College Football is home to some of the best venues in sports.
Traditions are part of what make the sport great, as well as its very passionate fans.
Despite the ever-changing rosters that, at most, only have players stay for maybe five years, fans become life-long supporters.
Rivalries are also what makes the sport great.
These factors and others are why college football stadiums are some of the most desirable venues to go to in all of sports.
I love baseball, but college football is must-watch TV. Saturdays in the fall are my favorite time of year, other than March Madness. No matter if the school is big or small, college football games are the place to be.
Without further ado, here is my list of the five college football stadiums I want to go to the most.
Ohio Stadium, “The Horseshoe”, Ohio State Buckeyes
Boone Pickens Stadium, Oklahoma State Cowboys
Doak Campbell Stadium, Florida State Seminoles
Neyland Stadium, Tennessee Volunteers
5. Michigan Stadium, Michigan Wolverines
It’s called “The Big House.”
Home Michigan football games are attended by over 100,000 Wolverine fans. In fact, every home game since November of 1975 has had a crowd of at least 100,000. That’s 200 straight games.
With Jim Harbaugh at the helm, it appears the Michigan program is on the rise once again, making a game at Michigan Stadium even more desirable to go to.
Big 10 football is some of the best in the country, and it’s even better when Michigan is at its best. And with notable Michigan rivalries against schools like Notre Dame, Ohio State and Michigan State, every year it seems there are multiple high-profile contests in the Big House.
I may still be bitter over you-know-who (I’m not going to mention him by name) leaving WVU for Michigan, but I can get over that if someone is willing to get me a ticket for an upcoming MSU/Mich game.
4. Sanford Stadium, Georgia Bulldogs
I’ve always been a fan of Georgia football. The Bulldogs aren’t my first/favorite team I root for, but I cheer for them more times than not on Saturday’s during football season.
Despite never seeming able to win the important game, at the end of the day SEC football is king.
Sanford Stadium holds nearly 93,000 screaming Bulldog fans, making it the 10th-largest stadium in college football.
Besides the sea of red in the stands, the biggest draw to the home of the Georgia football team is the hedges planted along each side of the field. They have been there since the first game in stadium history as an ode to the Rose Bowl.
Seeing an SEC battle between the hedges should be on every sports fan’s to do list, and it is near the top of mine when it comes to college football.
T-2. Memorial Stadium, Clemson Tigers
I have a tie for second place on my list between a pair of Tiger schools, and I’m starting with Clemson and Memorial stadium.
For me personally, the draw to a Clemson game has a lot to do with the Tigers tradition before the game starts.
If you’re unfamiliar with it, before every home game the team takes a bus ride from the locker room to the east end zone where they go to Howard’s Rock, another tradition at Death Valley.
Prior to the start of each home game, every Clemson football player rubs Howard’s Rock, according to lore, for the powers it is supposed to give Tiger players.
After the players rub the rock, they run down the hill, which Brent Musburger has dubbed as, “the most exciting 25 seconds in college football from a color and pageantry standpoint.” It’s one of the best traditions in collegiate athletics.
With both Clemson’s football stadium, and the next team’s stadium I’ll talk about, day games are great, but night games draw the best atmospheres.
T-2. Tiger Stadium, LSU Tigers
Memorial Stadium was called Death Valley first, but when you ask most college football fans where Death Valley is located, they’d say at Louisiana State University.
The home of the LSU Tigers is one of the toughest places to play in college football during the day, but at night it is nearly impossible to go in and steal a victory.
Opposing teams know when they look across the field and see the opposing head coach bend down, pick up a blade of grass and eat it with a smile on his face they’re in trouble.
Publication after publication, media outlet after media outlet dubs it the toughest place to play in the country.
Granted some of this is because LSU puts a good team on the field year in and year out, but it also may have something to do with the 100,000+ Tiger fans screaming at you. These fans get so loud they created an actual earthquake in 1988.
I wouldn’t want to play a game there, but I sure as heck want to watch one from the stands.
1. Bryant-Denny Stadium, Alabama Crimson Tide
I stay inside the SEC for the No. 1 stadium on my list.
Tiger Stadium may be known as the toughest place to play in college football now, but from 1929-2010 there was no better home field advantage than Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium. During that time frame, the Crimson Tide played to a 212-50-3 record on their home field.
Legendary coach Bear Bryant personally led his Bama teams to a 72-2 record in home games during his tenure as head coach. (Yes, you read both of those records correctly.)
The stadium gets a few brownie points with me, personally, since the current head coach Nick Saban is from the state of West Virginia. And you can’t argue with the success either he, or his predecessors, have had in home games.
Also, and this may sound weird or cliché, but the way the banks of lights are arranged at the top of the stadium and the way the electronic boards go around the field, it makes the Bryant-Denny Stadium seem more like a professional gridiron than one at the collegiate level.
I also love the look of the brick exterior on the outside of the stadium.
ESPN’s College GameDay makes at least one trip to Tuscaloosa every year it seems, and I want to get there for the first time very soon.
Tomorrow will be the fourth installment of my Stadium Wish List series where I’ll tell you the five NBA arenas I want to go to the most.