One of the great things about college football is that, unlike the NFL, the opportunity to attend top-tier games is not limited geographically and financially.
While NFL franchises are based in larger cities geographically located near populous regions, college football can be found in big cities, medium-sized towns and little communities that stretch across the map.
Yes, no matter where you live or where you might travel to, college football is there.
Not only is it readily available, geographically speaking, it is also more accessible from a purely financial standpoint.
Case in point: The average cost of an NFL ticket in 2010 was a whopping $76.47 while the average cost for a “high-demand” ticket in one of the six BCS-AQ conferences is $60.27 and the average cost for a “low-demand” ticket in one of these same premier conferences is only $36.81.
So, of the 120 venues in FBS college ball that are the best, what does “the best” mean?
Is it capacity, student fervor, attendance, location, setting, storied history, overall game-day experience, the band, the fans, traditions or some mysterious combination of all of these factors?
The following slideshow attempts to blend all the key elements together to power rank all 120 FBS college football stadiums, from No. 120 all the way to No. 1.
In 2009 InfoCision Stadium-Summa Field replaced the Rubber Bowl which was the Zips' former venue.
It cost $61.6 million to construct and seats 27,000.
The Zips average home attendance in 2009 was 17,382, which dropped to 10,185 for the 2010 season (among the lowest in the nation).
Akron has won four home games in the two years that InfoCision has been its home field.
Named for John B. and June M. Scheumann, the Ball State Cardinal's stadium was constructed in 1967 and seats almost 25,000.
After averaging nearly 20,000 fans for the 2008 season (when Ball State went 12-2 under head coach Brady Hoke), average attendance dropped to 10,888 in 2009 and then to only 8,947 in 2010.
Ball State’s average home attendance in 2010 was the lowest among FBS teams nationally.
“The Bullpen” was constructed from 1991-93 and, other than hosting Buffalo Bulls football games, it is a great venue for track and field events.
UB Stadium seats just shy of 30,000 fans and the Bulls averaged 16,000 at home games in 2009 and under 13,000 in 2010.
LT Smith Stadium was originally built in 1968 with a seating capacity of 20,000. In 2007, as Western Kentucky prepared for the move from Division I-AA (FCS) to Division I-A (FBS), the capacity was increased to 22,000.
The Hilltoppers have averaged just fewer than 15,000 in home attendance since the renovations.
Also referred to as “The Cage,” FIU Community Stadium was constructed in 1994 and predated the FIU football team, which did not take the field until 2002.
“The Cage” seats 23,500 and FIU made an impressive jump in average attendance from the 10,000 mark in 2009 to 16,545 in 2010.
Waldo Stadium is named for Dwight B. Waldo, Western Michigan’s first president. It was constructed in 1938 for a cost of $250,000, which included the cost of the nearby baseball field.
Waldo’s current capacity is approximately 30,000, but the Broncos only averaged 14,255 at home games on the way to a 6-6 record.
The record attendance at Waldo was set in 2000 when 36,361 Bronco fans watched Western Michigan thump Indiana State 57-0 on their way to a 9-3 record.
The 2000 Broncos won the MAC West but fell short of the conference crown, ultimately losing the title game 19-14 to Marshall.
One of two Spartan Stadiums in FBS college football (the other belonging to Michigan State), San Jose State’s version opened in 1933 and seats 30,500.
San Jose State’s average home attendance was under 15,000 fans for the 2010 season.
Spartan Stadium was the home of the Silicon Valley Football Classic bowl game from 2000-04 which pitted the WAC versus the Pac-10.
Eastern Michigan’s venue is named for Elton J. Rynearson, Sr. who served as the Eagles coach from 1917-48. Rynearson amassed a 114-58-15 record and five conference championships during his tenure at EMU.
Rynearson Stadium has a capacity of 30,200 and the Eagles averaged 15,885 at home games in 2010, which was a monumental improvement over the dismal 5,016 average in 2009.
Interestingly, the Eagles, which have called Rynearson home since 1969, have never completely filled the stadium.
The record crowd came in 2008 when the Eagles beat Central Michigan 56-52 in front of 26,188 home fans. This game finished out a 3-9 season for Eastern Michigan; this record now marks their best finish in the past three seasons.
Aggie Memorial was opened in 1978 and seats close to 30,000. It is an interesting design featuring a lower level that was built below ground and an upper level that is located at street level.
New Mexico State has averaged about 16,000 fans at home games over the last two seasons, during which the Aggies have struggled to a 5-20 overall record.
University Stadium first opened in 1960 and has a capacity of approximately 38,000.
The Lobos managed an average of almost 27,000 fans at home games in 2009, but this number dropped to just over 20,000 for the 2010 season.
University Stadium is also the venue for the New Mexico Bowl, which kicked off in 2006 and currently pits the Mountain West versus the WAC.
The initial playing of the New Mexico Bowl in 2006 marked the first time a bowl game was ever played in the state of New Mexico.
Rice Stadium, circa 1950, in Houston, Texas actually hosted Super Bowl VIII in 1974 when the Miami Dolphins triumphed over the Minnesota Vikings.
Back then the stadium, located on Rice’s campus, seated 70,000 people and since then the capacity has been reduced to its current capacity of 47,000.
Even with the reductions, it could be reasonably argued that Rice plays in a stadium that is, in reality, too big to support its program and its fanbase (with the exception of when the Owls host Texas, a game that is moved to nearby Reliant Stadium to maximize financial interests).
Still, Rice only fills about 54 percent of seats at home games, but the average number of fans—25,571—is impressive for a school with a total enrollment of just over 7,000 students.
Sam Boyd Stadium was built in 1970 at an original cost of $3.5 million dollars. Originally dubbed “Las Vegas Stadium,” the facility held numerous names until it was changed to “Sam Boyd Stadium" in 1994.
Boyd, who passed away in 1993, was an Oklahoma native who came to Vegas in the early 1940s with virtually no money and eventually held major interests in some of the larger Vegas casinos.
The Rebels average about 20,000 at home games, which means that Sam Boyd Stadium stays only about 55-percent full on game day.
Sam Boyd Stadium also serves as home to the Las Vegas Locomotives of the UFL and is the site of the Las Vegas Bowl, which has been played since 1992.
Nicknamed “The Swamp” due to the playing surface being two feet below sea level, Cajun Field was constructed in 1970.
ULL’s Swamp seats 31,000 and the Ragin’ Cajuns have averaged just over 18,000 fans at home games since 2009.
Doyt Perry served as the Bowling Green Falcons head coach from 1955-64, where he amassed a 77-11-5 record, including five MAC titles and an appearance in the 1961 Mercy Bowl (seriously, that was the name...but it was merciless, with the Falcons losing 36-6 to Fresno State).
Doyt Perry Stadium was built in 1966 and currently seats just fewer than 24,000 fans.
The Falcons have averaged only between 13,000-14,000 fans at home games over the past two seasons.
