Whether it’s your alma mater, a local team, or a family tradition, college football fans bleed their team’s colors and logos. There are 125 Division 1 football teams spread out across the United States. Some cheer to beat rivalries, some cheer for pride, and some cheer for national titles. Then, their favorite players move on to play in the most expensive professional stadiums in sports.
To honor the start of the college football season, here are the facts behind the stadiums of the top 5 teams from the Associated Press preseason rankings.
1. Clemson Tigers
Name: Memorial Stadium
• It was designed by a Clemson graduate, Carl Lee, and Professor H.E. Glenn of the engineering facility. Originally 20,500 seats, the original stadium is now the lower south grandstand of the current stadium.
• Most of the original construction work was done by scholarship athletes. Two football team members, A.N. Cameron and Hugh Webb, staked out the stadium. The stadium has gone through renovations over the years and now seats 81,500.
• Clemson Memorial Stadium is often referred to as “Death Valley,” which is named after the Death Valley National Park in California and the Clemson University cemetery that used to overlook the field before the upper decks were built.
2. Alabama Crimson Tide
Name: Bryant-Denny Stadium
• When completed in 1929, Bryant-Denny Stadium only had a capacity of 12,000. The original name is Denny Stadium in honor of the school’s president from 1912 to 1932, George H. Denny. In 1975, former coach Paul “Bear” Bryant’s name was added to the stadium.
• Since opening, Bryant-Denny Stadium has gone through renovations to increase the seating capacity 11 times. Today, at 101,821 seats, it’s the eighth-largest stadium in the world but only fourth-largest in the Southeastern Conference (SEC).
• Unlike most stadiums, Bryant-Denny Stadium didn’t have a logo at midfield until 2002. The school wanted to have a traditional field design with the only logos being “ALABAMA” in the end zone.
3. Georgia Bulldogs
Name: Sanford Stadium
• Because the original Sanford Field was too small, the team had to travel to Georgia Tech’s Grant Field in every year to play its rivalry game. After a loss to their rival, Sanford vowed to “build a stadium bigger than Tech.”
• To fund the stadium, Sanford had members of the athletic association sign notes guaranteeing a bank loan. Whoever contributed would get lifetime seats. The stadium got funding in 1928 and cost $360,000 to build.
• With the open west end-zone view of the rolling hills, Sanford Stadium is referred to as the most beautiful on-campus stadium in college football. It’s also one of college football’s loudest and most intimidating stadiums.
4. Oklahoma Sooners
Name: Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium
• Designed by architectural firm Layton & Hicks, Gaylord Family Oklahoma Stadium is the 23rd largest stadium in the world. It’s currently undergoing a two-phase, $160 million renovations to add a press box, club seats, new facade, offices, and training center.
• After 16,000 seats were built in 1925, the stadium was named Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in honor of the students and faculty that died during WWI.
• Coach Bennie Owen raised the money himself to build the stadium, which cost $293,000. The playing surface is named Owen Field, but the stadium itself is also commonly referred to as Owen Field.
5. Ohio State Buckeyes
Name: Ohio Stadium
• The previous stadium, Ohio Field, became too small for the growing popularity of football in Ohio. The project to build a new stadium was funded by a public-subscription campaign, raising over $1.1 million.
• Designed by architect Howard Dwight Smith, the stadium was built with 66,210 seats, making it the largest concrete poured structure in the world at the time. After renovations over the years, it now has a seating capacity of 102,082.
• To build the stadium, Smith used revolutionary techniques. There is a slurry wall at the stadiums base to keep out water from the Olentangy River, the upper deck was designed to hang over part of the lower deck, and double columns to allow for more space between columns.