On Tuesday July 1st the Louisville Cardinals will officially be a part of the ACC. After years of moving from one conference to another the journey ends here. This move changes everything better competition, new rivalries, and each campus, city and arena will offer a new unique story/experience.
The move to the ACC will offer the opportunity for Cardinal fans to visit some of the most historical and unique venues in all of college sports. I know a few of the trips are definitely on my bucket list.
I thought I would research this topic and give fans a brief introduction to some of these interesting places that the teams of the ACC call home.
Wallace Wade Stadium is home to the Duke Blue Devils Football Team. Wallace Wade Stadium has been home to the Duke Blue Devils since 1929. The stadium holds over 33,000 fans. This efficient football venue is the smallest in ACC, but it was supposed to undergo a make-over to remove the track around it allowing for more seating this spring.
There’s no club seating, luxury suites, or cup holders. The best thing here would be the walk to the stadium. The campus itself is beautiful, with so many structures contributing to the historic feel of the almost bicentennial institution. If only the stadium design also reflected this somehow. As I said, the design is very efficient, but efficiency alone is bland. I found several reports of parking issues through my research also. If you plan on traveling to Durham for a football game I suggest you get there early. You can also buy parking passes on their website.
Photo courtesy goduke.com
Cameron Indoor Stadium seats just 9,314 fans, making it one of the smallest arenas on a major college campus. However, when it opened in 1940, Cameron Indoor was actually very big. The arena’s orginal name was merely Indoor Stadium. In 1972, the building’s name was changed to Cameron Indoor Stadium in honor of the school’s long-time athletic director and former basketball coach Eddie Cameron.
From the outside, Cameron looks unwelcoming to the wild and passionate fans known as the Cameron Crazies. Its gothic architecture matches the rest of the Duke campus, and the stained-glass windows make it appear church-like. Once inside though it can be a hell for visiting teams.
It’s the intimacy that makes Cameron Indoor Stadium one of the most revered venues in all of sports and it is one of the places that I’m most excited to visit.
-University of North Carolina
Photo courtesy goheels.com
Carolina football plays its home games at the 60,000 seat Kenan Memorial Stadium. The most recent renovations to the state-of-the-art football facility, include a chancellors box, preferred seating box and a multi-media scoreboard. Opened in 1927, the stadium is one of the more instantly recognizable structures on this scenic and historic campus.
Though numerous renovations and expansions have taken the stadium from its original seating capacity, much of what was likely the original “soul” of the facility remains. I read reviews and some say it is “one of the most picturesque places to watch a game.”
The Dean E. Smith Center is the third largest on-campus arena in the country, with a seating capacity of 21,750. The arena is named after former North Carolina coach Dean Smith, who coached the team from 1961 to 1997.
Walking in to the arena you are greeted with the history of UNC basketball they have a lot of banners hanging around and a fantastic looking basketball court. Word is if you want to experience the best college basketball gameday experience then you have to go to the Deandome.
Chapel Hill is one of the only true college towns in the ACC, with the college making up the town., so I can only imagine how loud and crazy this place is in person. This venue is in my top 2 of places I want to watch a basketball game.
-University of Miami
Photo courtesy viewfrommyseat.com
Sun Life Stadium, previously Landshark Stadium, previously Dolphin Stadium, previously Pro Player Stadium, previously 100 other names seats around 67,000. Average attendance is around 47,000. One of the least impressive of football venues in the ACC it is hardly a college football stadium.
Being 20 miles from campus this venue doesn’t have the intimate setting or the character like most of the others in the ACC. But it is still worth a trip to hang out in Miami for a few days.
The BankUnited Center, officially the University of Miami BankUnited Center, originally named the University of Miami Convocation Center, is an 7,972-seat multi-purpose arena on the campus of the University of Miami.
One of the more positive things I read about this venue was that it provides an electric atmosphere for basketball. Some say that it’s one the best venues in the country, while it is a new facility, it still has tremendous character and feels like a massive gym.
I like these smaller venues and they are great for packed games. Might just have to take a road trip to Miami.
-Wake Forest University
Photo courtesy wakeforestspoets.com
The home of Wake Forest Football is BB&T Field, it’s considered one of the most beautiful stadiums of its size in the nation. The stadium has 31,500 permanent seats. This is a small, but nice single-decker stadium. A recent project added the “Deacon Tower” which adds a lot to the overall appeal of the venue. Overall, seems like a nice stadium.
