Power Ranking The Top 50 College Football Stadiums

Michael PintoSenior Writer IOctober 25, 2010

Power Ranking The Top 50 College Football Stadiums

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    We say it all the time, but we'll say it again in case you needed to hear it. 

    There's nothing like college football and there's nothing like being at a college football game. You won't find the tradition and enthusiasm anywhere and it makes for a truly unique experience.

    Last month we ranked the 50 loudest college football stadiums, but noise isn't everything. It's only part of the equation.

    The best stadiums have a mix of atmosphere, history, tradition, location, scenery, and that extra something special that can't quite be quantified. 

    So this month we're taking that extra step and ranking the top 50 college football stadiums in the country. 

50. Harvard Stadium, Harvard

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    Harvard Stadium was built in 1903 and is known as the original horseshoe because of its classic horseshoe design. 

    With a capacity of just over 30,000, it might not be home to one of the best football atmosphere's. But it's a beautiful stadium with a unique Greco-Roman feel from the colonnades to the coliseum-like exterior of the south end zone. 

49. Arizona Stadium, Arizona

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    Located on campus at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona Stadium has expanded from a tiny capacity of 7,000 back when it was first built in 1928, to a capacity of just over 57,000 today. 

    It's been renovated and expanded several times in it's existence and there are plans to expand even more, which would create even better atmosphere in the future. 

48. Jones AT&T Stadium, Texas Tech

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    The "Jones," Texas Tech's Jones AT&T Stadium is known for having a lively atmosphere with crowds often exceeding the capacity of over 60,000 for a good rivalry game. 

    Built in 1947, the press boxes and club-level seating were a nice turn of the century addition that added a bit of luxury to the stadium.  

47. Sun Devil Stadium, Arizona State

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    Sun Devil Stadium is known for it's fanatic student section that's considered one of the most energetic and enthusiastic in the country.

    Host of the Fiesta Bowl until 2006, Sun Devil Stadium has been home to Arizona State since it was built in 1958, with renovations and expansion bringing the capacity to over 73,000. 

46. Alumni Stadium, Boston College

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    Boston College's Alumni Stadium is often an overlooked venue, but in a town full of young college kids and some of the most diehard fans in the country, it doesn't matter much that the stadium seats only 44,000.

    It's a great environment for a college football game located on-campus at Boston College, just six miles from downtown Boston. 

45. Heinz Field, Pittsburgh

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    Heinz Field is really a pro stadium and doesn't have the same design as many college venues. The stands are further from the field and take away a bit of the closeness you get from college football. 

    Still, right on the Ohio River, the open end zone provides a great view of downtown Pittsburgh. It's probably one of the reasons Heinz Field is considered one of the best NFL venues in the country. 

44. Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, Louisville

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    Louisville's Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, nicknamed "The Oven," was the second-to-last FBS venue built in the 20th century, opening in 1998. 

    With a capacity over 55,000 it's not one of the largest or the rowdiest, but it really is a beautiful stadium with a very friendly atmosphere. 

43. Ross-Ade Stadium, Purdue

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    Ross-Ade Stadium, formerly known as Purdue Stadium, has housed the Boilermakers since 1924 and while Purdue football hasn't provided much to cheer for lately, it hasn't spoiled the atmosphere.

    The fans are some of the best in the country, always coming out to support their team regardless of record or weather. It's an underrated venue for night games, where the stands get particularly rowdy.

42. Bronco Stadium, Boise State

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    With a capacity of just over 33,000, Bronco Stadium is the smallest venue on the list, but it doesn't stop the crowd from producing the type of noise other venues two or three times its size do. 

    Nicknamed "The Blue" for it's famous "Smurf Turf" built in 1986, Bronco Stadium has become one of the most recognizable and unique venues in the country. 

41. Rice–Eccles Stadium, Utah

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    Rice–Eccles Stadium is one of the newest college football stadiums on the list, having opened in 1998 to replace Rice Stadium, Utah's original home since 1927.

    Home to the 2002 Winter Olympics, Rice-Eccles Stadium lies over the ashes of it's predecessor, lying on the base of the Wasatch mountain range, another beautiful sight for those looking for a view. 

40. Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium, West Virginia

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    Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium was built in 1980 to replace the original Mountaineer Field, which was built in 1924.

    With a capacity of over 60,000, the crowds sometimes reach as much as 70,000 for a big game. And while it isn't always hectic at Mountaineer Field, the fun-loving fans make for a great day of football. 

39. Faurot Field, Missouri

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    Faurot Field, "The Zou," has been home to the Missouri Tigers since 1926, with a classic horseshoe design leaving the the open endzone home to a great college football tradition.

