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The fans speak: ACC stadium rankings II

7/14/2008

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
OK people, there's something you need to know about this blog: I'm listening. I'm reading. I'm lurking. And I can HEAR you ... Does your mother know you talk like that?

I'm going to be honest with you: If I had to do it over again, I would. Oh, look, I can!

Here it is -- same words, different ranking with a short explanation below it. Thanks for all of your feedback. Now, complain all you want, this is the final version:

1. Clemson, Memorial Stadium (81,500) -- The Rock. The Hill. Death Valley. Need I say more?

Previous ranking, No. 3 -- I moved this one up because the atmosphere here is awesome, the football is some of the best in the league, and the fans get this place so loud it gives me goosebumps. It's among my favorite places to cover a game. I should've listened to my instinct first time around.

2. Virginia Tech, Lane Stadium (66,233) -- This place sells out, and Hokies fans make this one of the toughest stadiums in the country. Which is why Boston College's fourth-quarter comeback in Blacksburg last season was all the more impressive.

PR No. 1 -- Dropped a spot in favor of my gut feeling over Clemson. It just doesn't swallow you whole like Death Valley.

3. Florida State, Doak S. Campbell Stadium (82,300) -- The program's history is as concrete as the structure here, and you can feel the tradition even during a weekday. With Osceola and Renegade, the war chant ... this is college football.

PR No. 2 -- The game day traditions here are outstanding, but Clemson's move had to bump this down a notch.

4. NC State, Carter-Finley Stadium (57,500) -- The fairly new facilities here are impressive, but it lacks tradition.

PR No. 11 -- I was stuck on the lack of tradition with this program, and lack of recent wins, but Wolfpack fans are passionate enough to compensate for that. I heard them at the Raleigh Regional baseball games and read their e-mails yesterday.

5. Georgia Tech, Bobby Dodd Stadium (55,000) -- Roll out the Ramblin' Wreck, and this place is rockin'. It's the oldest stadium in Division I, but it's location in the heart of Atlanta and its fans make it unique.

PR 5 -- Same.

6. UNC, Kenan Stadium (60,000) -- This place is just the right size, and the picturesque pine trees make this one of the nicest venues in the league. Butch Davis has an amazing view of all of it from his office.

PR 4 -- Argue all you want about this spot, but the intimate setting here is great for fans and the facilities here should impress any recruit.

7. Virginia, Scott Stadium (61,500) -- Despite the open press box (which I always seem to forget on the coldest of Saturdays), this place is gorgeous. The columns on the hill and the architecture make this one of my favorite fall road trips.

PR 6 Who's afraid of fans in ties?

8. Wake Forest, Groves Stadium (31,500) -- With around 4,000 undergrads, it's only going to get so loud in here. Deacon Hill is unique, though, and the fans are faithful and appreciative.

PR 9 -- It's still better than the last three.

9. Boston College, Alumni Stadium (44,500) -- Eh. Sorry, Eagles fans, but not only don't you travel well for bowl games, but you guys can't even pack your place for FSU on prime time.

PR 8 -- That pretty much summed it up.

10. Maryland, Byrd Stadium (51,500) -- Go ahead and get Ralph Friedgen started about the lacrosse team ripping up Byrd. There have been times when it looks dustier than my bookshelves, but the renovations and suites should be an upgrade.

PR 7 -- I'll admit, I gave this too much credit the first time around, which was dumb, considering how many games I've seen there and said, "the field looks awful." And the pregame atmosphere is lacking.

11. Miami, Dolphin Stadium (75,235) -- Well, the Orange Bowl was a dump, but there were some great and historic games there. The NFL venue just won't be the same and it will take away from the college gameday feeling.

PR 10 -- The only thing worse than trading the college atmosphere for an oversized NFL arena is ...

12. Duke, Wallace Wade Stadium (33,941) -- In our interview earlier this week, David Cutcliffe called Wallace Wade Stadium "quaint." Not exactly the atmosphere you're looking for when you want some smashmouth football. Then again, they've got to start playing some smashmouth football.

Same ranking.