The reviews I read mostly described this venue as one of their favorite ACC football stadiums. Parking is close and convenient, seating is comfortable. Beautiful field. An all-around outstanding facility. It is quite a bit smaller than most major college football stadiums, but I think this adds to the experience.
The Joel, which is named for a Winston-Salem veteran who received the Congressional Medal of Honor, seats 14,665. Known as the smallest ACC school with enrollment of 3,950 and apparently all of them go to the basketball games.
Folks describe the atmosphere at Joel Coliseum as second only to Duke’s Cameron Indoor. Folks who have attended games there say it’s deafening, and say if the Wake students sat as close to the court as Duke’s students, they’d probably out-crazy the Crazies.
The pre-game ritual of the Demon Deacon mascot riding a gold Harley-Davidson motorcycle onto the court seems to be very popular as well.
Photo courtesy arcusa.com
Big-time football is rare in the Northeast, but reviews say that Alumni Stadium at Chestnut Hill offers legitimate college football to the New England area. Alumni Stadium is a relatively small football stadium, with a max capacity of about 45,000
Like a lot of these ACC venues the beautiful campus, the surrounding neighborhoods and location are a big attraction . From the upper deck will you can get a view of BC’s Gothic architecture looming just up the hill from the stadium.
Views from the west deck are apparently the best on campus with the stadium, local reservoir and Boston skyline all captured in one view. Advice from those who have seen a game here is to bring a camera and enjoy the sights outside of the game as well as the game itself.
Since it opened in October 1988, the Silvio O. Conte Forum has been the heart of the Boston College athletics program. They play basketball and hockey here. The venue holds 8,606 for basketball. The venue is located on campus in Chestnut Hill, and again this is a very beautiful campus.
The consensus of reviews say fan support in recent years has been spotty for basketball, but that Conte remains a uniquely comfortable and modern college facility. Fans say while lacking the “gym” style of many big-time college facilities, views are still very good for basketball.
Bobby Dodd Stadium at Grant Field seats 55,000. The stadium was built in 1913, making it the oldest on-campus stadium in division IA college football. This storied football facility has been a cornerstone of college football for nearly a century. Cozily nestled among Atlanta’s skyscrapers, Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field is easily one of the nation’s most unique settings for college football.
The consensus of reviews for this venue say Inside the stadium offers a unique classic college football pageantry. Student sections behind both ends zones erupt as the Ramblin’ Wreck leads the Yellow Jackets onto the field. The Yellow Jacket Marching Band is one of the more impressive bands in college football and puts on a great show.
Those that have seen games here say the pageantry of a Georgia Tech football game day makes a Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium an essential trip for any college football fan.
The Hank McCamish Pavilion (formerly known as the Alexander Memorial Coliseum, also nicknamed The Dome or The Thrillerdome seats 8,600.
Folks that have watched a game here like the intimacy of the experience. Because McCamish is set up like a bowl, there is not a bad seat in the house. And while they say the Tech fans don’t always turn out that when they do this little place can get pretty loud.
-University of Virginia
Photo courtesy aviewfrommyseat.com
Scott Stadium, with a capacity of 61,500, is the 27th-largest university-owned college football stadium. One aspect that adds a lot of personality is the line of white columns outlining the hill. It’s a beautiful venue, but according to visiting fans it’s not an especially tough place to play.
The Cavaliers have been playing football here since 1931 and it has the reputation of being one of the most aesthetically pleasing college football stadiums in North America. A census of the reviews I read say Scott Stadium offers a unique football experience steeped in history and tradition.
John Paul Jones Arena is the largest arena in the commonwealth of Virginia and it has seating for 14,593 fans. Simply put, UVA has the best (okay, maybe “one of the best”) college basketball facility in the country.
General consensus here is that the building is also absurdly aesthetically pleasing, right down to the pagodas that match the rest of the architecture on Grounds. Great GameDay atmosphere and UV has one of the best home court advantages as a result.
-North Carolina State University
Wayne Day Family Field at Carter–Finley Stadium is home to the North Carolina State University Wolfpack football team. It has a seating capacity of 57,583 seats. In its 45 years of existence, Carter-Finley Stadium has earned a reputation as one of the most exciting venues in college football.
It is a off campus facility located about 15 minutes from all of the things Raleigh NC has to offer. People that have visited this venue say Wolfpack fans are the type that come early and stay late. Several hours before kickoff, you will see the parking lot begin to fill with tents, grills, and other tailgate gear.
