Going on the road can be tough. Of course a lot depends on who you play and or where you play them. How much can a team’s home stadium affect the success and failure of the visiting program?
Few venues can match the passion and excitement of a college stadium on a Saturday afternoon. For many campuses the event is an all day party where the only price of admission is to wear the school colors.
But for the team on the field, which venue is the most foreboding? Which school’s cathedral is most hostile to any outside squad that dare enter? For your approval, the Rant Sports college football writers opined on the most basic of questions surrounding the collegiate gridiron.
Twelve of my fellow writers submitted their five toughest road draws. Number one selections garnered five points, the second selection four, and so on. First place votes are in parenthesis. Home records are for the stadium listed and not past venues.
1. Tiger Stadium – LSU Points: 46 (5)
Location: Baton Rouge, LA
Record through 2011: 392-144-18 .724%
Nickname: Death Valley
Yea, you don’t want to play here. The Bayou Bengals own the coordinates surrounding south Louisiana. Want to beat these guys at home? Good luck.
2. Ben Hill Griffith Stadiun at Florida Field – Florida Points: 39 (5)
Location: Gainesville, FL
Home record through 2011: 330-117-14 .731%
Nickname: The Swamp
Florida held its own as far as receiving as many first place votes as Tiger Stadium. ”The Swamp is where Gators live,” as former head coach Steve Spurrier once said. Beware all who enter.
3. Camp Randall Stadium – Wisconsin Points: 23
Location: Madison, WI
Home record through 2011: 320-188-23 .624%
A former military training center and Confederate prison during the Civil War, Camp Randall now imprisons unlucky Big Ten schools.
4. Autzen Stadium – Oregon Points: 15
Location: Eugene, OR
Home record through 2011: 165-92-5 .639%
Oregon has by far the smallest stadium that makes our list. Don’t be fooled by the small stature, the Ducks are as dangerous as any in their friendly confines.
5. Bryant-Denny Stadium – Alabama Points: 15
Location: Tuscaloosa, AL
Home record through 2011: 383-94-17 .793%
Sweet home Alabama. Tied for Oregon with 15 points but not garnering as many top five appearances is Bryant-Denny. Formerly Denny Stadium, another name was added in 1975 that is something of legend in the Heart of Dixie; and that would be Bryant.
Honorable Mentions or Others Receiving Votes:
Kyle Field – Texas A&M Points: 12 (1) The home of the famed 12th Man tradition, finsihed with a respectable 12 points and one first place vote.
Lane Stadium – Virginia Tech Points: 9 The Hokies home digs had six top five appearances.
Memorial Stadium – Clemson Points: 5 Like LSU, this stadium is referred to as Death Valley.
Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium – Kansas State Points: 4 The name is a mouth-full, and a nightmare for visitors.
Ohio Stadium – Ohio State Points: 3 The Shoe was thought too large when it opened at a shade over 66,000; it is now too small at 100,000 plus.
Michigan Stadium – Michigan Points: 2 The Big House has had over 100,000 spectators for every game since October 25 of 1975.
Boone Pickens Stadium – Oklahoma State Points: 2 The field runs east-west because of the windy conditions in central Oklahoma.
Spartan Stadium – Michigan State Points: 1 One point for the stadium with no name when it opened.
Beaver Stadium – Penn State Points: 1 The stadium was actually moved in 700 pieces from one side of campus to the other in 1960.
Memorial Stadium – Nebraska Points: 1 On game day, Memorial is the third largest city in Nebraska.
Kibbie Dome – Idaho Points: 1 Submitted as a joke, the size of the dome isn’t. Here is a did you know; the dome stands 14 stories tall and houses both basketball teams along with football.
Missed a school? Disagree with the top five? Have a top five of your own? Rant about it and let us know!
James Gomez is a Pac-12 and Mountain West columnist for Rant Sports and member of the Football Writers Association of America
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