Top 15 College Football Stadiums: Honorable Mentions
The following stadiums are among the best in college football. They didn’t make my initial list of the best 15, but they do deserve a mention.
Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn University
Capacity: 87,451; Surface: Grass; Opened: Nov. 30, 1939
Football at Auburn University dates back to 1892, but by the mid-1930s the university decided to build a new football stadium for its team. A 7,500-seat stadium, originally known as Auburn Stadium, was built in 1939 and opened on Nov. 30, 1939 when the Tigers played the Florida Gators.
A decade later, in 1949, Auburn Stadium was renamed Cliff Hare Stadium in honor of Clifford Leroy Hare, a member of Auburn’s first football team. Additionally, 14,000 seats were added on the east side on the stadium bringing the capacity to 21,500.
Over the next four decades, the stadium was expanded five times, in 1955, 1960, 1970, 1980, and 1989 bringing the seating capacity to 85,214. Cliff Hare Stadium was renamed Jordan-Hare Stadium in 1973 after legendary coach Ralph Jordan, the all-time winningest coach at Auburn.
Today, Jordan-Hare Stadium seats 87,451 fans. The main lower grandstand surrounds the entire field and upper decks are located on both sides of the field. Luxury suites and the press box are located between the lower and upper decks.
Located on the exterior of the east side of the stadium are ten large murals of great plays and players of Auburn football including Bo Jackson. A new high definition video/scoreboard was installed prior to the 2007 season.
Husky Stadium, University of Washington
Capacity: 72,500; Surface: Fieldturf; Opened: Nov. 27, 1920
Voted yearly as one of the most scenic stadiums in college football, Husky Stadium is a college football stadium, but was the temporary home of the Seattle Seahawks during the 2000 and 2001 seasons.
Husky Stadium was constructed in 1920 and opened on Nov. 27, 1920, with a capacity of 30,000. Over the next eighty years, Husky Stadium has undergone many renovations and expansions. Between 1936 and 1950, 25,000 seats were added to Husky Stadium at a cost of over $1.7 million, along with a two-story press box and a roof covering part of the stands.
In 1968, an additional 3,000 seats were added. Also, the grass playing field was removed, and the Huskies became the first collegiate team to ever have an Astroturf field.
In 1987, Husky Stadium took its present-day look. Over $13 million in renovations, including increasing the seating capacity to 72,500, were completed.
Fans attending football games at Husky Stadium receive excellent views of downtown Seattle, Mt. Rainier, the Olympic Mountain Range, and Union Bay at Lake Washington.
In February 2008, the university announced that construction and renovations to Husky Stadium will begin in November 2008 and be complete by August 2010. This project will cost an estimated $300 million.
Darryl K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, University of Texas
Capacity: 94,113; Surface: Grass; Opened: Nov. 8, 1924
After playing more than two decades at Clark Field, it was time for the Longhorns to look to the future and build a new stadium. Led by Athletic Director L. Theo Bellmont, the new stadium was built in 1924 and the Longhorns played their first game at Memorial Stadium on Nov. 8, 1924. At a cost of $275,000, Memorial Stadium had a seating capacity of 27,000.
Two years after opening, Memorial Stadium was expanded on the north side to give it a horseshow configuration increasing the capacity to 40,500. By the 1940 season the east and west grandstands were expanded and the grandstand on the south side of the field was built allowing 60,000 fans at Memorial Stadium. The upper deck was constructed in 1971.
Memorial Stadium was officially renamed Darrell K. Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium in 1996 after legendary Longhorns coach Darrell Royal. The following year, 14 suites were added on the west side and in 1998, the 5,000 seat upper deck was constructed on the east side along with 52 luxury suites.
Today, Royal Memorial Stadium has a seating capacity of 94,113 with the completion of the north endzone expansion after the 2007 season.
After the 2005 season, the Longhorns added a 55-by-134-foot wide video display to the south endzone. It has been nicknamed, Godzillatron, and is the largest videoboard in college football.
Kyle Field, Texas A&M University
Texas A&M played their first game at Kyle Field in 1929. Originally with a single-tier grandstand in a horseshoe configuration around the playing field, Kyle Field has grown enormously. The first expansion came prior to the 1967 season, when the second decks on the east and west sides of the field were constructed.
The next expansion came before the 1980 season, when the third decks were added. With this addition, the grandstands towered over the playing field.
