The 10 Largest College Football Stadiums in the Country

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 7, 2017

The 10 Largest College Football Stadiums in the Country

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    Tony Ding/Associated Press

    Every fall, college football fans flock to ginormous stadiums and pack them to cheer on their favorite program. 

    In some places across the country, over 100,000 fans can gather in one stadium for a single game. If you push some capacities further, the attendance could reach closer to 110,000. 

    It's no surprise that the largest stadiums in the United States are mostly located in the Big Ten and SEC, where tradition runs deep 365 days of the year. 

    Not only are the gigantic structures the largest in college football, but they dwarf stadiums in every other American sport. 

    Each venue also has its signature features and historic moments that make it unique.

    We took a look at those while counting down the 10 largest stadiums in college football. 

10. Sanford Stadium

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    Daniel Shirey/Getty Images

    Capacity: 92,746

    Signature features

    The field on the campus of the University of Georgia is surrounded by hedges. Unlike most stadiums across the nation, the field has an east-west orientation instead of north-south.


    Best moments

    The lone instance when fans were able to storm the field at Sanford Stadium came after a win over Tennessee in 2000, which was the first time in 12 years the Bulldogs beat the Volunteers.

    Outside of football, Sanford Stadium hosted soccer at the 1996 Summer Olympics, an event that caused the trademark hedges to be removed to fit the field dimensions. The shrubbery was later replaced by a new set of hedges that were grown from clippings of the old hedges.

9. The Coliseum

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    Capacity: 93,607

    Signature features

    Not only is the Coliseum home to USC football, but it also plays host to the Los Angeles Rams of the NFL at the moment.

    In addition to football, the Coliseum has accommodated the Olympics on two occasions and will once again take center stage in 2028 when the Summer Games return to Los Angeles.

    The cauldron at the top of the stadium holds the Olympic flame and is lit for periods of the football games.

    After moving to L.A. from Brooklyn, MLB's Los Angeles Dodgers called the Coliseum home from 1958 to 1961 while awaiting the opening of Dodger Stadium. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of that first game, the Dodgers hosted the then-reigning world champion Boston Red Sox for a preseason exhibition game in March 2008—the last time baseball was held at the venue.


    Best moments

    The first Super Bowl took place at the Coliseum in 1967, and the marquee event was back for another round in 1973 for Super Bowl VII. One of the biggest moments in USC history came inside the 93,607-seat stadium in 1974, when the Trojans came back from 24 points down to rout Notre Dame, 55-24, in the game labeled "The Comeback."

8. Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium

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    Michael Thomas/Associated Press

    Capacity: 100,119

    Signature features

    Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium is named after the legendary Texas coach, but before it bore its current name, it was dedicated as Texas Memorial Stadium in 1924 to honor the 198,520 Texans who fought in World War I. Lights were not added until 31 years after the opening of the stadium to allow for night games.


    Best moments

    There hasn’t been a ton to cheer about in recent years down in Austin, Texas, but the Longhorns did beat No. 10 Notre Dame on September 4, 2016, in double overtime in front of 102,315 fans, the largest crowd in stadium history.

    In 1998, Ricky Williams broke Tony Dorsett’s 22-year-old Division I-A career rushing record of 6,082 yards in a win over rival Texas A&M in Austin.

7. Bryant-Denny Stadium

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    Capacity: 101,821

    Signature features

    For much of its existence, Bryant-Denny Stadium had no logos on the field. After the turn of the century, end-zone and midfield graphics were painted on the grass in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, for a more modern look.

    In honor of legendary coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, the houndstooth pattern from the famous hat he wore while roaming the sidelines can be found in varying capacities throughout the stadium. In fact, in 2008 a giant replica of the hat was constructed to sit atop a concession stand known as the Bear's Den.


    Best moments

    The Nick Saban era has produced a plethora of memorable moments at Bryant-Denny, including putting an end to Auburn's six-year Iron Bowl streak with an emphatic 36-0 win in 2008 and Terrence Cody's field-goal block to beat Tennessee in 2009.

    Former head coach Mike Shula's time in Tuscaloosa even produced some incredible plays, like Tyrone Prothro's 87-yard touchdown reception from Brodie Croyle to open the game in the 31-3 upset of Florida in 2005.

6. Tiger Stadium

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Capacity: 102,321

    Signature features

    LSU is one of the few programs in the nation that plays on a field with line markers every five yards instead of the traditional 10. Tiger Stadium also features old-fashioned goal posts.

    LSU is on the shortlist of schools, along with Florida State and Washington State, that use "H-style" goal posts as opposed to the standard "Y-style."


    Best moments

    Some legendary moments at Tiger Stadium have come against Ole Miss. In 1959, Billy Cannon's 89-yard punt return for a touchdown and a late goal-line stand gave the top-ranked Tigers a win over the Rebels.

    A controversial clock malfunction in 1972 allowed Bert Jones to find Brad Davis for a game-winning touchdown pass in the closing seconds against the Rebels.

    Then in 1988, after Eddie Fuller caught a touchdown pass from Tommy Hodson to put LSU ahead of Auburn with under two minutes to go, the deafening crowd noise registered on the seismograph at LSU's Geology Department several blocks away. This came to be known as the "Earthquake Game."