ASU Stadium was built in 1974 and originally called “Indian Stadium.” The name was changed to “ASU Stadium” in 2008 when Arkansas State changed its mascot from the Indians to the Red Wolves.
ASU seats 30,964 and the Red Wolves have averaged 17,500 fans at home games since 2009.
The high-water mark in terms of average home attendance came in 2008 at 21,000. The 2008 Arkansas State team went 6-6.
Tulsa’s football venue bears the name of two men associated with making both its initial construction and subsequent renovation financially possible.
Built in 1930 at a cost of $275,000, the project was named Skelly Field for William Skelly of Skelly Oil. Renovations in 2007 added H.A. Chapman’s name to the venue in honor of his substantial financial contributions.
Chapman Stadium holds 30,000 Golden Hurricane fans and average home attendance is 20,000.
Unfortunately, from a football attractiveness standpoint, Tulsa is located just under two hours from Norman, home of the Oklahoma Sooners.
It’s no wonder that Temple fills, on average, only 30 percent of its home field on game day, which is massive Lincoln Financial Field, also the home of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles.
Lincoln holds nearly 70,000 fans and is also one of the primary venues of the Army versus Navy game played yearly.
Fouts Field was constructed in 1951-52 and was named for former head coach Theron J. Fouts, who served as North Texas head coach from 1920-24 (23-14-2 overall).
Fouts currently seats 30,000 fans and averages approximately 17,500 at home games.
Amazingly, North Texas has approved the building of a new edifice, Mean Green Stadium, which will seat 30,850.
North Texas has gone 18-59 since 2005.
Fouts Field will more than likely be demolished in the near future.
Johnny “Red” Floyd Stadium is named for Blue Raiders’ seventh football coach, Johnny Floyd, who served in that capacity from 1917-1938 (39-30-8 and two conference championships).
Floyd Stadium’s current capacity is 31,000 and the Blue Raiders’ average approximately 20,000 fans at home games.
Also known as Veterans Memorial Stadium, Troy’s football venue was originally built in 1950 with a capacity of only 5,000. Expansions in 1998 and 2003 have expanded seating to its current 30,000 capacity.
Regardless of the fact that the Trojans have captured at least a piece of the past five consecutive Sun Belt conference titles, Troy averages only approximately 18,000 fans at home games.
Troy, Alabama is located 183 miles southeast of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, home of the Crimson Tide.
“The Joe” was constructed in 1968 and originally named “Louisiana Tech Stadium.”
The name was changed in 1972 to honor coach Joe Aillet, who served as head coach from 1940-66. Aillet was 151-86-8 at Tech, including 12 conference titles.
The first game ever played at the stadium saw the Bulldogs (led by QB Terry Bradshaw) beat East Carolina 35-7.
“The Joe” currently seats 30,600 and the Bulldogs average about 20,000 at home games. The stadium has never sold out.
Wyoming’s War Memorial Stadium is among five US sporting venues that share the same name.
Nicknamed “The War” and officially deemed “Jonah Field at War Memorial,” it was built in 1949 and has a current capacity of almost 33,000.
Wyoming averages 20,000 at home games at “The War,” which has the highest elevation of any FBS stadium (7,215 feet above sea level).
Yager Stadium is named for Fred C. Yager, a 1914 graduate of Miami who was a primary benefactor of its construction that was completed in 1983.
Yager seats just over 24,000 and, from an aerial perspective, is notably unbalanced, with one side of the stands being twice as tall as the other.
The Red Hawks averaged 15,519 fans at home games in 2010, which was a huge improvement over their 11,810 average in 2009.
A highlight to the facility added in 2004 is the “Cradle of Coaches” Plaza that honors Miami’s stellar list of former football coaches.
The list of coaches formerly associated with Miami includes: Earl Blaik, Paul Brown (who also played at Miami), Woody Hayes, Weeb Ewbank, Sid Gillman, Ara Parseghian, Bo Schembechler, Jim Tressel, Ron Zook, Sean Payton and John Harbaugh.
Dix Stadium was initially completed in 1969 and is currently named for Robert C. Dix, who served on the Kent State Board of Trustees.
Dix's current capacity is 20,500, which makes its average home attendance of around 16,000 over the last two seasons quite impressive, especially given the Golden Flash's total record during the period is 10-14.
The Rams' venue name, Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium, honors two long-time Colorado State coaches.
The original name, Hughes Stadium, recognizes Harry W. Hughes who was the Rams coach from 1911-46 during which time he amassed a record of 127-96-18, including eight Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference crowns.
The field was given the name Lubick Field in 2003 in honor of Sonny Lubick, who was the Rams head coach from 1993-2007, earning an overall record of 108-74, including three WAC and three MWC conference championships.
Hughes Stadium holds just under 35,000 fans and the Rams currently average around 24,000 at home games.
Kelly/Shorts was originally built in 1971 and was first named for Perry Shorts who was a Central Michigan alumnus and benefactor of the stadium project.
In 1983 the name was amended to Kelly/Shorts to honor Bill Kelly who coached the Chippewas from 1951-66, earning an overall record of 91-58-2, including seven conference titles.
Kelly/Shorts currently has a capacity of 30,199 and CMU averaged 20,448 for home games in 2010.
Malone Stadium opened in 1978 when the ULM Warhawks were known as the Northeast Louisiana Indians.
It is named in honor of James L. Malone, the first ever ULM coach, who served the university from 1951-53 (12-15).
Malone Stadium seats just over 30,000 fans and, impressively, the Warhawks managed to improve home attendance from an average of 13,889 in 2009 to 20,934 in 2010.
With a capacity of just 35,117, Martin Stadium is the smallest venue in the Pac-12.
Martin was built in 1971 and named in honor of former Washington governor Clarence D. Martin (a University of Washington alumnus).
The Cougars average approximately 25,000 at home games, which is the lowest total among teams from BCS-AQ conferences.
Romney Stadium first opened in 1968 and honors Dick Romney, who coached the Aggies from 1919-48 earning a 128-91-16 record, four conference championships and a 1947 Raisin Bowl appearance.
The current capacity is 25,513 and the Aggies managed an impressive 17,878 in average attendance in 2010 (up from 15,971 in 2009).
The field at Romney Stadium has been given the name “Merlin Olsen Field” in honor of Utah State grad Olsen, who went on be inducted in both the College and Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Edwards Stadium is one of only two college football venues named exclusively after a woman (the other being South Carolina’s Williams-Brice). Joan C. Edwards was a native of London, England and was a jazz singer in New Orleans before meeting and marrying native West Virginian James Edwards.
The current capacity of Edwards Stadium is 38,016 and Marshall averaged 27,000 in home attendance in 2010.
The Glass Bowl was built in 1936 as a part of the Works Project Administration that was formed by then-US President Franklin D. Roosevelt to provide work during the Great Depression.
Originally dubbed “University Stadium,” that name was changed to “Glass Bowl” in 1946 as Toledo became the host of the Glass Bowl game that was played from 1946-49 (this game was actually a part of the Rockets' regular season).
