Posted by Adam Jacobi
In college football, more than any other sport, the stadiums can be just as memorable as the games played within them. So as CBS Sports takes a look at the best stadiums that college football has to offer, the bloggers here at Eye On College Football share their three favorite stadiums in the country.
1. Ohio Stadium (Ohio State, Columbus, OH, capacity 102,329) When it comes to truly great stadiums, two conferences have a vastly disproportionate share in college football: the Big Ten and the SEC. And as great stadiums go up north, nothing touches the Horseshoe: Ohio Stadium.
Everything about the 'Shoe is big, brash, and boastful, yet at the same time not extravagant: the rotunda entering the stadium, the 131-foot flagpole behind the north end zone, the North Korea-quality precision of the Script Ohio, and the noise. Good heavens, the noise. The double-decker setup helps keep the 102,329 scarlet-clad fans as close to the field as possible, making for a deafening atmosphere on Saturdays, and Ohio State fans are never, ever quiet (they consider that a glaring character flaw, one that's endemic in That State Up North). When people talk about the passion and pageantry of college football, they talk about Ohio State, and that's all thanks to Ohio Stadium.
2. Tiger Stadium (LSU, Baton Rouge, LA, capacity 92,400) Tiger Stadium made the top spot in Dennis Dodd's rankings, and it's hard to argue that point; Tiger Stadium represents everything that college football should stand for. The fans are second to none inside and outside of the stadium, the fans are probably the loudest in the entire nation, and even the detail of yard numbers every five yards instead of 10 is a cool quirk that I at once want more teams to use and at the same time want to be the sole property of LSU's.
In fact, I almost don't want to rank these stadiums at all because it tacitly lends an objective air to what's purely a subjective decision; the only reasons I like Ohio Stadium better than Tiger Stadium are the increased capacity, the Script Ohio, and I think the exterior architecture at the Shoe is just a little better. But that's personal preference operating on a small level, and I certainly hope nobody comes away from this article under the impression that I think Tiger Stadium is anything but incredibly awesome. LSU fans should be proud, and of course, they are.
3. Beaver Stadium (Penn State, University Park, PA, capacity 107,282) Penn State deserves major credit for packing such a gigantic stadium every Saturday, but to just heap praise on Beaver Stadium for being big essentially misses the point; a big stadium is only as worthwhile as the fans inside it, and the Penn State fanbase is arguably the most impressive and enjoyable in college football. The Penn State whiteout is so well-executed, so thorough that no other team bothers trying to make it its own; the whiteout essentially belongs to PSU, as it ought to. The fans pay loving homage to Joe Paterno with costumes, masks, and props, and the "We Are Penn State" chant is as iconic as they come.
But what truly sets Beaver Stadium apart is Penn State's fanatical devotion to volume. A PSU grad student actually figured out that due to the acoustics of Beaver Stadium, moving the students to the south end zone could increase the level of noise up to 50%, and this was already a stadium that was rated louder than Tiger Stadium in one 2007 ESPN poll. That move is coming this season. Even if the Penn State research is wrong, this is still an incredibly intimidating place to play. If they're right? Look out.