Power Ranking Every Pac-12 College Football Stadium
Because it's the offseason, we're going to rank every Pac-12 team by their respective home stadiums.
When it's all said and done, I'm confident we can all agree 100 percent on the accuracy and fairness of the list, even fans whose teams play in a stadium that is ranked low in our rankings. Ha! In all seriousness, there's no way to make everyone happy here.
The criteria we're looking for are capacity, attendance, history, noise and, well, overall reputation. Where a stadium sits in relation to its natural surroundings is also important (oh hey, Colorado). Some stadiums that used to be scary for opposing teams have been quiet in recent years due to mediocre play, while others are just starting to reach their potential for providing a true home-field advantage.
In any case, we'll do our best in applying both rhyme and reason to this purely subjective list. However, you may feel free to disagree, although I can't imagine that will happen, right?
Click forward to check out an updated version of the Pac-12 stadium power rankings.
12. Martin Stadium, Washington State
If you ask Washington State fans about Martin Stadium, their eyes will likely light up with fond memories of watching the Cougars play on the oft-frozen tundra in Pullman.
It's a charming stadium with plenty of character, but in the context of comparing it against the other venues in the conference, that's just a nice way of saying it's lacking in multiple areas.
The current version of Martin Stadium was finished in 1979 and seats nearly 40,000. In college football terms, that's not very much. But travel to northeast Washington on a fall Saturday when the Cougars are playing a rival (or they aren't having a terrible year), and the place will get pretty loud and quickly become one of the league's more hostile environments.
However, due to the small capacity, lack of significant history and because the Cougars have traditionally been subpar, Martin Stadium takes the bottom spot on our list.
11. California Memorial Stadium, Cal
In the early-to-mid 2000s, California Memorial Stadium was packed with Cal fans who were lucky enough to watch Aaron Rodgers, Marshawn Lynch and Jahvid Best play football. It's a unique (read: very old) stadium complete with "Tightwad Hill," which serves as an outside-the-stadium viewpoint where fans can catch the action.
Why is it so low on the list? To start, Cal has been pretty awful in recent years; the lowest of the low came in 2013 when the team captured just one victory. Though it seats 60,000-plus, it isn't known for getting particularly loud.
Memorial Stadium also lacks a history, aside from being just plain old after opening in 1923. The facilities are much improved after a 21-month renovation that began in 2010, but there aren't many notable features to the non-Cal football fan.
Should quarterback Jared Goff lead the program back toward the top of the conference, Memorial Stadium could rise in a hurry. For now, it sits near the cellar.
10. Stanford Stadium, Stanford
Like much of Palo Alto, Stanford Stadium is a beautiful facility that received a facelift as recently as 2006. It looks good and is a great place to catch hard-nosed, old-school football.
But it's all the way down at No. 10 for one main reason: It's too darn quiet! Despite the Cardinal being ranked consistently among the top 10 teams in the country, the stadium never really gets rocking like some of the others in the conference.
If Stanford is knocking on the doorstep of a national title and still can't seem to get the entire fanbase going, nothing will. It seats 50,000 and looks rather pristine.
But it lacks the kind of character we're looking for in this list and thus cannot be any higher than 10th.
9. Rice-Eccles Stadium, Utah
To be honest, the next three stadiums on this list are pretty interchangeable. Heck, maybe even the next four or five. But on the bottom of this next section is Rice-Eccles Stadium, where the Utah Utes play football.
That's not meant to be a slight toward its fantastic crowd, but the drawbacks when comparing it with other venues are that it's relatively new to the conference and seats just more than 45,000.
However, the MUSS student section is not to be messed with, and if you don't believe me, you should ask Stanford, which left Rice-Eccles with a loss in 2013. Or UCLA, which narrowly escaped with a victory.
It's a raucous environment complete with fans who live and die with their Utes, but it just isn't established (or big) enough to be ranked higher.
8. Reser Stadium, Oregon State
The old Reser Stadium would have ranked dead last on this list not only because its capacity was small, but because it didn't get loud very often and was home to a team that went a remarkable 28 years without notching a winning record.
But recent upgrades push one of the gems of Corvallis back up the list as the facility is now much nicer and home to 45,000-plus on fall Saturdays. Much like the neighboring Ducks, the Beavers have the fortune of playing in front of a raucous crowd.
However, Corvallis is a college town without much history in college football, and Reser falls under its umbrella in that regard. Still, the tailgating environment is friendly and festive (sample size of one game attended by yours truly), and there isn't a bad seat in the house.
Beating USC on several occasions in the 2000s will go down as the landmark achievements in recent memory, but until Reser fits more people or the Beavers become more competitive, it will sit in the bottom half of the conference.
7. Arizona Stadium, Arizona
With a capacity of more than 56,000 and home to one of the nation's best home-field advantages during night games, Arizona Stadium sits at No. 7 in our power rankings.
Twice in the past seven seasons, the mighty Oregon Ducks have fallen victim to the magic of Tucson and the aura that can often surround Arizona Stadium in the fall. Granted, the Wildcats have been hovering around mediocre to decent for a while now, but they are never an easy team to play at home.
