Worst College Football Stadiums, Ranked
There isn't ever any one particular thing that makes a college football stadium bad. It's not just the architecture. It's not just the team. It's not just the crappy food or the missing fans.
More than anything, it's a vibe. Once things go bad with the vibes it can be hard to recover.
College football at its very best is defined by the cathedral-like stadiums that fill up every time the home team plays there. College football at its very worst can be seen in the stadiums that don't even get half full. The ones where the team is bad and the vibes are even worse.
Here's a look at the worst of the worst college football stadiums in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
15. Bobby Dodd Stadium (Georgia Tech)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Avg. Attendance (2022): 34,408
Bottom line: Bobby Dodd Stadium kind of defines what we mean when we say a stadium can be great aesthetically but not a fun place to go watch a game because the team sucks.
There's no reason Georgia Tech should be as bad as it's been in recent years. It has a beautiful on-campus stadium sequestered away in an amazing city and one of the most fertile high school recruiting grounds in the country in its backyard.
Playing trash football will kill all of that. The Yellow Jackets are on their third head coach since 2018 and have had a losing record for four consecutive seasons — a stretch in which attendance has dropped by over 21 percent overall. It's an unnecessarily bad look.
(All capacity and attendance numbers are estimates and subject to change)
14. CEFCU Stadium (San Jose State)
Location: San Jose, California
Avg. Attendance (2022): 16,422
Conference: Mountain West
Bottom line: As far as the Bay Area goes, people sleep on San Jose. When you're there you really get the feeling that the people don't know exactly what a gem they've got here.
In terms of college football, that tracks. The capacity seating of San Jose State's CEFCU Stadium has been reduced by almost 10,000 seats because of ongoing renovations and construction … since 2019. In what universe should this be taking that long?
The fans and the team deserve better so the school should do better – the Spartans have still played in two bowl games in that stretch and have increased fan attendance by almost 10 percent in the last four years. Little help here? Anybody?
13. FirstBank Stadium (Vanderbilt)
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Avg. Attendance (2022): 29,193
Bottom line: Vanderbilt probably wins the award for the worst team in the coolest town. Nashville is amazing and you'd like to think if the Commodores were consistently good it might make home games a real draw. To that end, Vanderbilt hasn't had a winning season since 2013, so it's a tough sell.
12. TDECU Stadium (Houston)
Location: Houston, Texas
Avg. Attendance (2022): 25,394
Conference: Big 12
Bottom line: It will probably end up being a smart move in the long run for the Big 12 Conference to bring Houston into the fold beginning in 2023 — it's such a large market that it's hard to see the downside. But let's not pretend like this is a fun place to go watch college football.
Their fans don't really like it that much either. Attendance dropped over 16 percent overall in the last five years and the Cougars were looking at 10,000-15,000 empty seats on average for home games in 2022.
11. Raymond James Stadium (South Florida)
Location: Tampa, Florida
Avg. Attendance (2022): 29,650
Bottom line: The American Athletic Conference has the market really cornered on teams that give us those depressing look-ins on Saturdays in the fall — nothing kills your enthusiasm for seeing a team play like cutting to a half-full NFL stadium.
Temple and USF both struggle to get fans out to see them play games and have tens of thousands of empty seats at their games. Seriously though is there any possible way for USF to play somewhere else? Maybe cover up part of The Trop with tarps and play in St. Petersburg?
Either way, changes are coming soon — USF plans to move to a 35,000-set on-campus stadium by 2026.
10. SECU Stadium (Maryland)
Location: College Park, Maryland
Avg. Attendance (2022): 31,934
Bottom line: There are actually a lot of amazing high school football players that come out of Maryland and the D.C. area. The problem is that they almost never wind up playing for the Terrapins. You can spot a Maryland home game on TV pretty easily because of their uniforms — which are sick — and the thousands of empty seats.
9. Rose Bowl (UCLA)
Location: Pasadena, California
Avg. Attendance (2022): 41,593
Bottom line: Another gigantic, half-full stadium for college football Saturdays with few exceptions belongs to the UCLA Bruins, who play at one of the most famous stadiums in the world for home games but hardly ever fill it up. UCLA's biggest crowd in recent memory was for a home game against Colorado in Oct. 2023 — they rewarded the Buffs by letting the visitor's locker room get robbed during the game. Another reason no one will really miss the Pac-12.
