Editor’s Note: Rankings based on stadium’s age, size, pageantry, history and aura. The stadiums have to still exist and be used by an FBS team as its home stadium.
10. Sanford Stadium (Georgia)
Sanford Stadium is the seventh-largest stadium in college football. It has undergone numerous expansions and renovations since opening in 1929. But it’s known for keeping a traditional look despite the improvements. Sanford has been home to many a heated SEC contest. Most of all, though, Sanford is known for its games played “between the hedges,” a nod to the manicured shrubbery that surrounds the field. Put UGA – Georgia’s live bulldog mascot – on the sideline, and there are few places on earth like Athens, GA, on Saturday afternoon.
9. Bryant-Denny Stadium (Alabama)
Bryant-Denny Stadium fits 101,821 Crimson Tide die-hards and, sometimes, that’s just for ‘Bama’s spring game. There’s a reason an entire state is batty about Alabama football. The Tide have a tremendous history that includes dozens of national and conference championships. Six of those national title teams were guided by Paul “Bear” Bryant, for whom the stadium is partly named. It’s college football’s hallowed ground, and one of the sport’s most-recognizable venues. Just wear Auburn gear at your own risk.
8. Beaver Stadium (Penn State)
Beaver Stadium isn’t nearly as old as some of the others on this list (opened in 1960), but it makes up for it in so many other ways. The gameday experience in Happy Valley can’t be beat with Paternoville outside the stadium, 106,000 screaming fans inside of it (second biggest in the nation), JoePa strolling the sidelines and hulking linebackers always bringing the pain to opponents. The student section is particularly rabid and is often named the best in the land, and there’s nothing like a white out at night in Happy Valley.
7. Tiger Stadium (LSU)
Death Valley is considered by many as the toughest place to play in the nation. With primetime games and, as a result, 92,542 lathered up fans, Tiger Stadium is like a weekly Mardi Gras celebration in the fall. How wild? One of the stadium’s famous moments, “The Earthquake Game,” took place in 1988, when Tommy Hodson connected with Eddie Fuller for a game-winning TD pass against Auburn. The crowd reaction registered on the seismic scale. Things were always that rowdy, even on Halloween 1959, when LSU legend Billy Cannon beat Ole Miss with a late TD run for one of the stadium’s best moments. And if you take Les Miles’ word (why would you not?), the turf at Tiger Stadium tastes best.
6. Neyland Stadium (Tennessee)
Knoxville’s Neyland Stadium is college football’s third-largest stadium, which holds 102,455 fans. And they are all clad in matching Vol colors, turning Neyland into a big Orange army. Ironically, it’s the navy that makes the stadium’s game-day experience so special. With its location right on the Tennessee River, the Vol Navy can float right up to the stadium in boats as fans tailgate on the water. Once you get inside the stadium, there’s the checkered end zone design, running through the giant “T”, “Rocky Top” blaring and Smokey on the sidelines.
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