    The grass beam decorating the open side of the horseshoe features Missouri's famous giant "M" made of painted white rocks. Watching seniors take one of the rocks as a going away present after their final home game is something special. 

38. Davis Wade Stadium, Mississippi State

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    When you're talking about Mississippi State, one of the first things that should come to mind is the cowbell. A tradition of the school that dates way back, the Bulldogs love to ring their cowbells. 

    Davis Wade Stadium, the "Dawg Pound", is one of the oldest stadiums in the country, dating back to 1914. And if you want to see tradition in person, check out a game this season; cowbells are once again allowed in the stands for the first time in 36 years.

37. Falcon Stadium, Air Force

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    Falcon Stadium packs quite a punch with over 52,000 fans in the stands. There's something special about these crowds at the Air Force Academy.

    Situated in the Rampart Range of the Rocky Mountains, the view is one of the best in nation and the routine flyovers before games add an extra touch. 

36. Yale Bowl, Yale

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    Opened in 1914, the Yale Bowl is one of the oldest in the country and with a current capacity of the over 64,000 it's the third-largest FCS stadium in the county.

    The stadium gets really, really loud when they're playing Harvard and while that contest isn't one of the most celebrated annual events of college football, it's definitely something make the trip out to. 

35. Spartan Stadium, Michigan State

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    Michigan State's Spartan Stadium is one of the most hostile environments to play in anywhere in the country. 

    With double-deck stands on each sideline, a fully enclosed bowl, and crowds in excess of 75,000 just feet from the field, opponents have often described the experience as being caged and confined.

34. Boone Pickens Stadium, Oklahoma State

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    Boone Pickens Stadium, "The Boone", has stood as a complete stadium since 1920, but Oklahoma State games have been played on it's field since 1913; making it the oldest stadium in the Big 12. 

    Thanks to T. Boone Pickens' massive athletic donation of $165 million, the largest single athletic donation to a university in American History, Boone Pickens Stadium got quite the upgrade in recent years as well.

33. Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Mississippi

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    Vaught-Hemingway Stadium isn't really the main attraction for Ole Miss games, that would be the school's famous tailgate at The Grove, but the venue is rich with history. 

    Opened in 1915, the stadium saw huge renovations in 2002 that upgraded the south endzone bleachers to a rounded bowl. The addition of the massive Daktronics screen is worth noting as well. 

32. The Carrier Dome, Syracuse

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    The Carrier Dome at Syracuse is the largest on-campus domed stadium in the country and while it only seats a capacity crowd of just under 50,000, it's like being inside a drum when the fans get going. 

    There's nowhere for the sound to escape and Orange fans will tell you that when there's a big game the noise just rattles all around you and makes it impossible to hear practically anything; it's an experience any college football fan could appreciate. 

31. Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, Arkansas

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    Arkansas' Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium is a classic, mainly for the enthusiasm of the 76,000-person crowd and the class Razorbacks chant. 

    There aren't many things quite like Arkansas' "Woo, Pig Sooie!" chant, and while Razorbacks will yell out their allegiance anywhere they go, it's an entirely different experience when it gets going at home games. 

30. LaVell Edwards Stadium, Brigham Young

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    Out in the Utah Mountains, the scenery surrounding the stadium is what most college football fans will think of when you talk about LaVell Edwards Stadium.

    With the Wasatch Range beside it, the stadium has truly picturesque scenery and crowds of over 63,00 that can make a ton of noise.

29. Folsom Field, Colorado

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    Colorado fans will be the first to tell you that Folsom Field can reach extreme decibels on occasion. For a stadium that seats under 54,000 the noise levels are really impressive. 

    But that's not the only thing about Colorado's on-campus stadium; the view might be one of the best pieces of mountain scenery you'll get anywhere in the country. 

28. Husky Stadium, Washington

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    We'll continue with our scenic tour in Washington at Husky Stadium.

    Known for it's unique tailgating on Lake Washington, Husky Stadium has a classic horseshoe shape, with the south endzone opening up to the Lake and the Cascade Mountains. 

27. Williams-Brice Stadium, South Carolina

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    Williams-Brice Stadium, "The Cockpit", brings in standing-room only crowds on the regular and has twice been voted the as having the best gameday atmosphere in the SEC by SECSports.com.

    Built in 1934, the stadium has a capacity of over 80,000, putting it just inside the top 20 college venues in the country. 

26. Legion Field, UAB

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    Legion Field, "The Football Capital of the South", is home to UAB these days, but it earns it's place because of the rich history.

