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Tiering and Ranking the ACC Football Stadiums

ACC Football Stadiums each have their own charm and character,  but who has the best?

As we slip deeper into the summer, the football content machine slowly winds down. Which means we naturally have to start generating some controversy and/or discussion to keep the content gods happy. One of the best ways to do this make lists and rank things. Now, some people think these lists are a lazy way to make content and inspire discussion. So without further ado, let’s get into the list.

For these articles, I will post my tiers and rankings for a bunch of Boston College and ACC-related things. Some will be football-focused, like positional groups, while others will be more fun, like helmets or mascots. The headings will be the tiers and then I will explain the rankings within each tier. At the end of the article, you can see all the tiers in one picture made on Tiermaker.com. For our first list, I ranked the stadiums of the schools in the ACC.

P-Tier: Professional Stadiums - Miami (Hard Rock Stadium), Pittsburgh (Heinz Field)

I originally tried to put these stadiums into the rankings, but it felt unfair to those schools, stadiums, and the rest of the conference. These stadiums were not built for these schools and are not on their respective campuses. Additionally, as a Steelers fan and a frequent visitor to Pittsburgh, I believe I cannot be fair on where to rank Heinz Field. 

With that being said, I do not think I would find many qualms with ranking it over Hard Rock Stadium. Obviously, Hard Rock is much more modern and has hosted many high-profile bowl games. But it is more than a half-hour drive from Miami’s campus, it always looks extremely poorly attended, and frankly just looks weird with its big flat top. Heinz Field, conversely, is only a 10-minute drive from Pitt’s campus and is a much more integral part of the city. It also suffers from the same attendance issue, but it would be nearly impossible for Pitt to build their own football stadium, especially on campus.

F-Tier: Aesthetically Displeasing with No Character - Duke (Wallace-Wade Stadium), Syracuse (Carrier Dome)

Now it’s time to make people mad. Duke’s old high school stadium is not only among the worst in the ACC, but all of college football. Normally, I have a soft spot for stadiums with one end somewhat open, as long as they have some kind of hill or some unique feature there. Duke does not; it’s just a sad scoreboard that usually reads “Guest > Blue Devils.” Obviously, Duke’s football program is not the money-maker in Durham. But this stadium is just plain sad.

Regarding the Carrier Dome, obviously calling it a football stadium is already too favorable. We all know it’s a basketball arena being forced into double duty. But my biggest reason for hating the Air Conditioning Bubble is the awful angle that television cameras are forced into. You can barely understand what’s going on on the field because the angle is almost parallel with the turf. Watching a game on TV there just feels gross.

D-Tier: Unnecessarily over-sized stadiums with no personality - North Carolina State (Carter-Finley Stadium), Georgia Tech (Bobby Dodd Stadium)

These stadiums belong together simply because they have nothing special about them. They’re just large silver metal structures for mediocre football teams. Carter-Finley seems like a good place to catch a game, but nothing stands out about the stadium. Bobby Dodd Stadium is one of the oldest in college football and has some history, but it is incredibly basic and linear. It looks like there have been some modern additions, but they don’t necessarily mesh together well.

C-Tier: Fine mid-range stadium with unique qualities - Boston College (Alumni Stadium), Louisville (Cardinal Stadium), Wake Forest (Truist Field)

I tried to be as unbiased as possible, but BC might even still be too high here. Alumni is a quaint, intimate stadium with some interesting features, but it’s very small and still very linear. In addition, it seems like the majority of BC’s iconic moments came away from home. I originally had them a tier lower, but Louisville added a unique crown-shaped section to the open end of their stadium, which is interesting, but the stadium still seems to lack personality. As previously mentioned, I like stadiums that have an open end with a hill for people to sit on, so Wake Forest’s stadium strikes a special chord for me. But like BC, it’s pretty small, and there are lots of openings on the corners. All in all, these three stadiums are fine for their respective schools, but they lack the unique qualities or storied histories to be among the top tiers.

B-Tier: Good stadiums with history or character - North Carolina (Kenan Memorial Stadium), Florida State (Doak Campbell Stadium), Virginia (Scott Stadium)

If you really wanted to argue for North Carolina being a tier below, you would probably win. It’s a pretty basic stadium, but I like its lower-slung, bowl shape. The different types of boxes on the top of each side add an interesting touch as well. Florida State’s stadium looks like the even more classic version of North Carolina’s, and everything feels very closed in, which I like. Not to mention, Florida State probably has the most history built into its field than any other stadium in the conference. Again, returning to the open end with a hill, Virginia’s stadium has some very interesting features, even if their football team isn’t one of them. The long sloped hill, the columned promenade at the top of the concourse; I haven’t been to a game there, but I’ve seen the outside, and it’s surprisingly massive, which makes it almost look like an SEC stadium.

A-Tier: Elite historic stadiums - Clemson (Memorial Stadium), Virginia Tech (Lane Stadium)

Even though the Howard’s Rock procession seems incredibly dangerous, that’s a very unique feature. Clemson blends the massive size of some SEC stadiums with the closed-in feel of some of the smaller stadiums on this list, creating an extremely intimidating environment. There’s also never a bad time to see a game at Clemson on TV; it looks beautiful in the middle of the day or the dark of night. Finally, we have to end with Lane Stadium. I can’t really place my finger on what makes Lane the best, but it just works, in my opinion. The extremely high-sloped stands give the appearance that the fans just go on forever. Additionally, VT stripes out their sections of the stands, which is one of the most aesthetically pleasing phenomena in college football.

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The tiers are below but the rankings are as follows:

NR: Miami, Pittsburgh

12. Duke

11. Syracuse

10. North Carolina State

9. Georgia Tech

8. Boston College

7. Louisville

6. Wake Forest

5. North Carolina

4. Florida State

3. Virginia

2. Clemson

1. Virginia Tech

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Let us know your thoughts, whether you agree, disagree, think some places are too high or too low!