25 Best and Loudest College Football Stadiums – 2024

March 1, 2024

best and loudest football stadiums

Before we dive into the best and loudest college football stadiums, it’s a sad truth that stadiums are a notorious drain on public resources: studies show that the economic impact of stadiums is negligible at best and detrimental at worst, and since stadiums are often subsidized by taxpayers, they divert money and resources away from pressing public needs. The Oakland Coliseum, for example, cost the city of Oakland and Alameda County $350 million. At the same time, Oakland public schools cut 340 jobs in the 2019-2020 school year, and Oakland’s infrastructure is among the worst in the country. Oh, and Oakland taxpayers will still be footing the bill even as the Oakland A’s franchise explodes in value and makes moves to relocate to Las Vegas.

So, on the one hand, I’ll have to suspend my skepticism just a little bit to write this article. On the other, it’s not difficult to acknowledge that stadiums bring benefits, too. They’re historical monuments, architectural wonders, physical and spiritual containers of pride and disappointment. At their best, stadiums create social cohesion, unity, community.

As opposed to the drawbacks of stadiums, which are all too concrete, most of the benefits of stadiums are intangible. This is fitting for this article because there is no objective way to determine the best college football stadiums. A good indicator might be overall capacity or national championships. But we also have to take into account reputation, atmosphere, legend—the ineffable feel of these stadiums on game night. What follows below is an entirely nonscientific list of the 25 best college football stadiums.

25 Best College Football Stadiums

#25. Cotton Bowl, Dallas Texas

The Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas, with a capacity of 92,100, is the eleventh largest college football stadium in the country, but it didn’t get a mention in my previous blog post. That’s because it’s not a home stadium of any college, and the Cotton Bowl Classic itself relocated to AT&T Stadium in Arlington in 2009. But my omission might’ve been a bit overly litigious, so I’ll make up for it here.

The Cotton Bowl was the site of the Cotton Bowl Classic between the years 1937 and 2009; the place, in other words, has some serious history. And the stadium still hosts the Red River Showdown, the classic rivalry between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Texas Longhorns.

#24. Lane Stadium, Virginia Tech – Loudest College Football Stadiums

As I mentioned in the intro, it’s difficult to quantify “best.” So too with stadium x-factors like “scary” and “intimidating.” Since I’m a complete outsider to college football, I have to rely on expert opinion and testimony to ground this list. And the best source I could find on the issue of intimidation factor was a 2007 ESPN article by Ben Feldman. According to Feldman, who surveyed college football coaches, Virginia Tech’s Lane Stadium—despite having a comparatively small capacity of “just” 65,000—was the 2nd “scariest venue” for opposing teams.

#23. Notre Dame Stadium, Notre Dame

This one’s obvious. Notre Dame Stadium—AKA The House that Rockne Built—is about as quintessentially college football as you can get. The place holds 80,795, so it can certainly get raucous, and it’s a monument to one of the strongest college football legacies in the sport’s history.

Loudest College Football Stadiums

#22. Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, University of Oklahoma

Another factor that helped me in crafting the list of the best college football stadiums was the success of the teams themselves—whether it be the historical success of teams like Notre Dame, who haven’t brought home a national championship in decades—or the modern-day success of teams like the Clemson Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide. It’s sort of a no-brainer. I mean, how great can a stadium atmosphere be if the home team isn’t, and never has been, any good?

Oklahoma Memorial Stadium belongs in this list because Oklahoma has a bit of both—the historical legacy and modern prominence. In 2023, the Sooners finished at number 15 in the AP Top 25 Poll, and they’ve sustained success over the preceding decades, last winning a national championship in 2000.

#21. Folsom Field, University of Colorado, Boulder

Folsom Field has a capacity of around 54,000, which is just about half the capacity of the largest college football stadium. But numbers aren’t everything. Folsom Field is surrounded by the bucolic foothills of the Rocky Mountains. So even if Deion Sanders’ squad isn’t capturing your attention with their on-the-field performance, the view certainly will.

#20. Williams-Brice Stadium, University of South Carolina

The Gamecocks’ home field, with a capacity of over 80,000, is the sixteenth largest on-campus college football stadium in the US, and it’s got a reputation for being one of the best home game experiences in the sport.

Loudest College Football Stadiums

#19. Kenan Memorial Stadium, University of North Carolina

Like most casual sports fans (I’d be willing to bet), when I think of UNC, I think of Roy Williams and Tarheels basketball. But that doesn’t mean that UNC’s gridiron, Kenan Memorial Stadium, is anything to scoff at. It opened in 1927, and it seats just north of 50,000. The best thing it’s got going for itself? It’s located in magical Chapel Hill.

#18. Husky Stadium, University of Washington – Loudest College Football Stadiums

The University of Washington in Seattle proudly proclaims Husky Stadium to be the “greatest setting in college football.” I’ve never been to Seattle, or anywhere in the Pacific Northwest for that matter, but I’ve read enough fiction and seen enough TV shows and movies set in the PNW to know that the place is some kind of earth chakra. Husky Stadium overlooks Lake Washington and Mount Rainier. I mean, who cares what’s happening on the field when the sun’s setting?

And for those keeping track, during a 1992 game against Nebraska, noise levels in Husky Stadium reached 133.6 decibels, which, until recently, was the loudest figure recorded in college football history.

#17. Michie Stadium, Army

At Michie Stadium in West Point, the game is almost secondary to the pageantry, patriotism, and setting.