The Glass Bowl currently holds just over 26,000 fans and the Rockets averaged almost 20,000 in home attendance in 2010.
First opened in 1929, Peden Stadium is the oldest venue in the MAC. Peden was originally referred to as “Ohio University’s Athletic Plant” until 1946 when the name was changed to honor Don Peden, who coached the Bobcats from 1924-46 (122-46-11, six conference championships).
Peden currently seats 24,000 and the Bobcats have managed to keep their stadium close to 80 percent full over the past two seasons.
Nestled in picturesque scenery, the Sun Bowl, located less than a mile from the Rio Grande River separating the USA from Mexico, is the closest major American stadium to a foreign country.
The Sun Bowl was opened in 1963 and is named in honor of the annual bowl game that is played in El Paso each December.
The Sun Bowl, which was first played in 1935, shares the honor of being the second-oldest bowl game (after the Rose Bowl) with the Sugar and Orange Bowls.
Current capacity is 51,500 and the UTEP Miners average close to 30,000 at their home games.
Gerald J. Ford Stadium is named not after the 38th President of the United States (who played football at Michigan), but instead after a wealthy benefactor of the stadium at SMU that bears his name.
Ford Stadium opened for the 2000 season with a price tag of $42 million.
Capacity is 32,000 and the Mustangs average approximately 23,000 fans at each home game, considerably less than when the players were being paid.
Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium was opened in 1965 and currently seats 62,380.
The stadium was built to bring the Liberty Bowl (which originated in Philadelphia, Penn. in 1959) to Memphis.
The Memphis Tigers have also called the Liberty Bowl home since 1965 and made an impressive improvement in average home attendance, from 25,795 in 2009 to 32,918 in 2010.
This regardless of a 1-11 record last season.
Named for Nevada benefactor Clarence Mackay, the “new” Mackay Stadium was constructed in 1966.
Mackay’s current capacity is just shy of 30,000 and the Wolf Pack managed an average of just less than 20,000 fans to 2010 home games.
This number is a little shocking for a team that went 13-1, won the WAC, beat Boston College in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl and was ranked No. 11 in the final AP polls (a school record).
Originally dubbed “San Diego Stadium” when it opened in 1967 and then “Jack Murphy Stadium” from 1980-1997, Qualcomm’s current capacity is 71,294 for football.
Qualcomm is obviously oversized for San Diego State, which averaged an impressive 34,133 fans at home games in 2010, which marked a significant increase over the 24,464 average from 2009.
This was no doubt spurred on by the fact that the Aztecs improved from their 4-8 mark in 2009 to 9-4 in 2010, including a bowl bid and victory (under coach Brady Hoke who has moved on to Michigan).
Qualcomm is the current home of the NFL’s San Diego Chargers, was home to the MLB San Diego Padres from 1969-2003 and also hosts both the Holiday Bowl and Poinsettia Bowl.
Originally opened in 1975, the Superdome has served as the home of Tulane Green Wave football since opening, with the exception of the 2005 season when Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city of New Orleans.
The Superdome’s capacity of 73,000 is due to be expanded to 77,000 in 2011, which is obviously overwhelming for a program like Tulane and more than explains why the Green Wave fills only 32 percent of the seats.
The Superdome also serves as home to the NFL's New Orleans Saints, has hosted six Super Bowls, hosts the New Orleans Bowl, has hosted three BCS championship games and is the host of the Sugar Bowl.
Originally constructed in 1964, Huskie Stadium’s current capacity is 24,000 and serves host to a Northern Illinois team that went 11-3 in 2010.
Regardless of the recent successes, the Huskies have struggled to fill the stadium, averaging 14,889 in 2009 and improving to an average of 17,760 in 2010.
The Blazers have only filled Legion Field to approximately 25 percent of its 72,000-seat capacity, which makes it ridiculous to rank it at the lofty position of No. 81.
But Legion Field, built in 1926, is notable as the home of the yearly Iron Bowl, pitting Auburn versus Alabama in an SEC hate-a-palooza.
Legion Field also hosted the now defunct All-American Bowl from 1986-1990.
Aloha Stadium was built in 1975 and is owned by the state of Hawaii.
Home of the Hawaii Warriors since 1975, Aloha’s capacity is 50,000 which, impressively, the Hawaii football program fills regularly to over 75-percent capacity.
Aloha Stadium also plays host to the NFL Pro Bowl and the NCAA Hawaii Bowl.
MM Roberts was originally dubbed Faulker Field when built in 1932 as a wooden edifice that held only 4,000 people.
Subsequent renovations expanded MM Roberts to its current capacity of 36,000, which is filled to an 82-percent average by the Golden Eagle faithful.
Bulldog Stadium was constructed in 1979 and its current capacity is 41,031.
Fresno State has gone 108-71 since Pat Hill took over as coach in 1997, and they average close to 35,000 fans at home games.
Bulldog Stadium also played host to the California Bowl, which was played from 1981-1991.
FAU only started playing football in 2002 and has spent all 10 of these years under coach Howard Schnellenberger.
Lockhart Stadium is relatively very small for an FBS venue, seating only 20,450. It was erected in 1959 as a facility for several local high school teams.
But as a “start-up” program, Lockhart has served FAU well and the Owls have continued to increase their home attendance average yearly, reaching over 90-percent capacity in 2010.
FAU apparently has plans for a new venue on its campus in Boca Raton, Fla.
“Ray Jay” or “The New Sombrero” was opened for play in 1998, and besides being home field for the USF Bulls, it also serves the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Outback Bowl.
South Florida hit the gridiron for the first time in 1997 and has managed an impressive 103-62 mark in its first 14 years of existence.
Equally impressive is the Bulls' average home attendance mark of 46,000 over the past two seasons in a venue that, at a capacity of almost 70,000, is oversized for a school that is just getting its pigskin rolling.
The smallest venue in the FBS, the one-of-a-kind Kibbie Dome in Moscow, Idaho that seats only 16,000 discriminating individuals.
Officially referred to as the “William H. Kibbie-A SUI Activity Center,” the Kibbie Dome was born in 1975 and looks more like an aircraft hangar than a college football stadium.
The Idaho Vandals keep the Kibbie Dome filled to approximately 80-percent capacity and when Boise State comes to town, the “dome” suddenly becomes a bullet point on the must-see venues list in college football.
The Boilermakers' home was originally constructed in 1924 and named for its primary financial supporters, David E. Ross and George Ade.
Renovated in 2001, the stadium now seats 62,500.
While maybe one of the less passionate venues in the Big Ten, Purdue draws approximately 50,000 fans to home contests.
Ryan Field was opened for business in 1926 and originally dubbed “Dyche Stadium” for William Dyche, a Northwestern graduate and integral participant in the actual building project.
The Wildcats home was renamed “Ryan Field” in 1997 for Patrick Ryan, a chairman of Northwestern’s Board of Regents.
Though not associated with modern college football powerhouses, Northwestern has won eight Big Ten titles and seems back on track under coach Pat Fitzgerald.
