SEC Stadium Rankings: LSU's Death Valley Holds Top Spot

By Corey Chen
August 12, 2012 12:07 pm
589 Views 5 Comments
The Southeastern Conference has long been home to passionate fans who make college football Saturdays a great atmosphere and an intimidating experience for visiting football teams. 

Long before the recent domination on the gridiron by the SEC, the conference boasted some of the best college football stadiums in the country.  Narrowing down fourteen candidates to a Top 5 is difficult, given the strong resumes for most of the SEC.  It had to be done though and here is a look at the top five SEC stadiums.

5. Tennessee - Neyland Stadium

Over 102,000 fans fill Neyland Stadium to capacity on Saturdays with the goal of watching the Vols score a big win and singing Rocky Top afterward.  So you have the huge capacity.  You have Smoky.  You have the signature checkerboard endzones.  You have decent tailgating.  You have the fifth best college football stadium in the SEC.

4. Texas A&M - Kyle Field

The chances that Texas A&M finishes near the top of the SEC standings on the football field in its maiden year in the conference are slim.  However, the 12th Man, complete with the Corps of Cadets, kissing after scores, and an entire swaying to the War Hymn, will create an electric atmosphere on Saturdays this fall.  College football fans will have their eyes on College Station this year to see whether the Aggies will sink or swim in the SEC.  The stadium and its fans have been an intimidating environment for big Southwest Conference and Big Twelve opponents in the past.  Fanatical support in the stands will now be one of coach Kevin Sumlin's big advantages on gameday and on the recruiting trail.

3. Alabama - Bryant-Denny Stadium

A trip to Bryant-Denny Stadium is humbling and memorable.  The Walk of Champions is a tribute to the national championships won in days of yore and in the days of Saban.   BDS is impressive in that regard, though the noise level may not reach the levels of the loudest SEC stadiums.  Opposing teams and fans may not be happy to hear Roll Tide a million times, only to be topped of by Rammer Jammer.  However, that is the destiny awaiting most of the teams an fans who are visitors to Tuscaloosa. 

2. Florida - The Swamp

Wait, what's the official name of Florida's stadium?  Who cares?  The Swamp nickname has stuck and tops many lists for the loudest college football stadiums in the country, and with good reason.  Boisterous Gator fans and the layout of the stadium decks together creates an extremely loud environment which make trips to the Swamp difficult.  Gainesville has been the site of many great teams, great players, and great moments.  There was life after SOS, Tim Tebow, and Urban Meyer.  The Swamp will continue to be a fantastic gameday stadium and experience.

1. LSU - Death Valley

Death Valley tops the charts because it is the girl who can pass for a model, is intelligent, has a heart of gold, and can reel off lines from Seinfeld.  Fan volume at Tiger Stadium can be seismic - literally.  Tailgating there is awesome with great beer, BBQ, and booze available.   LSU does have its share of insane fans - for better or worse.  The mystique of playing in Baton Rouge at night may be a bit overstated, as most big stadiums will have a more intense and lively atmosphere at night.  Funny how twelve hours of guzzling beers and chomping down barbeque can create a frenzied atmosphere for a Saturday night showdown.  Tiger Stadium is the real deal though in so many ways, including loudness, atmosphere, and tailgating, and tops the list for the best SEC stadium.

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By Corey Chen
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3 years ago
One other fact for Neyland- General Neyland himself was behind the early planning of the stadium and envisioned a time when it could be easily and symmetrically expanded. Hopefully a few more wins this year can re-energize the old stadium this year.
Alabama has done a great job with their on-campus venue. I still remember growing up when they played all the big ones in Birmingham.
Ive always heard good things about Kyle Field, so I wont be the homer who complains for them being above my team.
Good job on the list here.
3 years ago
Thanks for the additional history about Neyland. Schedule a trip to College Station the next time your Vols play there. You will be welcomed warmly at tailgates before the game and I believe will come away impressed by the stadium an atmosphere too.

It is definitely tough coming up with this short list. Heck, I hate leaving off Georgia and South Carolina and I know I will seem homerish putting Kyle Field, the new kid on the block in the SEC, up there. I did try to avoid bumping any stadium up or down TOO much based on how good or bad the teams that play there are right now. I think both A&M and Tennessee are good environments even when the product on the field is lacking. Put a BCS contender in either stadium and games would be deafeningly loud.
3 years ago

Like a lot of the West Point grads, Gen. Neyland had a background in engineering. It's truly fitting that the stadium bears his name. I'm not sure when UT will begin playing A&M, but that would certainly be a fun trip.
Athens GA is definitely a good venue and hard not to rank them here, but I understand it. I'll give S. Carolina their due as well. They have packed that place with 80,000 for a long time through good and bad.
Being an A&M fan, did you ever go over to Austin? I know they have a big stadium, but it comes across as a bit too open on tv. At least they dropped the field level and got rid of the track they had before.
I missed a chance to go to LSU 20 years ago and still regeret it. Hopefully some day I will get down there.
3 years ago

Yup, I made road trips to both Austin and Baton Rouge in 1992, my sophomore year, and in 1994, my senior year. Four wins. Those were the days when the Wrecking Crew was punishing opponents. Sigh.

As for the stadiums, Tiger Stadium was really impressive and fun, though not quite as intimidating for opponents as it is now. 92 was a 2:30 game, but 94 was a night game and that was a definite sight to behold. And smell to behold, as fans sneaking in flasks did not do much to conceal the smell of booze. Both games in Austin were great, because they resulted in Aggie wins. The stadium was packed and moderately loud until the games were decided for A&M. The stadium did not quite have a frenzied atmosphere and noise level. I think you're right. Part of it was with the stadium being open with sound not being trapped in. The other part was that not all the fans are into the game as intensely as at some other schools where winning on Saturday is life or death.
3 years ago
Solid list. Didn't think about the Texas A&M facility.

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