The Top 25 College Football Stadiums to Visit Before You Die
Behind every great college football team is a great college football stadium.
Whether it’s the 12th Man of Texas A&M or the atmosphere of Death Valley for LSU, most of the game’s best teams benefit from having one of the best game-day experiences in the nation. Fans are screaming, the place is packed, and even the most uninterested attendant will have a great time.
But no stadium is built equally.
Fortunately, B/R has compiled a list of the top 25 stadiums to visit before you die.
25. Lane Stadium (Virginia Tech)
The Hokies might not be as successful as they were in the late '90s and early 2000s, but opponents still have a difficult time coming out of Lane Stadium with a victory.
If the 65,000-plus screaming fans don’t give you goosebumps, Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” blaring through the PA system as the Virginia Tech players enter the field will. Not to mention, Lane Stadium is located at the highest elevation of any Division I FBS school stadium in the eastern United States at 2,057 feet above sea level.
24. Williams-Brice Stadium (South Carolina)
“If we ain’t swayin’, we ain’t playin’.”
Joe Morrison famously said those words back in 1983. He was referencing the east upper deck that would sway by up to a foot during games.
The school has added shock absorbers and other safety precautions, but the sway is still very noticeable. It’s been said the decibel levels generated during a typical game is the reason.
It gives a whole new meaning to making the stadium rock.
At Williams-Brice Stadium, Gamecocks fans take that notion literally.
23. Doak Campbell Stadium (Florida State)
Where to start with this one?
For starters, its brick structure makes Doak Campbell Stadium one of the most unique stadiums in all of college football. Not to mention, it also makes it the largest continuous brick structure in the entire country.
But if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, there’s always the infamous Sod Cemetery, a tradition started by Bobby Bowden where the Seminoles would scoop up part of the losing team’s field after significant road victories and replant them outside of the practice field. The latest victim was Clemson, after Florida State walloped the Tigers, 51-14, at Memorial Stadium earlier this season.
Hard to not be impressed by the sights and traditions at this venue.
22. Rose Bowl (UCLA)
If you want a stadium enriched with history, this is the place to be.
Other than serving as the home site of the Bruins, the venue also plays host to one of the greatest bowl games in college football: the Rose Bowl, a game the Rose Bowl has hosted every year—except for 1942—since 1923.
Although the capacity is a little more than 94,000, the record attendance is a whopping 106,869 for the 1973 Rose Bowl game between USC and Ohio State.
There’s a good chance that almost every notable college football player has played a game or two here.
What more motivation than that do you need to plan a visit?
21. Husky Stadium (Washington)
If you want a stadium where you can catch a game and a view, this is the place to be.
With a unique U-shaped design, the open end of the stadium overlooks scenic Lake Washington and the Cascade Mountains. The decks covering the seats behind each sideline were specifically designed to minimize glare from the early afternoon sun in the athletes’ eyes. It also makes for a pretty cool design.
If you ask the fans, they’ll tell you Husky Stadium is home to the first wave back on Halloween in 1981.
Furthermore, during a 1992 night game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers, ESPN measured the noise level at 133.6 decibels. Not only is that well above the threshold of pain, but it is also the highest noise level ever recorded for a college football stadium.
What more could you ask for?
20. Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium
The Sooners are nearly unbeatable in Norman.
In fact, since Bob Stoops took over in 1999, Oklahoma is a whopping 86-5 at home. That includes a stretch of 39 consecutive wins at one point.
Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium may not be on most people’s shortlist of stadiums to visit, but given the tradition and history of the venue, it’s a must-see.
Built in 1925, the stadium seats over 82,000 people, and the tailgating is some of the best in the country. The Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band leading fans into the stadium is among one of the many traditions.
When you can add a team that seems to compete for a national title year in and year out, that’s a nice added bonus.
19. Darrell K Royal Stadium (Texas)
Everything is bigger in Texas…even the stadiums.
With a capacity of 100,119, Darrell K Royal Stadium is one of the largest stadiums by seating capacity in the world. In fact, it’s the largest football-only venue in the state of Texas, largest in the Big 12 and the ninth-largest non-racing stadium in the world.
Since it was built in 1924, the stadium has undergone several renovations, each one only adding to the venue’s allure.
As is usually the case in Austin, beautiful women, great food and competitive football will be aplenty.
What more could you ask for?
18. Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (USC)
It’s hard not to appreciate a venue that has played host to several different events.
Since being built in 1923, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum has hosted college football, NFL, MLB and XFL games among others. It’s even hosted the Summer Olympics not once, but twice.
