College Football 2011: The Top 50 Stadiums in the Country
The Names who have passed through are too numerous to begin count......
Oftentimes, teams and sports become synonymous with the venues in which they are played.
We think of gladiatorial combats unfolding in the historic Roman Colosseum, just as we picture a tennis match being played out at Wimbledon in London. When we think of golf, we conjure up images of Augusta and St. Andrews, and one would be hard pressed to consider a soccer match taking place anywhere other than Wembley Stadium.
Unfortunately, pro sports in America have taken for granted the stadiums in which they play. Consider the fact that other than the Chicago Bears, every NFL team plays in a stadium that is less than 60 years old (and even Soldier Field, home of the Bears, underwent a renovation in 2003). A majority of baseball stadiums have been built in the past 20 years.
The temporal argument is just a piece of the puzzle, however, as naming rights often belong to the corporation with the deepest pockets, which has bastardized any tradition in American professional sports.
College football is different, though. Many teams play in true relics, shrines even, of the game. Many of the stadiums are 60 years old or longer and have undergone minor renovations, if any. When stepping foot inside one of these hallowed halls, one can truly breathe in the tradition of years and years of athletes, coaches, students and legends that have passed before them. College football stadiums remain one of the few uncorrupted areas of American society.
The following is a list of the 50 greatest. Enjoy.
Honorable Mention: Roos Field, Eastern Washington University
No, your rods and cones aren't messed up
Eastern Washington University's Roos Field gets an honorable mention for obvious reasons. The field turf isn't just red—it's bright red. Piercing. Difficult to look at when it is televised.
The stadium once featured natural grass but needed a renovation. Former Eagle Michael Roos started a campaign to replace the natural grass with a red field turf. He donated $50,000 of his own money, and ESPN's Colin Cowherd also contributed money.
Apparently, the fund-raising was a success, because the result can be seen above.
Dishonorable Mention: Kibbie Dome, Idaho
The worst of the worst
No, that isn't an airplane hangar, nor does it hold some sort of UFO stashed by the government. That's a football stadium.
It's in Moscow, Idaho, home of the Idaho Vandals. The stadium was originally built as an open stadium, but for whatever reason, they decided to add a roof. It seats 16,000 people, and the inside seems as exciting as the outside.
50. University Stadium: University of New Mexico
It isn't The Pit, but it's still cool
We begin the countdown with a small but classic stadium situated in beautiful Albuquerque.
University Stadium features a berm structure, which means that many of the seats are below ground level. One enters the stadium and half the seats are above them, half below. We will see that there are many stadiums that have this cool feature as we go along.
University is unique in its arrangement. It isn't a complete bowl, as one end zone is empty, but it isn't like other stadiums in that the end zone on the other end is connected. This leads to more seats, better views and more sound retention.
The stadium has hosted the New Mexico Bowl since its inception in 2006. Additionally, it has hosted bands such as Led Zeppelin, Metallica and the Rolling Stones. If it's good enough for Mick Jagger, it's good enough for me.
49. Robertson Stadium: University of Houston
While Robertson Stadium has stood since 1941, the Cougars didn't start playing there regularly until 1999 (they did for a few years in the 1940s). Fans of the Cougars have a massive renovation to thank for that.
In the last decade, there have been additions of bleachers, luxury boxes and scoreboards, and the field has been lowered.
There are currently talks on whether to expand the stadium to 50,000 or build a new stadium for the Cougars. Here's hoping for an expansion.
48. Bulldog Stadium: Fresno State University
Bulldog Stadium has come to be known as one of the premier facilities outside of the BCS. In addition to hosting the Fresno State Bulldogs, it once hosted the now defunct California Bowl and friendlies leading up to the 1994 FIFA World Cup.
Bulldog Stadium is also built in a sunken fashion, as you can see from the picture.
Despite borrowing the checkerboard end zone style from Tennessee, the red and white squares have become ubiquitous with Fresno State football.
47. War Memorial Stadium: University of Wyoming
The highest of highs
While Wyoming hasn't been the most formidable of foes through the years, playing in Laramie has been no easy feat. That's due in large part to Wyoming's War Memorial Stadium being the highest from sea level of all college football stadiums.
Forget Denver and the Mile High City...War Memorial Stadium is 7,220 feet, or 1.37 miles, above sea level.
The Rocky Mountains are to the west, and Laramie Range is to the east. Whichever way you look, you're bound to see something special.