    Most famously known for hosting the Iron Bowl between Alabama and Auburn from 1948-1988, Legion Field has seen it's share of great memories since opening in 1926

25. The Cotton Bowl

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    The Cotton Bowl is a college football landmark, a stadium that's played host to so many huge moments in the history of the game, from national championship-deciding moments to SMU and the Dallas Cowboys.

    It's also the host of the infamous "Red-River Rivalry", the annual Texas-Oklahoma game. Don't forget about the Cotton Bowl Classic either. 

24. Camp Randall Stadium, Wisconsin

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    Located right in the middle of University of Wisconsin campus, Camp Randall Stadium is the oldest stadium in the Big Ten; having opened in 1917. 

    With a capacity over over 80,000 in the fully-enclosed structure, it can be one of the loudest venues in the country; particularly during the Badgers "Jump Around."

23. Bobby Dodd Stadium, Georgia Tech

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    Georgia Tech's Bobby Dodd Stadium sits with the Atlanta skyline all around it. "The Flatlands" seats 55,000 with bars and other entertainment all around it. 

    It makes for an enthused crowd that can be intoxicating during a big game. It's also the oldest and winningest stadium in FBS football still in use. 

22. Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Field, Oklahoma

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    Oklahoma's Memorial Stadium features a capacity crowd of 82,000 has has routinely been described as one of the toughest places to play in the country.

    The Sooners homefield is the third-largest stadium in the Big 12, behind Texas and Texas A&M. Opened in 1925, it's full of college football history; the state of the art LED screens are a very nice modern addition as well. 

21. Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, USC

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    The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, perfectly nicknamed "The Grand Old Lady" isn't just a college football landmark, it's one of the most historic stadiums in America. 

    It's the only stadium in the country to host multiple Olympic Games and since opening in 1921 has been the home field of 12 college and professional sports teams, with USC taking the field since 1923. 

20. Kinnick Stadium, Iowa

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    Kinnick Stadium has a capacity of just over 70,000, but the way those Iowa Hawkeyes fans can yell makes it seem like twice that sometimes. 

    The unique design of the stadium makes for a swirling atmosphere of sound that's wholly in its own category. Combine that with a solid football team and diehard fans and there aren't many atmospheres that are better for game days. 

19. Lane Stadium, Virginia Tech

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    Lane Stadium might only have a capacity of just over 66,000, but that doesn't stop it from being miserable place for visiting teams. 

    Rivals.com ranked it as the No. 1 homefield advantage in the country in 2005 and ESPN ranked it the No. 2 scariest place to play. 

18. Doak Campbell Stadium, Florida State

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    Doak Campbell Stadium is a place you have to visit to really appreciate. In a town where football and frat parties are king, the atmosphere inside and outside the stadium on gameday is nothing short of electric.

    Opened in 1950, the crowds routinely surpass the capacity of over 83,000. And where else can you find Seminole warriors with flaming spears at midfield, cast in the shadow of a 100 foot HD scoreboard. 

17. Darrell K Royal Texas Memorial Stadium, Texas

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    Texas Memorial Stadium has been home to the Longhorns since 1924, giving Texas one of the best homefield advantages in all of college football.

    In over 85 of football, the Longhorns have won over 77 percent of their contests at Memorial Stadium. And with a capacity of over 100,000, making it the ninth-largest stadium in America, it's really no wonder. 

16. Sanford Stadium, Georgia

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    Sanford Stadium has long been considered one of the country's most beautiful and electrifying venues for college football. 

    With one of the best attendance rates and a crowd of Dawgs, they don't say there's nothing like being "Between the Hedges" for nothing.

15. Bryant–Denny Stadium, Alabama

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    Bryant-Denny Stadium has been home to Alabama since 1929, but up until 1998 most of the school's important games were held at Legion Field. 

    But several renovations have made it one of the biggest and most impressive stadiums in the country, including the most recent expansion of the south endzone.  

14. Jordan–Hare Stadium, Auburn

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    Jordan–Hare Stadium was the largest venue in the state of Alabama until 2006, when Alabama expanded Bryant-Denny Stadium to surpass it. 

    But while Bryant-Denny is larger, Jorday-Hare packs a bigger punch. The crows of over 87,000 are some of the most intense in the country and man do they love to see the War Eagle's Flight. 

13. Memorial Stadium, Nebraska

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    Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, "the Sea of Red", is particularly special because of the unrelenting support of it's fan base which have filed in to fill the stadium to capacity for every home game since 1962.

    Built in 1923, Memorial Stadium has hosted 306 sellouts in a row and counting, with current capacity over over 81,000. 

