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Ranking AAC Football Stadiums

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Looking at every stadium in the American Athletic Conference, ranking them from worst to best.

NCAA Football: South Florida at Tulane Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

AAC football stadiums range from rented out NFL stadiums, to classic icons of the sport, to modern beauties. They help to put their stamp on the conference by giving each program a personality and something to take pride in.

Stadiums also give fan bases something to debate. So, let’s stir up some debate...Who has the best stadium?


To make this a fair ranking, there should be ground rules. The quality of the stadium is not judged at all by the success of the team on the field. Instead, they will be judged in five categories on a scale of 1-5. The total points from those five categories will then be added together. From there, the teams will be ranked based on how many points they ended with. Those five categories are the atmosphere, how iconic the stadium is, the beauty of the stadium, amenities offered at the stadium, and how unique the stadium is.


So, let’s dive in and rank each AAC Stadium:

T-10. Lincoln Financial Field (Temple) - 12 Points

Temple’s Lincoln Financial Field scored poorly nearly across the board. The one place they did score well was in terms of their amenities. The reason their amenities are so strong, unfortunately, is also the reason they scored pretty poorly in other categories. Being an NFL stadium makes it hard to get a good atmosphere going and lends itself to being less unique than in college football. The Owls have had plans in the works for years to build their own stadium, but after signing an extension with the Eagles in 2020, it would appear that’s not happening anytime soon.

NCAA Football: Maryland at Temple Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Once the Owls do get an on-campus stadium, they’d likely shoot up this list

Atmosphere=1 Iconic Status=2 Beauty=3 Amenities=5 Uniqueness=1

T-10. Raymond James Stadium (USF) - 12 Points

The USF Bulls and Raymond James Stadium are in, more or less, the same boat as Temple. NFL stadiums aren’t going to score well as college football stadiums. The pirate ship is cool at Buccaneers games, and maybe when ECU is in town, but it’s so out of place when the Bulls are at home that it’s comical. Meanwhile, their red seats have become a running joke. Also, and this is a personal thing, but why is the midfield logo so small?

But, hey, they do have some good adult beverages in the form of a slushy if that’s your thing.

Atmosphere=2 Iconic Status=1 Beauty=3 Amenities=5 Uniqueness=1

9. Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium (Tulsa) - 13 Points

Besides having the longest possible name that anyone could come up with for a stadium, just about everything else about Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium is pretty forgettable. It’s small here, and crowds are rarely a factor. The amenities aren’t bad, but they’re also not special. However, for whatever reason, this small stadium built in 1930 does do it for me on an aesthetic level. Maybe it’s the blue end zones and bright concrete juxtaposition.

Atmosphere=2 Iconic Status=2 Beauty=4 Amenities=3 Uniqueness=2

8. Gerald J. Ford Stadium (SMU) - 15 points

Named after Gerald Ford (not the one that played at Michigan before getting into politics), Gerald Ford Stadium isn’t a bad place to watch a football game. It’s a fairly new and handsome stadium. However, it’s not very unique. There are more famous horseshoe stadiums out there. Besides that, the atmosphere has been a let down a lot of the time and being a newer stadium for a program that just got good for the first time since the early 1980s, there’s not much history at Ford Stadium either.

The atmosphere has improved in recent years, but it’s still not where you’d expect it to be just yet.

Atmosphere=3 Iconic Status=3 Beauty=4 Amenities=3 Uniqueness=2

T-6. Liberty Bowl (Memphis) - 16 points

The Liberty Bowl has a lot going for it, but plenty that can be improved on. First, it’s one of the iconic stadiums in the history of college football. No, it’s not the Rose or Sugar Bowl, but the Liberty is a unique icon. Plus, Memphis is a great city and their fans have been making this one of the toughest places to play in the AAC. The issue is that age shows itself at the Liberty Bowl, and that’s becoming an issue.

Personally, I’d like to see Memphis move on from the Liberty Bowl and build their own stadium, on-campus. Until that’s possible, the Liberty Bowl will remain a good option for the Tigers.

Atmosphere=4 Iconic Status=4 Beauty=3 Amenities=2 Uniqueness=3

T-6. TDECU Stadium (Houston) - 16 points

New and objectively a very nice stadium, Houston’s TDECU Field is so easy to forget for me that it got docked a number of points for not being unique or iconic enough. The stadium, while nice, also doesn’t stand out as more beautiful than any other stadium. However, there is still plenty to like here. The facilities and amenities are new and really good for guests. Add in a great atmosphere once the Cougars start winning again, and TDECU is a great place to see a game.

Maybe TDECU should be higher on this list, but it just scored low for me. It’s kind of like Houston’s uniforms: there’s nothing bad about them, just a tad forgettable.

