The fans have spoken. Well, fans of the University of Kentucky at least.
Our community members made it no secret where their allegiance lied, making Rupp Arena the top-ranked arena of the nine weekly winners of our Arena War summer series.
(Just imagine if Kentucky basketball fans could put that energy into something constructive, like tracking down Osama Bin Laden.)
Rupp Arena was the run away winner, receiving 174 first-place votes in the balloting that required readers to rank the arenas 1 through 9. Allen Fieldhouse's 32 first-place votes were second most.
Only one arena did not receive at least one first-place vote: Pauley Pavilion. Where you at UCLA fans?
Of course, rankings in general are highly subjective. After all, what really constitutes having the nation's best arena?
Is it the size? Is it the architecture and design? Is it the history?
What if it's none of the above?
Based on our highly unscientific results, it may just be about the fans that pack an arena every game night. Last week our colleague Gary Parrish said Kentucky would come out on top of the fan vote even though he didn't think Rupp was necessarily the nation's best arena. Kentucky fans "just care about this kind of stuff more than the rest of you," Parrish wrote.
Maybe, just maybe, that's what having the greatest arena in the nation is all about -- the fans. Not that Duke, Kansas, Indiana, etc., don't have great fans, but Big Blue Nation is in a class of its own and thus Rupp Arena will hold the distinction as the top dog of CBSSports.com's Arena Wars.
Here's the final community rankings along with selected comments:
1. Rupp Arena
|(courtesy University of Kentucky)|
ALLBLUCAT -- Rupp is the biggest of them all, but it is still too small for the UK fan base, so what does that tell you. It was great, and they made it even better when they removed the multi-colored seats and installed the blue. Big screens in the corners now make things even easier to see. Its comfortable, A/C and heat work well ... and it has the best school and fans in the country.
sn8r -- Big arena, big history, big following, packed house EVERY night. It should be a no brainer.
bluebentley1 -- I am a UK fan. My vote is for nobody because Rupp Arena is the only one of these places I have been and I have not really enjoyed myself. Our fans are very spoiled and I would much rather attend a football game of UK's than a basketball game, because no matter if the football team is doing bad or good everyone just has fun. Basketball on the other hand, I will just stick to my couch or a bar somewhere to watch them.
bsktblfan22 -- Rupp hahahhahahah No. 1 hahahah. No one is scared of Rupp Arena. Give me any non-UK fan and they say the same thing ... Cameron Indoor destroys Rupp. For real, come on Gardner Webb went into Rupp and won a game. Would that happen at these other places? Of course not.
Chiefs & J-Hawk -- My only problem with the Kentucky fans always bringing up the 24,000 people as a reason why they are better, is that don't think for a second that if a place like AFH or Cameron could hold 24,000 that they would not be packed every game. Raw numbers do not make it a better arena.
2. Allen Fieldhouse
KVSkubball -- First alphabetically, and every other way! Like fine wine, a very smooth and palate- pleasing place to process a spherical, almost spiritual winter activity, and that is what Coach McClendon said that Dr. Naismith told him, that basketball was all about ... 'activity'! It's Papa Phog's Place, don't you know!
MCAJayhawk -- I've been to hundreds of games at Allen and none at any of the other major venues. I can't, then, say for 100% that we have the best arena on earth. What I can say is that it would be nearly impossible to impress me more than a KU vs. MU game. I get chills when I come out of the entrance tunnels and there are few things more beautiful than watching all of the college students arm in arm singing the alma mater.
Schildkrotte -- History, rabid fans, intimidating chants ... I've never been there, but I'd like to go because everything -- and I mean everything, not just the stuff from the rabid fan base I see and read -- says it's a special place.
3. Assembly Hall
ledzep2144 -- The place is always rockin' during a big game, just a great venue.
herodotous6 -- Back in the day, you feared IU in Bloomington. Here's to hoping Crean revives it from mediocrity.
shamrocker35 -- Once Crean gets the program back on track, just like Rupp, it'll be another scary place to play. For now, it's going to have to rest on its historic past more than anything else.
4. Cameron Indoor Arena
bleedunc -- Can't believe I am saying this, but its the truth. I'm from UNC and I have to say, Cameron Indoor is one of the wildest places for a college b-ball game. People say it's too small, or hot, but that's what it's all about. It's a total discomfort for away teams. Duke feels right at home, and the fans practice their cheers. I wish Dean Dome had this kind of environment.
