<
>

ACC stadium rankings

There are some schools in the ACC where "game-day traffic" consists of breaking for the students walking to the library. There are others where you can't escape the smell of burgers grilling on your way to the stadium, and no kickoff is ever too early.

Me? I wander through it all on my way to the press box, jealous yet excited to be a part of another college football Saturday. Having gone to school at Indiana, I know all-too well what it's like to be a part of a ho-hum Saturday, but having covered games at stadiums like the Horseshoe, the Big House and Nebraska, I also know that nothing beats great tradition. The top three ACC schools in average attendance in 2009 have it.

The others?

After two full seasons traveling the conference as ESPN.com's ACC blogger, here's an updated ranking of the top places in the ACC to watch a game on Saturday. This is hardly scientific. Instead, it's a ranking based on one overriding requirement: When you're watching the game, you get the sense, "now this is big-time college football."

1. Clemson, Memorial Stadium, (81,473) -- They've got the rock. The Hill. And they know how to tailgate in Death Valley.

2. Virginia Tech, Lane Stadium, (66,223) -- "Enter Sandman" never gets old, and on Thursday nights, Lane Stadium moves up to No. 1 on this list. Hokies fans have made this one of the toughest venues in the country.

3. Florida State, Doak S. Campbell Stadium (82,300) -- The pregame pageantry with Chief Osceola and Renegade is one of the best in all of college football. But even on a Tuesday afternoon, just walking by the massive building you can feel the history there.

4. NC State, Carter-Finley Stadium (57,583) -- The fans are among the most passionate. The wolf statue in front of the Murphy Center rocks. And the upgrades to Carter-Finley have made it one of the most impressive facilities.

5. Georgia Tech, Bobby Dodd Stadium (55,000) -- It's competing with pro sports and is smack in the middle of the city, but there's literally a buzz on campus on game day, and the student section holds its own.

6. North Carolina, Kenan Stadium (60,000) -- ACC fans will make fun of me for this, but I'm saying it anyway -- it's one of the most picturesque places to watch a game.

7. Virginia, Scott Stadium (61,500) -- Once you get over the preppy ties and khakis (am I at a game or the Kentucky Derby?), it's a great venue. The hill, the architecture and fans make this a stadium worth visiting.

8. Miami, Sun Life Stadium (74,916) -- Sigh. It's a pro venue. It feels like a pro venue. It's not Miami's fault, and attendance isn't bad, it's just ... the NFL.

9. Wake Forest, BB&T Field (31,500) -- It's small, but Deacs fans are loyal, and the recent upgrades to the stadium have made for a much better atmosphere in the Jim Grobe era.

10. Boston College, Alumni Stadium (44,500) -- Eagles fans get a bad rep for not traveling to bowl games, but they put on a good showing for ESPN's "College GameDay" crew in 2009 and cheered the team on to an almost undefeated season at home.

11. Maryland, Byrd Stadium (54,000) -- By November, the field is usually in need of a green paint job. The pregame atmosphere is lacking, and the results on the field the past few years have resulted in a decrease in attendance.

12. Duke, Wallace Wade Stadium (33,941) -- Attendance has increased under coach David Cutcliffe, but the Blue Devils still need to give their fans more to cheer for in 2010.