The pageantry of college football is unmatched. From the mascots to the bands and the student sections, there’s nothing quite like it. It’s one of the few sports in the world where a team can pull in over 100,000 fans for a given game. Here are the top 10 largest stadiums the nation has to offer.
Iconic ABC play-by-play announcer Keith Jackson popularized many phrases, one being what many refer to Michigan Stadium as — “The Big House.”
The venue, which is in Ann Arbor, holds 107,601 fans and is the largest stadium in the Western Hemisphere. It’s also the third-largest stadium in the world, behind only India’s Narendra Modi Stadium and North Korea’s Rungrado 1st of May Stadium.
Michigan Stadium was built in 1927 after Wolverines coach Fielding Yost convinced the university that the ticket revenue from an increased capacity would help all athletics programs. A committee report OK’d the construction in January 1926 but called for the stadium to be simply designed, without an effort to make it any sort of monument.
The venue hosts crowds as large as 115,109 — a record set in Michigan’s night-game triumph over rival Notre Dame in September 2013.
Penn State Nittany Lions
The second-largest stadium in the United States, Beaver Stadium is named after James A. Beaver, a Civil War brigadier general and, later, governor of Pennsylvania. Home to the Penn State football team, it was initially built in 1909.
In 1960, it was dismantled and moved from its original location on the west side of campus. It’s doubled in capacity since then, as when the Nittany Lions played their first game in the rebuilt version, the horseshoe layout seated 46,284 fans.
It now holds 106,572 fans and is home to the well-known annual White Out game, in which scores of home supporters show up decked out in white attire. Penn State’s “Block-Six” against Ohio State in 2016 is arguably the most memorable of these events.
Opponents dread playing in the raucous setting, where you can also hear the boisterous “We Are… Penn State” chant rock the stadium.
Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio Stadium was born out of the growing support for a sport that was becoming increasingly popular in the Buckeye State. During Saturdays in the fall, it houses a part of one of the largest fan bases college football has to offer.
The stadium is nicknamed “The House That Harley Built.” Recognized as the individual who helped the university’s program get into the limelight, Chic Harley was a consensus All-American each year he suited up to play — 1916, 1917, and 1919.
The dazzling performance of Harley led to the raising of the venue, which is situated beside the Olentangy River. “The Shoe” has played host to Ohio State football games since 1922.
A written quote of Harley’s is inscribed over the doorway of the Buckeyes’ locker room. Until their own stadium was done, Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew also played at the stadium in the late 1990s.
Texas A&M Aggies
The Texas A&M Aggies have called Kyle Field home for 118 years. The stadium undertook a $485 million refurbishment over a two-year span from 2014 to 2015 and welcomes at least 100,000 fans per contest.
The stadium is named in honor of Edwin Jackson Kyle, a former athletic council president at the university. He was the one to use a corner of the campus given to him for agricultural purposes to place a $650 grandstand.
After the renovation, the stadium became the largest in the Southeastern Conference.
The stadium’s attendance record is 110,633 people, which came during the Ole Miss game in October 2014. The Aggies lost that game to a Hugh Freeze-led Rebels crew, but the total remains the largest crowd to be at a football game in the state of Texas. At the time, it was the largest in SEC history, too.
They don’t call it Death Valley for nothing!
When over 100,000 fans file into Tiger Stadium on fall Saturdays, it becomes the fifth-most populous city in Louisiana. It goes without saying that the presence of LSU fans helps provide a pretty evident home-field advantage.
The Tigers had their first game in the venue in 1924 against Tulane and played under the lights for the first time seven seasons later. One of the most notable moments in the stadium’s history was Billy Cannon’s punt return for a touchdown on Halloween night in 1959. The score was the trademark moment of Cannon’s Heisman campaign.
In just one of many examples of how feverish the setting can become, in 1988, the cheers that resulted from a touchdown that pushed the Bayou Bengals past No. 4 Auburn showed up as an earthquake on a nearby seismograph.
