Ranking the Toughest Places to Play in Big Ten Football

Matt DalbyCorrespondent IAugust 23, 2011

Ranking the Toughest Places to Play in Big Ten Football

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    The Big Ten is home to some of the greatest cathedrals in college football.

    From The Horseshoe to Camp Randall to Michigan Stadium, the Big Ten is far from short of obstacles for visiting opponents.

    With over half the conference ranking in the top 25 in average home attendance it would be hard pressed to find more loyal, respectable fan bases.

    But, how tough is it really to play in these stadiums?

    Here is a ranking of each of the Big Ten's home field advantages.

No. 12 Indiana (Memorial Stadium)

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    No, not that Memorial Stadium, Nebraska fans.

    This spot is reserved for the Indiana Hoosier fan base who managed to fill Memorial Stadium to just 41,953 a game in 2010.

    With a 6-7 record over the past two seasons in Bloomington it's not to surprising to see the Hoosiers on the bottom of this list.

No. 11 Minnesota (TCF Bank Stadium)

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    Honestly, this should probably reside in the cellar, but due to the fact teams must play outside during the Winter in Minneapolis I decided to bump the Golden Gophers up a slot.

    Minnesota was brutal at home last year, mustering a 1-6 record.

    While that may have been based more on the product on the field, it nonetheless brought very little excitement to the fans.

    Is it basketball season yet?

No. 10 Purdue (Ross-Ade Stadium)

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    Boy would Drew Brees be disappointed.

    The Boilermakers managed to pack in just 48,063 people a game last year. For a stadium that holds about 63,000, I'd have to say that's a pretty poor showing.

    Back-to-back 3-4 seasons at home may be the cause for such little excitement, but you have to think the Boilermaker fans could be a little more energetic.

    I guess there was that one big win against Ohio State. That should be keep everyone happy for the next decade.

No. 9 Northwestern (Welsh Ryan Field)

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    Sure, Welsh Ryan Field may have you thinking you're watching a high school football game based on the capacity of the stadium, but don't be fooled.

    This stadium can be relatively loud based on its size and it wouldn't be a bad idea to expand a little.

    Pat Fitzgerald has Wildcat fans looking forward to football, something unrepresentative of the past.

    Believe me, teams don't really look forward to their trip to Evanston.

No. 8 Illinois (Memorial Stadium)

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    The second Memorial Stadium on the list, this one belongs to the Fighting Illini.

    Illinois managed to gather 54,188 a game while compiling a 4-2 record at home in 2010.

    Illinois fans are more well known for their ability create a pretty raucous basketball crowd, but football?

    You'd be surprised actually. While the stadium sits in gloom when Eastern Michigan comes calling, if a team like Ohio State is on the slate this stadium can get pretty loud.

    Fickle or not, it comes in No. 8 in the Big Ten.

No. 7 Michigan (Michigan Stadium)

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    There hasn't been much to cheer about over the last couple years, but that's not why Michigan ranks so low on this list.

    Despite pacing the stadium to over 111,000 a game in 2010, Michigan still remains a relatively easy place to play based on noise.

    It is surprisingly quiet, possibly as a result of fans being to far from the field.

    The stands seem to venture more out than up, funneling out a solid amount of noise.

    That said, there are still 111,000 yelling. Scary.

No. 6 Michigan State (Spartan Stadium)

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    Easily one of the most underrated venues in college football, Spartan Stadium is as crazy an environment as the stadium will allow.

    With 73,556 screaming green fans packing the seats in 2010, Michigan State waltzed to a perfect 8-0 record at home.

    Spartan fans should be proud for what they have created in East Lansing—simply a nightmare for opposing teams.

No. 5 Nebraska (Memorial Stadium)

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    The Sea of Red. Home to 311 consecutive sellouts dating back to Nov. 3, 1962.

    It's difficult to think of a more passionate fan base and with 85,604 packing the stands for home games, the place can obviously get deafening.

    But, there has been a stigma that the stadium can be relatively quiet for some games based on opponent.

    Nonetheless, Memorial Stadium is in the process of expansion to send the stadium up over 90,000. It's probably safe to say this won't have an impact on the streak.

No. 4 Penn State (Beaver Stadium)

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    Is the White Out the coolest thing in college football?

    If not, it's definitely up there.

    104,234 Nittany Lion faithful pack Beaver Stadium Saturday's in the Fall to see Joe Pa's boys.

    Back-to-back 6-2 seasons at home are nice, but as you know Penn State wants more from their football team.

    It won't be easy this year, but the Nittany Lions have a realistic shot to make some noise at home with Alabama and Nebraska coming to State College.

No. 3 Iowa (Kinnick Stadium)

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    The capacity sits just over 70,000, but Kinnick Stadium is the loudest little stadium in the country.

    Teams have consistently struggled to come into Iowa City and leave with a win.

    The fans are great from beginning to end and everyone knows about that pink visiting locker room right?

    Whether it works or not, the fans make this hard on the field no matter who you are.

No. 2 Ohio State (Ohio Stadium)

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    Better known as the Horseshoe for its shape, Ohio Stadium is easily one of the loudest stadiums on a consistent basis in the country.

    105,278 Buckeye fans funnel in to watch Ohio's team. They don't make it any easier with the product they put on the field, but add in the decibels and you've got the mix for a perfect home field advantage.

No. 1 Wisconsin (Camp Randall Stadium)

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    Jump Around!

    Despite not even topping 80,000 fans, Camp Randall Stadium continually sits among the elite in terms of home field advantages.

    Fans from the Dub (sorry Washington) could be the loudest, most inebriated fans in the country.

    The record at home speaks for itself over the last few seasons.

    Something tells me that Wiscy's first date with Nebraska on Oct. 1 should be a doozie.

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