Just to be clear — the Rose Bowl is awesome. UCLA playing there isn't. It's depressing.
8. Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium (Memphis)
Location: Memphis, Tennessee
Avg. Attendance (2022): 26,196
Bottom line: Someone needs to tell the good people of Memphis that Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium — formerly Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium — isn't the historic artifact they think it is. It seems like maybe the city has held onto this relic thinking pro football might come back at some point and that team would need a place to play. Do you know who would like a place to play that doesn't have almost 40,000 empty seats each game? And is actually currently playing there? The Memphis Tigers.
7. Dix Stadium (Kent State)
Location: Kent, Ohio
Avg. Attendance (2022): 13,354
Bottom line: For a school that's produced so many great NFL players historically and even recently — Julian Edelman, Josh Cribbs and James Harrison to name a few — Kent State doesn't seem too invested in making its home stadium a nice place to watch games.
The school hasn't given the stadium a legit upgrade in 15 years and even with capacity seating of just over 25,000 struggles to top 10,000 fans for home games. It doesn't help that the Golden Flashes have won three games or less seven times in the last decade.
6. Lincoln Financial Field (Temple)
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Avg. Attendance (2022): 17,277
Bottom line: There's something offputting about watching college football teams play home games in NFL stadiums they will never have a chance of filling even halfway up, which is the case for several schools on this list. On average, Temple played in front of 50,000 empty seats every time it played at Lincoln Financial Field in 2022 and the numbers just keep going down in terms of attendance. Over the last five years, home games have gone down by over 35 percent.
Not the vibe you're looking for.
5. Jerry Richardson Stadium (Charlotte)
Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
Avg. Attendance (2022): 10,907
Conference: Conference USA
Bottom line: Charlotte has only had college football since 2013 and set the bar incredibly low for an FBS school in terms of attendance. The quaint, 15,000-seat stadium it built for its team has struggled to fill up to a painful degree — almost 5,000 seats were left open on average for the 2022 regular season. If Charlotte wants to be taken seriously, maybe the first thing to consider is changing the stadium's name.
4. InfoCision Stadium (Akron)
Location: Akron, Ohio
Avg. Attendance (2022): 11,199
Bottom line: What's really wild is that most of the MAC would kill to play home games at InfoCision Stadium — the other three MAC schools that made this list play in stadiums that opened in the 1960s. The problem here isn't the stadium. It's the team. Akron might be the worst team in FBS in recent memory, with just one winning season in the last 18 years, including a 0-12 season in 2019, four one-win seasons and two two-win seasons. That's a lot of losing.
3. Huskie Stadium (Northern Illinois)
Location: DeKalb, Illinois
Avg. Attendance (2022): 9,198
Bottom line: The lowest average home attendance in all of FBS in 2022 belonged to Northern Illinois at 9,198 fans per contest. This one is such a downer because their team is actually good on a pretty consistent basis. Something that's always bothered me … did they misspell the name of the stadium on purpose? Did they do that to avoid confusion with the University of Washington's properly spelled Husky Stadium? This stadium is old and ugly and the school never puts any money toward fixing it up in any sort of meaningful way. What a shame.
2. Ryan Field (Northwestern)
Location: Evanston, Illinois
Avg. Attendance (2022): 28,697
Conference: Big Ten
Bottom line: You know what college football players really love? Night games.
You know what Northwestern's Ryan Field doesn't have? Permanent lighting fixtures.
The only school in the FBS without permanent lights has added bad football and scandal to the mix in the last few years, precipitating a staggering 21 percent drop in attendance over the last five years. Not what you're looking for with a Big Ten program.
1. Pratt & Whitney Stadium (UConn)
Location: East Harford, Connecticut
Avg. Attendance (2022): 22,095
Bottom line: If you want to know where football stands at UConn, just keep in mind that when the school tore down its on-campus stadium, Memorial Stadium, in the early 2010s, it didn't replace it with another football stadium. Instead, it built a state-of-the-art basketball facility.
Extra points get taken off here for not having an on-campus stadium. But the final blow is having a stadium that's a 30-minute drive from campus in East Hartford.
UConn doesn't have a conference. They don't win many games. They don't play in Storrs.
Why does this school still have football?