Furthermore, the stadium was even declared a National Historic Landmark.
But it’s most commonly known as the host of the USC Trojans football program.
It’s hard to find a better atmosphere in college football when this place is full and rocking.
17. Vaught-Hemingway Stadium (Ole Miss)
Built in 1915, Vaught-Hemingway Stadium is one of the oldest stadiums in the country. But that doesn’t mean the venue is slacking in technology.
Before the 2008 season, the stadium got a brand new high-definition Daktronics video board that measures at 48 feet by 84 feet. It’s the eighth-largest scoreboard in all of college football.
Pair that with a unique experience at the Grove—a 10-acre stretch meant for tailgating—and Vaught-Hemingway Stadium is the place to be on Saturday.
Don’t miss out on this one.
16. Autzen Stadium (Oregon)
Just because the capacity is at 54,000, don’t mistake that for a lack of interest in the Ducks. In fact, the attendance is usually around 59,000 and has exceeded capacity for every game since the venue’s most recent expansion in 2002.
With seating so close to the field and an overhanging roof that traps in the sound, Autzen Stadium is one of the loudest venues to take in a college football game.
Every score from Oregon yields a foghorn blare. Not to mention, the Ducks mascot does a pushup for every point the team has.
All in all, the Autzen Bounce is worth checking out in person.
15. Jordan-Hare Stadium (Auburn)
The Crimson Tide aren’t the only team natives of Alabama flock to see. The Tigers also draw quite the crowd, with a capacity of a little more than 87,000.
Built in 1939, Jordan-Hare Stadium has quickly become one of the largest stadiums in college football.
Backed by a rowdy fanbase, it’s also one of the toughest venues for opponents to play at. And based off of Auburn’s 2013 campaign, the stadium has played host for a couple of miracles as well.
14. Camp Randall Stadium (Wisconsin)
It’ll be hard to remain in your seat at this venue.
Among the various traditions at Camp Randall Stadium is the playing of House of Pain’s “Jump Around” between the third and fourth quarters. It’s usually the cause of one of the craziest scenes in college football, especially if the Badgers are winning.
But the festivities don’t end after the final whistle. Hang around for the Fifth Quarter after the game—a 20-minute party in the stands while the band plays a variety of songs.
You’d be hard-pressed not to have a blast at this venue.
13. Notre Dame Stadium (Notre Dame)
Notre Dame Stadium could practically be a museum with the amount of history the venue holds.
Home to over 80,000 screaming fans, it’s a place visiting opponents dread playing at. Even the Touchdown Jesus mural could be intimidating to some.
Some of the greatest players and teams college football has ever seen have played on the grass in this stadium. Not too many other stadiums can brag about that.
If you want to have the classic college football experience, Notre Dame Stadium is the place to be.
12. Memorial Stadium (Nebraska)
It’s not easy to beat the sea of red at Memorial Stadium on game day.
When the venue is full, it holds more people than any city in Nebraska other than Omaha and Lincoln. Not to mention, the stadium holds an active NCAA record of 333 consecutive sellouts, dating all the way back to 1962.
The Huskers are about winning, and their fanbase is all about pushing the team to victory.
This is just one of those atmospheres you’ll have to experience to believe.
11. Kyle Field (Texas A&M)
The venue is known as the “12th Man” for a reason. Win or lose, the fans pack the stands and scream at the top of their lungs.
It easily makes Kyle Field one of the most intimidating stadiums to play at in all of college football.
Although the capacity is just above 82,000, the venue has packed in well over that on several occasions. In fact, the stadium brought in a record 90,079 during Texas A&M’s Nov. 20 meeting with Nebraska in 2010.
If you love raucous crowds and a crazy atmosphere, this is the place to be.
10. Cotton Bowl
The Cotton Bowl has been used for all sorts of events.
It has been used by the NFL, MLS and even the LFL. But the venue is most known for hosting the annual Red River Rivalry between Oklahoma and Texas.
With the rivalry taking place on the same weekend as the Texas State Fair, there is a lot to be excited about inside and outside of the stadium.
If watching two of the most storied programs in college football duke it out in one of the game’s fiercest rivalries isn’t your thing, there’s sure to be some kind of new fried food that is making its way around the fair. Not to mention, it’s hard not to find something to do in Dallas.
All in all, it makes for one of the most enjoyable Saturdays a fan could ask for.
