU. No matter what the record or the talent level of the Tigers, no opponent feels like a night game at LSU is a win.
4. Memorial Stadium (Nebraska)
The sea of red makes this a scene to covet on your to-do list. There's just something to the 'Huskers fans. I mean, they cheer the opponent off the field even after the home team loses.
When balloons are released after the first touchdown, it feels like New Years' Day.
Beyond the football, Lincoln is arguably the coolest college town in the country. The downtown music scene is lively, the bars are crowded but manageable and there's a day to be made out of the downtown if you're not into the tailgate scene.
3. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium (Florida)
The decades of tradition aren't here. The place was built in 1930 but the winning didn't start until Spurrier arrive in 1989.
Since then, The Swamp has become an opponents' nightmare. The fans are right on top of the field, so false start penalties are a given.
There's no amazing town to explore here. Football is the thing. And right now, it's the epicenter of the college football world.
2. Neyland Stadium (Tennessee)
It is the most gorgeous scene in college football. Combine the stadium, the location on the Tennessee River and the game-day traditions and you're hooked before the game even begins.
Watch the Volunteer Navy float in before the game. March with the players as they are mobbed by fans on their way to the stadium.
And get ready to hear more choruses of "Rocky Top" in one day than you'll hear in the rest of your life.
It's the third-biggest stadium in the country at 104,079 capacity, but it never feels too big. If the Vols start winning more, this is a gimme for No. 1.
1. Notre Dame Stadium (Notre Dame)
Watch "Rudy." You'll see all you need to see. The stadium is a museum with all its history. There's so many stories here, it is the game-day College Football Hall of Fame.
Rockne. Montana. The leprechaun. Come on. I dare you to argue.
And for all you Ohio State fans that thought your horseshoe was going to be No. 1, I'm sorry to tell you that other than Woody Hayes, your place isn't that special. Not even top 40 in my book.