College Football: Fun Facts About 50 of the Greatest Stadiums
In the great tradition that is college football, there are many incredible sites at which the games take place.
This list runs down 50 of those that would be considered great or nearly great, venues.
While we all know the most minute detail about every aspect of our own team's house, this list will provide you with a tidbit of information concerning the opponents arena.
From pink locker rooms, to the "track people", and from that "extra seat" to the "Fail Room", this list runs down one piece of information you may not know about each stadium...
Read it carefully, it will be the last such piece you enjoy before embarking on the actual college football season.
50. Aloha Stadium
To the best of my knowledge, this kind of thing does not happen on the mainland.
However, Aloha Stadium has an incredible weekly tradition all it's own.
Every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday the parking lot plays host to one of the largest swap meets in this hemisphere.
What a practical way to make use of the parking lot for more than just tailgating...
49. LaVell Edwards Stadium
Most football stadium have uniforms, grass seed and various other supplies in their storage areas.
Not so at LaVell Edwards.
Until 2005, storage underneath the stadium was home to part of the largest collection of Jurassic fossils in North America.
The fossils have since been moved to their rightful place in the Earth Science Museum...
Anyone else curious what might still be in storage?
48. Robertson Stadium
"The Rob", home to the Houston Cougars since 1998, is going to be torn down and rebuilt.
However, this stadium has some interesting facts to provide of a historical nature.
It was home to the first double-overtime game in professional football history, on December 23, 1962.
The AFL's Houston Oilers lost to the Dallas Texans 20-17 in that season's title game.
It was also home to the first AFL title game in 1961...
47. Carrier Dome
Syracuse plays football in the largest dome in the northeastern U.S.
It has been named after the air conditioning company, Carrier.
However, in a somewhat ironic twist, the dome is not air conditioned in any way.
With most of its use being from August to May, it is assumed that the a/c is not needed...
46. Bulldog Stadium
Fresno State's fans proved to be willing to put out their money and support their team when the stadium was constructed.
Rather than use funds from student fees or state tax money, the residents of Fresno and the surrounding areas contributed over $7 million when the project was undertaken in 1979.
They may not get the press of some bigger schools and their fans, but these fans are dedicated, and their donations to build the original stadium prove it.
45. Alumni Stadium
Boston College has a beautiful facility, and the fans are dedicated to get out in weather that is sometimes less than amenable to football viewing.
However, the draconian restrictions on tailgating at the stadium leave much to be desired.
Any college football fan knows that tailgating is to start at dark thirty and not end until the cows come home.
At Alumni Stadium, it is only allowed in one parking lot, and only for a select few hours before and after the game...
44. Mackay Stadium
Contrary to some opinions, there was no conspiracy against Boise State in last year's heartbreaking loss to the Nevada Wolf Pack at Mackay.
However, the truth of the matter remains that Mackay has smaller than average goalposts for a college stadium.
This does not, however, excuse Kyle Brotzman, who, coincidentally, is not even in the NFL after his senior season at BSU...
43. Rice-Eccles Stadium
While the stadium is not extraordinary in and of itself, the Utes have outdone themselves when it comes to the "tower".
The tower is home to six levels, and each level is provided with an absolutely incredible view of the Wasatch Mountains and Salt Lake City.
With the move to the Pac-12, it is assumed that stadium expansion is on the agenda, and hopefully they keep the tower in place.
It provides one of the most scenic views in the country...
42. Floyd Casey Stadium
The Bears are hoping for a second consecutive solid season, and they apparently need one to get the fans to their games.
Until recent seasons, the university covered part of available seating with a tarp, due to low attendance numbers.
The only time the tarp was removed to provide 5,000 additional seats was when the visiting team was expected to bring a large number of fans...
41. Ross-Ade Stadium
There is not much that is more important to the construction and build of a football stadium than its turf.
Purdue, being the trend-setters that they are, became the first Big Ten school to use Bermuda grass on its field.
You will someday thank me for that worthless bit of information...
40. Amon G. Carter Stadium
Amon G. Carter Stadium was constructed because of a library.
TCU faithful will know that a wealthy rancher's wife donated a substantial amount of money to the university with the stipulation that at least part of it be used for a library.
