By Smokey's Trail
Neyland Stadium in Knoxville is the best place to be on a college football Saturday afternoon, The Sporting News announced yesterday.
Add The Sporting News to a growing list that has discovered what Tennessee football faithful have known for decades--Neyland Stadium is THE place to be on an autumn Saturday.
The magazine ranked the Top 10 college football stadiums on its Web site (www.thesportingnews.com), with the home of the Tennessee Volunteers leading the list. The list and story will be published in an upcoming issue of the magazine.
The Sporting News used four factors setting, structure, fans and history to determine the rankings. Some of the comments include:
Setting: "There's not a better view in college football. On one side of the stadium is the Tennessee River, where fans arrive by boat and tailgate hours before kickoff and hours after the game. On the other side is The Hill, the historic center of UT's old campus."
Structure: "It's enormous. And it keeps getting bigger .the facility is unlike any in the nation. It rises straight up from the ground, towering over the playing field and intimidating opponents with its size."
Fans: "Ah, the Tennessee fan. Obsessed and passionate; maniacal and frightening. Step into Neyland Stadium and feel the orange experience."
History: "Gen. Robert Neyland, the SEC and national titles, the checkerboard end zone, the smoke off the mountains. It's all part of the lore of Tennessee football."
Neyland Stadium is the nation's largest college football stadium in the south, with a seating capacity of 104,079. Last season, UT drew a record crowd of 108,768 fans for its contest against Florida and averaged a single-season record 107,595 for six home games.
The Vols own an all-time record of 383-89-17 (.801) at Neyland Stadium, including a 5-1 mark in 2000. The Vols have had 70 winning seasons in 79 years in the stadium, including 35 undefeated years at home, including the 1997, 1998 and 1999 seasons.
Coach Phillip Fulmer has guided Tennessee to a 49-4 record in home games. Under Fulmer, the Vols have a 14-4 home record against nationally ranked opponents and no team ranked lower than sixth has defeated UT in Knoxville. Tennessee has the sixth-winningest home record in college football since 1990 with a mark of 62-8 (.886). The Vols, who have won 37 of their last 39 home games, have also won 18 of their last 19 SEC home contests and 24 straight non-conference home games since losing 34-29 to Notre Dame in 1990. Neyland Stadium outranked several historic stadiums in the poll, with Notre Dame Stadium second, followed by Florida Field.
The Sporting News Top 10 College Football Stadiums