Photo Essays  

 

Published: June 24, 2015 at 11:59 a.m.
Updated: June 24, 2015 at 02:14 p.m.

15 for '15: College football's best game-day atmosphere

» Complete 15 for '15 series

CFB 24/7's "15 for '15" series continues with a look at college football's best game-day experience. Having a nice stadium helps, but it's more than that -- the tailgating, the passion (and loudness) of the fans, even the school's football history plays into it. We picked 16 (there's a tie for 15th), but this easily could have gone 30 deep with no drop-off -- and very little distinguishing No. 30 from No. 1. (Thus if your favorite school wasn't picked, just imagine it being No. 17.)

16 Photos Total

  • <b>Home venue:</b> Husky Stadium (70,138)<br />
<b>Skinny:</b> Husky Stadium takes a backseat to no football edifice when it comes to most scenic location. The stadium overlooks Lake Washington and offers views of the Seattle skyline, Mt. Rainier, the Cascade Mountains and the Olympic Mountain Range. Fans can boat to the game, and Husky Stadium also gets extremely loud. 16

    Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

    T-15. Washington

    Home venue: Husky Stadium (70,138)
    Skinny: Husky Stadium takes a backseat to no football edifice when it comes to most scenic location. The stadium overlooks Lake Washington and offers views of the Seattle skyline, Mt. Rainier, the Cascade Mountains and the Olympic Mountain Range. Fans can boat to the game, and Husky Stadium also gets extremely loud.

  • <b>Home venue:</b> Neyland Stadium (102,455)<br />
<b>Skinny:</b> Tennessee has suffered through about a decade of mediocrity, but it's still a good place to attend a game. The so-called "Vol Navy" is one of the neatest things in college football (fans take their boats -- from mighty fancy to mighty frugal -- to the game, dock them on the Tennessee River, then walk across Neyland Drive to the stadium). 15

    Wade Payne/Associated Press

    T-15. Tennessee

    Home venue: Neyland Stadium (102,455)
    Skinny: Tennessee has suffered through about a decade of mediocrity, but it's still a good place to attend a game. The so-called "Vol Navy" is one of the neatest things in college football (fans take their boats -- from mighty fancy to mighty frugal -- to the game, dock them on the Tennessee River, then walk across Neyland Drive to the stadium).

  • <b>Home venue:</b> Autzen Stadium (54,000)<br />
<b>Skinny:</b> Forget the relatively small capacity; Autzen gets </i>loud.</i> Mighty loud. And forgive us, but we like it when the team takes the field trailing a motorcycle that has the duck mascot riding on the back. Plus, Autzen was used as the location for the fictional Faber College football stadium in "Animal House." 14

    Don Ryan/Associated Press

    14. Oregon

    Home venue: Autzen Stadium (54,000)
    Skinny: Forget the relatively small capacity; Autzen gets loud. Mighty loud. And forgive us, but we like it when the team takes the field trailing a motorcycle that has the duck mascot riding on the back. Plus, Autzen was used as the location for the fictional Faber College football stadium in "Animal House."

  • <b>Home venue:</b> Kyle Field (102,512)<br />
<b>Skinny:</b> The campus is huge, and the stadium has undergone a recent renovation to add more seats. One of the cooler things in college sports is seeing A&M's Corps of Cadets stand throughout the game. And the "yell leaders" (do <i>not</I> call them cheerleaders) are cool, too, in a retro sort of way. 13

    Dave Einsel/Associated Press

    13. Texas A&M

    Home venue: Kyle Field (102,512)
    Skinny: The campus is huge, and the stadium has undergone a recent renovation to add more seats. One of the cooler things in college sports is seeing A&M's Corps of Cadets stand throughout the game. And the "yell leaders" (do not call them cheerleaders) are cool, too, in a retro sort of way.

