The college football season is coming to an end and this makes me sad as a fan that tunes in every Saturday. One of the reasons that college football is unlike any other sport in America is because of the pageantry that we see every Saturday in the fall. Here are my Top 10 atmospheres in college football.
The COVID pandemic hurt the state of college football in 2020. Gameday atmospheres were nonexistent throughout the country in many cases. Some teams didn’t even allow fans to enter their stadiums on gameday.
This is temporary because college football will be back in full effect next season so it’s time to start getting excited to see gameday atmospheres once again.
Top 10 Atmospheres in College Football – Tier 1
#10 | Lane Stadium – Virginia Tech Hokies
A Saturday night game in Lane Stadium is a sight that all college football fans need to take in at least once in their lifetime. When the Hokies make the short walk from their practice facility to the tunnel at Lane Stadium, you can feel the goosebumps rise on all 65,632 fans that are on their feet. Fans start a “Let’s Go…Hokies” chant as the team touches the Hokie Stone in the stadium tunnel.
When you think it couldn’t get any louder, “Enter Sandman” starts blasting throughout Lane Stadium. You’ll feel like you’re at a Metallica Concert as the Hokies take the field to prepare to go to battle and protect their home turf.
#9 | Notre Dame Stadium – Notre Dame Fighting Irish
At Notre Dame, it’s all about church on Sunday and Fighting Irish football on Saturday. Fans in the town value God, Family, and Irish Football in that order. This creates one amazing atmosphere on a Saturday in the fall.
Notre Dame is a legendary college football program, and this is evident on gameday inside Notre Dame Stadium. The stadium holds 80,232 people who are screaming their head off when the Irish take the field.
Notre Dame players tap the “Play like a Champion Sign Today” and then storm the field while the band plays “Three Cheers for Old Notre Dame.” Notre Dame Stadium is a very difficult place for opposing teams that take the field to try to take down the Irish.
#8 | Kyle Field – Texas A&M
Kyle Field is known as the 12th Man for the Texas A&M football program. The team’s gameday entrance gets fans going before kickoff and the noise doesn’t stop throughout the game. Kyle Field holds over 100,000 fans. Texas A&M has the largest stadium in the SEC which hurts opposing teams who enter Kyle Field.
The night before home games, close to 30,000 students gather outside the stadium for a pregame party. This is known as a yell and it really solidifies why A&M fans are some of the best in college football.
As the team walks down the tunnel, “Power” by Kanye West begins to play. When this song drops, Aggie fans officially become the 12th man on the field to help power the program to victory.
#7 | Michigan Stadium – Michigan Wolverines
Michigan Stadium which is also known as “The Big House” has been eating up Wolverine opponents for decades. The stadium holds 107,601 fans and there isn’t many Saturday’s where the “The Big House” doesn’t reach full capacity.
When Michigan takes the field, fans lose their mind. They run out of the tunnel directly on their sideline and touch the infamous “Go Blue” banner as “Hail to the Victors” is played by the school band.
Ann Arbor is one of the best towns on a Saturday in the fall. Like Notre Dame, people in the town support their hometown team in droves.
#6 | Camp Randall Stadium – Wisconsin Badgers
Camp Randall Stadium in Wisconsin is one of the best gameday atmospheres in the country. All the pregame festivities in Wisconsin are top tier in the Big Ten Conference. However, Wisconsin has a signature tradition in their stadium as the game enters the fourth quarter.
Between the end of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth quarter, “Jump Around” begins playing and over 80,000 fans inside Camp Randall start jumping up and down. If you have never experienced this before and you make it to Camp Randall on a Saturday in the fall, you need to prepare yourself. You may think an earthquake is in the area at the end of the third quarter.
Top 10 Atmospheres in College Football – Tier 2
#5 | Doak Campbell Stadium – Florida State Seminoles
The Florida State football pregame tradition will go down in history as one of the best ever in college football. Florida State has been led onto the field by Chief Osceola for decades. Chief Osceola rides a real horse onto the field holding a spear that is lit on fire.
