Senior Writer

Dodd: Top 25 College Football Stadiums


Some of you parents know my crisis. You: How do you pick your favorite child? Me: How do I pick my favorite stadium?

Both human and building have their distinct personalities, their quirks, their own stains that are hell to get out. But you love them all the same. You have your babies. I have mine. In this case, decisions must be made. When it comes to brick and mortar there are so many things to consider -- beyond the brick and mortar. How do you compare Kyle Field's press-box swaying passion to Florida's Mr. Two Bits or Bear's growling voice booming out of the Bryant-Denny speakers?

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All you can do is try. The following list is sure to please some, offend others. Like the NCAA selection committee, conference affiliation is not a factor. Like the selection committee, there are also biases. The difference being, I admit it. I love atmosphere whether it's Utah taunting BYU with "Where's Your God Now?" signs or the Fifth Quarter at Wisconsin.

I'm a stadium freak. I love their distinct personalities, their angles, their hot dogs, their souvenir stands. I'll spend my entire time at a minor-league baseball game in the concourse just getting a feel. How many of you have gone to a Creighton-Northern Iowa basketball/Nebraska-Omaha-Denver University hockey same-day doubleheader in the same building? My phone is full of pictures of the barns, rinks, parks, fields, stadiums and palaces.

But there is nothing like game day in college football. The following list, then, is meant to be consumed with a pom-pon in one hand and a flask (of soda, of course) in the other. It is meant to create conversation, not be the end-all. For now, but not forever, a certain humidity-laden SEC crib near the Mississippi River is No. 1 on my list. That could change. I'm sure you'll let me know if it should.

Love your babies all the same. I love LSU just a little bit more than the others.

Top 25 Stadiums Breakdown
RkSchool (Stadium)AtmoHistTradFansArchTotal
1LSU (Tiger Stadium)
Comment: The heat, the humidity, Mike the Tiger and a stadium so loud you can feel it in your chest cavity.
2Alabama (Bryant-Denny Stadium)
Comment: When Bear flashes on the video board in pregame it's like he never left
3Ohio State (Ohio Stadium)
Comment: Make it inside in time to watch the "I" being dotted. The Bucknuttiness starts there.
4Florida (Ben Hill Griffin Stadium)
Comment: Gator bait! The Swamp is actually registered as a living, breathing being. Watch the jaws.
4Texas A&M (Kyle Field)
Comment: Either creepy or great: The former mascots -- they're dogs -- have their own cemetery plot outside Kyle Field.
6Auburn (Jordan-Hare Stadium)
Comment: Seems like there's one road in and road out of Auburn. Why would you want to leave on Saturdays?
7Nebraska (Memorial Stadium)
Comment: Big Red, Blackshirts, golf clap for every opponent as it comes off the field -- usually beaten.
7Penn State (Beaver Stadium)
Comment: A shrine to JoePa No, a shrine because of JoePa. Watch for those white outs!
7Wisconsin (Camp Randall Stadium)
Comment: Is there anyone -- before or after the game -- without a beer in their hand? No. In between, they jump around.
10Georgia (Sanford Stadium)
Comment: Come for the hedges, stay for UGA. Noise cannot easily make its escape from Sanford Stadium.
10USC (L.A. Memorial Coliseum)
Comment: Think about the greats who have played here. Then think of a way to start a conversation with a Song Girl.
12Notre Dame (Notre Dame Stadium)
Comment: Mass in the morning, tailgating in the afternoon and shamrocks everywhere. Too bad the ghosts of Rockne and Gipp haven't helped on the field lately.
13Tennessee (Neyland Stadium)
Comment: How many times can you stand hearing "Rocky Top" before losing your mind? You'll find out.
14Clemson (Memorial Stadium)
Comment: An SEC school in the ACC. Seven-forty-sevens are drowned out when the Tigers touch Howard's Rock and run down the hill.
15Michigan (Michigan Stadium)
Comment: Michigan Stadium does not hold the noise as well as others but The Big House is still, well, big.
16Texas (Darrell K. Royal Stadium)
Comment: It looks like the entire state of Texas has gathered at 100,000-plus seat Darrell Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on game days.
17Iowa (Kinnick Stadium)
Comment: Intimidating, loud and boisterous -- and that's just the walk from the car to Kinnick Stadium.
18Army (Michie Stadium)
Comment: Maybe the most inspirational setting in the country on a college football Saturday.
19Oregon (Autzen Stadium)
Comment: Decibels R Us. The Who would be drowned out at Autzen.
20Oklahoma (Oklahoma Memorial Stadium)
Comment: Start at Campus Corner, stroll across a surprisingly beautiful campus then go watch the Sooners roll.
21Virginia Tech (Lane Stadium)
Comment: Enter Sandman? Visitors feel like they're entering hell.
22Air Force (Flacon Stadium)
Comment: A show of air superiority and home-field advantage.
23Washington (Husky Stadium)
Comment: Washington Stadium needs repairs but please don't lose the charm.
24South Carolina (Williams-Brice Stadium)
Comment: Does it even matter if the Gamecocks are winning? Some of the game's most loyal fans just keep coming and coming.
25Utah (Rice-Eccles Stadium)
Comment: A newbie on the scene. Visitors don't mind playing at altitude as much as playing in front of the false-start causing Mighty Utah Student Section.

Key: Atmo - Atmosphere; Hist - History; Trad - Tradition; Arch - Architecture. Ratings are based on 1-10 with 10 being the best and 1 being the worst.

Anyone in need of a credential from all the BCS title games? Dennis Dodd has them. In three decades in the business, he's covered everything from the Olympics to Stanley Cup to conference realignment. Just get him on campus in a press box in the fall. His heart lies with college football.

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