Athlon: Where does your Big Ten stadium rank?

Nov 24, 2012; Columbus, OH, USA; A general view as Ohio State Buckeyes fans rush the field after defeating the Michigan Wolverines 26-21 to go undefeated on the season at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE

When it comes to ranking things in sports, few topics get more reaction, both positive and negative, than stadium/arena lists. Athlon Sports is certain to receive its share of responses today after releasing its Big Ten football stadium rankings. That’s not to say the list is wrong – just that college fans are very passionate about their teams’ home, traditions.

[ AthlonSports.com: Ranking the Big Ten's College Football Stadiums ]

According to Athlon, Ohio Stadium tops the Big Ten stadiums. Here’s what it says about Ohio State’s home:

“There is little doubt that the Horseshoe is the Big Ten’s best place to watch a game. A great nickname, awesome traditions, tremendous fan support and commitment, elite level of success, High Street and the Banks of the Olentangy make Ohio Stadium a bucket list destination for fans of every team. And with a brand new video board, audio system and LED lighting, Ohio State boasts one of the top college football venues in the nation. Watching the “Dotting of the I” before a Buckeyes game is something all college fans should experience. Finishing No. 2 in average attendance doesn’t hurt either.”

Check out Athlon’s complete ranking:

1. Ohio Stadium
2. Beaver Stadium
3. Memorial Stadium (Nebraska)
4. Camp Randall Stadium
5. Michigan Stadium
6. Kinnick Stadium
7. Spartan Stadium
8. TCF Bank Stadium
9. Ross-Ade Stadium
10. Memorial Stadium (Illinois)
11. Memorial Stadium (Indiana)
12. Ryan Field

How would you rank Big Ten stadiums? Tell us below in the comment section.

To me, this list looks pretty good. The fact a place as wild and storied as Camp Randall comes in at No. 4 is all the proof one needs to know the Big Ten is home to some fantastic venues, traditions. Same goes for Michigan Stadium, at No. 5.

I will say this: If Minnesota was an occasional contender, there’s no way the beautiful TCF Bank Stadium lands at No. 8. To Athlon’s credit, it took into account attendance and overall gameday experience.

About Brent Yarina BTN.com web editor Brent Yarina covers football and men’s basketball for BTN.com. He writes the popular uniform feature “Clothes Call,” which also focuses on the latest cosmetic changes across Big Ten arenas and stadiums. Read all of his work here. You can subscribe to Yarina’s RSS feed and follow him on Twitter @BTNBrentYarina.

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56 Comments

Your Opinion?
Show Comments (56 Comments)
iavogter27 on 6/13/2013 @ 12:29pm EDT Said:

Having been to TCF and sat in the press box I will say it is gorgeous. However, the capacity is small and the atmosphere surrounding gameday and attendance makes trips there not the most exciting. Crowd is not into it, and tailgaiting is not nearly what its like at the top 7 venues.

K. John on 6/13/2013 @ 1:08pm EDT Said:

I have been to every Big Ten stadium for a game except the new facility at Minnesota. Here is the list.

1. Beaver Stadium
2. Camp Randall
3. Memorial Stadium (Nebraska)
4. Ohio Stadium
5. Spartan Stadium
6. Kinnick Stadium
7. Michigan Stadium
8. Ross-Ade Stadium
9. Memorial Stadium (Illinois)
10. Memorial Stadium (Indiana)
11. Ryan Field

Yea Buddy on 6/13/2013 @ 1:55pm EDT Said:

I’ve been to Ohio Stadium, Michigan Stadium, Spartan Stadium, and two of the three memorial stadiums (Illinois, Indiana). Obviously Ohio Stadium is by far and away number one out of those, then Michigan Stadium, Memorial Stadium (Illinois) Spartan Stadium and then Indiana.

Dee on 6/13/2013 @ 2:50pm EDT Said:

Top 5 (in my opinion): 1) Ohio Stadium 2) Memorial Stadium (Nebraska) 3) Camp Randall 4) Michigan Stadium 5) Beaver Stadium

GoBlue on 6/13/2013 @ 3:02pm EDT Said:

I laugh with impunity at anyone who thinks that The Big House isn’t number 1.