5. Neyland Stadium

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    Wade Payne/Associated Press

    Capacity: 102,455

    Signature features

    The orange and white checkerboard end zones stand out first when you take a gander at Tennessee's Neyland Stadium. When it first opened in 1921, the venue could hold a maximum of 3,200 spectators. Since then, there's been close to 20 expansions and/or renovations in part to add seating.


    Best moments

    Two key moments happened in Knoxville, Tennessee, on the way to the Vols' national championship in 1998. A missed field goal in overtime by Florida kicker Collins Cooper handed Phillip Fulmer his first victory over the Gators.

    Later in the season, the "Stumble and Fumble" by Arkansas quarterback Clint Stoerner allowed the Vols to defeat the 10th-ranked Razorbacks on a late touchdown run by Travis Henry. 

    In 2004, Vols kicker James Wilhoit nailed a 50-yard field goal with six seconds to go mere minutes after missing a game-tying extra point to down rival Florida.

4. Kyle Field

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    Sam Craft/Associated Press

    Capacity: 102,733

    Signature features

    The home of Texas A&M is the largest stadium in the SEC, and inside you'll find one of the most unique fanbases in the sport, the 12th Man.

    There are four decks on one side of the stadium, with one of the levels containing the Zone Club, which is shielded by the overhang of the fourth deck and has a full-service bar and concession stand. The luxury seating area is considered one of the best spots to watch the game in College Station, Texas.


    Best moments

    Two of the most memorable moments at Kyle Field were borne out of tragedies: the 1999 bonfire collapse that resulted in the death of 11 current and one former student ahead of the Texas game, when the Aggies upset the seventh-ranked Longhorns, 20-16, in an emotional victory; and the win over Oklahoma State in the first home game after 9/11 where the Aggies fans, inspired by a grassroots movement, decked the stadium out in red, white and blue in a tribute to those lost in the attacks.

    Although the Aggies didn't beat Oklahoma in 2000, Ja'Mar Toombs' 27-yard touchdown run carrying a few Sooners defenders into the end zone is another timeless moment at Kyle Field.

3. Ohio Stadium

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    Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

    Capacity: 104,944

    Signature features

    The first thing you notice about Ohio Stadium is its shape. The 104,000-plus seater is designed like a horseshoe. The stadium also sits on the flood plain of the Olentangy River. In order to keep out any potential flood waters, a slurry wall was built when the stadium underwent its last refurbishment that concluded in 2001.


    Best moments

    The "Game of the Century" between No. 1 Ohio State and No. 2 Michigan took place in 2006 at Ohio Stadium.

    Ohio State pulled away in the second half on Antonio Pittman's 56-yard touchdown run and took the lead for good with Brian Robiskie's 13-yard touchdown catch from Troy Smith in a hard-fought 42-39 triumph.

    The Buckeyes have won eight straight at home against Michigan, including 2016's 30-27 double-overtime victory.

2. Beaver Stadium

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    Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

    Capacity: 106,572

    Signature features

    Penn State's stadium has undergone renovations to increase seating seven times in the last four decades, with the completion of the last upgrade in 2011.

    On six occasions, it expanded its capacity to accommodate in excess of 110,000 people, topping out at 110,753 when the Nittany Lions hosted Nebraska in 2002.

    Until 1959, the original Beaver Field seated just 30,000 people before being dismantled into 700 pieces and transported across campus to its current location, where it was rebuilt with an additional 16,000 seats.


    Best moments

    One of Penn State's biggest wins came in 1982, when quarterback Todd Blackledge engineered a comeback that powered the Nittany Lions past No. 2 Nebraska en route to a national championship. In 2016, Penn State secured one of its biggest wins since the Joe Paterno saga when Grant Haley returned a blocked field goal 60 yards for a touchdown to knock off Ohio State, 24-21.

    The Nittany Lions may not have beaten Miami on September 1, 2001, but it's a date everyone will remember, as Adam Taliaferro walked through the tunnel less than a year after the cornerback suffered a spinal cord injury against Ohio State that some thought would leave him paralyzed.

1. Michigan Stadium

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    Tony Ding/Associated Press

    Capacity: 109,901

    Signature features

    They don't call it the "Big House" for nothing. The Wolverines enter the largest stadium in college football by touching the "Go Blue" banner that awaits them on their way out of the locker room.

    Michigan Stadium has hosted international soccer friendlies, hockey games and is only smaller than the 1st of May Stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea.


    Best moments

    Desmond Howard's and Charles Woodson's punt returns against Ohio State in 1991 and 1997, respectively, solidified their Heisman Trophy victories.

    Michigan also ended No.1-ranked Ohio State's dream season in 1969 in the first year of what was dubbed "The Ten Year War" between head coaches Bo Schembechler and Woody Hayes.

    The Wolverines have also been on the receiving end of heartbreak on their home turf over the years, including Kordell Stewart's Hail Mary heave for Colorado in 1994 that left the Michigan faithful stunned after a 27-26 loss.


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