Ranking the SEC venues by their stadium/game day experience
Saturdays in the South are special during the fall.
Five of the 10 largest college football stadiums hail from the SEC. These include Texas A&M’s Kyle Field, Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium, LSU’s Tiger Stadium, Alabama’s Bryant–Denny Stadium and Georgia’s Sanford Stadium.
The Aggies own the biggest football stadium in the state of Texas — college or professional. That is staggering considering all of the other venues, but like the SEC Network says, “It just means more.”
Every fan remembers their first time in an SEC stadium.
Outkick the Coverage’s Clay Travis wrote a book called Dixieland Delight, chronicling his adventures to 12 SEC stadiums in 2006. It’s a fantastic read and worthy of your time.
SEC fans love their football and ticket sales show that. The conference brought in an average of 77,631 fans for 94 home games during the 2016 season, according to the league office.
SEC stadium capacities, record crowds
Note: Ole Miss set its attendance record Sept. 17, 2016 vs. Alabama. Several schools that go by the strict definition of “capacity” tied their record last season.
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Fans in each town will tell you why their stadium is the best. Fortunately for the SEC, a number of schools have great traditions before, during and after games, making the stadiums a must-visit for every football fan.
Now, let’s rank the SEC stadiums and game day festivities heading into the 2017 season:
14. Vanderbilt Stadium
The Commodores need a new stadium or need to renovate the current one. The school is in a perfect location, only a few miles from downtown Nashville, but the venue lacks an intriguing value that is needed in the SEC.
— Bill King (@BillisKing) August 9, 2017
While it’s not always great sitting packed inside a sold out stadium, it makes you feel like you need to be there. Commodores fans rarely experience a full crowd. It’s hard to get a proper SEC football experience when the stadium is full of empty seats.
Best known for: “Dropping the anchor”
13. Kroger Field
Kentucky fans have little interest in what their team does on the gridiron. Basketball is the sport Wildcats fans care about.
Newly renovated in 2015, the venue formerly known as Commonwealth Stadium is a pleasant place to watch a game. But football is just an afterthought for most fans in Lexington.
Best known for: “Call to post”
12. Memorial Stadium
Missouri won the SEC East back-to-back only a year after arriving in the SEC, yet it bears the brunt of many jokes. The Tigers have a solid game day with a good following. There are also a solid number of places to eat in Columbia.
Best known for: Tiger Walk
11. Davis Wade Stadium
Mississippi State fans have been ringing the cowbells for a long time. A wide variety of them are available for purchase in Starkville.
Bulldogs fans are not allowed to ring the bells anymore when the center is over the ball. Still, the impact of the noise makers makes Davis Wade Stadium a hostile environment.
Best known for: “Stingray”
10. Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium
Arkansas is in the process of renovating and the venue upgrade should be ready for the 2018 season. The stadium will be enclosed after the changes, making for a better fan experience.
If fans wanted some bragging rights, SEC analyst and former Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy said it is the loudest place he ever played.
Best known for: “Calling the Hogs”
9. Williams-Brice Stadium
Like the Wisconsin Badgers do with “Jump Around,” Gamecocks fans get hyped up when they hear the song “Sandstorm.” Before the game, South Carolina fans enjoy tailgating inside Cockabooses, which are old railroad cars. This is the better Columbia for watching a game.
Best known for: “Sandstorm”
8. Sanford Stadium
Georgia approved a $63 million renovation this year, which is adding a few more seats to one of the biggest stadiums in the SEC. “Between the hedges” is a sacred term for most Bulldogs fans.
Best known for: Uga
7. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
“The Swamp” isn’t as intimidating now compared to the era under Urban Meyer. Still, the “chomp” is scary to see across the stadium as an opposing player. It can get pretty hot on the field and some players don’t handle it well.
Best known for: “Gator Chomp”
6. Neyland Stadium
Lately, Tennessee football hasn’t had the spotlight it once relished, but the Volunteers still enjoy one of the best home field advantages in the country. It’s a sea of orange on Saturdays in Knoxville.
There are renovations coming to the stadium in 2018.
Best known for: “Running through the T”
5. Jordan-Hare Stadium
It’s hard to compete with Alabama on the field, but the Tigers have a fantastic game day experience worthy of being in the same breath. You might not find a better atmosphere across the SEC than Auburn rolling “Toomer’s Corner”after games.
Auburn plans to begin construction on the press box and turn parts of it into club seating in a couple weeks. The work should be finished by next summer.
Best known for: “Toomer’s Corner”
4. Kyle Field
The Aggies fit right in with the SEC with a giant stadium and passionate fans. Newly renovated Kyle Field is now the largest venue in the SEC.
I guess everything is bigger in Texas.
Best known for: “Midnight Yell”
3. Bryant-Denny Stadium
If Alabama added 50,000 more seats to Bryant-Denny Stadium, Crimson Tide fans might still fill it up. It’s easy to watch a game when the outcome is almost inevitable. Nick Saban and Alabama have crushed teams at home and don’t look like they are going to stop anytime soon.
Best known for: “Rammer Jammer” after wins
2. Vaught-Hemmingway Stadium
You don’t go to Ole Miss to watch a football game. Tailgating is the main reason any SEC fan should make their way to Oxford, Mississippi.
There is no pregame experience like The Grove. Catered food and beautiful women are scattered throughout an area next to the stadium that seems to go on forever. Make a trip there!
Best known for: THE GROVE
1. Tiger Stadium
Oh no! Not another ranking where “Death Valley” finishes first. Well, folks, you can’t beat a night game there. Only Alabama has had sustained success recently in Baton Rouge.
You’ll find fantastic cajun food outside the stadium, like fried gator when Florida comes to town. The fans are less than cordial, but that applies pretty much anywhere as a opposing fan in the SEC.
Dreams really do come to die in Death Valley.
Best known for: In 1998 at home against Auburn, LSU fans caused a mild earthquake.