  • <b>Home venue:</b> Beaver Stadium (106,572)<br />
<b>Skinny:</b> Getting to State College isn't easy, but folks come in droves for every home game during the season. The tailgating is spread out, but still impressive. It's worth it to get to the stadium early and look at how the different sections of Beaver Stadium have been almost patched together. And watching the students pour in once the gates are opened is pretty cool. 12

    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    12. Penn State

    Home venue: Beaver Stadium (106,572)
    Skinny: Getting to State College isn't easy, but folks come in droves for every home game during the season. The tailgating is spread out, but still impressive. It's worth it to get to the stadium early and look at how the different sections of Beaver Stadium have been almost patched together. And watching the students pour in once the gates are opened is pretty cool.

  • <b>Home venue:</b> Los Angeles Coliseum (93,607)<br />
<b>Skinny:</b> The band. The USC Song Girls. The sideline stars. The L.A. skyline. The historic stadium itself. It all adds up to a memorable experience. 11

    Ben Liebenberg/NFL

    11. USC

    Home venue: Los Angeles Coliseum (93,607)
    Skinny: The band. The USC Song Girls. The sideline stars. The L.A. skyline. The historic stadium itself. It all adds up to a memorable experience.

  • <b>Home venue:</b> Jordan-Hare Stadium (87,451)<br />
<b>Skinny:</b> Fans park everywhere on football Saturdays, and they take their tailgating seriously (as fans do at most SEC stadiums). Jordan-Hare's upper deck is somewhat steep, so the view is impressive. And it gets loud. 10

    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    10. Auburn

    Home venue: Jordan-Hare Stadium (87,451)
    Skinny: Fans park everywhere on football Saturdays, and they take their tailgating seriously (as fans do at most SEC stadiums). Jordan-Hare's upper deck is somewhat steep, so the view is impressive. And it gets loud.

  • <b>Home venue:</b> Florida Field (88,548)<br />
<b>Skinny:</b> Florida has a big campus, and on football Saturdays tailgaters are everywhere. The architecture of the stadium lends itself to the crowd noise being contained; longtime college football writer Ivan Maisel once wrote, "Take any heavy-metal album, crank it, then place your speakers in a tin basement. That sounds like a library compared to 'The Swamp.'" 9

    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    9. Florida

    Home venue: Florida Field (88,548)
    Skinny: Florida has a big campus, and on football Saturdays tailgaters are everywhere. The architecture of the stadium lends itself to the crowd noise being contained; longtime college football writer Ivan Maisel once wrote, "Take any heavy-metal album, crank it, then place your speakers in a tin basement. That sounds like a library compared to 'The Swamp.'"

  • <b>Home venue:</b> Memorial Stadium (81,500)<br />
<b>Skinny:</b> Clemson is in Clemson, S.C., and if it wasn't for the university, the town would not exist. The pregame run down "The Hill," where every player touches "Howard's Rock" at the bottom, is goosebump-inducing. 8

    Richard Shiro/Associated Press

    8. Clemson

    Home venue: Memorial Stadium (81,500)
    Skinny: Clemson is in Clemson, S.C., and if it wasn't for the university, the town would not exist. The pregame run down "The Hill," where every player touches "Howard's Rock" at the bottom, is goosebump-inducing.

  • <b>Home venue:</b> Camp-Randall Stadium (80,321)<br />
<b>Skinny:</b> You like beer and bratwurst in large quantities? Welcome to tailgate at Camp Randall. The fans get loud before the game, and they remain loud throughout the game itself. 7

    Tom Lynn/Associated Press

    7. Wisconsin

    Home venue: Camp-Randall Stadium (80,321)
    Skinny: You like beer and bratwurst in large quantities? Welcome to tailgate at Camp Randall. The fans get loud before the game, and they remain loud throughout the game itself.

  • <b>Home venue:</b> Sanford Stadium (92,746)<br />
<b>Skinny:</b> There's nothing like a pregame stroll around a beautiful campus and seeing grown men (and women ) bark at each other. It's also sort of cool to hear folks yell, "Hunker down, you hairy 'Dawgs" -- with "dawgs" becoming a two-syllable word. 6

    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    6. Georgia

    Home venue: Sanford Stadium (92,746)
    Skinny: There's nothing like a pregame stroll around a beautiful campus and seeing grown men (and women ) bark at each other. It's also sort of cool to hear folks yell, "Hunker down, you hairy 'Dawgs" -- with "dawgs" becoming a two-syllable word.