46. Aloha Stadium: University of Hawaii
Known for playing host to the Hawaii Warriors, bowl games and the NFL Pro Bowl, Aloha Stadium is actually designed in a way to accommodate much more. It is built with movable grandstands (the first stadium built in such a way) so that the field can change into a baseball field, a soccer field, a football field and a smaller field for concerts and plays.
Hawaii in general is known for its beautiful views, and Aloha Stadium offers nothing less. The stadium is situated amongst a line of trees and borders East Loch bay.
Renovations were recently undertaken to fix many of the upper-deck seats and to fix rusting beams and facades.
45. Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium: West Virginia University
Mountaineer Field's name is fitting, not only for its association with the school, but because of its location. Located amongst the Appalachians, Mountaineer Field is a sight to be seen.
The attendance record was set in 1993, when No. 9 West Virginia upset No. 4 Miami. No matter how good the team is, however, fans pack the stadium. It is said that on game days, the stadium becomes the largest city in West Virginia.
Finally, after any Mountaineers win, players lead the fans in a rendition of "Take Me Home, Country Roads" by John Denver. Then the stadium really rocks.
44. Bright House Networks Stadium: University of Central Florida
Plenty of room to tailgate
The newest stadium of the list, UCF finally found a home with Bright House Networks Stadium (so much for what I said about corporate naming).
The modernity of it really shows, as it is located in a prime spot and is beautiful inside. The stadium was built with the intent of showcasing UCF's burgeoning athletic programs. So far the stadium and the team have lived up to the bargain.
Despite the modernity, there is a question regarding the stadium's stability. It has earned the nickname "The Trampoline" due to steel seats purportedly bouncing up and down during loud moments during the game. The bounce is certainly there, as cameras have had to set up outside the stadium to avoid projecting a shaky image. Nevertheless, engineers have assured fans that the stadium is sound.
43. Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium: East Carolina University
Located on Blackbeard's Alley
This might be the best thing that tobacco money has ever produced. James Skinner Ficklen, owner of the local E.B. Skinner Tobacco Company and a major ECU booster, contributed to the construction of the stadium. As a result, he gets his name on it.
ECU boasts one of the nation's best tailgating atmospheres. Afterwards, students can file into North Carolina's third-largest college stadium and take in the action. This includes a new state-of-the-art scoreboard, which boasts itself as having the best, fastest instant replay in the nation.
42. Vaught-Hemingway Stadium: University of Mississippi
For college football fans, a trip to Oxford, Miss. for the legendary Grove, followed by a game at Vaught-Hemingway, is a must. The Grove is famous for its massive tailgating setup. Following the pregame, the stadium doesn't disappoint.
The attendance record was broken in 2009 when Ole Miss took down No. 3 Alabama. They've recently added a $6 million scoreboard, which is the eighth-largest in the nation. It's only 48 by 84 feet and in crystal-clear HD.
The people of Mississippi love their football—so much that, in 1915, students took time away from school to actually help build one corner of the stadium. That's love.
41. Glass Bowl: University of Toledo
A unique stadium, the Glass Bowl is known for a blend of old and new.
You can see the old above: traditional stone entrances that have stood the test of time. The "new" includes luxury boxes, a new scoreboard and a new press box.
It gets its name from, you guessed it, glass. When renovated in the mid '50s, several of the upgrades featured a heavy amount of glass. Additionally, Toledo is the Glass City, known for innovations to glass throughout the years.
Finally, there is a rocket outside of the stadium pointed and set to strike midfield of their rival Bowling Green State University's stadium. It's been sitting there for 50 years.
40. Nippert Stadium: University of Cincinnati
Skyline Chili sounds good right about now
Nippert is the fifth-oldest stadium in college football and has become a bigger focal point in the national landscape as the Bearcats have improved. The record attendance was broken in 2009 in a game against Illinois, as the Bearcats played their final home game of an undefeated season.
The Bengals played in Nippert for two years as they awaited Riverfront Stadium to be finished. Nippert is another sunken field, almost fully. On one entrance, fans enter at approximately the fifth-highest row of the stadium.
39. Spartan Stadium: Michigan State University
Our first Big Ten stadium on the list, Spartan Stadium is sometimes overshadowed, both literally and figuratively, by the other stadiums in the Big Ten. That should be ignored, however, as Spartan Stadium is a legit facility.