It was decided to build the library on the site of the old sports field, Clark Field, and obviously the sports would have to move elsewhere.
That elsewhere eventually ended up being today's stadium...
39. Williams-Brice Stadium
South Carolina is home to some unruly people.
Apparently, the unofficial motto of the stadium is "If it Ain't swayin', we ain't playin'."
This is an homage to former head coach Joe Morrison, who made that statement after reports that the newly added east upper deck could be felt to sway back in the 80's.
The saying has since been adopted as a sort of mantra by SC fans...
38. Memorial Stadium
Cal's stadium is currently under construction, and will not be in use this season.
However, if you wish to catch a game for free once the stadium is again fully functional, you need look no further than "Tightwad Hill".
The "Victory Cannon" pictured here is also located on the hill.
As you can see, the view is not that bad, if you are ever in Berkeley in the fall on a Saturday, make your way here for some free football...
37. Boone Pickens Stadium
Oklahoma State might want to get the memo.
Boone Pickens Stadium, the oldest stadium in the Big 12, has a peculiar construction faux pas that few schools can boast.
Rather than the standard north to south configuration of the field, it runs east to west, providing an advantage for whichever team does not find themselves blinded by glare from the sun.
This might explain the Cowboys relative inability to ever come away with a Big 12 title...
36. Spartan Stadium
Really, he has nothing to do with the stadium, except for he performs in it, but Zeke the Wonder Dog is absolutely incredible.
This iteration of Zeke is Zeke III, and he is quite possibly the best Frisbee player you will ever see, although he does struggle with throwing them back.
On a side note, it appears the Spartans are currently selling the bricks to an old smokestack that used to stand near Spartan stadium for a mere $50 per block...
Spartans, what is your profession?
35. Bobby Dodd Stadium
Yeah, the "Ramblin' Wreck" driving onto the field is pretty cool, but did you know that Grant Field at Bobby Dodd is the oldest continuously used on-campus site for college football in the FBS?
Football has been played on the site since 1905, or roughly two years after Nancy Pelosi was born...
It also played host to the most lopsided football game in history, when Tech defeated Cumberland College 222-0 back in 1916.
34. Bronco Stadium
Perhaps we should change the name from "smurf turf" to the "Unfriendly Confines".
Bronco Stadium, while not exactly a top of the line venue, has proven to be a great home field for the Broncos.
They never lost a WAC conference game in the arena in their ten years as a member of the conference, and are 74-1 in home games since 1999.
Perhaps a move to the Big 12 is in order?
33. The L.A. Coliseum
While definitely not the most modern of venues, the USC Trojans' home field is definitely an icon in the annals of stadium history.
Wow, that was wordy...
Anyway, the Coliseum is the only stadium in the world to have hosted the Olympic Games twice.
It is also the only stadium to have hosted both a Super Bowl and the World Series.
This venerable arena boasts more sports' history than Keith Jackson can even dream about...
32. Folsom Field
For Colorado fans looking forward to the upcoming football season, that first home win can't come soon enough.
The scenery around this place is absolutely breath-taking, and their live mascot, Ralphie, is one of the most intimidating in college football.
However, according to the official website of CU football, they currently hold a home winning percentage of .666.
You would think they would round that up to .667 just to put people at ease, but no, it stays at .666.
31. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
The Swamp is easily one of the best venues in college football.
And talk about gender-equality.
The Gators have a pair of mascots, the male version, Albert, and the female, Alberta.
But the happy couple are not the only interesting part of The Swamp's tradition.
From 1949-2008, "Mr. Two-Bits" roamed the stands, leading fans in the cheer:
"Two bits! Four bits! Six bits! A dollar! All for the Gators, stand up and holler!"
30. Stanford Stadium
The irreverent, less than staid LSJUMB keeps things lively at Stanford Stadium.
We all know the kids at Stanford are supposedly smart or something, and a higher level of intelligence generally leads to a higher salary.
(Except when it comes to congress, Dog the Bounty Hunter and reality TV show participants. These people are all paid more than their intelligence deserves.)
But did they have to rub it in?
Stanford Stadium is currently the largest privately owned college football stadium.
Also of note is the fact that President Herbert Hoover gave his acceptance speech here, and also claimed the honor of being the manager of the first Stanford football team...