9. Neyland Stadium (Tennessee)
Named after legendary Tennessee head coach Robert Neyland, Neyland Stadium is one of the largest stadiums in the world. In fact, the venue is the fourth-largest non-racing stadium in the United States and the sixth-largest non-racing stadium in the world.
Before the game, fans can watch the Volunteer Navy float in before the game or march with the players as they are mobbed by fans on their way to the stadium.
With a location on the Tennessee River, it’s hard to top the beauty of Neyland Stadium.
So what are you waiting for? Come on down to Knoxville and prepare to sing “Rocky Top” until your lungs are sore.
8. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium (Florida)
You know a venue is intimidating when its nickname is “The Swamp.” Throw in nearly 90,000 screaming fans doing the Gator Chomp, and it’s downright frightening for opposing teams.
With the seats pretty much right on top of the field, the crowd noise can be downright deafening. False-start penalties are pretty much a given.
Even when the Gators are losing, fans show up in bunches.
But when the team is winning, opponents might as well chalk up the game as a loss.
7. Bryant-Denny Stadium (Alabama)
It’s hard not to take in the sights and sounds of Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa.
Originally opened in 1929, the stadium has grown from a capacity of 18,000 to holding well over 100,000. That makes it the fifth-largest non-racing stadium in the United States and eighth-largest non-racing stadium in the world.
Throw in the history and tradition of one of college football’s winningest programs, and it’s a wrap.
Before the game, visiting the Bear Bryant Museum is a must.
Overall, the venue covers all of your football needs.
6. Sanford Stadium (Georgia)
Due to the privet hedges that stood around the field, games played at Sanford Stadium are said to be played “Between the Hedges.”
With a student section that is 10,000 strong every game, this venue is one of the most unique and loudest atmospheres in college football. Not to mention, it is also one of the most difficult for opposing teams to play at.
Whether you find it creepy or cool, the deceased former Bulldogs mascots are entombed in a mausoleum in the southwest corner of the stadium.
5. Beaver Stadium (Penn State)
It’s hard to top the atmosphere at Beaver Stadium.
There are several traditions that make the venue unique. From the “S Zone”—where students are given white and blue shirts to carve out an “S” in the senior student section—to the White Out, this is one of the most intimidating venues to play at for an opposing team.
Big plays on offense and defense bring out the playing of “KernKraft 400” by Zombie Nation.
Imagine 100,000 screaming fans draped in white waving towels and stomping the stands to the tune of Zombie Nation. Now, imagine trying to play a football game in that.
Definitely a sight to see.
4. Michigan Stadium (Michigan)
They don’t call Michigan Stadium the Big House for no reason.
With a capacity of 109,901, the venue is the largest stadium in the United States. In fact, on Sept. 7, 2013, the stadium brought in an attendance of 115,109—the largest crowd to ever see a college football game.
Furthermore, since Nov. 8, 1975, the Wolverines have drawn at least 100,000 fans to home games in 200 consecutive games.
On game days, this is the place to be in Michigan.
3. Memorial Stadium (Clemson)
Memorial Stadium first earned its ever-popular nickname “Death Valley” due to the university cemetery that sits on the hill overlooking the field. It also helps that the Tigers are nearly impossible to beat at the venue, posting a 227-88-7 (71 percent) record at Memorial Stadium.
Not to mention, the fans nearly set the record for the loudest stadium in college football at 133 decibels during a 2007 game against Boston College.
From the Tiger Walk to the touching of Howard’s Rock, this stadium is full of history and traditions that will keep you coming back for more.
2. Ohio Stadium (Ohio State)
Ohio Stadium—also known as the Horseshoe or The Shoe for its shape—is one of the finest venues to catch a football game at on Saturdays.
Chants of “O-H-I-O” can be heard throughout the game, with each side of the stadium taking on a letter. It only adds to the atmosphere the stadium provides.
At halftime, one of the best marching bands in the nation puts on rousing performances that have fans sticking in their seat during the intermission—a rare feat these days.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a better venue to host a football game.
1. Tiger Stadium (LSU)
Originally beginning with a capacity of around 12,000 in 1924, that number has jumped up to 92,542 following multiple expansions and renovations. That makes Tiger Stadium the eighth-largest on-campus stadium in the NCAA.
Furthermore, when filled to capacity, the venue ranks as the fifth-largest “city” in the state of Louisiana.
There’s a reason why the Tigers rarely lose when playing a home game here. If it’s a night game, opponents might as well not even bother boarding the bus.
This place is always loud, filled with tradition and is easily the No. 1 stadium you have to see before you die.
All stats and rankings used in this article are courtesy of CFBstats.com.
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