The latest renovation was completed by the 1999 season. Over $32.9 million was spent in expanding the north endzone. The original stands on the north side that formed the horseshoe were removed and a new massive three tier grandstand was built.
This section, known as “The Zone,” houses luxury suites, club seats, and the Texas A&M sports museum. With this expansion, Kyle Field now has a seating capacity of 82,600.
Today, three-tier grandstands are located on the north, east, and west sides of the field. A small section of seating, along with the main video/scoreboard, is located on the south end of the stadium.
Autzen Stadium, University of Oregon
Oregon athletic director Leo Harris, along with Thomas J. Autzen, whom the stadium was named after, spearheaded the project by giving the school $250,000 for the new stadium project.
By the 1967 season, the $2.5 million Autzen Stadium was complete and had a capacity of around 41,000. The Ducks played their first game at Autzen Stadium on Sept. 23, 1967.
Until 2002, Autzen Stadium underwent very few renovations. In 1982, the Barkers Stadium Club was added at the east end zone of the stadium.
A three-story building on the north side of the stadium containing 381 club seats and 12 luxury seats was constructed in 1989. A new press box was also constructed prior to the 1989 season.
The most recent addition came prior to the 2002 season, when 12,000 seats were added to the south rim of the stadium. Also included in this addition was the expansion of the press box that included 32 luxury suites.
Autzen is known for its crowd noise. During the 2007 game against the USC Trojans, a record crowd of 59,277 was recorded at 127.2 decibels.
After raising enough money for a new stadium, construction began in April 1964. The new stadium was named after Edward H. Lane who helped raise $3 million for the project. Although the stadium was not yet complete, the Hokies played their first game at Lane Stadium on October 2, 1965 against William and Mary.
Construction of the $3.5 million stadium was completed by 1968 and seated 35,050 fans. Grandstands were on both sides of the gridiron and a three tier press box was atop the west grandstand.
With growing support for the team, additional seating was added to the east stands in 1980 bring the capacity to 52,500. Prior to the 1999 season, 2,000 seats were constructed on the north endzone and the following year a new video/scoreboard, known as Hokievision was added.
Perhaps the biggest addition to Lane Stadium was completed prior to the 2003 season. A two tier grandstand featuring 11,000 seats, 15 luxury suites and a new visitor’s locker room was completed. After the 2003 season, Virginia Tech began its latest expansion, this time on the west side of the stadium. The $52.5 million expansion included 23 luxury suites, a new pressbox and club seating. The addition increased Lane Stadium's seating capacity to 65,115.
In 1940, officials decided to build a new stadium on the west side of Clemson’s campus. Land was cleared and a 20,000 seat stadium was erected at a cost of $125,000. Named Memorial Stadium the Clemson Tigers played their inaugural game at the stadium on September 19, 1942.
By the start of the 1958 season 18,000 seats were added along the sidelines. Two years later, an additional 5,600 seats were constructed at the west end zone. Both of these additions increased the capacity at Memorial Stadium to 53,000. With continuing success and growing fan support upper decks were added in 1978 and 1983 bringing the capacity to over 78,000.
The main lower grandstand is in a horseshoe shape with suites and luxury areas between the lower decks on the upper decks on the north and south stands. The latest addition to Memorial Stadium occurred before the 2006 season. This project, on the west side of the stadium, includes club and general seating, an athletic heritage museum and new locker rooms increasing the seating capacity of Memorial Stadium to 80,301.
The stadium has become known as Death Valley for several reasons. The stadium itself sits in a valley and the university cemetery sits on a hill that once overlooked the field before the construction of the upper decks. Clemson Coach Frank Howard began calling the stadium Death Valley in the 1950s.
Capacity: 60,180; Surface: Fieldturf; Opened: September 6, 1980
Mountaineer Field is the largest non NFL stadium in the Big East Conference. In the late 1970s, West Virginia decided to build a new stadium for their football program as the old Mountaineer Field could not be expanded because of its location.
By 1980, the stadium was complete near the campus and named Mountaineer Field. WVU played their first game at their stadium on September 8, 1960.
The stadium consists of a lower deck that encloses the entire playing field and upper decks on the east and west sides. Throughout the past 25 years, there have been few additions to Mountaineer Field. 18 suites were added in 2004 in the north endzone providing more money for the athletic department. Before the 2007 season the Astroplay was replaced with Fieldturf.
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