29. Davis-Wade Stadium
Mississippi State's most notable tradition in Davis-Wade is the use of cowbells.
This tradition has outlived bans and the complaints of opponents, and even thought the SEC restricted the use of artificial noisemakers in its stadiums, in 2010 they modified the rules to allow the bells' use on a trial basis.
Due to the circumspect behavior of MSU fans, the bells will once again ring in Davis-Wade in 2011.
28. Falcon Stadium
Air Force has a great shot at the MWC title this season, and a big part of that is their schedule of home games.
You see, the Falcons enjoy a pretty significant advantage when they play at home.
With an elevation of over 6,620 feet above sea level, the stadium is second only to Wyoming's in altitude.
Tough to play football if you can't breathe...
27. Husky Stadium
It's somewhat morbid, but this stadium can boast about being host to President Warren G. Harding's last address before his untimely death.
On a lighter note, Husky Stadium is rumored to be the place where doing "the wave" first originated and caught on.
And if that isn't enough info for you, the stadium joins Tennessee's Neyland Stadium as the only two FBS stadiums to stand directly next to a body of water.
So, if you enjoy getting seasick, followed by eating and drinking until you vomit, after which you would like to sit next to people who never stop screaming for three hours, this is the place for you...
26. Neyland Stadium
The "Volunteer Navy" regularly lines the water near the stadium on gameday and Tennesee's stadium is one of only two in the country to sit directly next to a body of water.
But an even better part of the stadium that may not be familiar to non-Tennessee folks, is the "I will give my all for Tennessee today" sign.
Just as Notre Dame players tap the "Play like a champion today" motto on their way to the field, the Volunteers pledge to give their best for the team, state and school.
See a picture of the sign here.
25. Rose Bowl
UCLA has been fortunate enough to use the Rose Bowl as the site of their home games since 1982.
While the venerable stadium is a sight to behold, due to some politics and disgruntled neighbors, the Bruins have to travel 26 miles to play their home games.
UCLA was not able to push through the building of a stadium on campus.
So, while they travel that far for games at the Rose Bowl, they only travel 14 miles for their games at USC...
24. Harvard Stadium
This stadium is beautiful, and does not have the same design as your average football stadium.
Even so, the fact that Janis Joplin performed her last concert here shortly before she passed away back in 1970 is of note.
Also of note, most of the $310,000 raised to begin the initial construction of the stadium was contributed by the class of 1879 as part of their 25th reunion celebration.
There has been no answer from the university on the question of whether the class of 1879 will be contributing to the 150 year anniversary renovation fund...
23. Doak-Campbell Stadium
Florida State is a program steeped in history and rich tradition.
The university found a unique way to commemorate this fact with bronze statues located at various points outside the venue.
The most prominent, and my personal favorite, is "Unconquered", a 19 foot tall piece depicting Chief Osceola and Renegade.
One can also find a statue of legendary head coach Bobby Bowden, "Sportsmanship" and "Seminole Family" at various points around the stadium.
Doak Campbell also boasts a brick facade around the entire structure, giving the appearance that the venue is built of brick...
22. Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium
On November 14, 1970, the East Carolina Pirates hosted the Marshall Thundering Herd at Dowdy Ficklen.
That night, following the game, the plane chartered to carry the Marshall squad crashed, ending the lives of the 75 people on board.
If one ventures to the east gate at Dowdy Ficklen, there is a plaque in place, in honor of the memory of the lives lost on board that ill-fated flight.
Class act, those Pirates...
21. Yale Bowl
While not as famous or as big as some of the FBS stadiums, a trip to this one is worth putting on your bucket list.
The Yale Bowl was the original bowl-shaped stadium, and after its erection in the early 1900's became the inspiration for such stadiums as Michigan Stadium and the Rose Bowl.
It has been designated a national historic landmark, and is an awesome experience.
However, the interesting fact about the stadium is that the outside rock walls and gateways were treated with a chemical to help them look aged.
The problem with this is that it eventually did too much damage, and in 2006, the stadium had to undergo some repairs...that worked out well.
20. Memorial Stadium, Clemson
Touching Howrd's Rock on the way to the field is one of the greatest traditions in football, but as far as the actual stadium goes, the building of the structure is an interesting tale.
