Ranking the Top 10 Biggest College Football Stadiums
College football teams have alumni and fans nationwide and worldwide. Their fan bases can equal or exceed that of their professional brethren.
Therefore, these teams require bigger and better stadiums to house their legions of faithful every Saturday. In fact, the ten biggest college stadium rank as some of the largest stadiums in the world
College football stadiums are landmarks to their respective universities which hold various amounts of history. Some stadiums have reached iconic status others are as imposing as they are historic.
There is a lot more to these stadiums than just their sheer size which helped us rank the 10 biggest stadiums in college football.
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10. Sanford Stadium
Nickname: "Between the Hedges"
2010 Ticket Prices: $85-$501
Sanford Stadium isn't traditionally nicknamed "Between the Hedges", but games are played as such given the line of hedges that border the field. The hedges are the most distinguishing factor of the Georgia Bulldogs home. As of 2010, it is the 14th largest non-racing stadium in the world.
The first game ever at Sanford Stadium saw the underdog Bulldogs defeat Yale 15-0 on October 12, 1929. Herschel Walker debuted on September 13, 1980 in a 42-0 victory over Texas A&M.
During the 1970s, an open train bridge allowed fans to watch games for free. These fans became known as "Track People" before stadium renovations closed the viewing angles in the early 1980s.
Sanford hosted medal round games for men's and women's soccer during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.
9. Cotton Bowl
Nickname: "The House That Doak Built"
2010 Ticket Prices: TBD
The Cotton Bowl is one of the most historic venues in college football. It no longer hosts a regular occupant, but it was the home of the SMU Mustangs from 1932-1978 and from 1995-2000. The nickname is attributed to college football great Doak Walker who played for SMU. As of 2010, it is the 17th largest non-racing stadium in the world.
The Cotton Bowl was the home of the annual Cotton Bowl from 1937-2009 before the game was moved to Cowboys Stadium in 2010. However, it is still the home of the Red River Rivalry, the annual game between the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma.
The rivalry game too was threatened to move to Cowboys Stadium, leaving the Cotton Bowl rather meaningless. However, the two universities agreed to an extension to keep the game until at least 2015.
The Cotton Bowl shares ground with the Texas State Fair which serves as the 3-week long event in late-September and early-October.
The Cotton Bowl also serves as the neutral site for the annual game between Grambling State and Prairie View A&M.
8. Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium
2010 Ticket Prices: $30-$1075
DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium broke ground in 1924 and has undergone 13 different renovations since then. The stadium originally opened with a traditional horseshoe shape design before upper decks were added in 1969.
An actively used track encircled the field until 1999 when even more seats were added. As of 2010, DRK-Memorial stands as the sixth largest non-racing stadium in the world. Roughly 11,000 seats were added between 2006 and 2009.
Current plans have DKR-Memorial expanding beyond 115,000 seats by an undetermined date. If completed, DKR-Memorial would become the largest non-racing stadium in North America.
The most technologically unique aspect of the stadium is the so-called "Godzillatron". The enormous high definition screen debuted in 2006 and was at the time the largest HD screen in the world.
7. Tiger Stadium
Nickname: Death Valley
2010 Ticket Prices: $70-$500 and up
Louisiana State University broke ground on Tiger Stadium in 1924 and is now the ninth largest stadium in college football. It is the sixth largest on-campus facility. As of 2010, it is the 16th largest non-racing stadium in the world.
One of the most distinct features of Tiger Stadium is the tiger's eye that graces the 50-yard line. Additionally, Tiger Stadium is one of the few stadiums in football (both college and pro) to designate yard lines ending with a "5"
One of the most fabled games in the stadium's history is the so-called "Earthquake Game" against Auburn in 1988. Upon the game-winning touchdown, the crowd reaction and shake of the stadium registered a legitimate earthquake.
Tiger Stadium housed the New Orleans Saints for the 2005 season following Hurricane Katrina.
6. Neyland Stadium
2010 Ticket Prices $44-$2470
Neyland Stadium broke ground in 1921 and was named Shields-Watkins Field. The stadium was renamed in 1962 for General Robert Neyland who served in the U.S. Army, as Volunteers head coach for numerous spells between 1926 and 1952, and was the designer of the revamped stadium. As of 2010, it is the ninth largest non-racing stadium in the world.
Neyland Stadium is perhaps best known for its checkerboard pattern in the end zone. The field itself is recognized as Shields-Watkins Field in honor of Colonel W.S. Shields who raised the initial funds to build the Stadium in 1919.