Florida state lets the opposing team take the field before they take the walk down the Doak Campbell tunnel. When the team gets to the end of the tunnel, fireworks erupt, and the Seminoles take the field ready to go to war.
Throughout this whole process, fans are screaming the Florida State “War Chant” to rally their team to victory. The stadium holds just under 80,000 fans.
#4 | Bryant Denny Stadium – Alabama Crimson Tide
Alabama has a great gameday atmosphere. Alabama’s winning percentage at home is nearly impeccable. The fans help, but Alabama has just been that good in the past decade. Over 101,282 fans fill Bryant Denny every home game to see the tide roll over their competition.
Bear Bryant was the figure that made Alabama football so special. Nick Saban has raised the standard that Bryant built during the rise of the Alabama football program in the sixties and seventies.
The Alabama pregame ritual is intense. The LED lights in the stadium give the Tide’s entrance a party like feel. After fans get warm from being on their feet, “Thunderstruck” by ACDC begins to play as Alabama gets ready to take the field. Once the band starts playing the fight song, it’s officially time for Crimson Tide football.
Top 10 Atmospheres in College Football – Top Tier
#3 | Beaver Stadium – Penn State Nittany Lions
All college football fans have seen a Saturday night White Out game inside Beaver Stadium. However, the magnitude of this event is hard to determine unless you’ve seen it in person. On a fall Saturday in Happy Valley, there is only one thing that matters. That one thing is Penn State football.
Penn State fans are extremely passionate about the school’s football program. Fans ride or die with the program no matter what the circumstances are in Happy Valley. Beaver Stadium holds over 106,572 people. When 100,000 plus fans start chanting, “WE ARE…PENN STATE,” you’ll feel your body shivering because of the excitement level inside Beaver Stadium.
The fans play a huge role in helping the Nittany Lions win on any given Saturday. Just ask the Michigan Wolverines…
#2 | Tiger Stadium – LSU Tigers
Tiger Stadium which is also known as Death Valley is the most intimidating environment in the SEC. There isn’t a team that escapes Tiger Stadium with a win without earning every bit of the victory. Not only do you have to worry about an SEC powerhouse, but you also have to manage the crowd as a visiting team.
The tailgating experience for a night game will start in the early morning and go right up to kickoff. 102,321 fans fill the stadium right before the opening kick. As an opposing team, this is one of the toughest places to play in the country. Everyone in the stadium on gameday will experience ringing ears for a few days following the contest.
The outside of the stadium looks like a Roman Coliseum and this depiction couldn’t be more accurate of what takes place inside the stadium. With Coach Ed Orgeron leading the Tigers, Death Valley has become an even scarier atmosphere for LSU opponents.
#1 | Memorial Stadium – Clemson Tigers
Gameday for the Clemson Tigers inside Memorial Stadium is special. The atmosphere inside Memorial Stadium encompasses everything that college football stands for in America. You get the best pregame entrance in the game of college football combined with Tiger fans who are one of the most passionate fan bases in the country.
The Tigers board three buses to start their entrance for every home game. The bus will drive around the stadium taking three right turns before players get off and prepare to run down the stadium hill.
Before they take the field, everyone on the team touches “Howard’s Rock” which comes from Death Valley, California. Memorial Stadium isn’t the biggest stadium on this list. It holds 81,500 people, but it’s an electric atmosphere.
Clemson fans are some of the loudest supporters in the country. This has helped Clemson become a national power since Dabo Sweeney took the helm for the Tigers.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see fans fill college football stadiums next season. If I didn’t put your team on the list, let me know why you think I made a mistake! Follow me on IG @tannerkern and Twitter @tannerkern_ so you never miss an article. Also, check out Knup Sports and the Sports 2.0 Network for some awesome sports content.