The list of biggest stadiums in college football doesn’t have room for anyone outside the Power conferences. But what about everyone else? Independents and G5 schools? Well, here it is, with two Independent schools showing up in the top 11, while four NFL stadiums help boost the rankings of four schools who struggle filling them up on a regular day, although special occasions do happen.
East Carolina Pirates, Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium: 50,000
A rarity on this list: A stadium that isn’t for bowl games or an NFL team. Since 2010 it’s been seating 50,000, which the Pirates surpassed once last season in their win against Virginia Tech, with 50,514 in attendance. Usually it’s between 40,000 and 45,000 showing up, which is quite impressive. The record is 51,082 against North Carolina in 2014.
Hawai’i Warriors, Aloha Stadium: 50,000
The Warriors have been playing at Aloha Stadium since 1975, but it’s mostly known for its capacity as the place NFL players come to play the most needless game in the world (the Pro Bowl) for every year since 1980 (except for 2010 and 2015) and the Hawai’i Bowl, or other bowl games with different names over the years. As for attendance, Hawai’i (3-10 last season, 0-8 in the Mountain West) struggle to get it half full, with last season’s best attendance being 28,543 against San Diego State, which was also homecoming.
UTEP Miners, Sun Bowl Stadium: 51,500
Another stadium mostly known for its use as a Postseason bowl game venue, the Sun Bowl has been the home for the Miners since 1963, when the Sun Bowl tradition began. In 2015, the 5-7 Miners brought 25,951 against UTSA as their best attendance (also homecoming), while the record is 53,145 in a 2008 game against Texas.
Memphis Tigers, Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium: 59,308
Originally named the Memphis Memorial Stadium, it’s been the home for the Tigers since 1965 and also for the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. A lot of football teams from a lot of different leagues have played here over the years, including the Tennessee Oilers (now the Titans) in 1997. Memphis had 60,241 fans show up to their win over Ole Miss last season, while the record is 65,885 from 1996 against Tennessee.
BYU Cougars, LaVell Edwards Stadium: 63,470
Known as Cougar Stadium from 1964 to 2000, it is now named after Edwards, who coached BYU from 1972 to 2000, winning the national championship in 1984. The 9-4 team from last season had 63,470 show up to their win against Boise State last season, and the record attendance is 66,247 from 1993 when playing Notre Dame.
UTSA Roadrunners, Alamodome: 65,000
The Roadrunners went 3-9 last season and the most they were able to bring into the Alamodome was 29,424 to the week 2 game against Kansas State. This stadium has been around since 1990 and UTSA have been playing there since 2011. It’s been the host of the Alamo Bowl since 1993, and was the home of the San Antonio Spurs for a decade and has also hosted the 1998 NCAA Tournament Final Four.
South Florida Bulls, Raymond James Stadium: 65,857
Now we begin a run through NFL stadiums used by college teams, beginning with Raymond James, open since 1998 and since then the home of the Bulls and also the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. South Florida went 8-5 last season, but the most they’ve been able to get in for a game was 30,434 for the season opener against Florida A&M. In 2007, a game against West Virginia drew 67,018, a record for a non Super Bowl game at the stadium.
UMass Minutemen, Gillette Stadium: 68,756
We did debate whether to put UMass on the list because they also play at Warren McGuirk Alumni Stadium (17,000 capacity) but they do list Gillette as their home stadium, which doesn’t help them bring in more fans. Their highest attendance last season was 15,217 against Kent State at the smaller venue, while their biggest draw at Gillette? Vs Toledo, with 12,793 watching.
Temple Owls, Lincoln Financial Field: 69,176
The next NFL stadium on the list, mostly known as the home of the Philadelphia Eagles. Temple have been playing there just as long, since 2003. Last season, with Temple going 10-4, they twiced managed to bring in more than 69,000: Against Penn State to open the season with a big win and in the loss to Notre Dame. Otherwise, they never broke the 40,000 barrier. The 69,176 against Penn State is also a staidum record.
San Diego State Aztecs, Qualcomm Stadium: 70,561
Right now there’s a lot of mystery regarding the future use of Qualcomm, with the San Diego Chargers moving to Los Angeles in the near future. One proposal that has been put forward by State Senator Marty Block is for San Diego State to take over use of the site in order to expand the campus and also provide for a new multi-use 40,000 seat stadium for Aztecs football and an MLS team, although it hasn’t been approved yet. The Aztecs have been playing there since 1967, and in their 11-3 2015 season, they peaked past 40,000 just once, when 48,785 showed up to the opening game against the University of San Diego.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Notre Dame Stadium: 80,795
It’s nice to cap it off with a stadium that isn’t used for anything else but Notre Dame football, which has been that way since 1930. Notre Dame will be playing in front of 85,000 by 2017.