Saturday, June 23, 2012

Ranking the SEC Football Stadiums

There are many awe inspiring cathedrals to the game of football in this great nation of ours. You've got "The Big House" in Michigan, "Touchdown Jesus" at Notre Dame and "The Horseshoe" in Ohio. But, if you truly want to experience some sort of "football heaven" you might have to venture down south to the SEC to check out some of their diggs. Here, I will rank all 14 stadiums in the conference, all other lists be darned. The criteria here being: atmosphere, stadium size, scenery (female or otherwise), and tradition.

1.  Ben Hill Griffin Stadium- University of Florida. This choice for #1 venue in the SEC might be considered a bit of a wildcard. There are certainly larger stadiums (Although the Swamp pull in about 90,000 per) and probably more structurally attractive ones. However, when you factor in the sun drenched beauty, the insane amount of success in the last 20 plus years and the...cough..other scenery, I think we have a winner. Oh and Tim Tebow played there.

2. Neyland Stadium- University of Tennessee. This is the 3rd largest football stadium in America seating a robust 102,455. It is nestled perfectly right up against the Tennessee river which makes for some unique tailgating adventures. And seriously, how daunting would it be to a visitor in that stadium and to look up and see

3. Tiger Stadium (AKA Death Valley)- LSU. Many people call Death Valley THE toughest place to play in college football. Playing LSU at Tiger Stadium on a Saturday night is probably not an activity most teams will want to find themselves doing. 92,542 cajuns call this stadium home and they won't mind verbalizing that to you. This place is known, also, for some of the best tailgating in America.

4. Bryant-Denny Stadium- University of Alabama. Just think Bear Bryant, national championships and co-ed heaven. After several additions, the stadium now seats over 100,000 fans, and these guys bring it every single college football Saturday in Tuscaloosa.

5. Kyle Field- Texas A&M . SEC fans may boo this choice as we have our first new entrant into the conference making an early appearance on the list. But rest assured, Kyle Field can back up its ranking. It's official capacity is 83,000 but crowds of over 90,000 are common place in College Station. So beware the 12th man all SEC opponents!

6. Sanford Stadium- University of Georgia. "Between the hedges," easily one of the most enduring scenes in college football. It's official capacity is now 92,746 and is ranked 7th in the nation in stadium capacity. This is southern football at its finest.

7. Jordan-Hare Stadium- Auburn University. Auburn is kind of the yang to Alabama's ying. Auburn fans seem to take pride in their "roudy country boy" stereotype. Over 87,000 witness one of football's best traditions from inside this stadium; the war eagle. The bird is set free before each home game while the throngs of fans look on in anticipation of another Tiger victory.

8. Williams-Brice Stadium- University of South Carolina. I think this place has to get points for being nicknamed "the cock pit" as well as the fact that the 1993 football movie "The Program" was filmed here. Win or lose, over 80,000 Carolina crazies jam pack this place every game day. 

9. Vaught-Hemingway Stadium- Ole Miss. If you have a thing for girls in sundresses, amazing tailgating and supreme SEC atmosphere, then Ole Miss is your place. The Grove is known as one of the finest tailgating locations in all of college football and offers a wide array of pre-game pageantry. It seats a paltry 60,000 fans but plans for huge upgrades are in the works.

10. Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium- University of Arkansas. You can see just how amazing some of these SEC stadiums are when this recently (2001) renovated stadium comes in at 10th on the list. Capacity now nears 78,000 and the calling of the hogs is one of the oddest chants you will ever see at a sporting event! Regardless, these fans are passionate and may have had a higher ranking if their female fans wore sundresses too.

11. Faurot Field-University of Missouri. Mizzou knows they need to step it up facility wise. They are about to start on some major stadium renovations which should help their future ranking. Currently Faurot seats around 71,000 and Columbia has pretty solid tailgating. For big games, this stadium can be very raucous, and the team has performed very well inside the stadium for the better part of a decade.

12. Commonwealth Stadium- University of Kentucky. Certainly when you think UK, you automatically think Rupp Arena and the basketball Wildcats. Commonwealth Stadium is a solid 67,000 seat stadium but really lacks a winning atmosphere. It can definitely be a tough place for superior opponents to play in, however.

13. Davis Wade Stadium- Mississippi State University. Current capacity is a mere 55,000 and this stadium could probably use a facelift. The team is an ok history of winning here, but Starkville, MS is probably not the epicenter of college football pageantry.

14. Vanderbilt Stadium- Vanderbilt University. Well Vanderbilt Stadium ranks last on our list primarily due to two things: size, and a lot of losing. It seats a tad less than 40,000 fans and their on field history has not been stunning either. Nashville is a very fun town to visit, however and the college itself is one of the finest in the nation. Oh, and this stadium did house the displaced Tennessee Oilers for a season, too.

In conclusion, I think it is safe to say that the Southeastern Conference is home to many of the best college football stadiums in the country. A lot of fans will probably argue that their stadium should be higher and that is the cool part of this. Each school has many wonderful traditions that will continue on into the new era of college sports.


  1. Solid rankings. I hope to make it to all these stadiums at some point. Glad mizzou can become part of a conference with such a great football tradition! M-I-Z...

  2. Yeah going to be a great run the rest of our lives in this conference. Each venue must be visited and I think I even wrote that on your wedding card.