Stadiums in college football can be one of the biggest impacts in the game today. Whether it is from the intimidation of the sheer size of the stadium, the loud student section, or the discomfort of being away from home the best stadiums can make it tough to get a road victory. Now, from a fan’s perspective, the stadium also plays a pivotal role in the gameday experience. That can be anything from enjoying the amenities of your home stadium or invoking a bucket list of stadiums you’ve always wanted to see. Today, we unveil our list of the top 25 stadiums in college football.
We begin on the banks of the Brazos River. McClane Stadium is home to the Baylor Bears and is fairly new in its inception. The stadium opened to 45-0 Bear win in the season opener of the 2014 season. McClane stadium is not one of the bigger stadiums in the country, only holding a capacity of 45,140. However, one of the interesting features is that you can reach the stadium via boat.
Now, what could Brigham Young University and the Jurassic period have in common? Interestingly enough, one of the largest collection of Jurassic period fossils in North America, housed at BYU, was stored underneath the east bleachers of the stadium until 2005. On the gridiron, Cougar stadium was renamed to legendary BYU coach LaVell Edwards shortly following his retirement in 2000. In 2003, there was a renovation done to provide additional luxury seating, which reduced the capacity to 64,045.
One of the advantages that Folsom Field provides is how high the stadium is. At 5,360 feet above sea level, it is more than a mile above sea level. The current stadium capacity is at 53,613. However, the Folsom Field attendance record is 54,972 in 2005, against in-state rival Colorado State. The beautiful backdrop of the Rocky Mountains makes this stadium a spectacle.
We venture to Connecticut for our 22nd ranked stadium in the country. With a capacity crowd of 61,446, this stadium is the biggest Ivy League stadium in the country. The architecture of this stadium is a trendsetter in many ways. The Yale Bowl was the first “bowl” stadium in the country and inspired the design of other stadiums that are higher on our list. From a sheer historical perspective, this is a must see.
All things considered, Michie Stadium is one of the most beautiful campuses in the country. It has a relatively low capacity at 38,000. However, in some respects that builds on the historic value of this stadium. Michie Stadium is dedicated to the memory of Dennis Michie, who was instrumental in starting the football program while a cadet at the Academy. With the breathtaking view overlooking, it has been rated as one of the top sports venues of the 20th century.
Jordan-Hare stadium is the 13th largest stadium in the country at 87,451. Part of the allure is the traditions that come along with the stadium experience with the War Eagle chants as well as the releasing of the Eagle. Also, the new video board that was unveiled in 2015 is the biggest in the country. At 10,830 square feet, the board brings an added dimension to the stadium.
Ranking just above Jordan-Hare Stadium, the “Swamp” is the 12th largest stadium in the country at 88,548. The stadium has no shortage of names. Officially, it’s known as Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. However, it’s also known as “Florida Field” or “Steve Spurrier Field.” But, most fans simply refer to it as the Swamp. It’s still one of the most intimidating stadiums in the country and the playing of the “Jaws” theme brings forth the fear in opposing fans and teams.
The Coliseum is one of the most historic landmarks in college football. Outside of being the home for Southern California, it has also served as the home for the Los Angeles Rams and has hosted the Summer Olympics in 1932, 1984, and will do so again in 2028. At 93,607, it’s the largest stadium in the NFL and in the top 10 of college football.
The “house the Bobby built” comes in at number 17 on our list. It’s not one of the biggest stadiums in the country at 79,560, but the gameday traditions make up for a little smaller capacity. Whether it’s the tomahawk chop that encompasses the entire stadium or witnessing Osceola ride Renegade as he plants the burning spear at midfield, the gameday traditions in this stadium are impressive.
It may have lost some of its luster from early in the 2000s when this was considered one of the scariest places to play. But, Lane Stadium still packs a punch that many stadiums cannot replicate. Now, Virginia Tech may have still have one of the most impressive stadium entrances in all of college football as they enter the field to sound of Enter Sandman.
Camp Randall comes in as the oldest stadium in the Big 10 as it has been standing since 1917. The capacity is right above 80,000 and they pack about as much noise in that 80,000 as they possibly can. The cohesiveness and decibel level of the beginning of the fourth quarter is unprecedented. The entire stadium cheering and actively jumping to House of Pain’s “Jump Around.”
Sanford Stadium is the 10th largest in the country at 92,746 seats. Games at Sanford Stadium are forever known as being played “between the hedges. As a matter of fact, the current hedges still used were planted in 1996. One of the most notable games between the hedges took place in 2007 as Georgia had their first “blackout” game as the Bulldogs wore black jerseys for the first time in school history in a 45-20 victory over Auburn.
