Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Intimidating stadiums

By Tiger Fan

Matt Hayes of the Sporting News recently wrote a blog entry that ranked the most intimidating stadiums in the Big XII. It caused quite a stir over on Tigerboard where Tiger fans apparently thought Faurot Field came in too low at No. 10. Personally, I think that is about right as far as intimidation goes… but there’s a lot more to ranking Big XII stadiums. I came up with three sets of rankings: best intimidation, best tradition/in-game atmosphere and best gameday atmosphere. Here is the first of those lists. Look for the others in coming days.

1. Texas

As much as I hate the ‘horns, I have to put them No. 1 on this list. When you’re looking at how intimidating a stadium is, you have to consider the team that plays there. Texas is the defending national champion and rarely loses at home. That means they are sure to be playing with loads of confidence – not to mention a loud, full house

2. Oklahoma

OU is another school that fills the stadium for every game. They have history of winning, which means the fans know how to get it done too. When their stars are healthy, the team can be pretty intimidating too.

3. Texas Tech

Red Raider fans who were whining about their No. 6 spot over at the Sporting News site might be pleased with this ranking, but it’s not a compliment. Sure, they’ve played well at home in recent years, but Texas Tech is intimidating because their fans are crazy (in a bad way). After years of getting beaten down by Texas A&M and Texas, they go nuts for every win. Remember a few years back when they tore down the goalposts and rammed them into the Aggie fan section? Is that intimidating? Perhaps. Classy? No way.

4. Texas A&M

Aggieland was one of the most intimidating stadiums in the nation throughout the ‘90s. I wish that was still the case. But now that they Aggies aren’t winning like they used to, the intimidation is suffering too. I’m not questioning the 12th Man, but you can’t claim to be the most intimidating stadium in the Big XII if you only win half your home games. I hope the Aggies turn it around and give the fans at Kyle Field something to yell about again. Until it happens, opposing teams simply are not as scared to visit College Station as they used to be.

5. Nebraska

The Sea of Red is still intimidating to most opponents – particularly the I-AA teams the Huskers have been bringing in the last couple of years – but NU is basically getting by on reputation at this point. Some teams (a la Missouri) still can’t win in Lincoln, but other teams have definitely figured out how to get it done. While the aging Husker fan base usually makes nice with opposing fans, they’re reaching the point where it’s nice for opposing teams to visit too. And that’s not intimidating.

6. Colorado

It’s never easy to win in Boulder: 1) the air is thin, 2) the fans are crazy and 3) the Buffaloes always seem to play better than predicted. Remember last season against Nebraska when they had to clear out an entire section of the stadium because of wild fan behavior? As with Texas Tech, it’s not something to be encouraged, but it is intimidating. Also, if you visit, make sure to watch out for flying marshmallows.

7. Kansas State

In the late ‘90s, KSU would have been higher on the list. But as the team has gotten worse, so have the fans. They do get up for the big games… and that makes sense. After all, what else are you going to do in the middle of kansas.

8. Mizzou

Here are the facts: 1) we only get up for big games… and only when we think we can win (compare Nebraska ’03 or Oklahoma ’02 with Texas ’05), 2) if the game is before 2:30, most students aren’t showing up until halftime, 3) unless it’s a one possession game, the alumni are leaving before it’s over, 4) we only make noise on third down… and that’s rare, 5) our students like to get down on the alumni for not cheering, but half of them don’t cheer either, and 6) the corporate atmosphere created by Alden brings in a lot of money but it doesn’t created an intimidating atmosphere. So why are we No. 8? Because everybody else is worse. If Tiger fans want to complain about this ranking, show up to non-conference games and cheer like it’s Nebraska. Prove me wrong. When Mizzou fans are at their best, Faurot is one of the craziest fans in the Big XII. Unfortunately, we’re usually not.

9. Oklahoma State

Mr. Hayes got this one right: If the Sooners are in town, it is – as the name implies – bedlam. Otherwise, they just seem kind of cooky.

10. Iowa State

A classic big game school. I’ve seen them play Nebraska with a packed house going crazy. I’ve also seen them play Mizzou with a chance to lock up a Big XII North title and completely lay an egg. Any place where Mizzou can play well on the road is not intimidating.

11. kansas

You know I wish I could put them last, but I can’t. The fair-weather football fans at kU have tried to step it up in recent years. But the last time I was there, the stadium was only 3/4 full and the crowd noise was pathetic – and they were playing Mizzou. Isn’t that a rivalry game? If you can’t intimidate a rival, it’s time to pack it up.

P.S. Urine bombs and profanity don’t count as intimidation… we’ve come to expect that.

12. Baylor

Only the Bears could keep the beakers out of the basement. Their fans match their team, which is simply pathetic, as we all know. The good news? Things are starting to turn around for Baylor on the field. Maybe the crowds will follow. That’s what I am rooting for… that way I can put kU fans at the bottom where they belong.

1 comment:

Greg - University of Colorado senior said...

Just wanted to let you know that the flying marshmallow tradition at Colorado was outlawed following the 2003 season (my freshman year at CU)...since then, when entering the stadium at each game, students are patted down by security in search of contraband marshmallows...below is a link to a photo of the student entrance at Folsom Field with the "No Marshmallows" sign...