As a self-proclaimed stadium junkie, I love having the opportunity to catch a game in a new environment. Every sports fan should have their own bucket list for all the different sport facilities and venues they wish to visit before, well, they "kick the bucket." Whether that be catching the Red Sox at Fenway Park or watching the Rangers play at the historic Madison Square Garden (to any New York Rangers fans, too soon?), there is just something about certain stadiums that bring your inner child out, especially if it's your first time attending.
With Cougar football less than 100 days away, I thought it'd be appropriate to rank all 12 Pac-12 stadiums.
12. Reser Stadium, Oregon State Beavers
Is there anything special about Reser Stadium that catches your eye on TV? Now, of course, I'm not saying what you see on your television set is comparable to what's going on at the actual venue, but Reser Stadium just comes off as a dull place to catch a football game.
11. California Memorial Stadium, California Golden Bears
Similar to Reser, the California Memorial Stadium doesn't have that it factor; there's just nothing cool about it. Despite being just three seasons removed from a much-needed renovation, the stadium still resembles it's early 20th century feel despite half of the stadium being completely demolished during it's renovation.
10. Stanford Stadium, Stanford Cardinal
The original Stanford Stadium, just like it's cross bay counterpart, was in dire need of a renovation ten years ago when it was completely demolished and rebuilt at the same site. The renovations removed the ugly track around the field and put fans much closer to the action. However, Stanford fans have struggled to fill their stadium; even when they were Pac-12 Champions they did not sell out their games, a shame considering the stadium is located right in the heart of Silicon Valley where there is plenty of money to be spent.
9. Rice-Eccles Stadium, Utah Utes
The one thing Rice-Eccles has going for itself is that it's a tough place to play for visiting teams, especially with Utah's emergence this past season. How WSU came out of there with a win last September is something that we'll never know. It also was the main venue for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, which is a pretty big honor for the University of Utah.
Photo credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
8. Sun Devil Stadium, Arizona Stadium Sun Devils
Having the massive Sun Devil Stadium as your home field is a huge advantage if you're suiting up for Sparky every Saturday. In my opinion, though, there's nothing that great about Sun Devil Stadium besides the fact it's just a large stadium right on campus. Don't get me wrong here, I love big stadiums, but Sun Devil isn't the Rose Bowl or the LA Coliseum, venues that have cool distinctive features about them. No, it's just a large stadium. The Arizona Cardinals could still be playing there is they didn't have the colossal University of Phoenix Stadium down the road in Glendale.
7. Arizona Stadium, Arizona Wildcats
Arizona Stadium reminds me of a Martin Stadium on steroids. With Arizona football on the up-and-up, it looks to be a great place to catch a game on a hot Saturday in the desert. Surrounding viewpoints are HUGE in my book, and on a clear day the Tucson Mountains create a picturesque backdrop
6. Martin Stadium, Washington State Cougars
Like all of us (hopefully), I've spent plenty of hours inside Martin Stadium, usually getting my heartbroken each time. After watching Washington State play Oregon this past September in front of a sold-out crowd, I realized how Martin has one of the most underrated college football atmosphere on gameday. Just a few years ago, Martin looked more like a high school football stadium, but the new press box and operations building do a great job of keeping the noise in and giving WSU a true home field advantage.
A packed Martin Stadium. #GoCougs pic.twitter.com/owy8BmM1K1— Jason Krump (@JasonKrump) September 21, 2014
5. Husky Stadium, Washington Huskies
Feel free to rip me a new one in the comments for choosing Husky Stadium over our own Martin Stadium. Obviously, I prefer Martin to Husky, but even as a Coug, you have to marvel at the state of Husky Stadium. I mean, it doesn't get much cooler than seeing fans arrive to the stadium via boat, and that's a big reason why Husky Stadium gets the favorable reviews it does. Being built right on edge of Lake Washington certainly has it's perks, but it also calls for some brutal windy nights.
4. Folsom Field, Colorado Buffaloes
This one may shock a lot of you. It's a bummer that the Buffaloes football program has been in shambles these past several years, but as I stated earlier, your stadium surroundings and location had a big role in why I chose these rankings. Boulder is located right at the base of the foothills for the Rocky Mountains and my god, it looks absolutely gorgeous. Forget the football team, I'd purchase a ticket just to watch that incredible sunset.
Photo credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
3. Autzen Stadium, Oregon Ducks
Ah, yes, I stadium that I have actually been to. Autzen only holds 54,000 people, which has a cozy feel to it considering Oregon has been a national-championship caliber team dating back several years (still though no natty's, though LOL). The atmosphere at Autzen is unlike none other, probably because you know you're going to see Oregon put on one heck of a performance. If you're sitting in one of the upper levels of seating, the Willamette Valley in the background will provide one great panoramic view.
2. Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, USC Trojans
You had to guess that the two Los Angeles schools would be high up on this list, as they 1-2 in my stadium rankings. The coliseum will soon be pushing 100 years of age but she's still a beauty. I mean, come on, the stadium's rows of arches past the east end zone are one of the most recognizable things in all of college football. And the stadium is as versatile as it gets! World Series games, international soccer matches, and even Mass held by Pope John Paul II all occurred at the coliseum.
1. Rose Bowl, UCLA Bruins
This has to be in everybody's top three, at least, for Pac-12 stadiums. Does it get any better than the Rose Bowl? Just like the LA Coliseum's row of arches, the iconic "Rose Bowl" entrance sign at the south entrance is one of the first thing college football fans think about when the Rose Bowl is mentioned. And of course, the Rose Bowl hosts the Rose Bowl, the "grandaddy of them all" as coined by legendary broadcaster and Washington State alum Keith Jackson. And obviously, the San Gabriel Mountains in the background give the Rose Bowl a stunning view for day and night games alike.
Photo credit: Pool/Getty Images
Let me know your top five in the comments below! And feel free to question my choices! I back them completely (well, sorta).
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