The Wildcats made a stunning gain in average home attendance from 24,190 in 2009 to 36,449 in 2010.
The Carrier Dome was built in 1979 and is the largest domed stadium in all of college sports.
Often listed as one of the loudest venues, the Carrier Dome has a football capacity of almost 50,000, which is filled to 81-percent capacity by a “basketball school.”
For me, personally, the Carrier Dome is on the list of must sees for football (and, secondarily, basketball).
Jack Trice has to be considered one of the most unique and worthy namesakes in the history of American athletics.
Trice was born in 1902 as the son of a former slave and eventually wound up at Iowa State, where he died after sustaining injuries during his first career college football game against Minnesota.
Jack Trice was the first African American athlete at Iowa State and, the night prior to the game in Minneapolis when he was fatally injured, he was forced to stay in a separate hotel from his teammates due to his race.
It is difficult to imagine a more stirring honoree for a college athletic facility.
Jack Trice Stadium was built in 1973, opened in 1975 and presently accommodates 55,000 people. Iowa State averages approximately 46,000 fans at its home contests.
Vanderbilt Stadium at Dudley Field was originally erected in 1922 as Dudley Field and rebuilt in 1981 with a capacity of nearly 40,000.
The Commodores average in the neighborhood of 35,000 fans to home games.
Wallace Wade is absolutely legendary in collegiate sports. Wade served as head coach for Alabama, where from 1923-30 he went 61-13-3 and won three national titles. He then coached at Duke from 1931-50, were he went 110-36-7 and won 10 conference titles, went to two Rose Bowls and won the Sugar Bowl versus Alabama.
For good measure, Wade was the head basketball coach and head baseball coach at Vanderbilt from 1921-23 and also coached baseball for the Crimson Tide from 1924-27. Stunningly, he amassed an 87-45-2 record as a college baseball coach.
Wallace Wade Stadium was originally named Duke Stadium when it was built in 1929 and the name changed in 1967 to honor Coach Wade.
Also of note is that Wallace Wade Stadium (then Duke Stadium) hosted the 1942 Rose Bowl, which was moved to the East Coast due to the December attacks on Pearl Harbor that prompted the United States' entry into WWII.
Wallace Wade seats nearly 34,000 fans and the Blue Devils average approximately 28,000 on home game days.
Memorial Stadium in Bloomington was opened for play in 1960 at an original capacity of near 53,000.
Current seating includes space for nearly 50,000 Hoosier fans and is filled to a regular rate of nearly 85 percent, including more for Big Ten play.
UCF has quietly been taking care of football business since 1979 and has managed a 19-8 record over the past two seasons.
Bright House Networks Stadium opened in 2007 and holds 45,000 Knight fans. Impressively, for a young program with little national media coverage, UCF averages near 40,000 fans at home contests, this in a state thoroughly saturated with college and pro sports teams.
Scott Stadium was erected in 1931 and originally held 25,000. Renovations and expansions have the current capacity at 61,500.
The Cavaliers average approximately 48,000 at home games recently, which is down from the capacity crowds enjoyed during the higher points of the Al Groh era.
Still a great place to watch college football, Scott Stadium should do nothing but improve as the Cavaliers make their way back into contention in the ACC.
Byrd Stadium honors H.C. “Curley” Byrd who served as head coach at Maryland from 1911-34, when he amassed a record of 119-82-15.
Byrd Stadium was initially built and opened in 1950 and its current capacity is 51,500.
The Terrapins have struggled to fill Byrd in recent years, despite the fact they have fielded some formidable teams.
Falcon Stadium opened in 1962 on the grounds of the United States Air Force Academy.
The venue currently seats just fewer than 53,000 spectators, but Air Force struggles to reach the 40,000 mark in average home attendance.
Regardless, Falcon Stadium is a great football venue, especially when welcoming Army and Navy to Colorado Springs for a service academy showdown.
Floyd Casey Stadium was built in 1950 and was originally dubbed “Baylor Stadium.”
The capacity of 50,000 has been exceeded four times in its history (1974, 1991, 1995 and 2006), all when hosting the Texas A&M Aggies; the Bears lost each of these four contests.
Though Baylor averages only 40,000 fans at home games, attendance and enthusiasm has substantially increased as coach Art Briles has begun to revive the fortunes of Bears football.
Floyd Casey remains an underrated venue for major college football in the great state of Texas.
Heinz field has been the shared home of the NCAA Pitt Panthers and the NFL Pittsburgh Steelers since it opened in August of 2001.
Though truly an NFL venue, the Panthers maintain over an 80-percent fill rate at home games.
Boone Pickens Stadium was originally opened as “Lewis Field” in 1920 when Oklahoma State was still known as Oklahoma A&M (but don’t ever, ever call them Aggies).
The oldest stadium in the Big 12 was revived in 2003 by T. Boone Pickens, hence the obvious name change.
Regardless of the successes of coaches Les Miles and now Mike Gundy, the Cowboys struggle to fill Boone Pickens to capacity.
A fill rate of 85 percent of enthusiastic fans doesn’t seem offensive until you consider that this is not a huge stadium, and it is at a relatively good-sized school that plays big-time college football against premier opponents.
Still, a great place to watch a game, especially Bedlam.
Alumni Stadium was opened in 1957 with a capacity of 26,000. Expansions and renovations increased seating to its current level of 44,500.
Boston College continues to field quality teams that play tough schedules, keeping their fill rate just under 90 percent.
Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, Kansas was built in 1920 at a cost of $275,000. Current capacity is 50,071, which was exceeded in 2009 when average attendance was 50,581 (this with a team that only went 5-7).
Last season the Jayhawks struggled to a 3-9 finish, but an average of almost 45,000 Kansas fans attended home games despite the poor outcome.
Officially called “Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium” and nicknamed “The Zou” Missouri’s edifice is named in honor of former Tigers coach Don B. Faurot.
Faurot coached at Missouri from 1935-56, posting an overall record of 101-79-10, including four Big Eight titles. Faurot also led the Tigers to the Orange Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, the Cotton Bowl and two Gator Bowls during his tenure.
Originally constructed in 1925, Faurot Field currently holds 68,349, which the Tigers manage to fill to over 90 percent of capacity.
Aptly nicknamed “the Oven,” Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium was completed in 1998 at a cost of $63 million.
A 2010 expansion increased capacity to 55,000 seats, which the Cardinals managed to fill to 92 percent during home games last season, when they improved to 7-6 under new coach Charlie Strong.
Originally dubbed “KSU Stadium” when opened in 1968, Kansas State changed the stadium’s name to honor coach Bill Snyder upon his retirement in 2005.
Snyder returned to lead Kansas State football again in 2009 and his overall record at KSU is 148-80-1.
Nicknamed “The House that Bill Built,” the venue seats 52,200, which became close to being filled to capacity in 2010 with an average home attendance of 49,816 (up from 46,763 in 2009).
Rentschler Field bears both the name and physical site of an airport that operated from 1933-99.
Most notably, Rentschler Field served as a base for fighter planes charged with defending the air over the Atlantic Ocean during WWII.
