Sporting News ranks four B1G teams in list of CFB stadium experiences
Sporting News college football writer Matt Hayes ranked his top 15 college football stadium experiences he’s had in his two decades covering games.
He included four Big Ten schools in his list of 15 and ranked Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium as one of the best of the rest. Here’s what he had to say about each of the conference’s top game-day experiences.
No. 13 Beaver Stadium, Penn State
What stands out: It’s not the most beautiful stadium, or the easiest to get to. It’s the entire bucolic scene that is Happy Valley, and the history that surrounds the program that makes Beaver Stadium a must-see.
Game to remember: Any white-out game from any season will do, but the one that stood out was the Lions’ 43-40 four-overtime victory over Michigan in 2013. After nearly two long, hard years of struggle and persistence, the commitment of coach Bill O’Brien and a group of players who stayed through the NCAA turmoil was rewarded with the most satisfying victory in Happy Valley in decades. An emotional, momentous environment.
No. 10 Michigan Stadium, Michigan
What stands out: If only every game at the Big House could be vs. Ohio State, then the atmosphere and passion (and noise) would be a significant factor. Instead, it’s a wine (or whine?) and cheese crowd, one that when properly motivated (there hasn’t been much to scream about of late) can be a force. But the big, underground bowl on the corner of Stadium and Main is still an impressive place.
Game to remember: The last game vs. Notre Dame at the Big House (for the time being, anyway) ended when Devin Gardner played the game of his career with four touchdown passes and 82 rushing yards and another score in a 41-30 win in 2013. This was the game when Gardner first wore the No. 98 jersey in honor of Michigan legend Tom Harmon. At the end of the game, the “Chicken Dance” — UM coach Brady Hoke said Notre Dame was chickening out of the series — blared over stadium loudspeakers.
No. 8 Camp Randall Stadium, Wisconsin
What stands out: The Fifth Quarter. Sit there and enjoy the revelry, the perfect to a wild four quarters of passion and sheer noise. If you thought Jump Around and the end of the third quarter was crazy, soak in the Fifth Quarter after a Badgers win.
Game to remember: The first signature win for Bret Bielema at Wisconsin: a 31-18 thumping of No. 1 Ohio State in 2010. The Badgers shut down Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor, and grinded out 184 rushing yards of ball control offense. This, of course, led to maybe the biggest celebration ever in Camp Randall Stadium — or at the very least, the best Fifth Quarter ever.
No. 6 Ohio Stadium, Ohio State
What stands out: Get in your seat early enough to witness Script Ohio, the one can’t-miss band production in the sport. Urban Meyer likes to tell the story of when he was a graduate assistant at Ohio State in 1986, and prior to a game, snuck out to the field to watch Script Ohio.
Game to remember: In the early years of the spread offense in college football, it was still strange to see games in the 30s for elite BCS schools — especially in The Game. That’s what made Ohio State’s 42-39 victory over Michigan — a game with two unbeatens and a spot in the BCS National Championship Game on the line, the first No. 1 vs. No. 2 in series history, and a day after legendary former UM coach Bo Schembechler passed away — that much more significant.