Husky Stadium has long been considered one of the loudest stadiums in all of college football. This is in part due to the genius design of the stadium. Nearly 70% of the seating is between the end zones below a metal roof which allows the sound to be trapped. In fact, during a night game against Nebraska in 1992 the decibel level was recorded at over 130 which is the threshold of pain.
Autzen Stadium does more with less than any other stadium in the country. With a capacity crowd of only 54,000, it’s not in the top 25 in terms of biggest stadiums. However, it’s certainly one of the loudest. The Ducks enjoyed a 23-game home winning streak under current UCLA head coach Chip Kelly from 1997 to 2001. To get the home crowd going, the Ducks enter the field behind a motorcycle with the Oregon Duck riding on back to the strains of Mighty Oregon.
It’s hard to believe a stadium that holds 101,821 is only the fourth largest in the SEC. But, that’s what we have in Bryant-Denny Stadium. In fact, Alabama is planning additional expansion to the amenities of the stadium after the 2019 season. $75.4 million is going into stadium upgrades, social spaces, additional premium seating among other upgrades. Under Nick Saban, Alabama has turned themselves back into a dynasty which is intimidating enough, but when you incorporate 101,000 Tide rolling fans it makes for a tremendous gameday atmosphere.
One of the most iconic stadiums in the country checks in at #10 on our list. The atmosphere and gameday experience have about as much as you could ask for. Whether it’s 102,000 fans screaming Rocky Top, the Volunteers running through the T, or fans taking a boat ride to the stadium the backdrop for Neyland Stadium is college football pageantry personified.
The second largest stadium in the country comes to us from Happy Valley with Beaver Stadium. Just 10 years ago, Penn State was recognized as having the best student section in the country. The scene for a Nittany Lion “whiteout” game under the lights is as impressive of an atmosphere that you will see in college football.
Arguably, the most loyal fans in the country reside in Lincoln, Nebraska. The “Sea of Red” sells out anytime there is ever any football-related activity at Memorial Stadium. Additionally, Nebraska has experienced an FBS best 368 consecutive home sellouts. That’s especially impressive considering the product on the field hasn’t been what Cornhusker fans are accustomed to.
One of the most impressive venues in sports today is the Rose Bowl Stadium. The backdrop of the San Gabriel mountains provides an iconic setting for both the UCLA home games as well as the annual Rose Bowl game. The official capacity crown is listed at 90,888. However, on many occasions, there have been well over 100,000 fans in the stadium.
The house that Rockne built lands just outside of the top five. Now, Notre Dame Stadium only holds just over 80,000 fans. But, that’s about the only aspect that keeps this out of the top five. It’s hard to beat this stadium from a historic aspect when you take into account some of the great players and games played on that field. Touchdown Jesus makes for a historic landmark that is just one of the reasons that make this stadium a bucket list destination for many fans.
Much like Saban at Alabama, Dabo Swinney has turned this program into a dynasty. Memorial Stadium has begun to live up to the Death Valley moniker. From bussing the players to the stadium, to running down the hill, and touching Howard’s Rock the stadium entrance is very impressive. Additionally, have the fans right on top of the field makes for an always rocking atmosphere.
The home of the 12th man makes its home just inside or top five. Kyle Field checks in at 102,733 fans. Many would swear that when fans begin swaying they can feel the stadium move. The passion that resides in Aggieland fits in nicely with the SEC. Gameday traditions such as the midnight yell practice, the Reveille cemetery, and the Aggie band make this an incredible place to watch a football game.
The Horseshoe is the third largest stadium in the country at 104,944 strong. However, Ohio Stadium can always fit in a few more. This was evident in 2016 when 110,045 watched the Buckeyes defeat Michigan. The dotting of the I and the O-H-I-O chant are just a few of the traditions that make this stadium one of the best.
The largest stadium in the country resides in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Big House’s official capacity is 107,601. The size of the stadium in itself is enough to draw fear into the hearts of opposing teams and fans. Then, when you throw in the iconic Wolverine helmets and the Michigan fight song this is a venue every football fan should see in their lifetime.
Legendary coach Bear Bryant once said that “Tiger Stadium happens to be the worst place in the world for a visiting team. It’s like being inside a drum.” In 2009, ESPN writer Chris Low listed Tiger Stadium’s Saturday night atmosphere as unsurpassed in the country, ranking it No. 1 out of the conference’s 12 stadiums. With an official seating capacity of 102,321, Tiger Stadium is the sixth-largest stadium in the world by capacity. With all of the ringing endorsements by fans, coaches, and players Tiger Stadium is our number one choice as the best stadium in college football.