Minnesota State Maverick on 6/13/2013 @ 3:06pm EDT Said:

I’ve been to every one of these stadiums. I would put Ohio first and Ryan last. Not a bad job at all. TCF is new and nice but Minnesota is unfortunately a Viking rather than a Gopher state.

Kow on 6/13/2013 @ 3:07pm EDT Said:

Spartan Stadium is a concrete dump. The upper deck was designed by a 4-year old on crack.

2ndbasegreg on 6/13/2013 @ 3:09pm EDT Said:

TCF is beautiful. Went there to see my Huskers play. If they ever get a team they could have a great game day experience.

Robert M. on 6/13/2013 @ 3:11pm EDT Said:

Beaver Stadium is definitely #1 and unless you have been there on game day, you could not imagine the atmosphere. Ohio Stadium comes in at #2.

Christopher on 6/13/2013 @ 3:11pm EDT Said:

While it has the nickname (the big house) and the largest capacity, Michigan Stadium on a Saturday is just plain awful. It’s quiet, cavernous, full of know-nothing wannabes, and try-way-to-hards. I’ve never known anyone to go there and be blown away.

Carolyn Todd on 6/13/2013 @ 3:21pm EDT Said:

Been to every one of the B1G stadiums:

Beaver Stadium
Camp Randall Stadium
Michigan Stadium
Ohio Stadium
Kinnick Stadium
Spartan Stadium
Memorial Stadium (Nebraska)
Memorial Stadium (Illinois)
Memorial Stadium (Indiana)
Ryan Field

Carolyn Todd on 6/13/2013 @ 3:24pm EDT Said:

Oops…I forgot about TCF Bank Stadium in Minnesota. I would rank this between Memorial Stadium (Nebraska) and Memorial Stadium (Illinois) primarily because it’s brand new and is VERY nice compared to the old Humphrey Dome.

BuckyBman on 6/13/2013 @ 3:32pm EDT Said:

I’ve seen the “big House” – looks like it was designed by a large meteor. Maybe that’s what wiped out the dinosaurs

Maven on 6/13/2013 @ 3:39pm EDT Said:

I have not been to half of these stadiums but from what I have been to and as a Wisconsin grad here is my unbiased opinion.

1. The Horshoe (OSU) – The Mecca
2. Camp Randall – The Mecca Jr.
3. Metrodome (have not been to TCF yet but judging it on the fact we won – one of I think 2-3 road games in all of my 4 years and they served beer)!!
4. Big House (took all first quarter to get in – too big/uncomfortable) but beautiful stadium
5. Memorial Stadium – Champaign
6. Ryan Field – lame field and atmosphere – great tailgate though…

Need to get to Kinnick, MSU and Beaver Stadium…all of which I think based on what I have heard would be ranked above the Big House.

Tim on 6/13/2013 @ 3:47pm EDT Said:

Of the stadiums I’ve been to:

1 Michigan Stadium
2 Ohio Stadium
3 Beaver Stadium
4 Camp Randall
5 Kinnick
6 Spartan
7 Ryan Field
8 Ross-Ade

Ohio Stadium would probably be the best for a home fan but it can be scary visiting. An early game at Camp Randall is really nothing special but the night games are crazy (as they are in most places). Penn State needs more band.

Alexei on 6/13/2013 @ 3:55pm EDT Said:

Big House #1? You’ve lost your mind. Where else have you visited? The crowd is very sedate and quiet compared to PSU, OSU, NU & UW. The fans are raucous, loud, & downright hostile at PSU and OSU.

The design of the stadium at UM doesn’t help. No upper decks or overhangs to trap in or amplify the sound. It’s not a shot at UM or their fans, it’s just that the crowd is actually too well mannered compared with PSU and OSU.

CoachPiitt on 6/13/2013 @ 4:03pm EDT Said:

I’ve been to a number of them. Overall gameday experience would include Camp Randall, Kinnick, and Spartan Stadiums. Michigan Stadium is not a great experience. Memorial (Indiana) is poor. The Metrodome was okay, but not for a traditional experience with tailgating, etc. Have not been to the rest, but friends who have been to Beaver and Ohio Stadiums rate them highly and not so much for Ross-Ade, Memorial (Illinois) and Ryan Field.

Rick Mabie on 6/13/2013 @ 4:03pm EDT Said:

I have been to everyone of these stadiums….I myself love [1] Kinnick stadium and then [2] Camp Randall…[3] Ohio Stadium….[4] Michigan…[5] Nebraska…[6] Penn State…[7] Michigan State…[8] Illinois….

