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UW Has an Elite Stadium, Needs to Similarly Elevate Its Football Team

The Huskies' lakeside facility is as good as it gets. Why not play at that level?
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A question you ask yourself this week is this: What good is it having one of the most revered college football stadiums in the nation if your team doesn't play with the best?

With the Pac-12 Conference suddenly watered down by the USC and UCLA defections to the Big Ten, the University of Washington football program similarly finds itself at a competitive crossroad.

We just checked and Husky Stadium is still standing next to Lake Washington, glistening radiantly in the sunshine, begging for big-name opponents and national TV coverage to show up on a more steady basis.

Why wouldn't the Huskies want to be all in on a competitive level with a super conference or super conferences?

College football is going through another radical revision, or do you not remember when Texas A&M and Missouri weren't part of the SEC and Nebraska and Penn State didn't belong to the Big Ten?

Through it all, Husky Stadium has maintained a regal presence, even subjecting itself to a $261 million remodel a decade ago, on the edge of Lake Washington.

Just this week, someone at NFL.com offered its list of the nation's top 15 college football venues, using storied history, raucous fans or great views as a barometer. 

The Rose Bowl was first. 

No argument at all.

Husky Stadium was third.

Again, no pushback whatsoever.

The 101-year facility in Montlake has had a nice regional run for the most part. Now it's time to share it with the rest of the country on a regular basis, with steady prime-time TV coverage and all of America finding out about this place.

This is the only way college football ever will even out and welcome national champions from places other than Alabama, Georgia and Clemson. 

College basketball went through a competitive malaise when it was UCLA beating everyone else over and over, and everything became maddeningly repetitive. A bigger tournament and March Madness enlivened things and produced a host of different champions. 

The SEC does not need to win it all every year on the football field. It's time for some January Madness to take over. Let a team with a much smaller NIL budget upset one spending millions. What an underdog uproar that would cause. 

Husky Stadium is top notch. Time to bring the rest of the football program up to that level. The facility deserves nothing less. 

The following is NFL.com's Top 15 stadium list, with our personal comments injected. The original story can be accessed here.

TOP 15 STADIUMS

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1. Rose Bowl (UCLA) — Greatest setting in college football on New Year's Day. Guaranteed goose bumps. San Gabriel Mountains. Granddaddy of Them All.

2. Tiger Stadium (LSU) — This place is intimidating, even when it's completely empty.

3. Husky Stadium (UW) — Personal note: This is where I literally grew up; my grandfather ran game-day operations from the McElhenny through the Sixkiller eras. I know every glorious inch of the place.

4. Autzen Stadium (Oregon) — The finest smaller stadium in the country.

5. Ohio Stadium (Ohio State) — The UW's Donnie Moore hushed the fearsome Horseshoe in 1966 with 221 yards and 2 touchdowns rushing in a 38-22 victory.

6. Kyle Field (Texas A&M) — Seattle stole the 12th-man concept from this crazy stadium north of Houston. 

7. Notre Dame Stadium — Here's college football tradition you can't alter or destroy. Everything about it feels cool.

8. Memorial Stadium (Clemson) — They touch the rock before they play here, then run over opponents with boulders.

9. Sanford Stadium (Georgia) — It's halfway between Atlanta and Augusta in Athens, so it gets all A's.

10. Michigan Stadium — You drive by it on the way from Detroit to Chicago. Of course, you have to stop and take a look. On Saturdays, it turns into a major metropolitan city. 

11. Michie Stadium (Army) — Another untouchable college football venue that can't be sullied, remembering great teams and multiple past Heisman winners.

12. Memorial Stadium (Nebraska) — Greatest fans anywhere. The 1991 UW-Nebraska game, a 36-21 Husky victory, led to a national championship. Becomes third-largest Nebraska city on game day.

13. Albertson Stadium (Boise State) — The House that Chris Petersen built while putting up with that stained carpet. 

14. Beaver Stadium (Penn State) — People have to drive forever to find this place, but it's worth it.

15. Camp Randall (Wisconsin) — The UW's recently deceased Harvey Blanks had his way with 83- and 66-yard kick returns in this near lakeside setting in a 21-17 Husky victory in 1968.

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