Tiger Stadium can fit 102,321 fans in its stands.
University of Tennessee faithful gather at a place named after an individual who played the biggest part in growing their beloved Volunteers football program — General Robert R. Neyland. Neyland was on the sidelines as the team’s head coach from 1926 to 1952, with a pair of pauses due to military obligations.
Since 1946, roughly 75,180 fans have attended home games, according to records. Remarkably, the Vols have won nearly 80% of their contests held on Shields-Watkins Field, pinning up 74 winning schedules in 88 tries. The program has gone unbeaten at home 35 times.
The venue’s record for attendance came in a game against rival Florida in September 2004, with 109,061 fans packing in to see a narrow win over the Gators. When it opened in 1921, the stadium’s initial capacity was only 3,200 people. After a number of additions, it now seats 101,915.
Alabama Crimson Tide
Home to what has arguably been the nation’s premier college football program, Bryant-Denny Stadium is one of the most visited places in Alabama.
Named for legendary head coach Paul “Bear” Bryant and university president Dr. George Denny, the venue has seen an 88,000-seat increase since it opened all the way back in 1929.
It’s fitting that Bryant has the best record there, having gone an incredible 72-2 in his time coaching in Tuscaloosa, which spanned from 1958 to 1982. Nick Saban comes in second with a .917 winning percentage. He’s been coaching the Crimson Tide since 2007 and has only dropped eight contests at Bryant-Denny.
From 1963 to 1982, Alabama won 57 consecutive home games. The stadium’s most recent renovation was undertaken before the 2019 season, with improvements that include larger video boards and touching up the team’s locker room. It cost the school $107 million.
Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium,
In what might be the most football-crazed state in America sits Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. In 2019, the venue was refurbished with a $175 million project.
With that, the university added 4,500 end-zone seats and an impressive 160-foot-by-44-foot video board, among other amenities. The venue is the largest in the Big 12 Conference and recently set its record for attendance, which came when 105,213 spectators gathered to watch a game against a national power, Alabama.
The stadium was constructed thanks to donations from students and alumni totaling $275,000. It’s named after Darrell K Royal, the program’s most notable head coach. Royal played for arch-rival Oklahoma, but three national titles helped ingratiate him with the University of Texas fanbase. He won more games at the helm for the Longhorns than any other coach.
Housing the defending national champion Georgia Bulldogs is 92,746-seat Sanford Stadium. Fans this season are proudly wearing their Fanatics officially licensed sports apparel, hoping that their crew will remain the best in the country.
Closed in by lush hedges, opposing teams can’t particularly enjoy their visits to Athens. For over 20 years, the Bulldogs’ average draw has ranked among the nation’s top 10.
The venue first opened its doors in October 1929, when over 30,000 took in a matchup against Yale. Sophomore end Vernon “Catfish” Smith recorded all 15 of UGA’s points in a winning effort. About 11 years after that, Georgia played its first night game, a 7-7 tie with Kentucky.
In 1996, the stadium hosted the medal round of the Olympic men’s and women’s soccer competitions, with over 3 billion watching on television worldwide.
The Rose Bowl is one of the most recognizable settings in all leagues, no matter the sport. Known mainly for the storied postseason matchup of the same name, it also hosts the UCLA Bruins throughout the season. Situated in Pasadena, California — 10 miles northeast of Los Angeles — the stadium holds 91,136 fans.
The Bruins have been playing here since 1982. It’s also been the destination for five Super Bowls and two World Cup Finals. Originally designed in a horseshoe shape, the stadium was built in 1922. The architect was trying to go for the same sort of look as the Yale Bowl in Connecticut, which was broken in less than a decade earlier.
One of the most memorable games in the stadium took place in the 2006 BCS Championship game when Texas’ Vince Young boosted the Longhorns past national power USC in a thriller. There’s a museum that has sports collectibles and memorabilia from the stadium’s biggest moments.