MSUMindy on 6/13/2013 @ 4:25pm EDT Said:

Have been to all except Illinois and Minnesota (also haven’t yet been to Rutgers or Maryland). Of the ones I have been in, I rank them Camp Randall, OSU, Nebraska, Spartan Stadium, Kinnick Stadium, Beaver Stadium, Michigan Stadium, Ross-Ade Stadium, Memorial Stadium in Indiana, and Ryan Stadium at Northwestern.

Craig on 6/13/2013 @ 4:26pm EDT Said:

Ohio, MSU, Wisconsin, PSU are the best: tradition, excellence, and surrounding scenery. Iowa is the worst: rude fans, lack of surroundings, and pretty mediocre football.

Phillip Reynolds on 6/13/2013 @ 4:38pm EDT Said:

The big house will always be # 1

Big Brother on 6/13/2013 @ 5:09pm EDT Said:

Michigan Stadium was most electric scene I ever saw on TV and rocking with noise in 2011 against ND, so I don’t know where people get that our crowd is too quiet. maybe prior to the renovations in 2010

Will Edwards on 6/13/2013 @ 5:10pm EDT Said:

The Big House isn’t number 1. It’s number 5 in the B1G. Sort of like Michigan football, slightly above average.

Ron Hillmann on 6/13/2013 @ 5:24pm EDT Said:

HAVE BEEN TO ALL MORE THAN ONCE.
1. UW & PSU tied
2. OSU strong #2
3. Minnesota very nice
4. Michigan
5. Michigan St.
6. Purdue
7. Nebraska nothing special about that place
8. Illinois
9. Iowa
10. Indiana
11. Northwestern that is a high school stadium

Lewis Fulcher on 6/13/2013 @ 5:25pm EDT Said:

I have been to all of the Big Ten Stadiums and they are all great. I of course think that Ohio State’s is the best but I admit that I am a bit biased. The Team Up North Stadium didn’t used to be impressive at all from the outside but they have done a lot to it in the last 10 to 15 years to build up the structure. The inside of Michigan Stadium has always been impressive – one giant big bowl with the largest capacity college football seating anywhere. I do like how their tunnel enters the stadium at the 50 yeard line and that both teams have to use it.
Camp Randall is really nice and you get a sense of history when you sit in it. I do love Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium. It feels like they have played football there for a thousand years which is just what you want in stadium. Nebraska also has the best fans (it isn’t even close). They are very warm and welcoming to the visitor fans. Penn State’s Stadium is quite impressive. It rises from the ground like a holy cathedral where it is surrounding by tailgating worshippers outside their cars and RVs. Penn State’s student section is also very impressive with their coordination and cheers. I have been there during a white out and it was impressive. One of the prettiest stadium/tailgating scenes is on the banks of the Red Cedar River. Sparty knows tailgating. They have a nice stadium too.

David on 6/13/2013 @ 5:37pm EDT Said:

As a fan, I prefer collegial setting to a raucous and nigh dangerous one. Visiting The Shoe and Beaver Stadium is unkind for an outsider. Everyone is treated like family at Michigan Stadium. Noise is overrated. As long as the place is jam-packed with angst, tradition, unity and knowledge get more emphasis from me.

1. Michigan Stadium
2. Memorial Stadium (UNL)
3. Ohio Stadium
4. Camp Randall
5. Beaver Stadium

Qb on 6/13/2013 @ 5:52pm EDT Said:

How is Michigan not number 1? It can seat the most people of any stadium in the country, not just NCAA football. It has the biggest score board in the big ten. Also, Ohio stadium looks like a toilet seat! Michigan stadium is magnificent on the inside and if you watched the notre dame game from 2011, you’ll know how electric and loud our crowd is.

Brian Kyle on 6/13/2013 @ 6:01pm EDT Said:

The Big House AKA Michigan Stadium hands down is the best in the Big Ten their is no comparison!!!!

Rosemary on 6/13/2013 @ 6:02pm EDT Said:

Christopher: You are obviously a Buckeye nut. Michigan Stadium is none of the things you say. Wonderful stadium, filled with rich tradition, loyal and educated fans, and definitely #1 of those listed. I’ve been to Buckeye Stadium…puhleeze.