Schildkrotte -- In part because I've been there, seen a game there, and could not believe the atmosphere -- and this was a meaningless preseason game with a foregone conclusion. They've built a tradition, and given the traditional (read: band-box) confines and the actual creativity of the fans -- which goes way beyond "Hansborough sucks" and the usual fare of hating on an opponent.
shamrocker35 -- Hate Duke, love it when they lose, but the close environment of Cameron Indoor can't be beat.
thecatsfan -- Belongs here at the bottom. And by "here at the bottom" I mean of all college gymnasiums, not the bottom of a top arenas list. With such state-of-the-art facilities as being a high school gym, you can only wonder why I'm not drooling at the prospect already. If the miniscule capacity doesn't get you, perhaps the student section, dressed like a Where's Waldo fan club in blue, surround the court and roar down chants on the opponent with their predetermined, printed-out Cheer Sheets. Or maybe it's the way their fan base always tries to fall back on "at least I got a real education" when they lose any game, or any poll like this poll which they have no business being in.
ALLBLUCAT -- Cameron is dark, tiny and miserable to watch in.
herodotous6 -- 100+ degrees on the floor at times, and the size of a high school gym. Honestly, the only reason it is on this list is because it's Duke. Give me the Dean Center 20 times over.
5. Pauley Pavilion
Schildkrotte -- I've been here too, and I really didn't think it was anything special as a place to watch a basketball game. The fans, like fans at just about anything in L.A., are there to be seen as much as anything. But seeing the banners hanging up there, just the number of them, the names on them, that is awesome. Without the banners, and seeing "The Wizard of Westwood" sitting there, this wouldn't even merit a mention.
Dustinm -- Anyone who ranks Pauley Pav. high has never been there for a game. It's mediocre at best.
tullyt09 -- I get that Pauley Pavilion has history but I believe that the rankings should reflect more of the atmosphere than the history of the place. What's the point of having a beautiful arena with history if no one makes the atmosphere unbearable for the visiting team?
6. Breslin Center
shamrocker35 -- Izzo + Izzone + MSU Spartans not scared to play any team in the land and always a great view.
CaddyStyle -- Fun, but once Izzo leaves they don't matter anymore.
RedbirdRic -- Breslin Center is a great arena that will only get better with age as the Spartans' tradition continues to grow exponentially.
7. Carrier Dome
thecatsfan -- Huge place, hard to pick against 'em. They have clowns entertain the crowd at some games, and one of the times I went, the clown got in a fight with the Orangeman. I was hooked.
Cincy/KY1990 -- That place Is VERY exciting and it's also the only other arena that can pack a big house like Rupp. Plus I love the sea of orange!!
olemissfan91 -- The Carrier Dome is a little overrated. The vast majority of the fans are well away from the court and thousands are in the upper deck where action is best viewed with binoculars.
Schildkrotte -- Way, way too big to be a serious basketball venue. Stomping your feet to keep from freezing does not count as rabid fanship in my book, either.
sn8r -- Horrible place to play, not because of the fans, but because of the dome. Even worse place to watch a game.
andyt23 -- It's a football stadium for heaven's sake.
8. Memorial Gymnasium
notpotus --Memorial Coliseum is so unique you want to package it up and bring it around the country with you.
AlwaysTrueBLUE -- This is just a neat place to watch a game and very difficult for opposing teams.
ledzep2144 -- It's wacky and different in its setup, but it is one of the toughest and funniest places to play.
CaddyStyle -- Something special about watching a game on the elevated court.
ALLBLUCAT -- It's like trying to watch a game in an airplane hangar.
andyt23 -- You get the feeling that you are watching a play or opera when the game is played.
9. University Arena (The Pit)
aLobo -- I think an arena should be judged by the home-court advantage it provides. In that regard, 125 decibels makes the Pit the loudest, and to be frank, I don't think any other arena on this list has contributed to as many wins as the Pit. The Lobos have beaten teams ranked in the top 10 playing in the Pit when they would have been blown out playing anywhere else.
sportsdvl -- Simply the loudest arena in the nation. More fans from back East need to make a visit.
andyt23 -- No bad seats, no obstructions, perfect sight lines and louder than hell.
CaddyStyle -- Really??? Why not include the community center down the street?