The design is unique: a complete bowl on the bottom, with two stands on the sidelines. It is currently the 22nd-largest stadium in the nation.
In 2001, a rink was constructed in the middle of the field, and 74,554 watched MSU take on Michigan in hockey. This game is partially credited for setting off the recent wave of outdoor hockey games.
Finally, Spartan Stadium played host to what many consider to be the greatest college football game of all time: a 10-10 tie between Notre Dame and MSU in 1966.
38. Amon G. Carter Stadium: Texas Christian University
Upon its opening in 1930, onlookers were awestruck by the stadium's size and magnificence. Over the past 80 years, it has stood the test of time.
The stadium plays host to the Armed Forces Bowl. A renovation is expected to be completed in 2012, which will bring the capacity up to 40,000, with the possibility of adding another 10,000.
As TCU has rekindled the glory it had in the early to mid 20th century, it's good to see that the stadium hasn't changed much. As a result of the home-field advantage TCU enjoys, the stadium has been nicknamed "Hell's Half Acre."
37. LaVell Edwards Stadium: Brigham Young University
Hard to beat this
The stadium is 4,630 feet above sea level and apparently has the best press box in the business. Better yet, it has some of the best views in the nation.
BYU produced a national championship in 1984 under legendary coach LaVell Edwards. In return, BYU named the stadium after him.
If you traveled to the stadium in the past, you would be able to see something that you would be guaranteed not see anywhere else. The stadium previously held one of North America's largest collections of dinosaur fossils. They have since been moved to the Earth Science Museum.
36. Rice Stadium: Rice University
Rice Stadium was at one time the center of football in metropolitan Houston.
Both Rice and Houston played football there in the 1950s and '60s. It was the home to the Houston Oilers for a few years and even hosted Super Bowl VIII (Miami 24, Minnesota 7).
If Super Bowls weren't enough, the stadium is also the place where in 1962, President John F. Kennedy made his proclamation to send a man to moon by the end of the decade. Unfortunately, in his long stretch of theoretical statements that were meant to ponder why America wouldn't attempt a lunar trip, JFK asked, "Why does Rice play Texas?" implying that Rice had no chance against the Longhorns.
35. Boone Pickens Stadium: Oklahoma State University
This certainly isn't the same stadium that it was when it opened in 1914. Boone Pickens Stadium has undergone plenty of face-lifts throughout the years, including the most recent one from a benefactor, T. Boone Pickens himself.
Pickens gave OSU $165 million to build an "athletic village" in Stillwater. Much of that went to a $260 million renovation throughout the early 21st century. It's all part of Oklahoma State's plan to take the next step and become a consistent threat in the Big 12 and national landscape.
So far, so good.
34. Memorial Stadium: University of California, Berkeley
This is the only stadium on the list currently unused, as it is undergoing a renovation. Despite this, Memorial Stadium stands as a beautiful structure in Berkeley, CA.
The stadium is built on a seismic fault line and has been considered a major threat to safety should an earthquake occur. This hasn't stopped fans from coming out in droves to support the Bears.
However, the stadium is best known for what goes on on the outside. Every game, several activists situate themselves in the surrounding trees to protest their removal.
Additionally, a hill that overlooks the stadium attracts several people to come and try to watch the game for free. As a result, the hill has become known as "Tightwad Hill."
Only in Berkeley...
33. Williams-Brice Stadium: University of South Carolina
The 20th-largest stadium in the nation is also only one of two that is named solely after a female (Marshall's Joan C. Edwards Stadium being the other). Martha Williams-Brice left most of her estate to USC with the intent to renovate the stadium. It did and named the place after her.
The stadium earned a slogan in the early 1980s: "If it ain't swaying, we ain't a-playing." This is a reference to the upper deck swaying due to noise. It still sways to this day.
The pregame is famous for its rendition of "Also sprach Zarathustra."
32. Bobby Dodd Stadium: Georgia Tech
The location is part of what lands this great stadium so high on the list. Great views of downtown are easy to obtain, and the famed "Varsity" restaurant is a short block away.
Inside, the stadium has undergone several renovations. The scoreboard has doubled in size, and banners have been hung that celebrate every bowl game Georgia Tech has been to.
Additionally, the Atlanta Falcons played several football games in the stadium during the 1980s, when scheduling conflicts arose with the Braves, as the two shared the now demolished Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.
31. Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium: University of Oklahoma
Everything worked out well for the Sooners in the early 1980s. The NCAA had constrictive TV contracts, which meant OU could play when it wanted. Then, after OU sued the NCAA and now had access to night games, it had another problem: Its stadium didn't have lights.
As a result, OU eventually added four light towers near the end of the 20th century. With an unexpected national title in 2000, more and more money came in, which led to more and more renovations. Most recently, a clock tower and new scoreboard have given the stadium a retro look.
30. Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium: University of Texas at Austin
The biggest stadium on our list so far, "DKR" is the ninth-biggest non-racing stadium in the nation.
Renovations have beefed up the experience at DKR, but nothing more than their "Godzillatron," a 7,370-square foot HD scoreboard. Just because everything is bigger in Texas, apparently.
The most recent renovations cost "only" approximately $60 million. With all that cash coming in from the Longhorn Network, expect more and more improvements to the stadium in the years to come.
29. War Memorial Stadium: Little Rock, Arkansas
This entry may come as a surprise to some of you, as the stadium only hosts a few college games a year and is considerably smaller than Arkansas' other stadium, Razorback Stadium.
But War Memorial has more tradition than most stadiums. Arkansas has played in the stadium since 1948 and continues to choose to hold its biggest contests of the year at the stadium. This year, it hosts Mississippi State. In years past, it usually hosts rival LSU.
28. Jordan-Hare Stadium: Auburn University
From 1952-1961, Auburn was undefeated at home. It was a 30-game home winning streak and the longest in the team's history.
Despite being the 12th-biggest stadium in the nation, several big home games for Auburn were played elsewhere due to Jordan-Hare's location. Auburn's campus itself is difficult to travel to, and as a result, big games were played elsewhere in Alabama.
When the patrons do pack the stadium, however, the stadium turns into the fifth-biggest city in Alabama.
27. Bryant-Denny Stadium: University of Alabama
Another stadium in Alabama, and this one becomes the third-biggest city in Alabama when packed.
Alabama has enjoyed success here most recently, but it would be hard pressed to match the track record of its famous coach, Paul "Bear" Bryant. The Bear went 72-2 in his time at Bryant-Denny.
26. Kinnick Stadium: University of Iowa
A true sunken stadium, fans are asked to enter Kinnick at the top and then descend stairs to find their seats. As a result, the noise retention is immense, making it one of the hardest places to play.
Or maybe it's those famous pink locker rooms. Famed head coach Hayden Fry had the visitors locker rooms painted pink, claiming that it was a color that would put the opponents in a passive mood. Despite protests from many that the pink locker rooms are sexist or homophobic, everything in the visitors locker room, urinals included, remain pink.
25. Stanford Stadium: Stanford University
This is a truly beautiful stadium that unfortunately has fallen out of the public eye due to the Cardinal's struggles on the field. However, Stanford is prominent once again, which allows us to revisit all the history associated with Stanford Stadium.
While it remains that no team has played a Super Bowl in its home stadium, Stanford Stadium may have been the closest a team has played to home. In 1985, the stadium hosted Super Bowl XIX, a 38-16 win for the San Francisco 49ers over the Miami Dolphins.
Additionally, the stadium helped Los Angeles out by hosting soccer games during the 1984 Summer Olympics and also hosted some games in the 1994 World Cup and 1999 Women's World Cup.
In the true spirit of the rivalry, Stanford Stadium was rushed out so it could be completed before Cal completed its stadium. As a result, Stanford Stadium was built in four months! Cal got the last laugh though, as it beat Stanford in the inaugural game, 42-7.
24. Falcon Stadium: Air Force Academy
The second-highest stadium from sea level (6,621 feet) is situated in a beautiful basin along the Rocky Mountains. The stadium fits naturally into the Earth, with one side being taller than the other and the entire stadium being 500 feet lower than the nearby campus.
Although built for football, the stadium has seen its share of soccer games. In addition, the Air Force Academy graduation ceremonies are held annually in the stadium.
Oh, and you know they have pretty cool flyovers too.
23. Liberty Bowl: University of Memphis
Memphis' recent ineptitude shouldn't reflect badly on the stadium it plays in. I like to associate the Liberty Bowl with the bowl game it hosts, as opposed to the Memphis team.
In all seriousness, though, the stadium is great. It serves as a memorial to those lost in World War I, World War II and the Korean War. As well, the Tigers do in fact have a winning record all-time at the stadium.