Rentschler Field, the stadium, was built in 2000 (opened in 2003) on the same site at a cost of $91.2 million dollars.
Rentschler seats 40,000, which UConn has filled to an impressive 96 percent of capacity over the past two seasons.
Groves Stadium was constructed in 1967 and currently holds 31,500 spectators.
Despite the fact that the Demon Deacons have only gone 8-16 since 2009, Groves is still a great place to catch a college football game.
Amazingly, Wake Forest has managed to completely fill their stadium over the past two seasons, regardless of the slide backwards in performance.
Originally opened as “Public School Stadium” in 1942 and built as a dual project between the Works Progress Administration and the Houston Independent School District, the Cougars' football venue is rich with history.
The Houston Cougars called “The Rob” home from 1946-50 and then from 1998 to present. The then-AFL member Houston Oilers used the stadium as their home field from 1960-64 and the field is also presently used by the MLS Houston Dynamo.
Robertson Stadium played host to both the 1960 and 1962 AFL championships and was the site of the 1964 AFL All-Star Game.
The stadium was renamed (after being called Jeppesen Stadium from 1958-80) after benefactor and Board of Regents member Corbin J. Robertson in 1980.
“The Rob” seats 32,000, which the Cougars came close to filling to capacity in 2010.
Unfortunately, time is running short for this historical venue as it has been recently determined that in order to increase the Cougars' seating capacity, razing is more feasible than expansion.
The fifth-oldest venue in college football, Nippert was deemed finished in 1924 and currently seats 35,000.
“The Nip” is an old school venue located in the heart of the UC campus and is the smallest stadium in the Big East Conference.
Expansion plans are currently being discussed, but at present it is no surprise that the Bearcats fill Nippert to capacity week in and week out.
“The House of Heat” was originally built in 1958 with a capacity of only 30,000. In its present form, Sun Devil Stadium holds just fewer than 74,000 spectators and is expandable to 76,000.
It has served as the home of Arizona State football since 1958, but also hosted the Fiesta Bowl from 1971-2006, was the home of the NFL Arizona Cardinals from 1998-2005 and hosted Super Bowl XXX in 1996.
The first game ever played at the venue was when the Sun Devils beat West Texas State University 16-13 on October 4, 1958.
Sun Devil Stadium has been the home of the Insight Bowl since 2006.
“The House of Heat” is large for a college football venue and the Sun Devils have only managed to average 48,000 fans over the past two seasons; less surprising when you consider this is a team that went 10-14 over this same time span.
Rice-Eccles Stadium was built in 1997 as a replacement to Rice Stadium, which was originally constructed in 1924.
The new venue was necessary to accommodate the XIX Olympic Winter Games in February of 2002 in Salt Lake City. Rice-Eccles served as the main stadium for this event.
Capacity is 45,017, which Ute fans regularly over-fill. With Utah joining the Pac-12 in 2011, expansion is in the cards for Rice-Eccles.
Originally opened in 1987, Sun Life Stadium has gone through six name changes in its 23-year history.
What began as Joe Robbie in 1987 became Pro Player Park in 1996, Pro Player Stadium (also in 1996), Dolphins Stadium in 2005, Dolphin Stadium in 2006, Land Shark Stadium in 2009 and finally Sun Life Stadium in 2010.
Names being kicked about in 2011 are Don Strock Field at Bob Griese Stadium and Hanging Chad Field at 2000 Presidential Election Memorial Stadium.
Sun Life presently holds 75,000 fans for football and the Hurricanes manage about 50,000 fans per home game (or 67 percent fill rate).
Sun Life Stadium is also the home of the NFL Miami Dolphins, the MLB Florida Marlins, the Orange Bowl and will host WrestleMania XXVIII in 2012.
Originally constructed in 1921, Stanford Stadium seated a whopping 85,500 spectators by the relatively early date of 1927.
The original edifice was razed in 2005 and rebuilt as the current Stanford Stadium at a price tag of $90 million (a cost of $89.8 million more than the 1921 construction).
Even with the monumental recent successes of Stanford’s football program, average attendance languishes at some 40,000 in a venue that seats 50,000.
The original Stanford Stadium was the home of Super Bowl XIX (1985) and played host to the FIFA World Cup in 1994.
Carrying the distinct honor of being the oldest FBS stadium, Bobby Dodd Stadium, referred to as Grant Field until 1988, was originally constructed in 1913.
The venue’s name was changed in 1988 to honor coach Robert L. “Bobby” Dodd, who coached at Georgia Tech from 1945-66. Dodd’s Yellow Jacket resume includes a 165-64-8 record, three SEC titles, the 1952 national championship and 13 bowl appearances (including three Orange, three Sugar and one Cotton Bowl).
Maybe the strangest piece of trivia involving Georgia Tech’s stadium is that the most lopsided game in college football was played at Grant Field in 1916, when the Ramblin’ Wreck obliterated Cumberland College 222-0, led by a revenge-thirsty coach John Heisman.
Bobby Dodd Stadium currently seats 55,000 and the Yellow Jackets have averaged to fill “The Flats” to approximately 88 percent of capacity over the past two seasons.
One of the newest and, therefore, most expensive venues in college football, TCF Bank Stadium opened in 2009 with a price tag of a whopping $288 million dollars.
Aptly called “The Bank,” it seats 50,000 fans in a classic horseshoe design. It has been filled to capacity since it opened two seasons ago, a feat substantially more impressive when you consider Minnesota has gone 9-16 since 2009.
Zuppke Field at Memorial Stadium is named in honor of Coach Robert C. Zuppke, who served at Illinois from 1913-41, amassing a 131-81-12 record, including seven Big Ten titles and four national championships.
Memorial was completed in 1923 and currently holds 63,000 spectators, which Illinois has recently filled to 92 percent capacity.
Teams who meet on Zuppke Field have the unique opportunity to play upon the only known field that contains a bulldozer under the surface. During construction, a dozer was purportedly sunk into the surface during a rain storm and never removed.
The new Mountaineer Field seats 60,000 and replaced the older Mountaineer Stadium that was located on the school’s campus, making expansion impossible.
Mountaineer Field was opened for play in 1980 at a cost of $22 million and current average attendance is close to capacity.
The largest crowd ever to watch a game at Mountaineer Field was in 1993 when over 70,000 fans watched the Mountaineers beat Miami (Fla.) 17-14 on their way to an 11-1 finish, the Big East title and a Sugar Bowl berth (resulting in a 41-7 shelling by Florida).
“The Jones” was originally opened in 1947 as “Clifford B. and Audrey Jones Stadium” with a capacity of 27,000. Clifford Jones was the president of Texas Tech from 1938-44.
After several renovations, most recently in 2009-10, “The Jones” now seats 60,454 spectators.
The Red Raiders continue to fill Jones Stadium to capacity each season and Texas Tech offers a spirited game-day experience for college football enthusiasts.
In the humble and admittedly biased opinion of the author, “The Jones” is one of the finest places on all the Earth.
