The Mountain West Conference will start the 2012 football season with a new look. There is one team that left and three more that joined the conference for this season. The stadiums may not be as large as other Division 1 fields offer but there is a uniqueness about several of these arenas that counters any loss of size and capacity. Here are the top four best home field advantages in the Mountain West.
4. Falcon Stadium: Colorado Springs, Colorado - The Air Force Academy Falcons have called this field their home for 50 years (opened in 1962). The stadium lies within the academy and is at the very northern edge of Colorado Springs, about 6,600 feet above sea level. With one of the largest seating capacities in the conference at 52,123, the pageantry, color, thin air and overall dynamics that encompass any military academy combines to offer a big benefit to the home team. They play on field turf.
3. Aloha Stadium: Honolulu, Hawaii - The University of Hawaii Warriors call this iconic grounds home. Built in 1975, the playing surface is field turf. The stadium holds 50,000 and sits about 10 miles from the school. If they're not paying attention to the stunning views of paradise, the crowd can be raucous when there's a big game with the double-decked seating and roof making for a louder than normal noise level. Oh, and when the game is over … you're still in Hawaii!
2. Bulldog Stadium: Fresno, California - Fresno State's Bulldog campus stadium has been open since 1980. It holds 41,021 and the games are played on field turf. The Bulldog fans are faithful, coming from all over the Central Valley to northeastern Fresno and are well known for traveling with the team. The crowds start with quite a bit of tailgating before the game and are loud during the games. The steep stadium seating lends itself to a closer and louder feel with the fans.
1. Bronco Stadium: Boise, Idaho - The Boise State Broncos are the proud owners of this infamous on-campus blue field. It was originally built in 1970 and now holds 37,000 with field turf as a playing surface. The stadium is almost always full and the tiered seating adds a louder and bigger dimension that its actual size suggests. The fans are loud but the biggest advantage is obviously the blue color of the football field, which was the first of its kind.
The venerable War Memorial Stadium in Laramie, Wyoming and home to the Cowboys might get a honorable mention if for no other reason than it sits higher in altitude than any other Division 1 football stadium in the country, at 7,215 feet. Kind of takes your breath away. Also, Qualcomm Stadium (or the Murph, to old fans like me), which is the San Diego State Aztecs home stadium, can at times be a home field advantage. For starters, it's the biggest stadium at 71,294 and cavernous by Mountain West standards. The problem is the Aztecs seldom sellout, with paltry crowds that aren't the most vocal.
Who do you think has the foremost stadium advantage in the Mountain West?
Sources - Mountain West Conference, College Gridirons
Through thick and thin, Daryle has been a huge fan of college football as well as Hawaii, visiting there as a second home for over 40 years. Go 'Bows!