Having visited 75 of the 130 FBS stadiums (more than halfway), not every one of them has been a spectacular masterpiece. In fact, it’s easier to choose my 10 worst stadiums than my 10 favorites. There’s been few really bad stadiums, but as psychology will tell you, bad memories stick in your mind more than good ones.
10: Huskie Stadium
The first really weird thing about Huskie Stadium is that the home and away stands are only connected on one side of the stadium and to get there, you have to exit the stands entirely. Otherwise, Huskie Stadium is two big blocks of bleachers with a really uninspiring press box. The south end zone is blocked in by “temporary” fencing that likely has no intention on being removed.
Its saving grace is a state-of-the-art complex in the north end zone with a weight room and training facilities– a signature of MAC schools. The lower concourse is enclosed and looks like a beat up basketball or hockey arena. It’s not the worst stadium out there, but it’s far from good.
9: Raymond James Stadium/Heinz Field
I’m a firm believer that college football teams don’t belong in professional stadiums (that goes for Temple, Miami, and San Diego State, too). There’s no identity and no character. Although I’m not solid on the state of the other teams, at least Pitt has their own designated locker room at Heinz Field. The facilities are fine, but they just don’t belong to the teams.
Normally, the teams don’t even fill the stands (exception: Pitt when it hosts Penn State) and I get it’s a cost-saving measure, especially in large cities. You’ll note all teams that share stadiums play in major cities (Pittsburgh, Tampa, Philadelphia, Miami, San Diego). However, I just don’t like it and I’ll bet most college football fans would agree.
8: Davis Wade Stadium
At a first glance and from the outside, there’s nothing wrong with Davis Wade Stadium, and it’s the most major college football stadium on this list. Being an SEC facility, you’d think it’d be one of the better stadiums in the country. Starkville is a great college town– one of my favorites– but the stadium just doesn’t hold up.
During the season, it’s fairly dirty (I even found a half-eaten bird in the row behind me). The concourse is made up of cracked asphalt; to get to the top deck, you have to traverse a two-mile long, endless, winding ramp; and the upper deck is surrounded with a weird tiled cafeteria that’s not been touched since the early 80s. Mississippi State has one of the most beautiful campuses I’ve ever been to, but Davis Wade seriously slacks.
7: Ryan Field
It takes about 10 minutes for the novelty of Ryan Field to wear thin. The oft-empty stands have a unique curve to them that makes the venue stand out and some really cool gothic architecture accents the stadium. However, the concourses are a mess– it’s a winding labyrinth of nonsense with scattered restrooms and concession stands. The press box is one of the worst in the FBS (looking at you, Oklahoma) and the south end zone stands feel like pee wee football bleachers with a horrendous view.
Evanston is a really great city just north of Chicago. It’s an affluent area without the congestion of downtown or the western suburbs, and it sits right on gorgeous Lake Michigan. However, Northwestern is an academic campus and wouldn’t be caught dead putting money into the football program. The field suffers from this greatly.
6: Yager Stadium
There’s two choices that could go here: Yager Stadium or Doyt Perry Stadium, depending on which school you went to. Since I’m a graduate of BGSU, I chose Miami’s Yager Stadium. The reason for them being interchangeable is that they’re the same stadium. BG’s press boxes and end zone complex, I believe, is what sets it above Yager Stadium.
Miami, OH, has a beautiful campus– likely the nicest in the MAC– but the football stadium missed out on the money. Their team hasn’t been relevant in years (no fault to them), but at least the old ticket booths from Oxford Stadium (now defunct) give the place a nice touch. It’s just ordinary in every way in a league of extraordinary stadiums.
5: Kansas Memorial Stadium
Kansas is a basketball school and routinely produces one of the worst Power Five football teams in the country. In perfect transparency, their football stadium reflects their football team. It’s a basic horseshoe with almost no upper deck and temporary seating in the south end zone (not pictured). The stadium still had trash and discarded items from the season prior that ended almost eight months prior.
There’s no end zone complex or impressive video board to save this one, just a plain stadium that feels like one of the smallest Power Five stadiums in the country despite it being just the fourth smallest in its own conference. On top of that, the bright red and royal blue just don’t mix well. At least there’s “talks” of renovation (last brought up in 2018).
4: UB Stadium
It’s hard to tell if the photo above is the home side of an FBS school or the away stands of a high school. There’s no discernible press box and the stands are just kind of strung about; the facility was very clearly built in stages. All of this– even the strange layout of the “concourse”– could have been forgiven if it wasn’t for the track. Not many FBS schools have it left, but UB Stadium’s might be the most egregious. Standing in the south end zone, you can’t see the opposite goalline.
Buffalo’s campus is pretty dreary as is, and I was there on a beautiful day– Buffalo, New York, has one of the most brutal winters in the entire country. It’s just not a great stadium all around, right down to the fencing surrounding it. At least the indoor facility adjacent to the south end zone is pretty nice for a MAC school.
3: Rynearson Stadium
Sorry, MAC schools; this is the last one, I promise. As a graduate of the MAC, I acknowledge they have some of the worst football facilities in the country. None are worse, though, than Eastern Michigan’s Rynearson Stadium. The upper decks are permanently blocked off due to low attendance and, like Buffalo, it’s surrounded with a track.
What makes Rynearson the worst MAC stadium, though, is the awful grey turf. Colored turf can be a real allure if done right (Boise State, Eastern Washington, Central Arkansas to an extent), but the grey turf at Eastern Michigan is just flat out bad. There’s a fine end zone complex, but it’s not enough to save the rest of the place. It’s just bad.
The only school that has it worse than teams that share NFL stadiums is UTSA, who plays in the Spurs old arena. Not the current one, the old one. To make it even worse, the Alamodome is 17 miles away from UTSA’s campus (during rush hour, this can be a 45 minute drive). Honestly, aside from the money it takes to build a stadium, the Alamodome is the worst possible option for the Roadrunners.
The upper deck is roped off, making the total capacity for football games around 20,000 and it feels like an Arena Football game. The positives for the venue: it echoes crowd noise. The smoke from pregame pyrotechnics hangs around until the second half and the arena itself is seriously outdated. It’s just bad all around.
1: Malone Stadium
Despite this list, I have never been straight up disappointed by a stadium to the point of wanting to leave. Malone Stadium is the exception to that. The “temporary” fencing around the stadium is rusted out and falling over and the field is set about a foot below the concourse (more a tripping hazard than a subset field). Instead of building out, Malone Stadium built up on the home side. The away side isn’t even a set of stands– they’re bleachers with gaps between rows.
Beyond just the stadium, Monroe, Louisiana, is a rundown town with lots of vacant storefronts, congested and beaten roads, and dirty sidewalks. The grass is dead and the place has a funk to it. I wouldn’t recommend this stadium to anyone.