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While it’s undeniable that college football has some amazing venues, not every stadium is a work of art, a great place to watch a game, or even an intimidating place for visiting teams. Unfortunately, some teams play in stadiums that are outdated, lacking amenities for fans, or just empty and lacking energy.
Obviously, it’s great to celebrate the best college football stadiums in the country. But recognizing the best doesn’t mean anything without also acknowledging the worst. It gives us no pleasure to single out these venues, but here is our list of the 10 worst college football stadiums in the country.
Located in the bustling metropolis of Muncie, Indiana, Scheumann Stadium isn’t much to look at and doesn’t provide much of a game-day atmosphere to help the Ball State Cardinals.
Fans often complain about having to park far away and then wait in long lines at the concession stands. The concessions themselves, the area around the stadium, and the crowd participation in Scheumann Stadium aren’t anything to write home about either.
Other than being affordable, Scheumann Stadium doesn’t bring much to the table for fans.
For what it’s worth, the University of Buffalo built its stadium, which is affectionately called “The Bullpen,” before the school made the leap from Division III to Division I. Of course, that means the Bulls play in a venue that is the bare minimum for an FBS program.
The pre-game atmosphere, crowd energy during the game, and concessions are all aggressively average at best. Frankly, there isn’t much to make UB Stadium stand out above an average high school stadium with the track around the field being the chef’s kiss of mediocrity.
Not to be confused with Husky Stadium in Seattle, which is one of the loudest venues in the country, Huskie Stadium is the home of Northern Illinois football.
Huskie Stadium in DeKalb, Illinois, is almost the complete opposite of Husky Stadium in terms of atmosphere. Even when the NIU team can attract good crowds, it just makes it obvious that the stadium isn’t fit to handle a lot of people, even though its capacity is down to a modest 24,000. The bathrooms and concessions are often overcrowded, ruining the game-day experience.
The food isn’t even that good and the people aren’t always particularly friendly, contributing to Huskie Stadium being toward the bottom of the list of college football stadiums to visit.
Unfortunately, the heyday of the Alamodome appears to be over.
The venue used to be the home to the Spurs and has also hosted some great bowl games and Final Fours. However, the UTSA Roadrunners have struggled to fill the Alamodome anywhere close to its capacity of 64,000 fans.
The team’s debut there in 2011 got over 56,000 people, but the Road Runners haven’t come within 20,000 fans of the capacity ever since despite an uptick in their on-field product. The empty stands hurt the game-day atmosphere and just make the Alamodome look old and outdated.
On top of that, the sightlines aren’t particularly impressive, which is perhaps why most fans just prefer to watch games on TV rather than watch UTSA at the Alamodome.
Talent-wise, everybody knows that Vanderbilt can’t compete with the rest of the SEC.
Unfortunately, Vandy’s stadium doesn’t help much despite being renamed FirstBank Stadium in 2023. The Commodores have a lovely campus but a stadium that was built in 1922 and hasn’t received enough renovations and upgrades over the years. It’s as if Vanderbilt isn’t even trying to keep up with the rest of college football. Most years, Vandy’s stadium is as sad as the product on the field.
Needless to say, an old and outdated stadium doesn’t get any better when it’s half-empty.
The good news is that Rice Stadium removed the track around the field to help get fans closer to the action.
But that’s about all that the venue has going for it. Rice Stadium has been home to the Owls since 1950 but hasn’t been well maintained. The upper level is in particularly bad shape. The silver lining is that the Owls rarely attract enough fans to fill the 47,000-capacity stadium, so not that many people have to sit in the upper level.
That aside, the venue doesn’t offer anything in terms of amenities that even attempt to make it stand out. The stadium itself isn’t much to look at, as fans often describe a visit to Rice Stadium as being like going back in time - but in the worst possible way - to an era before stadiums were built with the fan experience in mind.
While there are some great indoor facilities in college football, the Kibbie Dome in Idaho isn’t one of them.
From the outside, it looks more like a silo on a farm than a sports venue, and on the inside, it looks like a small box that happens to have a football field on it. Plus, the dome fits a mere 16,000 people. In fairness, the University of Idaho uses it for football, soccer, track & field, and tennis. But that doesn’t excuse the fact that there have been no major renovations taking place since the early 1980s.
No wonder the Idaho Vandals moved back to the FCS level a few years ago because their stadium just doesn’t measure up to anything at the FBS level, making it hard for the Vandals to recruit players who want to play in a soup can that’s been cut in half.
The fact that there is a track around the football field at Rynearson Stadium is a dead giveaway that it doesn’t hold a candle to the average college football stadium.
To be fair, the Eagles were once a respectable program, but those days are long over. Nowadays, they struggle to fill half the seats in a stadium that only holds 30,200 people. Even worse, the stadium opened in 1969 but hasn’t seen any significant work done to it since 1992. The gray turf makes Rynearson Stadium distinguishable, but it’s nothing more than a novelty. Outside of some decent food at the concessions, there aren’t many fan-friendly amenities.
Also, the track around the field makes the fans feel far away from the action, so the views of the field and crowd energy aren’t exactly the strengths of Rynearson Stadium either.
Even after renovations in 2008 and 2014, JPS Field at Malone Stadium in Monroe, Louisiana, gets nothing but bad reviews from fans. Upgrades to the field and scoreboard can’t make up for a stadium that looks run down on the outside and has been noted for its unpleasant owners inside.
The stadium opened in 1977 but somehow looks even older. It also holds a modest 27,617 fans, which makes JPS Field at Malone Stadium pale in comparison to high-level high school stadiums in some parts of the south.
Even with a small capacity, Louisiana-Monroe rarely fills the stadium, which only makes things worse.
Among the FBS teams in California, San Jose State probably has the lowest profile, and their home reflects that.
The Spartans are playing in the same building they’ve been playing in since 1933 and have rarely expanded or made major renovations in 90 years. In fact, the last major renovation was in the 1980s, so every aspect of the stadium looks worn and tired.
Not only do fans frequently complain about the concessions and other amenities but CEFCU Stadium is still using astroturf. With all of the money in nearby Silicon Valley, it’s puzzling how San Jose State hasn’t been able to build a new stadium or at least get some upgrades at CEFCU Stadium.
But that hasn’t happened yet, leaving the Spartans to play in one of the worst stadiums in the country.
Bryan Zarpentine is a 2008 graduate of Syracuse University and has been working as a freelance writer and editor since 2010. During that time, he has contributed to countless sites while covering baseball, soccer, the NFL, college football, and college basketball.More info on Bryan Zarpentine
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