The stadium was built in the 40's and scholarship athletes contributed much of the labor needed to clear the land.
Can you imagine Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd clearing poison oak from a football field with an axe?
19. Kyle Field
Texas A&M is leaving the Big 12.
Fans of opposing Big 12 teams will miss the opportunity to visit Kyle Field.
The 12th man, where A&M students stand for the entire game, is a great tradition, but an even better one is lesser known.
Every time the Aggies score, dating couples kiss...seriously.
It's been said that every time the Aggies score on the field, Aggies score in the stands...
18. Mountaineer Field
The Mountaineer fans are famous for their avid couch-burning activities, and with good reason.
When Pitt is in town for the "Backyard Brawl" no couch is safe.
This intrepid group of fans sing along in a reverent manner when John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads" plays over the loudspeaker.
The tune has been adopted as the anthem of the 'Neers, and was sung by Denver at the stadium's dedication...
17. Michie Stadium
To the best of my knowledge, most stadiums have their game balls carried into the facility by a ball-boy, usually carrying a bag.
Army, however, defies this boring standard of football staleness, by bringing the gameball into beautiful Michie Stadium with a bang.
The ball is generally carried in by a skydiver who lands on the field.
16. Jordan-Hare Stadium
Obviously, when Auburn knocked off Alabama in last season's Iron bowl, it wasn't for the first time.
From the inception of the Auburn football program until the 80's, it was difficult to travel to Auburn, and other teams had larger venues.
The first Iron Bowl in Jordan-Hare was a memorable one for Tiger fans, as Auburn upset the number two ranked Crimson Tide.
A great start at Jordan-Hare for the Tigers...
15. Beaver Stadium
Penn State may have the oldest man in the world coaching their football team, but they know how to keep things modern.
It's reported that the stadium was one of the first in the country to be available on Google's street-view.
Visitors can hop onto Google Maps and take a virtual walk down the tunnel and onto the field.
No word yet on whether a younger version of JoePa can be seen there leading practice...
14. Lane Stadium
Virginia Tech's stadium is a must-see experience.
The place is rife with tradition, and it's always nice to see the home team win, which the Hokies usually do at Lane.
And while many teams have drums or cannon that they fire after a score, it's hard to find one with quite the story or background that the Hokies' "Skipper" boasts.
The cannon is said to have been named in honor of president John F. Kennedy, who was a "skipper" on a PT boat during WWII.
13. Camp Randall Stadium
No those aren't the predecessors of today's massive offensive linemen at Wisconsin.
They are Civil War veterans.
The land on which the stadium now stands, and some of the surrounding area, once served as a training ground for Union soldiers during the Civil War.
That's right, on the ground where folks now "Jump Around", these men once prepared to fight in the bloody battles that would determine the fate of our country.
Okay, it's pretty heavy stuff for football season, but for you history buffs out there, it's also an interesting piece of info.
No word on whether AD Barry Alvarez was trained here...
12. Sanford Stadium
The Bulldogs have another one of the SEC's vaunted famous stadiums.
But an interesting note from Sanford Stadium history is in reference to the "Track People".
During the 70's the view of the field from the railroad tracks to the east allowed fans to enjoy the game free of charge.
In 1981, the view was blocked by renovations.
Also, probably due to the hedges planted on either side of the stadium, the field has only been rushed one time in its history...
11. Sun Devil Stadium
Sun Devil Stadium was the place where a legendary NFL career ended.
In the last Monday Night Football game at the venue until 2003, 49ers quarterback Steve Young suffered a career ending concussion in a game against the Arizona Cardinals.
While this has absolutely nothing to do with the Sun Devils, it's not every college team's venue that brag being the site of a legend's last hurrah...
10. Memorial Stadium
Two things about this stadium and it's fans.
First, the loyalty is second to none.
The Husker faithful have filled Memorial Stadium for 311 consecutive games, an NCAA record.
(They also hold the NCAA record for most corn-cob hats in one place)
Second, in spite of all the "N is for knowledge" jokes the Husker fans must put up with, it seems they admire some solid prose.
On the four corners of the stadium can be found these words, written by a former professor:
Southeast: "In Commemoration of the men of Nebraska who served and fell in the Nations 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."
9. Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium
This stadium has been home to more epic fails by it's top rated tenants than any other stadium.
