No. 15: Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn (SEC)
The Plains’ gigantic edifice and the raucous fans inside it can instill mighty fear in opposing teams. Few small towns have a tighter connection to their school than Auburn, where fans and townspeople toilet-paper “Toomer’s Corner” after huge wins.
No. 14: Kyle Field, Texas A&M (Big 12)
With no female cheerleaders and a tradition known as “Midnight Yell Practice,” Aggieland is as unique as they come. Spend a quarter in the student section at the home of “The 12th Man,” and the atmosphere from Kyle Field will leave you happily dizzy.
No. 13: Michigan Stadium, Michigan (Big 10)
“The Big House” may have the biggest capacity in college football, but it doesn’t have the buzz factor of the Top 12. Still, it’s a fabulous, tight-knit, treasured setting, and it’s quite amazing they manage to get 108,000-plus Wolverines fans snug in here. And to think they’re expanding the stadium. Wow.
No. 12: Camp Randall Stadium, Wisconsin (Big 10)
The oldest venue in my Top 25, Camp Randall was a Union army training camp during the Civil War. Today, the patrons, including the flamboyant band and its “fifth quarter” end zone celebration, help make this place jump around. Every football fan has to experience Wisconsin.
No. 11: Sanford Stadium, Georgia (SEC)
Some of the most intense fans I’ve ever seen. They love to watch their football between the privet hedges that completely surround the field in Athens. When Georgia wins, Bulldog fans party even more insanely than they do the rest of the time.
No. 10: Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, Texas (Big 12)
The ’Horns will reach the six-figure mark in attendance in ’09 thanks to more seating as a result of renovations. From endless tailgating in urban Austin to unfurling the world’s largest Texas flag before kickoff, everything is big, bad and unique, including the Longhorn band’s distinctly Texan threads and lids and the cheerleaders’ outfits.
No. 9: Ben Griffin Stadium, Florida (SEC)
Built below ground and muggy for much of the season, “The Swamp” has been sold out for every game since the Carter administration and lived up its billing where often only Gators get out alive.
No. 8: Neyland Stadium, Tennessee (SEC)
After enjoying a floating tailgate extravaganza on the river with the Vol Navy — when 100,000 sing that old folk “Rocky Top” song that you’ll never get out of your head for the next several days — you’ll get a tingle up your spine and think you’re in college football heaven. You are.
No. 7: Ohio Stadium, Ohio State (Big 10)
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Like the L.A. Coliseum, it's on the National Register of Historic Places — and rightfully so. “The Horseshoe” is an absolute gem, with its cutting-edge design and some of the most educated, vocal and dedicated fans in college football. And this place is truly old school, still with no attached stadium lights.
No. 6: Beaver Stadium, Penn State (Big 10)
Other schools also emphasize basketball as part of their major athletic programs, but Nittany Lions fans really only eat, sleep and breathe football. Student tickets for the season sell out in mere minutes. Few stadium settings are better on a Saturday afternoon than Happy Valley, from the plethora of tailgating parties outside to pure White Out conditions on the inside.
CFT: The Detroit Lions are expected to own and operate their own bowl game at Ford Field, starting play in 2014, according to a report by ESPN.
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