Carter-Finley was constructed in 1966 and is named in honor of two of the principal benefactors of the project.
Current capacity nears 60,000, which the Wolfpack sell out on a regular basis. Wolfpack fans are enthusiastic (not surprising with a team that went 9-4 in 2010) and Carter-Finley may be overlooked as one of the best venues in the ACC.
Arizona Stadium was originally erected in 1927 and has been the home of Wildcat football ever since.
The venue’s current capacity is 57,803, which has been filled to 95 percent capacity over the past two seasons.
Arizona Stadium hosted the Insight Bowl from 1998-99.
Amon G. Carter (1879-1955) was a philanthropist and the founder and publisher of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
The stadium named in his honor was opened in 1930 and its current capacity is 44,008, which has been filled to the brim over the past several years.
Amon G. Carter is currently being expanded and upgraded; work is due to be finished by 2012 when the Horned Frogs will become a member of the Big East.
The stadium will welcome back the Armed Forces Bowl in 2012, which was played at Amon G. Carter from 2003-2009 (before moving to SMU’s Gerald J. Ford Stadium in nearby Dallas for 2010-11).
One of the more scenic venues in college football, Kenan Memorial Stadium opened in 1927 and is named for the Kenan family, who played an important role in the early stages of the university.
Current capacity is 60,000 and, despite the fact that UNC is better known as a basketball school, the Tar Heels continue to sell out Kenan week in and week out.
The largest crowd in Kenan history came in 1997 when 62,000 packed the stadium to watch the Tar Heels play Florida State. The Seminoles prevailed by the score of 20-3, handing Mack Brown’s UNC team its only loss in a season that ended at 11-1, including a Gator Bowl thumping of Virginia Tech (UNC 42 – VT 3).
Maybe the most underrated venue in the SEC, Commonwealth is continually jam-packed with Wildcat fans on game day.
In a facility with a capacity of 67,606, Kentucky averaged 69,594 at home games in 2009 (No. 22 overall nationally) and 66,070 in 2010.
Built in 1973, Commonwealth is the newest stadium in the SEC and is named for the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium was built in 1958 at a cost of $3 million. After a major renovation in 2004, the current capacity is 34,000, which is often met and exceeded.
The stadium has never hosted the annual Army versus Navy game, but is still a spectacular setting near the breathtaking campus of the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
Originally known as Parker Stadium (after benefactor Charles T. Parker), OSU’s football venue was erected in 1953.
The name was changed to Reser Stadium in 1999 to honor Al and Pat Reser, who both graduated from and then were financially generous to Oregon State.
Current capacity is 45,000, which is completely filled with Beaver fans on game day.
Scott Field (named for an early Mississippi State athlete) opened in 1914 and current capacity is 55,082.
“The Dawg Pound” was renamed in 2002 to honor stadium renovation benefactor Floyd Davis Wade, Sr.
The Bulldogs regularly fill Davis Wade completely and the record attendance came in 2009, when 58,103 fans watched Mississippi State lose 31-3 to eventual national champion Alabama.
The Hawkeyes regularly fill Kinnick Stadium 100-percent full and Iowa ranked No. 21 nationally in home attendance in 2009.
Kinnick was originally named Iowa Stadium when built in 1929 and the name was changed in 1972 to honor Hawkeye QB Nile Kinnick, winner of the 1939 Heisman Trophy. Kinnick is Iowa’s only Heisman winner and he died at the age of 25 as a Navy pilot serving in WWII.
Kinnick Stadium is notably loud and seats nearly 71,000 enthusiastic Iowa fans.
Cal’s Memorial Stadium was opened in 1923 and seats just fewer than 73,000 spectators.
The Golden Bears struggle to fill their home arena and have averaged just shy of 60,000 fans at home games over the past two seasons.
Of note, the Hayward Fault line runs directly underneath the playing surface, almost from one goal post to the other.
In 2006 Memorial Stadium was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, which aims to identify areas and structures worthy of preservation.
Constructed in 1924, the horseshoe-shaped Folsom Field holds the honor of being the college football stadium with the third-highest elevation (after Wyoming and Air Force).
Originally dubbed Colorado Stadium, the name was changed in 1945 to honor Fred G. Folsom who coached the Buffaloes from 1895-1915, accumulating an overall record of 77-24-2 and 11 conference titles.
With a current capacity of 53,750, Folsom is smallish by BCS conference standards, but Buffalo fans are notably loud and spirited and the intimate setting provides a unique college football game experience.
The new Rutgers Stadium was opened for business in 1994 and seats 52,454.
What is most notable about Rutgers Stadium is that is located not far from the site of the playing of the very first college football game in history, in which Rutgers beat Princeton 6-4 on November 6, 1869.
Rutgers Stadium is aptly nicknamed “The Birthplace of College Football.”
That’s hard to beat from a historical standpoint.
Razorback Stadium dates back to its original construction in 1938. It was first known as “University Stadium,” then “Bailey Stadium” and “Razorback Stadium” before finally being called “Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium” in 2001, to honor a significant benefactor.
The field itself is named “Frank Broyles Field” in honor of Coach Broyles, who led the Razorbacks from 1958-76, compiling an overall record of 144-58-5, seven Southwest Conference crowns and the 1964 national championship.
The stadium currently seats 76,000 and is filled with fervent hog-calling Razorback fans at every home game.
Another program that plays to a packed house with a beautiful mountain backdrop, BYU’s Lavell Edwards Stadium is worth the drive west.
Originally called “Cougar Stadium” when opened in 1964, the name was changed in 2000 to honor longtime coach Lavell Edwards, who served from 1972-2000, amassing a 257-101-3 overall record highlighted by 19 WAC crowns, one MWC title and the 1984 national championship.
The stadium currently seats 64,045 and is filled to 100 percent capacity on a regular basis.
No. 28 might seem like a lofty rank for East Carolina’s football tabernacle, but the Pirates put on a game-day show that is not to be missed.
Dowdy-Ficklen is named for two benefactors responsible for its initial construction and then its expansion in the 1990s. Originally built in 1962, it currently holds 50,000 spectators.
What is special about Dowdy-Ficklen is the atmosphere; specifically leading up to the game, which, according to some, is among the best in all of college football.
Prior to the team’s grand entrance onto the field, a fog horn blows and the following poetic verses are recited by the PA announcer, accompanied by appropriately stirring music:
“Like a ghost on the wind, he comes from the sea
And trembles the foe like a storm on the lea.
With a thunderous blast from his cannon's might,
He shivers the strong, and cripples their fight.
From East Carolina, victories are told
Of the spirit of the Pirate, and his Purple and Gold”
This is followed by another salvo of foghorns and the loud playing of Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze” accompanied by purple smoke billowing from the tunnel that will lead the Pirates onto the field.
Finally, as “Purple Haze” fades out, the team is greeted onto the field with a cannon burst followed by the ECU fight song, E.C. Victory.
It is possibly one of the greatest on-field entrances in college football. Apparently, you have to see it to believe it.
