The facilities arms race among the top college football programs is constantly on-going as each school tries to one-up each other with better stadium upgrades and new athletic buildings.
The same can be said for the Pac-12 football facilities as each member is using their new conference money for upgrades and improvements to their stadiums and other athletic digs.
My judging is based off of 1)Current stadium and facilities and 2)Proposed upgrades and improvements then 3)Bells and whistles. I have made it to most of the school’s in the conference but have not been to every stadium or seen every facility in person, so forgive me if I miss something or undervalue your favorite team’s buildings.
Here’s my impressions from afar:
Oregon: With the help of Phil Knight and all of the Nike backing, Oregon’s facilities are the best in the conference and amongst the best in the entire country. Autzen stadium is impressive and creates a very tough environment for opposing teams to play in when it’s filled, which is every Saturday these days. Their locker room looks more like a country club and they also plan on building a new football operations building that should be top notch.
USC: The Coliseum is the biggest stadium in the conference and probably the most famous too. For a school like USC, which has been one of the best teams in the last decade, they had been lacking in the fancy athletic facilities. Not for long though, the new McKay Center will be one of the new gems in the conference and will be a huge boost to their already strong recruiting tools.
California: Cal’s Memorial Stadium just went through major upgrades that is set top open later this fall and it will be a sight to see. The stadium location has always been ideal and now with a newly renovated gem on the property it makes it even more appealing. Now that this upgrade has been finished, it marks a huge improvement for Cal that has vaulted it near the top of the ladder in the facilities race.
Washington: Like Cal, they are in the midst of upgrading their ancient Husky Stadium and will debut the new look this fall. They have upgraded other facilities up to this point but now that they’ve finally upgraded the stadium it puts them near the top of the conference in amenities. It goes without saying that their stadium is also located in one of the best locations in the country, right off of Washington Lake, which also includes a view of the Cascade Mountains.
UCLA: I have them here solely based on the Rose Bowl. It is one of the famous stadiums in the conference and with the renovations they have planned to it, it will be even better. As far as the rest of the facilities, they could use some upgrades especially to their practice field which is only 80 yards long….Alright then.
Stanford: They have strong facilities all around and with their recently finished renovation of their stadium in 2006 they have a foothold near the top half of the conference in the arms race.
Colorado: One of the new members to the conference, Colorado is already behind in top notch facilities. They are working on it right now by upgrading their scoreboards at Folsom Field, which were decrepit and falling apart last season. A possible indoor practice facility, besides their current practice bubble, is being talked about and could come to fruition. They also are planning on major upgrades to Folsom that will expand the capacity to over 60,000 and add a new athletic building replacing Dal Ward. I saw a rendition of the proposed upgrades and snapped a photo of what it will look like during a press conference this past Spring:
Utah: Their stadium is decent and with the addition of a much needed new football building they will bolster their standing in the rest of the conference.
Arizona State: Keeping up with the trend with the rest of the conference, ASU has a new stadium renovation proposal that will begin within the next few seasons. More details on the upgrades here but for now they are near the bottom of the conference in facilities. Nothing wows you but if they can receive all the funding for their new stadium, it will boost them to the top half of the conference.
Arizona: They have a good stadium and it will receive a bit of a facelift in the North Endzone but the lack of other facilities is why Arizona is this far down the rankings. Zona added better media boxes in the past decade but other than that there has not been too much change since the late 1980’s. Their former coach, Mike Stoops, was pretty blunt in his assessment of their facilities when he left but he just got fired so he was a little spiteful.
Oregon State: They are often overshadowed by their in-state counterpart and it’s hard to be compared to Oregon’s Nike-stocked facilities. Reser stadium is a quality venue that just added state-of-the-art scoreboards and have installed $115 million worth of upgrades since 2005. The Beavers continue to make improvements and can quickly move up this list with some further upgrades to their athletic facilities besides Reser.
Washington State: Someone has to be at the bottom and for this list it’s the Cougars. They don’t have sparkling facilities but they have solid amenities that, with the addition of former Oregon renovation leader Bill Moos as athletic director adding bells and whistles, they can quickly move up the rankings. Renovation of Martin Stadium is in the works and that’s a step forward.
Think your team got shortchanged? Let us know why you think your team deserves a better spot.
Let the debate begin!