Neyland Stadium is the Best NCAA College Football Stadium

Which is the best NCAA College Football Stadium? A 2001 Sporting News poll ranked Tennessee's Neyland Stadium as the top college football stadium in America.

The college football stadium is the center of a football fan's universe - at least on college football game days. It's the place where fans, players, coaches, and even curious onlookers gather to share in the festivities of game day. Everywhere you look, you see the school colors; mascots, cheerleaders and just generally the pageantry of college football game day. If the atmosphere is just right, the energy felt within a college football team's stadium is infectious.

When it comes to the best NCAA college football stadium, Neyland Stadium is big in size, spirit, and tradition.

Situated on Phillip Fulmer Way, Neyland Stadium is simply mammoth. Over the past 86 years, through multiple expansion efforts, the University of Tennessee's football stadium now seats 102,037. And more fans than that crowd in for "big games."

The Neyland Stadium attendance record currently is 109,061 people, who witnessed Tennessee beat Florida 30-28 in 2004. Neyland Stadium has a larger seating capacity than any other stadium in the South.

Yes, Michigan and Penn State have a larger number of seats, but there are other factors that go into making Neyland Stadium the top college football stadium.

Neyland Stadium T
Neyland Stadium Crowd

The story of the best NCAA college football stadium began in 1921 when ground was broken for the Shields-Watkins Field. In fact, it was a rather small affair at the time, and so was able to host its first football game that same year. There were only 3200 seats in what are now the West Stands.

The name was later changed to Neyland Stadium, and the stadium has received a variety of facelifts over the years. The latest addition (in 2006) was rather unfortunate because it added a number of "executive suites" which reduced the overall seating capacity from 104,079 to 102,037.

Of course size isn't everything. Right? Neyland Stadium is also the best NCAA college football stadium because of the many traditions its fans have upheld through the years. For instance,

Tennessee Mascot Smokey
  • Smokey the mascot has appeared at every Volunteer football game -- ever since 1953 [the current "Smokey" has been presiding since 2004; he is Smokey IX in the royal line of blue tick coon hounds (thanks to a reader of this site for this info.)]
  • The infamous orange and white checkerboard design in the end zones has created an especially distinctive look about the stadium.
  • No one who's ever been to a Tennessee Volunteers football game will ever (for better or worse) forget the many times they heard the Vols beloved "Rocky Top."
  • You can feel goose bumps as the crowd roars when the VOLS run through a human "T" formed by the members of the famous Pride of the Southland Marching Band.
Pride of the Southland Band

Thanks to UT Sports.com for photos above. Some or all rights are reserved for these photos.

When you consider the tremendous size, spirit, tradition, and history of Neyland Stadium; as well as its setting (on the UT college campus), in the college football-crazy South - well, it seems like the logical choice.

Yes, the University of Tennessee's Neyland Stadium is the best NCAA college football stadium.

To read more about Neyland Stadium, and other great SEC football stadiums, see SEC Football Stadium Rankings.

The following articles are about other great SEC football and basketball stadiums and arenas:


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Neyland: The best in the SEC, or the Nation ?? 
I'll bet watching a football game in tenn. is great......and the best experience in the SEC.....but the entire nation ?? I understand the SEC bias, …

Death Valley is the Best Football Stadium 
uh..Death Valley... been to both, Tiger Stadium hands down...crowd is loud, drunk,and insane...UT fans hold conversations while the Vols play..serious, …

Neyland Stadium is Not #1 
Neyland stadium isn't the best place to watch a football game. The last time I checked, Ole Miss had the best gameday experience, LSU had the toughest …

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