Thursday, July 24, 2008

Ranking the Stadiums of the SEC and ACC

Check out the 2009 ACC Stadium Rankings

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To help us get ready for the season, I will be doing some rankings from each conference and a best of. Today we start off with the best stadiums in each conference. The SEC has by far and away the best stadiums on anyone in the country and much better than most of the ACC. In ranking the stadiums, I took into account capacity, winning percentage, location, and pregame experience. Here it is...

SEC
1. LSU
Saturday nights at Tiger Stadium are one of the true gems of college football. LSU fans tailgate with the best of them before heading into to watch their team in "Death Valley". The atmosphere is so electric inside Tiger Stadium that a small earthquake was registered on the school's Richter scales after a tying TD pass against Auburn back in 1988. Earthquake Game

2. Florida
The stadium is built for optimum noise containment and Urban Meyer has made it a priority to win at home with just 1 loss in 3 seasons in "The Swamp". Even though Spurrier coined the nickname, Urban Meyer has made Ben Hill Griffin Stadium tough to get out alive.

3. Tennessee
Neyland Stadium takes the #3 spot by a small margin due to its size and location. Tennessee is in a seat race with Michigan and Penn State every year for biggest stadium in the country. The atmosphere outside the stadium is unique with the Volunteer Navy arriving to tailgate on the Tennessee River.

4. Georgia
Georgia may have the best field of anyone in the SEC "between the hedges" in Sanford Stadium. Recent additions have pushed the capacity north of 90,000 and a rabid fan base keeps it sold out year after year.

5. Auburn
Its not pronounced like "Jordan" but "Jerden" if you are around Auburn fans. The stadium also features hedges, but the main draw is the War Eagle intro. This stadium accents the loveliest little village on the Plains nicely. War Eagle Flight

6. Alabama
Alabama announced their spot on the national stage again with a sell out for Nick Saban's first spring game a year ago. The Crimson Tide are looking to regain their spot at the top of the SEC West once again.

7. South Carolina
The most loyal fans in the SEC pack Williams Brice Stadium year after year win or lose in Columbia. Williams Brice Stadium would be higher if the Gamecocks were able to hold court better than they have.

8. Arkansas
Bring your ear plugs for the calling of the Hogs in Fayetteville. Razorback Stadium has gone under recent renovations and has drawn more of the big games that used to be played in Little Rock. Still, the Razorbacks lack of home domination pushes them down the list.

9. Kentucky
If South Carolina gets the nod for most loyal fans, then Kentucky is #2. The Wildcats have had spotty success in football at best, but these basketball blue bloods still pack Commonwealth Stadium.

10. Ole Miss
The Rebels stadium is only the #2 football attraction on campus behind tailgating at The Grove. Ole Miss is looking to recapture a consistent home field advantage not seen since the name of the stadium was coaching.

11. Mississippi State
Scott Stadium has come light years as a structure in the last 10 years. But the Bulldogs have not been able to take advantage of their cowbells and home field in Starkville until last year.

12. Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt is just lucky if their fans outnumber the opponents when teams like Tennessee and Georgia come to town.

The ACC is definitely a notch below the SEC in terms of stadiums. Some have unique charm, but only the top 3 really compare with the top 6 or 7 in the SEC.

ACC
1. Clemson
The Hill, Howard's Rock, and occasional purple pants make Clemson number 1 in the ACC. The stadium sits right on Lake Hartwell and seems to go straight up. If you want an idea of the noise check out You Tube for the Clemson - Miami game in 2005. It was loud.

2. Virginia Tech
Lane Stadium lost out on #1 by a slim margin. I give the hill entrance the slightest of edges over Enter Sandman in Blacksburg. The Hokies have added capacity recently putting their capacity in the uppper echelon of the ACC.

3. Florida State
It used to mean when the spear was planted at midfield by Chief Osceola it signaled the end of the opponents chances, but a few opponents have been able to crack the Seminoles home dynasty in the last several years.

4. NC State
The Wolfpack surprisingly check in at #4. NC State has made a lot of improvements to Carter- Finley in Amato's era bringing it up to snuff with the best in college. The fans are surprisingly loyal to the program even though it is largely considered a basketball school. Tom O'Brien hopes to change this.

5. Georgia Tech
What Bobby Dodd Stadium lacks in size it makes up for in location and history. The oldest stadium in Division I-A sits a stones throw away from downtown Atlanta. If you want a great view, try the West side upper deck at a night game for a magnificent view of Midtown Atlanta.

6. North Carolina
Kenan Stadium may have the prettiest setting this side of West Point, NY. The Tar Heels have not been extremely successful at home but the ambiance of the surroundings lift their ranking.

7. Wake Forest
Before Jim Grobe came to town, Groves Stadium was marked a 'W' on most ACC school's scheules - not any more. The Deacs sell quite well for being one of the smallest Division I football schools.

8. Boston College
Alumni Stadium was a tough venue for foes in the Big East and not much has changed since BC joined the ACC. The size of the stadium and sometimes lackluster crowd push the Eagles' stadium down.

9. Virginia
Colin Cowherd made fun of Virginia's wine and cheese crowd a few years back and while most of it is deserved, Scott Stadium is up there with Kenan Stadium for beauty. Cowherd Rant on UVA Football.

10. Maryland
Byrd Stadium just lacks in all the major categories - size, ambience, beauty, history... nothing really sticks out.

11. Duke
Its Duke... where they still have a track around the field and football is just a diversion to basketball season.

Miami is not ranked due to having a new stadium this year (Dolphin Stadium)

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