2014 College Facility Playoff | Athletic Business

2014 College Facility Playoff

Click the bracket to expand.
Click the bracket to expand.

Voting in this round is now closed. Click here to vote in the quarterfinals.

In the spirit of this year's inaugural College Football Playoff, we're launching a playoff of our own — a playoff to determine the best stadium in college football. Our bracket includes 16 stadiums, so unlike the real College Football Playoff, there won't be any moaning and groaning about who finished ranked fifth. In our field for example, Baylor is in, Florida State is out. Probably a small consolation to the Bears at this point.

Determining the "best" stadium is always subjective, but our committee weighed the following factors when selecting our field:

  • Architectural design
  • Stadium size
  • Fan and player amenities
  • Game day atmosphere
  • Facility tradition and history

Our bracket is split into two "regions" — one for stadiums with a capacity above 100,000 and one for those below that mark. We've got some intriguing match-ups in the first round so vote in our polls below, spread the word, and help us determine the best facility in college football. The winning facility will be featured in an upcoming issue of Athletic Business.

Capacity 100,000+ Region:

(1) LSU's Tiger Stadium vs. (8) Tennessee's Neyland Stadium

Tiger Stadium

Tiger Stadium
Opened: 1924
Last Renovated: 2014
Renovation Cost: $80 million
Capacity: 102,321
Thoughts from the Committee: There is perhaps no greater environment in sports than a Saturday night game at Tiger Stadium. LSU has posted a 92-14 record there since 2000, but it's not just the crowd noise and a winning team that makes this venue great. LSU's $80 million renovation added 70 luxury suites and 3,000 club seats in the south end zone and pushed capacity over 100,000. The exterior received a facelift too. As ESPN's Scott Van Pelt once said when referring to Tiger Stadium, "There is nothing I would put ahead of that that I've ever seen in any sport." Hard to disagree.

Image via tennesseefund.orgImage via tennesseefund.org

Neyland Stadium
Opened: 1921
Last Renovated: 2004-2010 (three phases)
Renovation Cost: $136.4 million
Capacity: 102,455
Thoughts from the Committee: One of college football's most iconic venues has received some major upgrades in recent years, most notably to its aging infrastructure, but no amount of money can change one of the stadium's best features, its location. The stadium sits along the banks of the Tennessee River where the "Vol Navy" tailgates via boat before games.

{module CFB Playoff - Round 1 Matchup 1}

(4) Alabama's Bryant-Denny Stadium vs. (5) Penn State's Beaver Stadium

Image via Shutterstock.comImage via Shutterstock.com

Bryant-Denny Stadium
Opened: 1929
Last Renovated: 2010
Renovation Cost: $65 million
Capacity: 101,821
Thoughts from the Committee: You name it, Bryant-Denny has it. Size? A capacity over 100,000. Amenities? 157 skyboxes and four large video boards. Winning tradition? A winning percentage of 83 percent all-time at the stadium. Bama's facility might be as difficult to beat in this tournament as Nick Saban's team will be in the College Football Playoff.

Image via gopsusports.comImage via gopsusports.com

Beaver Stadium
Opened: 1960
Last Renovated: 2001
Renovation Cost: $13 million
Capacity: 106,572
Thoughts from the Committee: It's the second largest stadium in North America and the fourth largest in the world. Plus, according to Kirk Herbstreit, it boasts the "loudest, most supportive student section in college football." 106,572 fans all dressed in white is a sight to behold.

{module CFB Playoff - Round 1 Matchup 2}

(3) Texas A&M's Kyle Field vs. (6) Texas' Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium

Kyle Field

Kyle Field
Opened: 1927
Last Renovated: 2013-2015
Renovation Cost: $450 million
Capacity: 102,512
Thoughts from the Committee: To put Kyle Field's current $450 million renovation and expansion in context, consider this: Two of the newest and nicest stadiums in college football, Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium (opened in 2009) and Baylor's McLane Stadium (opened this year and in our playoff field), combined only cost about $100 million more than Kyle Field's renovation. That's a long way of saying Kyle Field, already considered one of the best venues in college football before the reno, is now off the charts.

Image via texassports.comImage via texassports.com

Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium
Opened: 1924
Last Renovated: 2007-2009 (Smaller renovations have taken place since then)
Renovation Cost: $177 million
Capacity: 100,119
Thoughts from the Committee: As recently as last year, Darrell K. Royal Stadium was the largest stadium in Texas, the only one that could seat more than 100,000 people and had the biggest video board among college venues in the state. Thanks to Kyle Field, it can no longer make any of those claims. However, it is still a breathtaking venue, and undoubtedly one of college football's best, inside and out.

{module CFB Playoff - Round 1 Matchup 3}

(2) Ohio State's Ohio Stadium vs. (7) Michigan's Michigan Stadium

Image via ohiostatebuckeyes.comImage via ohiostatebuckeyes.com

Ohio Stadium
Opened: 1922
Last Renovated: 2014
Renovation Cost: $13.7 million
Capacity: 104,944
Thoughts from the Committee: The stadium's largest makeover came from 1999-2001 when the school replaced the press box, added 81 luxury suites, 2,500 club seats, LED ribbon boards and permanent seating in the south end zone at a cost of $194 million. From a design standpoint, it's tough to beat Ohio Stadium's unique, double-deck horseshoe design — a look that remains intact despite adding seats at the open end of the shoe.

Michigan Stadium Mgoblue

Michigan Stadium
Opened: 1927
Last Renovated: 2010
Renovation Cost: $226 million
Capacity: 109,901
Thoughts from the Committee: It's the largest stadium in the U.S. (third largest in the world), recently received a $226 million renovation, has all the modern amenities (including lights), and is still seeded seventh? Tough crowd.

{module CFB Playoff - Round 1 Matchup 4}

Click to Vote in the Sub-100K Region>>

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