While the action is fierce between the sidelines, I have always found the college football experience to be entertaining due to the venue. Whether it is the history or the mixing of local residents with current students and school alumni to creating a raucous backdrop, there are just certain stadiums that bring it all together.
The following is a list of 10 college football stadiums as of today which I would want to play at if I had a chance to do so.
1) Rose Bowl, UCLA (Pasadena, CA)
The Bruins are fortunate to play home games here, but it is the sense of history which pervades around it which would get to be. The Rose Bowl game gets played here every New Year’s Day. It’s simple bowl-shaped seating makes every seat a good one for the over 100,000 who regularly show up on Jan. 1.
2) Memorial Stadium, Clemson (SC)
Also known as Death Valley, the home of the current national champions is a fun one especially for the home team. For me, few traditions are better than the Clemson players rubbing Howard’s Rock and then running downhill onto the field in front of 80,000 screaming fans.
3) Notre Dame Stadium (South Bend, Ind.)
In terms of a historical sports site with great moments of the past combined with modern amenities, the home of the Fighting Irish would be the ideal place. Thanks to a recent $400 million renovation, Notre Dame Stadium figures to have a seating capacity of around 85,000.
4) Michigan Stadium (Ann Arbor, Mich.)
When it comes to seating capacity, none can match “The Big House” which has a capacity of 107,601. It used to be nearly 110,000 a few years ago. Combine all those in attendance with the maize and blue colors of the Wolverines and it would be quite an atmosphere to play in.
5) AT&T Stadium (Arlington, TX)
If I was a college football player, I would definitely want to have a glimpse of the next level at some point. So the home of the Dallas Cowboys, AT&T Stadium, would be just that glimpse. A billion-dollar mecca with a huge video screen overhead, the stadium currently serves as the home to the Cotton Bowl game since 2009.
6) Ohio Stadium, Ohio State (Columbus, OH)
Known as the “Horseshoe” for its unique shape until school officials finally closed off the open-ended horseshoe with new stands, the Buckeyes’ home now seats over 104,000 on game days. With all those scarlet and silver colors, it can be a great site to view from the playing field on Saturdays.
7) Sanford Stadium, Georgia (Athens, GA)
There may be larger stadiums and ones with really wild atmospheres, but for pure venue, I would love to play “Between the Hedges” at the home of the University of Georgia Bulldogs. There is a long row of privet hedges beyond either sidelines, giving this field or classical field which gets frequently surrounded by over 93,000 spectators.
8) Kyle Field, Texas A&M (College Station, TX)
Going back to the atmosphere pitch, few can match the 12th Man citing at Aggies home games at Kyle Field. Recent additions has caused the stadium’s capacity to rise over 20,000 a few years ago. Now, the Aggies play in front of over 102,000 regularly. There is nothing like playing football in front of a pack of students in uniforms.
9) Neyland Stadium, Tennessee (Knoxville, Tenn.)
Traditionally, the home of the Tennessee Volunteers has been one of the larger stadiums in the country over the years. Neyland, with all of its orange coloring, went over 100,000 in capacity way back in 1996 and still is the fifth-largest college stadium with 102,455 capacity today.
10) Albertsons Stadium, Boise State (Boise, Idaho)
The chance to play on the Smurf Turf or “The Big Blue” as others call it is near the top of my wish list. It may be a little bright for the eyes, but the night-time atmosphere in the cozy 36,387-capacity stadium is still tremendous. Locals love their underdog Broncos and playing on the turf is a unique experience.