  • <b>Home venue:</b> Memorial Stadium (87,000)<br />
<b>Skinny:</b> Huskers football is that state's No. 1 passion -- and No. 2 and No. 3 and No. 4 and ... you get the idea. The fans are famously nice to opposing teams; then again, it's easy to be nice when you win most of your home games. 5

    Nati Harnik/Associated Press

    5. Nebraska

    Home venue: Memorial Stadium (87,000)
    Skinny: Huskers football is that state's No. 1 passion -- and No. 2 and No. 3 and No. 4 and ... you get the idea. The fans are famously nice to opposing teams; then again, it's easy to be nice when you win most of your home games.

  • <b>Home venue:</b> Notre Dame Stadium (80,795)<br />
<b>Skinny:</b> It's a beautiful campus, and every building appears made of the same bricks. The history is unparalleled, and even if you don't like Notre Dame, gazing upon "Touchdown Jesus" is a religious experience if you're a college football fan. 4

    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    4. Notre Dame

    Home venue: Notre Dame Stadium (80,795)
    Skinny: It's a beautiful campus, and every building appears made of the same bricks. The history is unparalleled, and even if you don't like Notre Dame, gazing upon "Touchdown Jesus" is a religious experience if you're a college football fan.

  • <b>Home venue:</b> Ohio Stadium (104,944)<br />
<b>Skinny:</b> There famously is one stadium in particular that has a higher seating capacity, but Ohio State is the tops in the Big Ten when it comes to atmosphere. For one, it's louder in Columbus than it is in Ann Arbor. Truthfully, the fans generally are nastier in Columbus, too, but in a weird way, that adds to the appeal. 3

    Kiichiro Sato/Associated Press

    3. Ohio State

    Home venue: Ohio Stadium (104,944)
    Skinny: There famously is one stadium in particular that has a higher seating capacity, but Ohio State is the tops in the Big Ten when it comes to atmosphere. For one, it's louder in Columbus than it is in Ann Arbor. Truthfully, the fans generally are nastier in Columbus, too, but in a weird way, that adds to the appeal.

  • <b>Home venue:</b> Bryant-Denny Stadium (101,821)<br />
<b>Skinny:</b> A pregame saunter around Bryant-Denny (you should know who Bryant is; Denny was a long-ago school president), and you'll see every imaginable piece of clothing with a hounds tooth pattern. The fans are savvy (and, truth be told, mighty smug), and they appreciate a stout defense as much as an explosive offense. 2

    Dave Martin/Associated Press

    2. Alabama

    Home venue: Bryant-Denny Stadium (101,821)
    Skinny: A pregame saunter around Bryant-Denny (you should know who Bryant is; Denny was a long-ago school president), and you'll see every imaginable piece of clothing with a hounds tooth pattern. The fans are savvy (and, truth be told, mighty smug), and they appreciate a stout defense as much as an explosive offense.

  • <b>Home venue:</b> Tiger Stadium (102,231)<br />
<b>Skinny:</b> Night games in Baton Rouge are like a trip into a surrealistic hell for opposing teams. Night games allow LSU's ardent fans to get -- ahem -- well-oiled, and they are loud. The pregame food choices are ample. Just walk around the tailgates and take in the sights and sounds; and you're going to be offered excellent food and an adult beverage or two ... or four or five. In that scenario, it helps if you like bourbon. Truth be told, you might be offered an adult beverage in the stands, too. (And in that scenario, it definitely helps if you like bourbon.) 1

    Jonathan Bachman/Associated Press

    1. LSU

    Home venue: Tiger Stadium (102,231)
    Skinny: Night games in Baton Rouge are like a trip into a surrealistic hell for opposing teams. Night games allow LSU's ardent fans to get -- ahem -- well-oiled, and they are loud. The pregame food choices are ample. Just walk around the tailgates and take in the sights and sounds; and you're going to be offered excellent food and an adult beverage or two ... or four or five. In that scenario, it helps if you like bourbon. Truth be told, you might be offered an adult beverage in the stands, too. (And in that scenario, it definitely helps if you like bourbon.)