Alex on 6/13/2013 @ 6:12pm EDT Said:

People need to go to Michigan games that aren’t against mac teams. It rocks for big games (Notre Dame, Ohio State, Nebraska, Michigan State). The Shoe is the same way.

Kris on 6/13/2013 @ 6:17pm EDT Said:

Ohio stadium looks like a toilet complete with a lid and full of ****

jim on 6/13/2013 @ 6:38pm EDT Said:

The Big House by far…I’ve been to every Big 10 stadium and its The Big House for sure… Lane Stadium/Wersham Field home of The Viginia Tech Hokies is a better place to see a game then the horseshoe…

doug moore on 6/13/2013 @ 6:45pm EDT Said:

Ill reference Kurt Cousins (MSUs great QB) when asked on a BTN broadcast. This is a guy whos seen many hostile stadiums from warm-ups to the sideline to the huddle, the line of scrimage to picking himself up off of the turf! In his mind there was no place more impressive than BEAVER STADIUM!

Ry Proj on 6/13/2013 @ 7:04pm EDT Said:

I have been to Beaver Stadium, Ohio Stadium, Spartan Stadium, Michigan Stadium, and Ryan Field. Plus I have been to numerous other non-B1G football stadiums (Veterans, Lincoln Financial, FedEx, Old Meadowlands, Raymond James, Dolphins, Heinz, Mountaineer and Scott for games (mostly Penn State games, but I have been to a Washington Redskins game, 2 PITT games, 1 WVU Spring Game, 1 WVU Summer Camp (where I played on Mountaineer Field and toured), and 1 Temple game that Penn State was not playing).

For reference, I have been going to PSU games since I was 3 (1990), I am a PSU Alum (2010), and I am a PSU Nittany Lion Club season ticket holder.

I am biased, but overall, Beaver Stadium is the most impressive, I think. This is mainly due to the fact that it is located in a true college town and much of the fan base lives a minimum of 2 hours away. Therefore, it is not like Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern that I’ve been to where there is a large population that can easily access the stadium (now, I know many people do drive those distances from these other schools, but I think you understand my point that Penn State is “out there”, right Terrelle Pryor?).

Every football stadium I have been to is unique in its’ own right; I even think Ryan Field is quite awesome considering Northwestern is a private school and a huge stadium isn’t necessary.

Now, I will also admit that my favorite “football” stadium in the WORLD is not Beaver Stadium, but it is Olympiastadion Berlin (“The House that Hitler Built”).

Darrell Hazell on 6/13/2013 @ 7:08pm EDT Said:

Ross-Ade
Ross-Ade
Ross-Ade
Ross-Ade
Ross-Ade
Ross-Ade
Ross-Ade
Ross-Ade
Ross-Ade
Ross-Ade
Ross-Ade
Ross-Ade

I think I covered it.

BLACKSH1RTZ on 6/13/2013 @ 7:53pm EDT Said:

Well Ladies & Gents, Memorial Stadium in the heart of Nebraska is obviously the best stadium in the Big 10 due to the fact that the quality and hospitality of the fans here is unprecedented. Everyone else is just a runner-up! (DISCLAIMER: The words mentioned above have been researched and found to be 100% accurate, with no bias involved.) Seriously though, I’m sure any stadium on the right night could be fantastic! I hope all the players of every team have a safe and productive season. But of course, GBR!!!!

Oscar on 6/13/2013 @ 8:28pm EDT Said:

Ohio Stadium #1….without a doubt! The giant horseshoe on the Olentangy beats the big outhouse in AA any day of the week, but especially on football Saturdays :-)

JoeW on 6/13/2013 @ 8:36pm EDT Said:

I’ve been to MSU, UM, IU, Purdue, NW, OSU, and Illinois and I can say they all were better than Notre Dame. Thought ND was going to be this amazing place and was underwhelmed. Loudest ive been to is OSU,but I’ve heard night white out at Beaver Stadium is insane. Want to get to Camp R, Nebraska, and Minnie in the next few years.

Joe on 6/13/2013 @ 9:03pm EDT Said:

Ryan field #1.