12. Memorial Stadium, Clemson

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    The original "Death Valley", Clemson's Memorial Stadium earned it's nickname not just from it's physical position in a valley, but also for the fact that the university cemetery once overlooked the field before the upper decks were constructed.

    Built in 1942, Memorial Stadium is packed with history and has a great fanbase. And we can't leave out Howard's Rock; one of our favorite traditions in all of college football. 

11. Kyle Field, Texas A&M

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    Kyle Field is "The Home of the 12th Man", with a fanbase that has been described as a cult-like force. The Aggies loyal fans stand for the entirety of home games, with thousands showing up the night before games for "Yell Practice."

    With an official capacity of 83,000, Kyle Field is almost always packed with well more fans, making it an unforgettable game-day experience.  

10. Autzen Stadium, Oregon

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    Oregon's Autzen Stadium has an official capacity of only 57,000, but it is without a doubt the loudest per capita college football stadium in the country. 

    Capacity has been exceeded in every game since 2002, with crowds that are as passionate about gameday as anyone. And Duckvision 2.0, the new 85-foot LED scoreboard added in 2008 is one of the coolest in the country. 


9. Michie Stadium, Army

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    Michie Stadium, located right on the Hudson River on the campus of the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, was ranked as the No. 3 sports venue of the 20th century by Sports Illustrated; first among college stadiums.

    300 feet above the ground on the upper portion of campus, the stadium offers a breath-taking view of West Point as well as the Hudson River; it's a must-see for every college football fan. 

8. Neyland Stadium, Tennessee

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    Neyland Stadium, known as "Rocky Top" is home to crowds over over 102,000, almost all of them orange-clad and yelling at the top of their lungs. 

    With the addition of the Tennessee Terrance in 2010, Neyland Stadium became the sixth-largest non-racing stadium in the world. And while Army was ranked the best college football venue by Sports Illustrated, Tennessee was "the best college football weekend experience" in 2004.

7. The Rose Bowl, UCLA

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    The Rose Bowl is famous chiefly for the Rose Bowl Game, known as "The Granddaddy of Them All". It is the oldest college football bowl game in history, dating back to 1902 and continuously played since 1916.

    Many of the greatest college football teams to ever play have taken it's field and while it's been home to UCLA since 1982, the 91,000-plus stadium is a landmark for all of college football.  

6. Michigan Stadium, Michigan

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    Michigan Stadium, "The Big House", is the largest stadium in the United States and the third-largest non-racing stadium in the world with an official capacity of 109,901.

    Opened in 1927, it is simply a piece of college football lore, where "Football Saturday's" overwhelm Ann Arbor and will only grow with the new additions of luxury boxes this season. 

5. Notre Dame Stadium, Notre Dame

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    Notre Dame Stadium and Michigan Stadium battle each other much in the same way that these two stories programs have done so for as long as we can remember.

    But for as special as Michigan Stadium is, Notre Dame has a feel to it that can't quite be described. Maybe it's Touchdown Jesus overlooking the field, the Golden Dome, or the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, but the 80-year old "House That Rockne Built" just separates itself. 

4. Tiger Stadium, Louisiana State

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    Tiger Stadium, the other "Death Valley," is as loud as they come, particularly for a night game. While Notre Dame and Michigan have more history, there's not much that compares with this SEC atmosphere. 

    With a seating capacity of over 92,000, it's the seventh largest on-campus college football stadium in the country. The nickname, originally "deaf valley," is in reference to the truly deafening sounds produced by the crowd.

3. Ohio Stadium, Ohio State

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    Ohio State's Ohio Stadium might not be the original horseshoe, but it's "The Horseshoe". It's one of the toughest venues to visit in the country and has an atmosphere that rivals almost anywhere's.

    With it's rich tradition and loyal fan base, whether you like them or not, everyone should go to a Buckeyes game before you die; even if it's just to watch the band perform "Script Ohio". 

2. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Florida

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    Ben Hill Griffin Stadium is best known as "The Swamp," a nickname popularized by former head coach Steve Spurrier in the 1990s.

    With crowds over 88,000, the completely enclosed stadium partially below ground is an opponent's nightmare. Opened in 1930, in recent years it's become a year-in and year-out battle with Tiger stadium for the best in the SEC.

1. Beaver Stadium, Penn State

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    With a capacity over over 107,000, Penn State's Beaver Stadium has the second largest capacity of any venue in America; coming just short of Michigan Stadium. 

    With crowds that can literally shake the stadium, what's better than a Penn State "White Out" after a long weekend in Paternoville making sure you get the best seats in the house?