Atmosphere=4 Iconic Status=3 Beauty=3 Amenities=4 Uniqueness=2

5. Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium (Navy) - 18 points

Navy’s Memorial Stadium has a lot of great history to it, but for some reason it doesn’t feel as historic or beautiful as its natural comparison, Michie Stadium. Maybe that’s not fair. After all, Army isn’t even in the AAC to be compared against for the purposes of this list. After all, this is a historic and beautiful stadium, especially compared to a lot of other AAC stadiums, so maybe they rated too low.

With all of that being said, Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium has one of the most unique atmospheres in all of college football and shouldn’t be missed.

Atmosphere=4 Iconic Status=3 Beauty=3 Amenities=3 Uniqueness=5

T-3. Bounce House (UCF) - 19 points

Here is a polarizing stadium. The artist formerly known as Spectrum Stadium and now known as the Bounce House has its issues. The metal bleachers make sure that going to a game here is like going to a game in Dante’s 7th Circle of Hell, especially in September. It, also, originally was a pretty boring stadium aesthetically with poor amenities. However, that has changed in a couple significant ways in recent years. For example, there are beach cabanas in the stadium now. That’s both unique and a huge upgrade to the amenities.

Of course, the Bounce House has a couple key components to it. For one, the atmosphere is absolutely insane. Frankly, it’s the best atmosphere in the conference right now. Plus, the name Bounce House does come from reality. The stadium bounces up and down, which is objectively unique to UCF in the conference and college football on the whole.

Atmosphere=5 Iconic Status=4 Beauty=3 Amenities=2 Uniqueness=5

T-3. Yulman Stadium (Tulane) - 19 points

One of the newest stadiums in the AAC, Yulman Stadium is on campus at Tulane in New Orleans, and it’s worlds better than when the Green Wave played at the Superdome. There is a fun atmosphere for games at Yulman, and while this is no Tulane Stadium in terms of how iconic a stadium can be, it goes to show just how much better college football is when you leave a rented out NFL stadium for something on campus.

For what it’s worth, while Yulman isn’t a massive stadium, it is a beautiful one and a great fit for the Tulane program.

Atmosphere=4 Iconic Status=2 Beauty=5 Amenities=4 Uniqueness=4

T-1. Nippert Stadium (Cincinnati)-20 points

Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium brings the most history out of all eleven stadiums. Cincinnati has been playing football on the site where Nippert Stadium stands since 1901. For context, that’s older than Fenway Park or Wrigley Field in MLB, and only four FBS stadiums are older. The fans help to make it one of the toughest places to play in all of the AAC too, which says a lot as passionate crowds keep growing in the conference.

NCAA Football: Tulsa at Cincinnati Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Nippert stadium is one of the most unique venues in all of college football, making it a can’t miss for AAC fans. Just don’t pretend to paint the entire field black again.

Atmosphere=5 Iconic Status=5 Beauty=3 Amenities=2 Uniqueness=5

T-1. Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium (ECU)-20 points

Not enough people talk about just how great of a stadium and atmosphere ECU has, especially when the Pirates are winning. Maybe that’s the issue: ECU hasn’t been good enough to consistently pack Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. However, this is still a rocking atmosphere, with great traditions, and a beautiful venue. ECU as a whole has been largely scoffed at in the conference, as they spin their tires in the mud, but this is a program that is capable of great things in a great stadium.

So credit to ECU, they have one of those stadiums and programs that make the conference better as a whole.

Atmosphere=4 Iconic Status=3 Beauty=5 Amenities=4 Uniqueness=4

Poll

Which stadium is best?

This poll is closed

  • 28%
    Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium
    (249 votes)
  • 16%
    Nippert Stadium
    (145 votes)
  • 10%
    Yulman Stadium
    (96 votes)
  • 18%
    The Bounce House
    (166 votes)
  • 1%
    Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium
    (17 votes)
  • 8%
    TDECU Stadium
    (71 votes)
  • 12%
    The Liberty Bowl
    (111 votes)
  • 0%
    Gerald J. Ford Stadium
    (6 votes)
  • 0%
    Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium
    (3 votes)
  • 1%
    Raymond James Stadium
    (9 votes)
  • 1%
    Lincoln Financial Field
    (11 votes)
884 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which stadium is the worst?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium
    (20 votes)
  • 3%
    Nippert Stadium
    (14 votes)
  • 2%
    Yulman Stadium
    (10 votes)
  • 14%
    The Bounce House
    (61 votes)
  • 1%
    Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium
    (5 votes)
  • 1%
    TDECU Stadium
    (5 votes)
  • 5%
    The Liberty Bowl
    (24 votes)
  • 3%
    Gerald J. Ford Stadium
    (15 votes)
  • 9%
    Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium
    (40 votes)
  • 27%
    Raymond James Stadium
    (116 votes)
  • 25%
    Lincoln Financial Field
    (105 votes)
415 votes total Vote Now

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