Fans take pre-gaming to a new level in Knoxville. In addition to traditional tailgating, Volunteer fans enjoy "sail-gating" as they party on boats on the lack adjacent to Neyland.
5. Los Angeles Coliseum
2010 Ticket Prices: $55-$3000 (USC football)
The Los Angeles Coliseum is one of the most historic athletic sites in the history of American sports. The Coliseum opened in 1923 and has hosted the 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympics. It has hosted multiple Super Bowls, the Los Angeles Raiders, the Los Angeles Rams, the original home of the Los Angeles Dodgers and serves as the home field of the USC Trojans.
The L.A. Coliseum has been featured in numerous movies and television shows. Following the demolition of Yankee Stadium, the Coliseum stands as arguably the most historic stadium left standing in the United States.
4. The Rose Bowl
2010 Ticket Prices: $22-$1097 (UCLA football)
Just up the road from the Coliseum stands the Rose Bowl, which like the Coliseum, has hosted numerous international competitions and Super Bowls. The Rose Bowl, which is modeled after the Yale Bowl, is most famous for his annual New Year's Day Bowl which it has hosted since 1923, serving as the culmination of the Tournament of Roses.
In addition to the Rose Bowl Game, the Rose Bowl (the 15th largest non-racing stadium in the world) has been the home of the UCLA football team since 1982.
The Rose Bowl hosted events in the 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles as well as the final match of the 1994 FIFA World Cup and 1999 Women's World Cup. It also serves as a somewhat defacto home stadium for the U.S. National Soccer team.
3. Michigan Stadium
Seats: Approx. 108,000 (2010)
Nickname: "The Big House"
Ticket Prices: $44-$999
"The Big House" is the distinctive bowl that has housed the Michigan Wolverines since 1927. Michigan Stadium's renovations which will be completed by the start of the 2010 will make it officially the biggest college football venue in the country and the fourth largest non-racing stadium in the world.
Legendary Michigan head coach Fielding Yost originally envisioned a 150,000 person stadium, but his dreams were downsized by budgetary restraints. Michigan Stadium has not seen a crowd under 100,000 since 1975.
The most unique element of the gigantic bowl is that only 20 rows are visibly from ground level. The rest is sunk into the ground via the foundation, coining the phrase "the hole that Yost dug". The largest crowd in stadium history came on November 22, 2003 when 112,118 people saw the 100th meeting between Michigan and Ohio State.
On December 11, 2010, the first non-football NCAA sanctioned event will occur at Michigan Stadium, when the Wolverines hockey team hosts rival Michigan State.
Michigan and Notre Dame will play the first night game in the stadium's history on September 10, 2011.
2. Ohio Stadium
Nickname: "The Horseshoe" or "The Shoe"
2010 Ticket Prices: $110-$1500
Ohio Stadium ranks as the third largest venue in college football and sixth largest non-racing stadium in the world. Opened in 1922, "The Horseshoe" (named for it's distinctive shape that was more apparent before permanent south stands were installed by 2001) has served as the home of the Ohio State Buckeyes who, entering 2010, have a streak of 47 consecutive games with 100,000-plus fans.
The most distinctive element of Ohio Stadium aside from its shape, is the original rotunda on the north side of the stadium. The rotunda was designed to look like the Pantheon in Rome and is adorned with stained glass. Unbeknown to many, the rotunda features yellow and blue flowers, recalling the stadium's first game against Michigan.
Though the official capacity is listed at 102,239, the official attendance record stands at 106,033 which occurred during last year's game versus USC. Ohio Stadium was added the National Register of Historic Landmarks in 1974.
1. Beaver Stadium
2010 Ticket Prices: $49-$1299
Beaver Stadium, named for former Pennsylvania governor James A. Beaver, is the newest stadium among the 10. Beaver Stadium officially opened in 1960 with a capacity of 46,284.
However, Beaver Stadium is new and old at the same time. Penn State's original stadium was completed taken apart, moved across campus and put back together again where the Nittany Lions play today.
The stadium was expanded seven times, most recently in 2001. The largest crowd in history stands at 110,753 from a meeting between Penn State and Nebraska in 2002.
The crowd at Beaver Stadium has been regularly ranked the best in the nation, famous for the their WhiteOut games which most often occur during night games. The definitive "S-zone" in the student section (pictured) stands out as the student section branding.