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Top 10 most intimidating college football venues: A fan’s view
Perhaps no sport better stirs up the passion of a live crowd than college football. Fans of the leading tradition-rich schools are rarely passive about anything concerning their team. Several factors should be considered in judging the top facilities for college football, including size and history of the venue, heritage of the football program, quality of its nickname, and passion in the fans.
Here are the 10 most intimidating stadiums in college football:
1.) The Big House
No stadium bears a more appropriate nickname than the home of the Michigan Wolverines. With a record attendance of 114,806, Michigan Stadium is the largest non-racing sporting facility in North America and has not held less than 100,000 for a football game since 1975. An incredible 35 million fans have passed through these hallowed turnstiles. On Sept. 10, 2011, the Big House hosted its first night game, and the bright lights saw Michigan beat rival Notre Dame on a thrilling last-second touchdown.
2.) The Swamp
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium did not acquire its nickname until the successful Steve Spurrier era of the 1990s. The brash coach called it "The Swamp" because "only Gators get out alive"—the name immediately stuck. Opened in 1930, the sweltering venue holds over 90,000 fans and hosts many gameday rituals to ensure success. Remarkably, The Swamp has guided the Gators to a 117-16 home record since 1990.
3.) Death Valley
Two stadiums share the nickname Death Valley. While Clemson University also possesses a historic facility, the home of Louisiana State University ranks as one of the most intimidating stadiums in college football. LSU has a long tradition of primarily playing home games on Saturday nights. Formally called Tiger Stadium, the venue is the loudest in the football-crazed SEC. Seating over 90,000 fans, it is said that the stadium at its most raucous has registered as an earthquake on local seismology charts.
4.) Beaver Stadium
Though not opened until 1960, the home of Penn State University football has quickly surpassed even other historic programs. Since 1966, it has housed the career of legendary coach Joe Paterno. With a capacity nearing 110,000 fans, Beaver Stadium is the second largest sports venue in North America. Lately, the Big Ten venue has become known for its "whiteouts," where fans dress in all white for a critical televised game.
5.) The Horseshoe
Ohio Stadium is nicknamed after its famous shape and is a leading example of open-ended college football venues. As one of the louder facilities in the country, playing at home has always offered a drastic edge for Ohio State University. The Shoe opened in 1922 and now comfortably holds over 100,000 fans.
6.) Autzen Stadium
Despite holding around 60,000 fans, the home of the University of Oregon is one of the loudest venues in college football. In addition to the craziness of the team's fans, the stadium has a sunken field and seems to trap noise. After decades of futility, the Ducks have successfully used their significant home-field advantage (and outlandish uniforms) to become an annual contender in the Pac-12.
The home of the University of Southern California football is a unique venue in sports. Opened in 1922, the Coliseum has hosted nearly every major form of outdoor athletics, including Super Bowls, the World Series, two Olympics, and even various motor sports events. Unlike others on this list, the facility has not needed major expansion, and USC has enjoyed crowds over 100,000 throughout its history.
8.) Rocky Top
Neyland Stadium is the fourth largest outdoor sporting venue in the country. Holding a filled capacity of 102,455, the home of the University of Tennessee opened in 1921 and has undergone a series of renovations to expand. Perhaps the enclosed stadium is best known for the Volunteers' signature bright orange, which adorns nearly everything and everyone on gameday.
The home of the Wisconsin Badgers is one of the oldest stadiums in college football. Now holding over 80,000 fans, Camp Randall has hosted Badgers games since 1917. The stadium is always packed for football games, and rowdy fans entertain themselves with numerous traditions, in addition to indulging in plenty of cheese curds and bratwursts.
10.) Kyle Field
The home of Texas A&M football holds approximately 85,000 spectators, and fans in Aggieland have witnessed much success over the years. During the 1990s, the Aggies won an astounding 55 of 60 games played on this field. In fact, fans are so convinced of the impact of their facility on the team, Kyle Field is nicknamed "Home of the 12th Man."
More by Jeff Briscoe from Yahoo! Contributor Network:
Jeff Briscoe is a writer from Florida who covers sports for the Yahoo! Contributor Network and the Fort Myers Examiner. A college football fanatic, he can be found during Saturdays throughout the fall either at a local stadium or firmly planted on the coach.
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