Just kidding, but it is the only stadium in the country that is not entirely bowl shaped due to a baseball field.
Apparently, if the bowl shape had been finished, the three practice fields would have been harder to get to, and the university's baseball field would have had to shorten the left field line a little more than is appropriate.
After all, what's a few thousand more seats when you have to turn your baseball field into a little league venue?
8. Autzen Stadium
Oregon, two things can be said about your chaotic, loud, stadium.
First, it's tough to forget that your stadium is named after an alumnus of your rival.
That's right, he graduated from Oregon State.
Second, the original use for the ground the stadium now sits upon was a refuse dump.
I still love the stadium, but both of those facts are intriguing...
7. Ohio Stadium
They have been marred by scandal and battered by suspensions, but they are still rolling along.
The Ohio State Buckeyes have been the dominant force in the Big Ten conference over the last decade.
You would think the premier program in one of the premier conferences in the country would have all the modern amenities and conveniences they could muster.
You would be wrong.
"The Horseshoe" does not have permanent field lighting.
Any time the Buckeyes schedule a night game at home, they must set up temporary lights.
Talk about the Big Ten being stodgy, slow and behind the times...
6. Notre Dame Stadium
The tradition in and around this stadium reaches heights that most venues can only dream of attaining.
From "Touchdown Jesus" to "Play like a champion today" their are pieces of history scattered across the eyeline from the moment one steps foot inside the venue.
But stadiums are about the teams that play there, and few stadiums have been such hospitable homes as Notre Dame Stadium.
No team that has faced the Irish there at least four times has a winning record.
5. Michigan Stadium
Michigan Stadium has the largest capacity of any college football venue in the country, and it is regularly filled to that capacity.
However, there will always be "one extra seat" for former head coach, "Fritz" Crisler.
Crisler is credited with inventing the idea of a two-platoon football team, or using different players for offense and defense.
He is also given credit for the "winged" design of Michigan's helmets, which have been used, in some variation of his design, since he was the head coach.
Nobody is exactly sure where this "extra seat" actually is, but by all accounts, it does exist...this is why, since 1955, the official capacity has ended in "001".
It has nothing to do with James Bond...
4. Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium
While we have all heard about the new Cowboy Stadium and all it's immense grandeur, DKR and the Longhorns still have the largest seating capacity in the state.
Cowboy Stadium has a "party plaza" capable of holding 30,000 standing spectators.
Must be pretty dedicated for that many fans to stand.
Anyway, one interesting fact that 'Horns' fans may wish to forget is that their largest attendance ever at DKR was not for any great rivalry game or a non-conference battle with an annual power.
No, the largest recorded attendance of 101,437 was set last September, when UCLA whooped the Longhorns, 34-12.
3. Bryant Denny Stadium
Alabama's stadium is a difficult place for opponents to play.
For instance, under legendary head coach Bear Bryant, the Tide were 72-2 at Bryant Denny.
So it would seem it's a tough enough place to play without any sort of psychological tricks.
However, in 2008, the visitor's locker room was renamed "The Fail Room", in honor of donor James M. Fail.
""After all, who would want anything with the name `Fail' on it? Earlier this year, when I saw the visitors' locker room as a potential naming right, I figured it was the most appropriate opportunity I would ever have to use my name."
2. Tiger Stadium
Rather than focus on any structural aspect of the stadium, or even the Tigers' unparallelled success in night games there, let's talk about the Earthquake Game.
While many stadiums get very loud at game-time, this is one instance where the crowd actually shook the earth with their noise.
Guess those people are pretty passionate about their Tigers.
1. Kinnick Stadium
Visiting an opposing stadium is always difficult.
Teams have to make the trip, stay somewhere to which they are not accustomed, and deal with opposing fans.
Legendary Iowa head coach, Hayden Fry, decided to make it even more difficult, and so had the visiting locker room painted pink.
“When I talked with an opposing coach before a game and he mentions the pink walls, I know I've got him. I can't recall a coach who has stirred up a fuss about the color and then beat us.” Hayden Fry
There have been objections voiced over the pink locker rooms from many fronts, but they remain pink to this day, and the university had the urinals and stalls in the bathrooms upgraded to pink as recently as 2005...