In addition to the Liberty Bowl bowl game, the stadium hosts just about anything that comes to Memphis. This has included the Memphis Maniax of the XFL and the Memphis Mad Dogs of the Canadian Football League—yes, the CFL in Memphis...
22. Sun Bowl: University of Texas at El Paso
One would be hard pressed to find a more beautiful setting for a stadium, as the Sun Bowl is built into a mountainside. It sits 3,910 feet above sea level and opens up to beautiful views of downtown El Paso.
21. Legion Field: University of Alabama at Birmingham
Another stadium that hosts an underachieving tenant, as UAB has made one bowl game in its entire history. As a result, Legion Field has gone somewhat forgotten.
What a shame that is. Legion Field is so historic that the "Old Gray Lady" has been nicknamed the Football Capital of the South.
Why not? Every year from 1948 to 1988, the stadium hosted the Iron Bowl between Alabama and Auburn (in a setup similar to what we see with Oklahoma-Texas or Florida-Georgia). Prior to 1999, Alabama made a point to split its home games evenly between Legion Field and Bryant-Denny.
It has also hosted four bowl games: the Dixie Bowl (1947-48), the Hall of Fame Bowl (1977-85), the All-American Bowl (1986-90) and most recently the BBVA Compass Bowl (2006-present).
20. Sun Devil Stadium: Arizona State University
If we gave credit to the Sun Bowl for being built into the side of a stadium, then we certainly need to give credit to Sun Devil Stadium for being built in a mountain.
Hosting the Fiesta Bowl from 1971 to 2006 doesn't hurt either. As a result, the stadium hosted the first BCS National Championship Game (Tennessee 23, Florida State 16) and what many consider to be one of the best games of all time, the 2003 national championship game (Ohio State 31, Miami 24).
Additionally, the stadium hosted Super Bowl XXX (Cowboys 27, Steelers 17) and was the home to the Phoenix Cardinals from 1988 to 2005. It currently hosts the Insight Bowl.
19. Doak Campbell Stadium: Florida State University
The facade of Doak Campbell is like no other. Instead of a traditional stadium, it looks like you are walking into a historical European village. In addition to housing several sculptures and the new Bobby Bowden stained glass mural, the stadium contains offices of school administrators. How would you like to go to work every day there?
Inside is pretty nice too, with a consistent winner playing. During one stretch under Bowden, FSU went 82-4-1 at home.
18. Lane Stadium: Virginia Tech
Don't let the relative lack of size fool you. Lane Stadium is one of the loudest venues in the nation.
This is thanks in large part to the architecture of the stadium. The single bowl rises steeply along the sidelines. On the short sides of the field, stands extend beyond the length of the end zone horizontally, trapping sound in.
Of course, VT has been great in past years, giving the fans a reason to yell and shout. Another reason is Metallica, who can get any stadium loud.
17. Kyle Field: Texas A&M University
A&M's stadium is big—triple-decker big. The size has produced noise, and the noise has produced wins. A&M was 55-4-1 at home in the 1990s.
The stadium and fans have earned the moniker "The 12th Man," a slogan that has since been replicated and copied across the nation.
In 2006, a Jumbotron was added, a 3,954-square foot Mitsubishi LED TV that at the time was one of the 10 largest such TVs in the world.
SEC fans should have mixed feelings about the prospects of traveling to A&M in the upcoming years: excited to see the stadium, apprehensive over what the outcome might be.
16. Folsom Field: University of Colorado
Folsom is the third-highest stadium from sea level, situated at 5,360 feet high. The capacity may be small, but the Buffs will trade size for aesthetics.
The facade is classical, the interior loud and the attitude progressive. Keeping with the spirit of Boulder, Folsom Field became the first "zero waste" stadium in the NCAA in 2008, a distinction given due to the tireless recycling efforts the stadium has employed.
With its deep bowl, views and thin Colorado air, it's a great place to catch a game. It isn't a bad place to catch a concert either.
15. Camp Randall Stadium: University of Wisconsin
Camp Randall Stadium is as well known as the raucous students that fill it. Together, it makes Wisconsin one of the tougher venues in the nation to play in.
Camp Randall is the oldest stadium in the Big Ten. Back in 1917, it was built for $15,000, which is about a quarter of the damages Wisconsin fans cause on their annual Halloween party.