Ah yes, the blue turf finds its way to the top 30. Indeed, whether you like Boise State or not, it has become a hot spot on the landscape of college football.
Bronco Stadium opened in 1970 and currently holds 32,000 spectators; the blue turf wasn’t installed until 1986.
The Broncos claim a 62-game regular season home winning streak, which makes it no surprise that Boise State regularly exceeds capacity at home games.
Plans are in place to expand Bronco Stadium to seat 53,000 by 2013.
Originally dubbed “Hemingway Stadium” when opened in 1915 (after Judge William Hemingway, professor of law and athletic administrator), the name was updated in 1982 to honor coach Johnny Vaught.
Vaught coached the Rebels from 1947-73 and compiled an overall record of 190-61-12, including seven SEC titles and the 1960 and 1962 national championships.
Vaught-Hemingway currently accommodates 60,850 and was filled to 92-percent capacity in 2010 despite a dismal 4-8 finish.
Not to be forgotten in the Ole Miss game-day experience is the legendary “Grove” where, since the 1950s, Rebel fans have stylishly and drunkenly tailgated amidst 10 acres of old growth hardwood trees.
“The Grove” is considered by many to be the ultimate college football tailgating experience.
Husky Stadium was originally built in 1920 and now seats 72,500 in one of the most scenic venues in all of sports.
Overlooking Lake Washington, the Cascade Mountains and Mount Rainier, Husky Stadium is breathtaking.
Washington fans have remained loyal to their team and managed to keep approximately 65,000 fans at home games despite the fact the team has skidded to a 23-50 record since 2005.
It’s hard to beat the Rose Bowl for college football history.
The Rose Bowl was constructed in 1921 and first opened in 1922 when Cal beat USC 12-0 on October 8.
The first Rose Bowl game in the new venue was played on January 1, 1923 when USC beat Penn State 14-3.
Current capacity is 92,000 and the stadium became the home of the UCLA Bruins in 1982.
The Bruins have struggled to fill the massive structure and their average home attendance in 2010 was only 60,376.
The Rose Bowl has hosted five Super Bowls and played host to other significant sporting events over its storied history.
Originally built in 1923, Spartan Stadium currently holds 75,005 fans, making it the fifth-largest venue in the Big Ten.
Even with its enormous capacity, Michigan State has ranked in the top 20 in national attendance figures for the past 47 years. That’s amazing.
Termed as the “snake pit,” Spartan Stadium is filled with rowdy and very vocal Spartan fans; in fact, a recording of the noise during a 1959 meeting between Michigan State and rival Notre Dame is used in the 1960 blockbuster Spartacus.
Indeed, in East Lansing it’s always “A Beautiful Day for Football...”
Originally dubbed “Columbia Municipal Stadium” and then “Carolina Stadium,” the Gamecocks' home-field name was changed in 1972 to honor Martha Williams-Brice.
Williams-Brice is one of only two FBS stadiums to solely honor a woman with its name (the other being Marshall’s Joan C. Edwards). Williams-Brice left most of her massive estate to South Carolina and her husband played football for the Gamecocks in the early 1920s.
“The Cockpit” was opened in 1934 and its current capacity is 80,250, which is filled with loud, rowdy Gamecocks fans every home Saturday.
Constantly included among the top 25 game experiences in college football, South Carolina must be the most underrated place to watch a game in the SEC and nationally.
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, like its neighbor to the north at Cal, is listed on the National Register of Historical Places.
The LA Coliseum is the only stadium in the world to have served as the main host to two Olympic Games (1932 and 1984), hosted the first ever Super Bowl (then known as the AFL-NFL World Championship Game) and was the site for Super Bowl VII in 1973.
It also hosted three games of the 1959 World Series, was the home of the UCLA Bruins football team from 1928-81, home of the NFL Los Angeles Rams from 1946-79, home of the MLB Los Angeles Dodgers from 1958-61 and was home of the NFL Los Angeles Raiders from 1982-94.
Through it all, the historic LA Coliseum has been the home of the USC Trojans since its erection in 1924 and the Olympic Cauldron (built for the 1932 Olympic Games) is still lit during the fourth quarter of each home game.
Truly one of the great venues in all of sport.
The “Doak” was built in 1950 and named after the then-president of Florida State University, Doak Campbell.
Current capacity is 84,300, which has been only filled to approximately 85-percent capacity over the past two seasons.
Attendance levels will no doubt creep back up as the Seminoles rise back into national title contention, but regardless, it is hard to beat the sounds and sights of an FSU home game, which include the stirring FSU War Chant and highlighted by Chief Osceola chunking his flaming spear into the turf.
As impressive as East Carolina’s multi-part entrance on to the field is, it is hard to beat the Clemson Tigers rubbing Howard’s rock as they run down the hill into the mind-blowing sights and sounds of a deafening crowd at Clemson Memorial Stadium.
“Death Valley” was opened in 1942 and seats just over 80,000 fans.
The “Death Valley” nickname is at least partially explained by the fact that the university cemetery overlooked the stadium until the upper decks were added.
Clemson has one of the most passionate fan bases in all of college football.
Ranked No. 2 on ESPN’s “Top 10 Scariest Places to Play,” it is hard to find a more intimidating venue for college football than Lane Stadium.
Opened in 1965, Lane Stadium was named in honor of Edward Lane, Virginia Tech alumnus and benefactor who founded the Lane Company, famous for the manufacture of cedar chests.
After several expansions, Lane now seats 66,233 and is filled to capacity at most games.
Rivals.com ranked Lane Stadium as holding the No. 1 home-field advantage in the nation in 2005.
Ground was broken for the construction of Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in 1923 and the on-campus facility opened in 1925.
Current capacity is 82,115 and Oklahoma consistently ranks among the top 15 schools in terms of total attendance.
In 2002 the Gaylord Family’s financial commitment to the university was honored with the renaming of the stadium to “Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.”
The stadium attendance record was set in 2008 when the Sooners obliterated undefeated Texas Tech 65-21 in front of a crowd of 85,646. Oklahoma went on to a 12-2 record in 2008, ultimately losing to Florida in the BCS national championship.
Originally dubbed “Auburn Stadium” upon its completion in 1939, Auburn’s football home was renamed first in 1949 as “Cliff Hare Stadium” (honoring a member of the first football team who went on to serve as a school administrator), and then “Jordan-Hare” in 1974 when longtime coach “Shug” Jordan was recognized.
Ralph “Shug” Jordan led the Tigers from 1951-75 and went 176-83-6 all-time at Auburn, including the 1957 SEC and national championship crowns.
Jordan-Hare presently seats over 87,000 and Auburn consistently ranks among the top 15 teams in the nation in total and average attendance.
A game-day experience rich in tradition and packed with loyal fans, Darrell K. Royal should be on the top of every serious connoisseur’s “must see” list.
Originally built in 1924 and called “War Memorial Stadium” the Longhorn’s football home was recently expanded and now seats over 100,000 fans.