Blue&White on 6/13/2013 @ 9:50pm EDT Said:

I haven’t been to enough to make a meaningful ranking. But, I am a season ticket holder at PSU and I am a bit puzzled by the comments that PSU is unkind to visiting fans. I have rarely seen any antagonism directed towards our guests. I always make a point to tell everyone I see with opposing colors “welcome to Penn State” and congratulate them if they happen to win.

James on 6/13/2013 @ 11:52pm EDT Said:

This is absolutely ridiculous. There’s no way Mich and Iowa should be 5 and 6.
1. OSU
2. PSU
3. Mich
4. Iowa
5. Nebby
6. Wisky

bwsmoney on 6/13/2013 @ 11:57pm EDT Said:

Kinnick! When the Hawkeyes are good, it’s intimidating. The sidelines are so ridiculously tight, you can’t get away from the noise, like playing in an arena!

Marc on 6/14/2013 @ 12:12am EDT Said:

Blue and White, Penn State is somewhat of a Jekyll and Hyde. I’ve been to a game there, and one moment I would come across the nicest fans I’d ever met, then 20 steps down the road I’d be physically threatened and called every name in the book. I think the campus is lovely, and the tailgating at PSU is wonderful (as well as the ice cream!) but I’ve most definitely felt unsafe walking around on Gameday. I found however that if I stuck close to older PSU fans while walking to the stadium, the younger, more beer-fueled students wouldn’t harass me.

I will also say that I’ve received more free food and beer at PSU tailgates than any other stadium. It’s a great tailgate.

squeekeron on 6/14/2013 @ 6:03am EDT Said:

The Big House theoretically seats more people than Ohio Stadium, but they’re assuming only midgets attend the games. I spent the most miserable 3 hours of my life there one game, surrounded by screaming fat people. Beaver Stadium gave me the impression I was going to fall off a cliff any minute – high and steep.

Nate on 6/14/2013 @ 9:06am EDT Said:

This is interesting, is it the best stadium or the best stadium experience or a combination of both? as a Buckeye, I am a little bit biased but they have the best combination. Penn State, Nebraska and Wisconsin all have good experiences that rival Ohio State and pretty good stadiums as well. Michigan as much as I hate to say it has probably the best stadium to watch a game. You can sit almost anywhere in that place and have a pretty good view. However, I have found that design while great for the fan does not keep the sound within it like the Horse Shoe or Beaver Stadium which decreases the stadium experience factor a lot. I have been to stadiums all over the country and no stadium can hang with the loudness factor of Tennessee’s stadium so I would give them the overall #1 with Ohio State being #2, Penn State #3, Nebraska #4 and Notre Dame #5.

barron3742 on 6/14/2013 @ 12:23pm EDT Said:

I have been to all the big ten stadiums and wish that they all had the spirit and love of the game as Ohio State. I wish my home stadium had at least half as good traditions as OSU.

Ricardo on 6/14/2013 @ 1:23pm EDT Said:

Been to all of them : my take- Top 5

Camp Randall #1 fun, great venue.
Spartan Stadium #2 fun crowd, friendly. tight and close to the field +loud!
Nebraska #3 pure football fans
Ohio #4 great tradition and atmosphere but very rude fans
Beaver #5 loud, packed with fun fans

___________________________

IU no fan energy
IA pretty good
MI just big, no redeeming features
IL docile
PU Ok
MN sterile

Brad Booth on 6/14/2013 @ 2:02pm EDT Said:

The big 10 has some of the best stadiums in the country. Ohio St and Michigan are always rated high. It’s the fans that make anything special, Nebraska will have a stadium to match any stadium when the East boxes and new seats complete $50Million expansion is complete some time this year

Bernie Collins on 6/14/2013 @ 2:55pm EDT Said:

Who’s doing these ratings. OSU #1? What a joke. The Mich. Big House all the way.

Shoez on 6/14/2013 @ 6:37pm EDT Said:

Having played in all of them:

1. OSU
2. Penn St.
3. Michigan
4. Iowa
5. Camp Randall
6. Nebraska
7. Michigan State
8. Minnesota
9. Illinois
10. Indiana
11. Northwestern
12. Purdue

doug moore on 6/14/2013 @ 7:39pm EDT Said:

Hey DARRELL..I think everyone one on this thread will give you Ross-Ade over Dix Stadium (not by much)..but thats about it! Good luck in changing that!