PNC Arena is an indoor arena, located in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Arena seats 19,722 for basketball, including 66 luxury suites and 2,000 club seats. The building has three concourses and includes a 300-seat restaurant.
The revues aren’t very favorable for this venue. The consensus is that it lacks the feel of a real college gym.
Even with 2,000 students surrounding the PNC Arena court on three sides, it still feels antiseptic, ringed by luxury suites and video boards more appropriate for the facility’s other tenet, the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes.
Lane Stadium/Worsham Field is a stadium located in Blacksburg VA. It has a seating capacity of 65,632. This venue is ranked #2 on ESPN.com’s “Top 10 Scariest Places To Play.” Most ACC reviewers mention it as the second or third best place to watch a football game.
Like many of the ACC venues I’ve researched Lane is another one that is reported to be easy on the eyes. On another very beautiful campus it’s nestled in the scenic mountains of Virginia, and has an altitude of 2,057 ft above sea level. It is the highest of any stadium in major college football.
VT is known for their blue-collar attitude, as symbolized by their “Lunch Pail Defense,” and according to the reviews I read this also represent a lot of their fan base. Reports are that this place can get pretty rowdy on a Saturday afternoon.
Cassell Coliseum is a 10,052-seat multi-purpose arena in Blacksburg, that opened in 1962. For a half a century, Cassell has provided Virginia Tech with one of the greatest home courts in all of men’s college basketball.
Those who have watched a game here say it’s an older facility lacking a lot of modern amenities, but that it still had some charm of its own. With its wooden seats and beam shaped ceiling it’s a very unique place indeed. Fans say it can get pretty loud at times., and that there isn’t a bad seat in the house. Biggest tip I found in the reviews “Get the dairy club milkshakes at VT game near Section 16″.
The seats used to be painted – when they stripped them, they found elm wood underneath. So they stripped them all, rather than replace them. Very cool!
-Florida State University
Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium, commonly referred to as “The Doak”, is the football stadium on the campus of the Florida State University in Tallahassee. It has a seating capacity of 82,300.
This venue has regained its edge recently as it houses the reigning National Champion. Fans rave about this venue calling it a great place to visit for a game. The tradition, pageantry, and crowd noise is top-notch. Chief Osceola’s entrance on his the horse, Renegade, and his famous spear plant is college football tradition at it’s finest.
Reviews say that the inside isn’t that impressive but say the outside is absolutely gorgeous, quite possibly the nicest in the nation.
The Donald L. Tucker Civic Center is a multi-purpose arena in Tallahassee, and has a capacity of 12,508. The arena has the biggest capacity of any arena in the Florida Panhandle.
A summary of reviews for this basketball venue. Good venue and pretty centrally located in downtown Tallahassee. There’s plenty of parking and the facilities are fine. It is the only venue in town capable of seating a large number of people.
Last but certainly not least is Frank Howard Field at Memorial Stadium.
The tradition and pageantry here is unrivaled across the conference. Between the hill, the rock, and the 84,000 screaming fans, “Death Valley” has it all.
There’s a tree that stands near the hill, adding a touch of nature and washing away the concrete jungle feel that so many large stadiums have. And there is a sea of greenery surrounding this massive place making it very pleasing to the eyes. Most reviews call this football venue in the ACC the granddaddy of them all.
This video explains it all. I give you “Death Valley”
Littlejohn Coliseum is a 10,000-seat multipurpose venue. “Death Valley” gets all the love from sports fans around these parts but fans say there is much to offer at Littlejohn Coliseum. Reviews say with Clemson’s surroundings outside and great basketball inside, this is quite the intriguing destination for college basketball lovers.
The passion Clemson fans and students feel for football doesn’t extend to basketball.
I omitted the venues at Syracuse, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh from this entry because Cardinal fans are very familiar with them from our time in the Big East. I also didn’t mention that we will get to play at Notre Dame this season. That place oozes College Football history and I will be there.
Having the opportunity to visit all of these great venues in the ACC is very exciting. Being involved in conferences with teams located in urban areas we have been deprived of the more traditional and intimate football settings. N.C. State, Wake Forest and Florida State are the only three ACC teams to play games in off-campus arenas.
As a fan I can’t wait to visit some of these college towns. Cameron Indoor and Death Valley are on the bucket list for sure. And as a Cardinal fan I can’t wait to show these other ACC schools that we have our own great tradition and pride when they visit our venues.