In 1996 the name was amended to honor longtime Longhorns coach Darrell K. Royal, who coached at Texas from 1957-76, going 167-47-5 overall, including 11 Southwest Conference titles and three national championships (1963, 1969 and 1979).
Despite a 5-7 showing in 2010, the Longhorns packed an average of over 100,000 fans during home games last season.
The biggest home crowd in Texas’ long history came in 2010 when 101,437 fans watched the Longhorns lose a shocker to UCLA 34-12.
Camp Randall Stadium was erected in 1917 on the site of Camp Randall, a former Union Army training grounds during the Civil War.
Camp Randall’s current capacity is 80,321, which the Badgers fill or exceed on a regular basis.
The Badger fans put on a spirited display at each and every home game and Wisconsin is among the most successful teams at home with the advantage substantially increasing for night games.
These are seriously passionate fans at a historic venue; another gem.
Though not near as massive as some of the other stadiums in the top 20, Autzen makes up for its lack of capacity with sheer noise level.
Autzen was built in 1967 and is named in honor of Thomas J. Autzen, an Oregon alumnus and wealthy lumber magnate.
Autzen Stadium holds just 54,000 but averages close to 59,000 at most games, which makes it the most oversold venue in FBS football.
Often included among the top 10 game-day experiences in all of college ball, Kyle Field is an impressive sight on Saturdays, regardless of your particular feelings about the Aggies.
Kyle Field is named for Edwin Jackson Kyle, a member of the A&M class of 1899, university professor and eventually an athletic administrator.
Originally constructed in 1927, Kyle Field currently seats 82,000 and is always full, regardless of how the Aggies are playing. Fan enthusiasm, combined with a dizzying array of game-time traditions, make Texas A&M a top-tier football experience.
Despite the allure of its picturesque and patriotic setting on the campus of the US Military Academy at West Point, one would be remiss to overlook the fact that Michie Stadium has served as the home of one of college football’s historic powerhouses.
Opened in 1924, Michie is named for Dennis Michie, who played an important role in bringing football to the academy. Michie was killed during service in the Spanish-American War in 1898.
Army has won five national championships in its history (1914, 1916, 1944, 1945 and 1946) and continues to compete in major college football despite its high standards for admission, academics and of course, service.
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium has been completely sold out since the late 1970’s and offers a stirring game-day experience.
“The Swamp” was first called “Florida Field” and opened in 1930, the stadium was renamed in 1989 honoring Florida alumnus Ben Hill Griffin, Jr., who was successful in the citrus industry.
Current capacity is 90,000 and the Gators consistently rank among the top 10 teams in the nation in terms of attendance.
“The Big House” was built in 1926 and its original capacity was a whopping 72,500. The current seating capacity of 106,201 makes Michigan Stadium the largest stadium in the USA and the third-largest stadium worldwide.
Despite on-field performance, Wolverine fans fill the stadium to capacity and beyond for every home game and Michigan holds regular season attendance records in almost every category.
The first night game ever at Michigan Stadium is scheduled for September 10, 2011, when Notre Dame visits “The Big House” for the annual clash between the two.
Originally dubbed “Beaver Field” the Nittany Lions home field opened in 1960 and seats over 100,000 spectators.
Though “Beaver Stadium” might at first seem a curious name for a team named the Nittany Lions, its name honors former Pennsylvania governor James A. Beaver, who also served as the president of Penn State’s board of trustees.
From the over-capacity crowds, to its “white-outs” and unrivaled fanatical followers, Beaver Stadium is one of the best venues in college football.
The Bulldogs home “Between the Hedges” seats over 92,000 Georgia fans and was originally constructed in 1928.
Sanford Stadium is named for Dr. Steadman Vincent Sanford, who was an English instructor that eventually went on to serve as chancellor of the university system.
Georgia fans have faithfully filled Sanford and the Bulldogs rank among the top 10 teams in attendance yearly. Signs of this undying dedication were clear in 2010 when Sanford was 100 percent full despite the Bulldogs slipping to a 6-7 finish, which was their worst tally since going 5-6 in 1996.
Neyland Stadium opened in 1921 and was originally called Shields-Watkins Field. The venue was renamed in 1962 to honor General Robert Neyland who served as the Volunteers head coach from 1926-52.
During Neyland’s tenure, the Vols captured eight SEC titles and three national championships (1938, 1950 and 1951).
Neyland Stadium currently seats 102,037 and is filled to capacity, ranking Tennessee in the top five teams in attendance.
Originally called Denny Stadium, the Crimson Tide home field was built in 1929. In 1975 the name was revised to honor longtime Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant.
Bryant coached the Tide from 1958-82, earning a stunning record of 232-46-9, including 14 SEC crowns and six national titles (1961, 1964, 1965, 1973, 1978 and 1979).
Current capacity is 101,821 (increased for the 2010 season) which is overfilled with some of the world’s most passionate college football fans.
It’s iconic, it’s timeless and it’s deliciously “old school.” Yes, it’s Notre Dame Stadium.
Opened in 1930, Notre Dame Stadium presently seats approximately 80,000 and is not surprisingly filled to the brim every home game.
The first game ever played in the stadium was against SMU, with the Irish winning the contest 20-14. The 1930 Irish went undefeated and captured the national championship after blanking USC 27-0 on the road.
“Death Valley” was constructed in 1924 and holds 92,400 of the most celebratory fans in college football.
Tiger Stadium has been ranked as the “Scariest Stadium in College Football” by ESPN and is widely regarded as the loudest venue in college football, especially at night when LSU fans are properly lubricated.
On Saturday night, Tiger Stadium is like no place on earth.
Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska originally opened in 1923, and after numerous expansions currently accommodates 86,000 fans.
Though there are certainly larger FBS venues, there are no more dedicated fans than those at Nebraska, who put on a game-day experience that involves the visual wonder of stands filled with a literal sea of red.
Uniquely, each of the four corners of the stadium feature inscriptions penned by professor Hartley Burr Alexander.
Southeast: "In Commemoration of the men of Nebraska who served and fell in the Nation's Wars."
Southwest: "Not the victory but the action; Not the goal but the game; In the deed the glory."
Northwest: "Courage; Generosity; Fairness; Honor; In these are the true awards of manly sport."
Northeast: "Their Lives they held their country's trust; They kept its faith; They died its heroes."
It’s hard not to be impressed with that.
Some might consider putting “the Horseshoe” atop this list a bit of a reach, but Ohio State offers the college football enthusiast every element necessary to make a phenomenal game-day experience.
It’s old school (no lights), it’s huge (capacity of 102,329), it’s sold out every weekend and filled with passionate live-or-die fans, it’s a program that despite its recent troubles is currently dominant (has more BCS appearances than any other school) and it's rich in tradition.
One of three FBS stadiums to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places (along with Cal’s Memorial Stadium and the LA Coliseum), Ohio Stadium ranks in the top five nationally in terms of attendance.
You might not like the Buckeyes, but it’s hard not to count “the Horseshoe” among the most elite sporting venues in the United States.