Loudest College Football Stadiums

#16. Memorial Stadium, University of Nebraska

The Lincoln, Nebraska home of the Cornhuskers, Memorial Stadium has a capacity of 90,000. That makes it one of the biggest college football stadiums in the country. And although the Huskers are still looking to rediscover the glory of the Tom Osborne years, the Nebraska faithful have sold out Memorial Stadium for a record 396 games in a row, a streak that dates to 1962.

#15. Kyle Field, Texas A&M University

A record 110,633 packed into the Kyle Field bleachers in 2014 to watch the Aggies take on the Ole Miss Rebels (the Aggies would lose 35-20). Apart from its size, Kyle Field is one of the best college football stadiums because of the Aggies’ dominance at home. In the nineties, the Aggies lost just four time at Kyle Field—four times! And what else makes Kyle Field one of the best football venues in the country? It’s football in Texas. Duh.

#14. Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn University – Loudest College Football Stadiums

In 2013, Jordan-Hare stadium was the site of what became known as the “Kick Six,” when Auburn’s Chris Davis returned a missed field goal for a game-winning touchdown. The crowd reaction registered on seismographs throughout the state of Alabama, a fact that has only enhanced Jordan-Hare Stadium’s reputation as one of the loudest college football venues in the country.

#13. Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, University of Southern California

Although the Lincoln Riley years have been somewhat underwhelming, USC boasts one of the most decorated football traditions in NCAA history. And the Coliseum is not just a monument to USC’s greatness—it was the home of the LA Rams from 1946 to 1979, during which time the Rams won an NFL Championship.

Loudest College Football Stadiums

#12. Sanford Stadium, University of Georgia

The Bulldogs are perennially good, and Sanford Stadium, which fits 92,746, is considered by many to be college football’s “most beautiful on campus stadium.”

#11. Memorial Stadium, Clemson University

Clemson’s Memorial Stadium and LSU’s Tiger Stadium compete for the rights to the “Death Valley” moniker. According to college football coaches, both places are indeed intimidating for the opposing teams.

#10. Rose Bowl, University of California, Los Angeles

Not only is the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California the tenth largest NCAA stadium, it’s also a National Historic Landmark and a California Historic Civil Engineering landmark. It was designed by architect Myron Hunt, who took his inspiration from the Yale Bowl in New Haven, Connecticut.

Loudest College Football Stadiums

#9. Bryant-Denny Stadium, University of Alabama

No team has been more dominant than the Alabama Crimson Tide over the last decade plus. The Crimson Tide took home national championship titles in 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017, and 2020. They’re by far the most decorated team in college football history. With a tradition like that, how could home games not be absolutely electric?

#8. Darrell K Royal Texas Stadium, University of Texas

See Kyle Field: huge capacity (100,119), historical success, Texas.

#7. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, University of Florida

Also known as The Swamp, University of Florida’s Ben Hill Griffin Stadium once recorded a noise level of 115 decibels. To put that in perspective, that’s about as loud as a jet engine, which are typically recorded at 110-140 decibels. The Swamp is easily one of the most iconic venues in all of college sports.

Loudest College Football Stadiums

#6. Neyland Stadium, University of Tennessee

Neyland Stadium in Knoxville seats 101,915, and it’s got a reputation as being one of the most boisterous football fields in the NCAA. In 2023, during the Volunteers’ home match-up against Georgia, the Tennessee faithful set a noise level record: the stadium’s volume was recorded at 137 decibels. The previous record was held by Washington’s Husky Stadium.

#5. Autzen Stadium, University of Oregon

Autzen Stadium in Eugene has a capacity of 54,000, which is small for college football standards, but the low seats give the place an intimate and up-close feel. And that makes it all the more electric for Ducks fans and intimidating for the opposing team. Autzen Stadium, during a 2007 game against USC, produced a noise level of 127 decibels. Any sound above 120 decibels, by the way, is potentially damaging to the ear.

#4. Tiger Stadium, Louisiana State University

Also known as Death Valley or simply The Bayou, Tiger Stadium has a capacity of 102,321, which makes it the fifth largest NCAA stadium overall. The verdict seems to be in about Tiger Stadium: it’s the most feared destination for opposing teams in all of college football.

During a 2007 game against Florida, noise levels at Tiger Stadium reached 130 decibels, and it’s not uncommon that the gameday crowd at the Bayou registers on local seismographs.

#3. Michigan Stadium, University of Michigan

Michigan’s home stadium, with a capacity of 107,601, is the largest college football stadium in the country. That doesn’t automatically make it one of the best college football stadiums, but the magnitude of that number does make for a pretty convincing argument. The Big House is generally regarded as one of the best college football venues in the country, and the Wolverines were national champions in 2023.

Loudest College Football Stadiums

#2. Beaver Stadium, Penn State

The size of the place—it has a capacity of 106,572, the second largest college football stadium in the NCAA—and the tradition of “white outs” make Beaver Stadium a shoe-in for the second spot in the list of the best college football stadiums.

#1. Ohio Stadium, Ohio State

Ohio Stadium holds 102,780, so it’s the third largest college football stadium in the United States. And although Ohio Stadium hasn’t broken any decibel records, here, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The design—there’s a reason it’s called “The Horseshoe”—is iconic, the Ohio faithful are legendary, and the Buckeyes’ football legacy is up there with the best in the country. In 1974, Ohio Stadium was designated a historical landmark by the National Register of Historic Places. For all those reasons, Ohio State tops the list of the best college football stadiums.

25 Best and Loudest College Football Stadiums Additional Resources

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