Tim Brewster on 6/15/2013 @ 12:46am EDT Said:

I’m partial to Camp Randall.

Terry Kennedy on 6/15/2013 @ 10:13am EDT Said:

1- Ohio Stadium (Horseshoe)
2- Beaver Stadium
3- Camp Randall
4- Big House
5- Lincoln Memorial (Big Red)
6- Kinnick Field
7- Spartan Stadium
8- Ross-Ade
9- TCF Bank (beautiful but small)
10- Champaign-Urbana Memorial
11- Ryan Field
12- Bloomington Memorial (Never Filled)
**Rutgers would rank between Minnesota & Illinois
***Byrd Stadium will make Indiana happy

Crunch Hardtack on 6/15/2013 @ 3:59pm EDT Said:

Definitely Michigan Stadium is something every sports fan should put on their “Must Do” list just for the pure spectacle of it. It’s called the Big House for a reason. It’s the biggest stadium around. But is the most uncomfortable place to watch a game. They assume everyone has a 12 inch wide butt! The crowd has been boring there for decades. It’s a Michigan tradition. The old Beaver stadium was the coolest until they filled in the seats and cut off the view of the Nittany Mountains. Now it’s just big and boring like Michigan. Haven’t seen Nebraska, but heard the crowd is what makes it so cool. The Horseshoe is so cool, but that crowd is so hostile it takes all the fun away. I’ll never go back. And lastly… My Sparties have now the ugliest stadium since the Gophers left the old Metrodome.

Terry Kennedy on 6/17/2013 @ 9:00am EDT Said:

Most Intimidating Stadiums for Opponents
1- Ohio State
2-Wisconsin
3- Penn State
4- Michigan
5- Michigan State
6- Iowa
7- Nebraska (will rise the more Big 10 games played)
8- Purdue
9- Northwestern
10- Illinois
11- Minnesota
12- Indiana

Charlie on 11/5/2013 @ 9:40pm EDT Said:

I love stadiums and rode my bycycle across the country hitting college towns and riding across the fifty yard lines in stadiums along the way. Stadium experiences definitely depend on who’s playing (especially if a rivalry) is it a good year and is the game close. So the answer likely changes. I try to go to rivalry games (army/navy most impressive but veterans field isn’t special), I saw MI/OSU at the big house and thought it would be a better experience. It’s big but doesn’t intimidate as its concave and doesn’t create either great acoustics or or an imposing vertical edifice. Was on the field for a San Diego State game which was cool and the student section was lively. Some fans were incredibly rude and others gracious. Students were engaged and well behaved. Fans that were obnoxious talked about how it was such a better school than anywhere else – I got the feeling the ones expressing this couldn’t have gotten in there. Even the Michigan based revues on this site just say we are the greatest because we are the biggest. Probably the same fans I ran into that have never been anywhere else. Smugness brought overall experience down. I’ve been to Penn State for three games vs 3 different teams. By far the most imposing venue I’ve ever been in. Loud and at night with a white-out it seems to rise up like the Grand Canyon. The tailgate atmosphere day or night is fantastic with great views and gracious crowd. Some students could get pretty abusive after the game with a few pops in them. I’ve heard great things about Camp Randall but only been there when it’s empty. It’s smaller than some other venues but I’ve heard it has great energy. I haven’t been to Illinois in 25 yrs but don’t think much has changed – it didn’t make much of an impression. (The school did and was one of my favorites when biking). Northwestern is somewhat like Rutgers – both programs have historically struggled with some recent success. Both stadiums could get confused with a large Texas high school. Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium is special. New addition adds height to the east side of the stadium capturing some of feel of Penn State. Fans know when to be quiet and loud. Very gracious fans before and after game but tailgate isn’t great. Releasing balloons after first score memorable. Regrettably I have only been to the horseshoe when it was empty. I’d like to compare the MI/OSU game in Columbus to Ann Arbor (where I expected more). I haven’t been to MN, IN, Purdue, Mich State. It’s been 25 yrs since I’ve been to Niles Kinnick – all I remember is I was pleasantly surprised how pretty pathe campus was. Other great venues Clemson, Miami when they used to play in the Orange ?Bowl even though it was a dump. Florida/Georgia a classic. Oklahoma is a classic and Austin has a great bar scene. Catch a game at West Point and arrive early to watch the cadets on parade.