10 great college football stadiums
There are many great stadiums in college football, but here are 10 that should be on every fan's bucket list.
Tiger Stadium, Louisiana State University
Louisiana State University fans who pack Tiger Stadium are so loud that they once caused an earthquake. In a 7-6 victory over Auburn in 1988, the crowd reaction registered as a legitimate earthquake on the seismograph at the school's geological survey office. With a seating capacity of 102,321, "Death Valley" is the fifth-largest stadium in the country and third-largest in the Southeastern Conference.
Frank Howard Field at Clemson Memorial Stadium, Clemson University
The other "Death Valley" is no charming venue for opponents. There are few places tougher to play on a Saturday than Frank Howard Field at Memorial Stadium. "I came here knowing it would be loud and that Clemson would hit me hard, but to me, the noise was the biggest factor," Georgia running back Herschel Walker said after Clemson's 13-3 victory in 1981. "I know I didn't concentrate as well because of it." The deafening crowd noise is such that visitors seem to falter to it and Clemson players feed off it. The Tigers won 21 consecutive games at home from 2013-16.
Sanford Stadium, University of Georgia
Perhaps one of the finest stadiums in the south, Sanford Stadium is located in the heart of campus across from a rowdy student union where, on game days, students can be heard singing the battle cry of Georgia, "How 'Bout Them Dawgs." It is customary for students and alumni in Sanford Stadium to touch the privet hedges that surround Georgia's playing field and brings good luck to the Bulldogs. Opponents "Between the Hedges" rarely avoid the ringing of the chapel bell, a tradition stemming back to the 1890s. Once reserved for freshmen, now students of all classes and even alumni rush to take turns ringing the bell after Georgia victories.
Doak S. Campbell Stadium at Bobby Bowden Field, Florida State University
Once called an "erector set," Bobby Bowden Field at Doak S. Campbell Stadium has come a long way from its humble beginnings in 1950. As Florida State began to field a winning program (its last losing season was 1976) and the team's popularity grew, so did the stadium. A popular feature of the stadium in the 1980s that was lost to future expansion was the spirit spear, which measured the crowd decibel level. Doak S. Campbell Stadium donned its familiar brick façade in the early 1990s, about the time of Florida State's unprecedented success on the football field. The Seminoles won two national championships and compiled a 109-13-1 record in that decade alone. Florida State also went 10 years without a loss at home, owning a 54-game unbeaten streak from 1991-2001. The stadium topped out at 82,300, but capacity was reduced to 79,560 in 2016 with the debut of club seating.
Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, University of Florida
Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium has undergone a series of facelifts since being constructed in 1930, but every college football fan knows which team plays in "The Swamp." The home of the Florida Gators is the largest stadium in the state, with an official capacity of 88,548. The stadium was renamed to honor former head coach Steve Spurrier during a 2016 ceremony.
Michigan Stadium, University of Michigan
Commonly called "The Big House," Michigan Stadium seats 107,601, making it the largest stadium in the United States and the second-largest in the world. That's actually smaller than it used to be in 2014, when it held 109,901. Michigan Stadium lost 2,300 seats to become compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The stadium holds the NCAA record for single-game attendance when the Wolverines defeated Notre Dame in 2013.
Neyland Stadium at Shields-Watkins Field, University of Tennessee
Neyland Stadium at Shields-Watkins Field is one of the largest stadiums in the country, with a seating capacity of 102,455. Nestled on the banks of the Tennessee River, the second-largest stadium in the Southeastern Conference is named after Gen. Robert Neyland, who coached the Volunteers to 109 shutouts in 216 games, including 17 consecutive shutouts during the 1938 and 1939 seasons.
Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium at Joe Jamail Field, University of Texas
Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium at Joe Jamail Field has been home to the Longhorns since 1924. Texas always seems to do things bigger, so it's no surprise that the stadium now seats 100,119. Despite a recent decline in attendance, Texas fans still know the value of a home-field advantage. With its panoramic views of downtown Austin, Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium now has an added incentive for thirsty fans -- beer. The school allowed alcohol sales for the first time in 2015, accounting for more than half of the $3.7 million in food and drinks sold at the stadium.
Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium, University of Washington
Husky Stadium has been home to the Washington Huskies since 1920. Because of its location along the banks of Lake Washington, fans often travel to the games by boat with members of the school's crew team offering shuttles to and from the docks. Although the field is exposed to the elements, cantilevered steel roofs help keep fans dry during those regular Seattle rains. Alaska Airlines paid the school $41 million in 2013 for a 10-year deal to name the field after the SeaTac-based company.
Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field, Mississippi State University
Although Mississippi State is not traditionally regarded as fielding an elite college football program, there is no denying the mystique that radiates from the second oldest on-campus stadium in the country. Just a field's length away from Starkville, the Bulldogs of the SEC West Division may not win as often as their divisional opponents, but those teams that venture into Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field are hardly laid out the red carpet. Bully, Mississippi State's bulldog mascot, rivals that of Georgia's Uga as a sideline favorite. After the original Bully's life was cut short by a campus bus in 1939, mourners encased the hound in a glass coffin and a half-mile funeral procession escorted Bully to his final resting place under a bench at the 50-yard line of the stadium. The event was such a spectacle that even LIFE covered it. Bully has also become a target for kidnappers, the last incident occurring prior to the 1974 Egg Bowl between Mississippi State and the University of Mississippi. Rebels were the suspected abductors. Outside Davis Wade Stadium is some of the world's best barbecue, cooked by tailgaters and vendors from nearby Starkville pits. Like an American Express card, students don't leave home without their cowbells, Mississippi State's signature. From 1974 until 2009, the SEC instituted a ban on artificial noisemakers, but the cowbells could still be heard at every home game. Students risked confiscation and ejection in order to keep an age-old tradition alive. The SEC finally caved and allowed cowbells in 2010, but only during pregame, halftime, between quarters, timeouts, after scoring plays and during possession changes (the provision is known by fans as the "cowbell compromise"). The league has levied hefty fines upon the school for violations, but the ringing of the cowbells continues. Even those banished from the stadium join in the school spirit by ringing their cowbells from outside the gates.
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