Speaking of the fans, they have developed a tradition of jumping around between the third and fourth quarters to, fittingly, House of Pain's "Jump Around."
14. Autzen Stadium: University of Oregon
Another stadium on the small side, Autzen packs a pop. It is consistently regarded as one of the loudest stadiums in the nation (more on this soon).
Many might consider the unorthodox design or the two-tone green field turf to be off-putting, but it is consistent with an attitude and identity Oregon has established recently.
It is also crucial to an overall athletic facilities that is considered one of the nation's best. The Ducks have Phil Knight to thank.
13. Memorial Stadium (Death Valley): Clemson University
On an unimaginative side, Clemson's Memorial Stadium is built in a valley, and that's why it's called Death Valley. Another train of thought is the university cemetery was once situated on the hill where the upper stands are now located. Wherever you think the term comes from, opponents have had trouble escaping with a win.
The main tradition that Death Valley is known for is Howard's Rock. In the early 1960s, coach Frank Howard was given a rock as a present and used it for a while as a doorstop. Eventually, he told an assistant to get rid of it, but the assistant instead placed it on a pedestal near the entrance of the stadium.
In the first game after the rock's relocation, Clemson won, and Howard turned it into a motivational tool. He warned his players, "Give me 110 percent or keep your hands off my rock."
The players' entrance, complete with a rubbing of the rock, is known as the 25 most exciting seconds in college football.
12. Husky Stadium: University of Washington
You're looking at the loudest stadium in the nation, according to the people who like measuring decibel levels. The fins on top were designed to reduce the sun's glare in the players' eyes and have been found out to have the added bonus of making the place really, really loud.
The location of the stadium speaks for itself. It is located on the edge of Union Bay, and the open end looks out to Mount Rainier.
Oh, and that 1992 game where they broke the record? Here it is. This place used to rock in the early '90s.
11. Sanford Stadium: University of Georgia
The stadium is famous for its privet hedges behind each end zone. As a result, the stadium/field has earned the nickname "Between the Hedges." Many have claimed that the hedges, in addition to their aesthetic beauty, help retain sound inside the stadium.
The stadium played host to the medal round in men's and women's soccer at the 1996 Olympics.
Sanford has undergone renovations throughout the years, including a new HD scoreboard, but the hedges have gone untouched.
On a more somber note, all of the UGA mascots who have passed away through the years (I-VIII) are entombed at a shrine in one corner of the stadium.
10. Memorial Stadium: University of Nebraska
The "Sea of Red" has found a new home in the Big Ten, and if this past week's game against OSU is any indication, it showed that it still has some magic left in her.
When packed, Memorial Stadium becomes the third-largest city in Nebraska. Perhaps I shouldn't have prefaced that last sentence with "when" since the Huskers hold the current record of 312 consecutive sellouts and counting. There hasn't been an empty seat in the stadium since 1962.
"Husker Vision" is one of the main attractions of the stadium. When completed, the scoreboard was the biggest in college football. Every week, it portrays the Huskers walking from the locker room to the field.
9. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium: University of Florida
Its nickname, "The Swamp," was coined by Steve Spurrier in the early '90s, stating, "The Swamp is where Gators live." It might not be rocket science, but the name has stuck, and the Gators have been extremely successful at the Swamp since then.
How good? From 1990 to 2009, the Gators were 113-13 at home! It no doubt played a major aid in the Gators winning three titles in 13 years.
The field's sunken design, coupled with traditional Florida humidity, has led many games to be in excess of 100 degrees. A blessing in disguise? These facts were the impetus for Robert Cade to develop Gatorade.
8. Beaver Stadium: Penn State University
The youngest of the top 10, Beaver Stadium is the second-biggest stadium in the nation, which makes it the fourth-largest stadium in the world.
Since the expansion in 2001, the smallest crowd was 95,636 (against EMU this year). That is still more than the capacity of 113 of the 120 FBS stadiums.
7. Neyland Stadium: University of Tennessee
How do you get to the stadium? Bus? Car? Walk from your dorm? I don't know about you, but taking a boat sure sounds pretty sweet.
This is what many decide to do in order to get to Neyland. Due to the lack of parking and its proximity to the Tennessee River, over 200 boats (known as the Vol Navy) make their way to Neyland every Saturday.
Through 2010, the Vols had a .789 winning percentage. Great teams, great atmosphere, 100,000-plus fans and "Rocky Top" are all to thank.
