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Ranking the Big Ten Stadiums

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How do the conference's stadiums match up?

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

With Rutgers’ move to the Big Ten two years ago, it opened up an entirely new group of stadiums to which Scarlet Knight fans can travel to cheer on the team. While working for a another site, I discussed a couple of college towns I visited last season to discuss the ambiance of the town for the Badgers and Hawkeyes.

However, what about the stadiums themselves? What is it like there, and what makes the best stadium? This has been done in numerous articles (examples here and here) by our own Bob Cancro, and others have also done stories that rank stadiums in the conference. I recently read an article by Roy Hatfield (@roybhatfield) on Gobbler Country, the Virginia Tech SB site. His article used the stats of capacity and support to measure ACC stadiums, and I decided to try out the same thing for the Big Ten’s houses.

Using Phil Steele’s guide, I put together the stats for our conference. Here’s how the overall stats look:

Stadium Capacity 2015 % Capacity Capacity Rank % Capacity Rank B1G Score
Michigan 107,601 100% 1 T-3 4
Penn State 106,572 94% 2 7 9
Ohio State 104,944 102% 3 2 5
Nebraska 86,047 103% 4 1 5
Wisconsin 80,321 97% 5 6 11
Michigan State 75,005 100% 6 T-3 9
Iowa 70,585 90% 7 9 16
Illinois 60,670 70% 8 13 21
Purdue 57,236 66% 9 14 23
Indiana 52,929 84% 10 10 20
Rutgers 52,454 91% 11 8 19
Maryland 51,802 78% 12 11 23
Minnesota 50,805 100% 13 T-3 16
Northwestern 47,330 71% 14 12 26

In this measure, larger stadiums have an edge, for sure. However, it can be argued that larger stadiums have a stronger influence on games, particularly when filled with fans. So, the support ranking is just as important. For example, while Illinois, our week 7 home opponent, has a larger stadium than dear old HPSS, but with only an average of 70% capacity, it is not as imtimidating as HPSS, with fewer seats, but a 91% capacity.

Also, as our team has discovered, playing away at Michigan, Ohio State, Nebraska, and Michigan State can be an intimidating experience, with both large capacities as well as being filled for games at an average of 100% (or more!) for games.

So, while you can all do the math yourself, I have ranked the teams’ stadiums by the ranking using this formula. They are:

Stadium B1G Rank
Michigan 1
Ohio State T-2
Nebraska T-2
Michigan State T-4
Penn State T-4
Wisconsin 6
Iowa T-7
Minnesota T-7
Rutgers 9
Indiana 10
Illinois 11
Purdue T-12
Maryland T-12
Northwestern 14

OK, those of you who have visited the stadiums, let us know what you think? Do these rankings fit your perceptions so far of the stadiums at which we have played? At this point, we still have not played away against Iowa, Illinois, Northwestern, Purdue, and Minnesota (though that one will happen this season), our visits to all of the B1G East stadiums as well as trips to Lincoln and Madison gives us a pretty good picture of away games in the conference.

It is interesting that Rutgers has already played in six of the seven of the stadiums that rank in the top half of the conference. We also have already seen how much of a challenge the Scarlet Knights have found playing there over the past two seasons.

This may also give us a picture of which stadiums you want to visit I the future. While I have visited a couple of the towns, this will be a personal goal for the future as Rutgers continues to grow as a program. Coach Ash, let’s take these games from what they have been to games where it is considered a challenge to take on an away Scarlet Knights squad!

So what do you think about these rankings?