Ranking the Best Stadiums in the Pac-12
Stadiums are one of the best things about college football. There is nothing like a packed stadium on a Saturday.
Hopefully, we will get back to that feeling soon but, for now, at least we can reminisce.
I've traveled to just about every Pac-12 stadium and I wanted to rank them as I view them now. I would not be surprised if this changes over the years.
My criteria are mostly about answering the question of what makes that stadium so unique?
Let's get to it.
There is nothing unique about this stadium. Sure, the columns behind the endzone are sort of cool but they look like a knockoff version of the Coliseum. I think this stadium has gotten worse and worse for me because nobody shows up for their games anymore. Pressbox is centrally located and not too high up so at least they respect the business.
This was actually a tough one to place. I’ve heard there are some views of the hills from up above and if you catch it near sunset, it can be charming. Well, it’s usually pitch black when games are played there so I can barely count that. The stadium is just so blah. Needs a personal touch. It is definitely unique that they have dorm housing inside the stadium, but I feel bad for the students that don’t care about #Pac12AfterDark. There are some stadiums that would be cool to live in, Arizona is not one of them.
10. Washington State
I’ll be transparent, this is a place I’ve never been to. And I do think there is a certain aura about it that makes watching games on TV here semi-appealing, especially when it is raining or snowing. I think the weather can make this place special. And when the fans are rocking, there aren’t many places like it in the Pac-12. But when it’s dead, it’s really dead.
9. Oregon State
Reser Stadium, I actually think this one is kind of cool. The lighting in the stadium is really well done and it always makes the uniforms pop. I like the unique architecture. The overhanging roof is cool and the stadium itself is appealing to the eye. It’s also the perfect size for the school.
8. Arizona State
From the outside looking in, Sun Devil Stadium has some appeal. I love that it sits in between two hills and the setting for games is great. I don’t think the stadium is organized very well. It feels like it is too steep on the sides. The design just doesn’t seem very well thought out. And the press box is way too high. You are closer to the planes flying overhead than the football field. The student section in the end zone always looks like a fun time.
I actually considered ranking this one higher. There are definitely some appealing parts of Memorial Stadium. I love the setting. It just sits so perfectly in the California hills. I’ve always wanted to watch a game from the top of the hill. A lot of people don’t know, it sits right on the Hayward fault line and it wouldn’t be a major surprise to watch it completely crumble eventually. It’s old and doesn’t look like the greatest place to watch a game. But it looks great on TV, especially when it’s rocking.
The Coliseum. This place just looks so darn cool from the outside. The columns are mesmerizing and it can feel like you’re walking into watch some old Roman battles. I also love its relationship with the Olympics and I think that adds a certain aura as well. It’s not high on the list because I don’t think it looks appealing on TV, especially when nobody is there. It’s also been rumored to be a tough place to watch a game.
UCLA gets to cheat. The Rose Bowl isn’t theirs, they are just still borrowing it. No, seriously, they need to build their own stadium. Maybe a few years of basketball success and they’ll have enough money to buy it. But there’s no doubt there’s majesty at the Rose Bowl, the place just feels different than everywhere else. It’s just too bad the biggest game there every year is when UCLA is not playing.
I have a soft spot for mountains. I’m not going to apologize for it. One of the best settings in college football although probably not top three in the region (did I mention I love mountains). Rice-Eccles looks good from the outside, looks good from the inside and looks especially good from above. Just a solid stadium. And when they’ve done the stripe outs it gets that much better.
Autzen Stadium is actually really nice. For a place that has taken a modern approach, I actually think it has a lot of appeal. The place just encapsulates the University of Oregon. The architecture is very well done. I haven’t watched a game there but I haven’t heard a bad thing about it from anyone that has been. It doesn’t look like there is a bad seat in the house. And when that place is rocking, which it tends to be, there aren’t many places like it in the Pac-12.
I have some qualms about Husky Stadium, don’t get my wrong. But there aren’t any other stadiums in the Pac-12, that check as many boxes as the one on the lake in Seattle. Want some cool architecture? Check. A perfect amount of seating for the fan base? Check. A beautiful setting? Check. I think they could do a better job including the student section and the architecture doesn’t keep the sound in very well.
There isn’t too much I have to say. The place speaks for itself. It’s the best setting in college football. It has some unique traditions, and the ‘COLORADO’ in the back of the end zone is iconic. It is the perfect size. It’s the loudest 50,000 fan stadium in the country. If you look at a picture of each direction, each of them is recognizable even if you changed the colors. Do I need to say any more?