Football season is well under way and for many, the excitement is centered more around college ball than the NFL. Our son, Zander Diamont plays for Indiana University (go Hoosiers!) and we attend IU’s games whenever we are able.
While we are very much partial to Memorial Stadium, aka The Rock, it did not make the NFL’s 2015 list of the top college stadiums in the US. Here are the top 5.
#5: Ohio State’s Ohio Stadium
“The Horseshoe” is a nickname that is instantly recognizable to many college football fans and something synonymous with the Buckeyes’ long tradition. The stadium is a celebration of college football and includes a renovation of a 90-year old facility, which left the historic parts intact while modernizing the stadium for the 21st century. Some can’t miss experiences: the band ramp entrance, Dotting the ‘i’ to Le Regiment, halftime show, Carmen Ohio. Easily among the loudest places in the country on a Saturday afternoon, hearing 100,000 of your closest friends sing “Carmen Ohio” might just bring a tear to your eye.
#4: Oregon’s Autzen Stadium
While the Ducks’ stadium capacity isn’t as large as other stadiums, this is one of the loudest places to watch a football game in the country thanks to its unique design and plenty of screaming Ducks fans. Never will you see so much green clothing in one place! The amenities are top-notch and the recent facilities additions nearby make Eugene a game day delight. The pavilion next to the stadium hosts pregame food and entertainment and on the north side of the stadium you will find the “Food Truck Pavilion” where local food trucks set up shop inside the gates.
Be sure to check out the College and NFL Hall Of Fame wall next to the pavilion where you’ll see names of football greats, including Dan Fouts, Ahmad Rashad, and Norm Van Brocklin.
#3: Washington’s Husky Stadium
The view from Husky Stadium is unmatched, overlooking Lake Washington and offering sweeping skylines of Downtown Seattle, Mt. Rainier and the Cascade mountains. Everyone has heard of a tailgate party, but at Husky Stadium one also has the option to “sailgate” on the water before a big game. A recent $250 million renovation has the stadium looking better than ever, and has kept it as one of the loudest venues in the country. Like the Seahawks, the Huskies also have their own “12th man”… bring your ear protection.
#2: LSU Tiger Stadium
Anyone who has seen “The Blindside” might remember Tim McGraw’s accounting of the Charge of the Light Brigade and what it means at LSU. A night game in “Death Valley” is an experience like no other thanks to a quality stadium, an exuberant tailgating scene and sea of purple and gold faithful screaming at the top of their lungs. You’ll want to bring your ear protection if you attend a game here… LSU fans are so loud that after a game winning touchdown pass in October of 1988, the roar of the crowd actually registered on a seismograph meter in the on-campus geology department. Geaux Tigers!
#1: The Rose Bowl
The Rose Bowl is more than a championship game on New Year’s Day, it’s still very much a great place to watch a football game when UCLA calls the place home. Arguably the most storied stadium in all of college football, the Rose Bowl is an iconic structure to any college football fan. The stadium is even marked as a National Historic Landmark. Be sure to visit the Court of Champions on the south end of the stadium below the famous Rose Bowl sign. There you can see plaques commemorating the score from every Rose Bowl game ever played.
The hardcore UCLA fans are as loud and engaged as any fans in the country, however, the age of the stadium and the huge seating capacity (92,000) help the noise to dissipate, so even with a raucous student section you won’t feel as though you’re at risk for hearing loss. However, signs, cheers, light blue pom-poms and passion are all present and make for a quintessential college football experience.
Do you have a favorite college team?