Published July 29, 2011 - 7:00am
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The SEC is home to some of the more incredible stadiums in college football. Check that – we have the best stadiums in the country, from the venues to the people and finally the tailgating. It doesn’t get any better.
The toughest venues for an SEC road game most always has a top-tier game day experiences associated with it, but even the less tough venues have some incredible game day experiences (look no further than Ole Miss).
Here is a ranking of the toughest venues to play a road game in SEC Football:
12. Vanderbilt Commodores – Vanderbilt Stadium at Dudley Field
11. Ole Miss Rebels – Vaught-Hemmingway Stadium
10. Kentucky Wildcats – Commonwealth Stadium
Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville kicks off our countdown of the toughest (or least tough) SEC road game venues. While the 39,790 capacity crowd might not create a buzz, the game day atmosphere is buzzing because you are in the heart of Music City. I mean, let’s be honest, teams look forward to a road game at Vanderbilt because it will give them a week feeling they are physically more of a dominant team than the Dores, and the impending game with the Dores gives the team a great chance to get out unblemished. The stadium is rarely ever full, with the visiting team having more fans than the home team. Such is life at Vanderbilt…While the tailgating at Ole Miss is superb, the scare factor of the actual game in Vaught-Hemmingway Stadium is minimal. The fans often stay in The Grove for the duration of the game and never make it inside. Therefore, the crowd can be into it at kickoff, but let’s face it – there hasn’t been much to cheer about for a couple of years now in Oxford. It seats 60,580 fans, but the capacity crowds dwindle when you’re under .500…Commonwealth Stadium is home to the Kentucky Wildcats on the gridiron. UK is a beautiful campus with great facilities, but it’s not that tough of a venue to play in on the road. It has the potential to be loud if more football fans would rise up in Lexington and suppress the basketball fans…yeah right.
9. Mississippi State Bulldogs – Davis Wade Stadium
8. Arkansas Razorbacks – Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium
7. South Carolina Gamecocks – Williams-Brice Stadium
Davis Wade Stadium is home to the very loud cowbells and the home team Mississippi State Bulldogs. The stadium itself is looking to get a facelift in the near future, with State trying to raise some cash for expansion. The stadium now seats 55,082 people who are not allowed to shake their cowbell at will anymore. It puts a damper on the overall noise level, but nonetheless, it is a great venue to watch a football game. This stadium is becoming more of a home field advantage all the time for the Bulldogs…Razorback Stadium is an Astroturf facility in Fayetteville that is a tough place to play a football game. The Woo Pig Sooie cheer vibrates your inners when 76,000 crazy Hog fans are screaming it. It is a beautiful stadium and becoming a tougher place to play on the road. I think the key is Fayetteville is so far from everything else, only the die-hards stick around…Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia is becoming a tougher venue to play at now, especially with the increased in talent that is on campus. Sandstorm will be blaring again this year, and if the stadium ain’t swaying, the Gamecocks aren’t playing. Fans will be loud and proud in Williams-Brice this season.
6. Tennessee Volunteers – Neyland Stadium
5. Georgia Bulldogs – Sanford Stadium
4. Auburn Tigers – Jordan-Hare Stadium
Neyland Stadium used to be one of the most feared places to play a football game on the road, with the Vol-faithful uncontrollably excited to see their team run out the Power T. However, since the end of the Fulmer heydays, this stadium has not been feared because either everyone has a hard time showing up for the games or they leave before the game is over. Neyland is getting an upgrade as we speak, and it is always a great venue to watch a football game; truly a great setting…Sanford Stadium in the heart of Bulldog country is home to the field “between the hedges”. It is one of the best venues in the country to watch a football game because it screams SEC Football. However, with the Dawgs being vastly suppressed over the last couple of years, the idea of playing at Sanford Stadium is not as daunting as it used to be…Jordan-Hare Stadium on The Plains at Auburn is a loud stadium and truly a tough place to play. It’s surreal before the game when the War Eagle flies before kickoff. It will send chills up anyone’s spine…even you, Harvey Updyke. This is one of the loudest stadiums, with 87,451 crazy fans screaming War Damn Eagle!
3. Alabama Crimson Tide – Bryant-Denny Stadium
2. LSU Tigers – Tiger Stadium
1. Florida Gators – Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
Bryant-Denny Stadium just got a facelift, and the newly renovated masterpiece in Tuscaloosa holds some of the best fans in college football who will be screaming “Roll Tide” at you all day long. The atmosphere is always buzzing, and now that it seats over 101,821 fans, it truly sucks to be an away opponent getting the “Rammer-Jammer” cheer rammed down your throats after you get beat. The history and tradition cannot be beat…Tiger Stadium, formally known as Death Valley, is one of the toughest venues to play a road game period, especially at night. LSU has won 77% of their night games since 1960, and I can imagine some of their success comes from their 90,000+ yelling purple and gold clad fans, including those drunk Swamp People…There is not a tougher venue than playing on the road in Gainesville at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. It was later referred to only as The Swamp by Steve Spurrier. The stadium is actually built in a hole, so it’s at a lower level than the elevation in which you enter. The fans are right on top of you – all 88,548 of them. It’s a crazy atmosphere, jorts and all, and it truly is one of the most recognized stadiums in the country. The Florida brand sells itself. Seeing The Swamp on game day should be on everyone’s bucket list. It could be quite possibly the toughest play to play a road game in America.