Sitting in the press box during the fourth quarter at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday, my ears were ringing from the noise being emitted throughout the Swamp by the Florida faithful.
Many media, players and fans said it was the loudest game they had ever attended. Being back in a full stadium with an SEC crowd gave me chills and made me a little emotional after all we've been through over the last year plus.
Earlier in the day while listening to College Gameday on the drive down to Gainesville, they were previewing the evenings matchup between Penn State and Auburn. It was set to be a whiteout game for the Nittany Lions, something they normally only do once a year.
Former host and current play-by-play announcer for ESPN, Chris Fowler, said that a whiteout in Happy Valley was not just the best environment in all of college football but all of sports.
However, prior to Saturday's win over Auburn, Penn State was just .500 in those whiteout games. So this got me thinking, what really makes something the best environment?
Of course the term "best" in and of itself in this scenario is subjective, and everyone will have a different opinion, but that's what commentaries are for.
If you are, say an Alabama fan, winning is the only thing that matters. It might not matter how good or bad the environment is as long as the Crimson Tide wins the game.
Does noise create the best atmosphere? Then the title might belong to LSU, or Texas A&M with the 12th man.
Is it the size of the stadium/crowd? Michigian, Penn State, Ohio State, Texas A&M and Tennessee would all have to be considered then.
Does a theme like a whiteout or blackout make it the best environment? Or could it be a special tradition like the Iowa fans waving at the children's cancer patients at the nearby hospital, or Georgia lighting up their phones in the fourth quarter?
Is it time of day? Is a night game in Death Valley or Bryant-Denny better than a day game?
What about the tailgating and food that happens before the game? It could also just be the culture of a program.
At the end of the day, dozens of schools could make a good argument about why their program has the best environment in college football. And they could all be right.
Every school has unique traditions that make each place a little different, and that's what makes college football so great.
Sitting in the press box during the fourth quarter at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday, my ears were ringing from the noise being emitted throughout the Swamp by the Florida faithful. Subscribe for full article
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