6. Rose Bowl: University of California, Los Angeles
There isn't a better location for a stadium in the world. Period.
The Rose Bowl has played host to "The Granddaddy of Them All," the Rose Bowl Game, since 1923. The Rose Bowl played as big a part in California mystique and representation as anything else, including the Hollywood sign. Before families even considered flying or going on a cross-country road trip to Disneyland, they watched the Rose Bowl on TV.
In addition to hosting what is usually a top-five college football game for the season, the Rose Bowl hosted the 1994 World Cup Final. It also hosted the famous 1999 women's final, which saw Brandi Chastain score the game-winning goal.
It has hosted Olympic events in 1932 and 1984, as well as Super Bowl XIV (Steelers 31, Rams 19).
It has been named a U.S. national landmark.
5. Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum: University of Southern California
The Coliseum has seen just about everything in her lifetime. The Trojans since 1923. The Bruins from 1928 to 1981. Two Summer Olympics (1932, 1984). The L.A. Rams. The L.A. Raiders. Super Bowl I and VII. The Pro Bowl from 1951 to 1972. Even the L.A. Dodgers, which included the 1959 World Series.
Additionally, odds are that if you ever see a stadium in a film, it was filmed at the Coliseum.
It's seen so much, done so much and represents so much that it was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1984.
It was built as a memorial to World War I veterans and has developed into a memorial for all who have served and for the athletes of the 1932 and 1984 games.
Think football doesn't matter to SoCal fans? Consider that every home game, at the start of the fourth quarter, the Olympic torch is lit. Other times it gets lit? During the Olympic games, following the attacks of September 11th, following the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986 and to honor the deaths of Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II.
4. Tiger Stadium (Death Valley): Louisiana State University
Perhaps the greatest praise for the stadium came from one of the greatest coaches to coach the game, legend Paul "Bear" Bryant: "Baton Rouge happens to be the worst place in the world for a visiting team."
There are many oddities and traditions that make Death Valley so great. For one, the field has number markers every five yards instead of the traditional 10.
For another, the Tigers somehow seem to play better at night. A traditional welcoming to the stadium can be heard: "It's a Saturday night in Death Vallleyyyyyy."
This was on full display in 1988. When LSU scored a go-ahead touchdown in the waning minutes of the game, the crowd was so loud that it recorded an earthquake at the Geoscience Complex across town. It is now simply known as "The Earthquake Game."
3. Michigan Stadium: University of Michigan
Perhaps its nickname, "The Big House," is enough explanation. If not, consider that Michigan Stadium is the third-largest stadium in the world, behind only May Day Stadium in North Korea and Salt Lake Stadium in India.
Despite the capacity, Michigan broke the attendance record just this year. The second week of the season saw it beat Notre Dame, and 114,804 saw it happen in person.
Since 1975, there have been 100,000-plus in attendance every game.
They also managed to pack 113,411 into the stadium for "The Big Chill at the Big House," their hockey rematch against MSU in 2010.
2. Notre Dame Stadium: University of Notre Dame
There isn't a stadium with more tradition than Notre Dame. Trying to sum it up in such a short space is doing it a disservice.
The stadium is famed for its single tunnel through which both teams enter and exit. Once or twice, this has led to fisticuffs between the Irish and their opponents. On the way out of the locker room, the famous "Play Like a Champion" sign reminds the Irish of their duty.
The atmosphere of the stadium got an extra boost in 1966 when Hesburgh Library decided to construct a mural of "The Word of Life." This has become famously known as "Touchdown Jesus."
If it isn't Touchdown Jesus, it can easily be the Golden Dome that catches your eye in the distance. That, or it could be one of Sergeant Tim McCarthy's many puns that warn fans of the dangers of drunk driving.
Overall, the atmosphere and tradition of ND is tough to beat. Anyone who is remotely interested in sports, or is in the Midwest, owes it to themselves to visit the famous campus and stadium.
1. Ohio Stadium: Ohio State University
So we've come to this. The Horseshoe occupies the No. 1 spot.
It's a true cathedral of the game. A rotunda at the north end of the stadium was designed to resemble the Pantheon.
Inside, 100,000-plus fill the seats every week, where they can watch a great team and "The Best Damn Band in the Land," which, of course, is famous for its pregame "Script Ohio."
The stadium is so old-school that it does not have permanent lights. In the rare event of an OSU night game (there have only been 10), temporary lights have to be brought in.