In fact, the Zona Zoo, an aptly named group of rowdy students, is often what gets the crowd going before it turns into a full-blown frenzy by kickoff and after every big play by the home team.
Because it doesn't seat more people or have a rich history, Arizona Stadium failed to make the top half of our list. Still, there aren't many teams that look forward to a trip to Tucson.
6. Sun Devil Stadium, Arizona State
We've officially reached the upper half of our power rankings, and the next stadium on the list is Sun Devil Stadium, which seats a whopping 71,000.
Let's start with the main reason this place isn't higher: Arizona State has had a mixed history with equal amounts of great years and poor years. The stadium doesn't generally get ear-bleeding loud, either.
But we're now at a place on the list where there are far more positives than negatives—such as the fact that Sun Devil Stadium has hosted four national championships and a Super Bowl, which puts it over the venues already listed.
And while the Sun Devils haven't always been great, they did own one of the nation's best defenses in the late '90s and have seen a mini-surge in the past couple of years under coach Todd Graham. If he can continue to build up the program, Sun Devil Stadium could easily become one of the best venues in the Pac-12.
5. Folsom Field, Colorado
Sitting in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains (which is one of the reasons why it's at No. 5) is Colorado's Folsom Field.
The atmosphere is a large reason for why the Buffaloes; home playground is near the upper echelon of our power rankings. Crowds are generally active and loud, and the view of the mountain range cannot be underestimated.
In addition, there's the running of Ralphie the Buffalo, when four handlers literally lead a charging buffalo out on to the field in front of the team. Believe it or not, the squad used to play with the tenacity of its mascot, too.
In recent years, the program has been downright awful, and there's only so much 53,000 screaming fans can do to help. Still, this is the first stop on our list that should make the bucket list of any college football fan.
4. Husky Stadium
There shouldn't be much debate about the top four spots on the list, although the order is another matter entirely. We'll begin, though, with Husky Stadium in Seattle.
Just beyond one end zone sits Lake Washington, and on the rare occasion that the sun shines brightly in the fall, there may not be a more picturesque scene in the game. The recently renovated venue seats more than 72,000, and when this place was rocking in the '90s, it was truly rocking.
A loud siren signals a scoring play by the home team and sends the crowd into full-throttle, although it hasn't rung out as often as fans would have liked in recent years. Still, Husky Stadium is one of the premier venues in the game today, and if Chris Petersen can work his magic, it could reach the top of this list.
3. Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, USC
A stadium that has hosted Olympic events cannot be ignored, and so with that we kick off the slide featuring USC's Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
With a capacity of more than 93,000, it can hold by far the largest crowd on our list so far. Yet that is perhaps the last reason why the venue is ranked so high. The aforementioned Olympics played a huge part, but then there are the multiple Heisman winners to consider.
Imagine those fans who've attended games for 40-plus years. They would have seen the great O.J. Simpson, Charles Davis, Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart and many others, not to mention all of the elite players from opposing teams who had the chance to play at the Coliseum.
This stadium has seen national championship teams and the very best players that college football has to offer. It has hosted one of the most historic football programs in the country. When a top-ranked USC team hosts a night game, this stadium is one of the coolest sites in sports.
2. Autzen Stadium, Oregon
One of the loudest venues in college football, Autzen Stadium checks in at No. 2. Ducks fans will cry foul (fowl?) here and submit their feelings about the venue being placed anywhere other than No. 1, and as someone who's been to a number of games in Eugene, your arguments are well-taken.
But we'll get to why it's not ranked No. 1 in the next slide. Instead, let's look at what makes it so special to Oregon as well as the conference as a whole. First, it's the fact that less than 60,000 fans can collectively become one of the loudest groups of people on the planet. If there's a fanbase that cares more about its team within the conference, good luck finding it.
Autzen Stadium has also seen more great games than you can count, from the Ducks upsetting third-ranked Michigan in 2003 to the onside kick debacle against Oklahoma in 2006.
Oregon won all of its home games in 2009 and 2010 and did so once more in 2013. To those with future travel plans to Eugene (looking at you, Michigan State), be ready for an experience and an environment you won't soon forget.
1. The Rose Bowl, UCLA
It's recognized as a national historic landmark, it's hosted nearly every major sporting event in the history of competitive athletics, and it has an annual bowl game often referred to as "The Granddaddy of Them All." Yes, folks, it's The Rose Bowl, a place often associated with the pinnacle of college football.
As for the team that plays its home games there, UCLA...well, the Bruins have a solid history, although they're perhaps a bit lacking when compared to their crosstown rivals. Still, a resurgence under Jim Mora and quarterback Brett Hundley is threatening to make the Rose Bowl the place to be for more than just once per year.
But it's the illustrious history of the venue that sets it apart from the rest. Sure, it may not be as loud as Autzen Stadium or Husky Stadium, but it's more important to the game itself, and that cannot be understated.
It has a capacity of more than 90,000 and hosts the aforementioned Rose Bowl game every year on Jan. 1. It is one of the coolest stadiums in sports, and if you haven't had a chance to visit, make a trip to Pasadena, Calif. immediately.
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