Football facilities play a huge role on every single campus. Not only are they where players spend most of their time, but they also help attract recruits who are looking for the best of the best.
That is a big reason why there has been such an arms race when it comes to facility upgrades. Nobody wants to be caught flat-footed. Among current Big East schools, Louisville and Syracuse have made recent plans to expand and upgrade so they can keep up with everybody else.
So how do the Big East facilities rank? Since I have only been to half the campuses in my short time covering the Big East, I asked former Big East blogger Brian Bennett for an assist. These are our rankings.
1. Louisville. The Cardinals already have some pretty nice facilities, with a relatively new football stadium right on campus. Coming next is an $8 million project that will upgrade and expand the weight room, training room, locker room and include a new academic center in the football complex.
2. UConn. The Huskies have a state-of-the-art football facility, in addition to an 18,000-square foot training facility. The biggest issue is that Rentschler Field is in East Hartford, about 21 miles away from campus.
3. Rutgers. Everything is right on campus and within a short walk for Rutgers football players. The Hale Center recently underwent a $12.5 million expansion, High Point Solutions Stadium was expanded in 2009, and there is an indoor practice bubble, along with three practice fields outdoors.
t4. Pitt. It is tough to judge the Panthers. They have world-class facilities at their disposal, mostly because they share with the Steelers. So is it good they have these terrific facilities or not so good because they are not technically theirs? I have been to both Rutgers and Pitt, and give the nod to the Scarlet Knights because everything is on campus.
t4. South Florida. Most everything at USF is state-of-the-art, after the entire athletics complex recently underwent a $33.5 million face-lift. The Lee Roy Selmon Athletics Center is beautiful, and USF has three practice fields side-by-side-by-side. Playing at an NFL stadium isn't ideal, but at least it's a nice one in Raymond James Stadium.
6. Syracuse. The facilities are a bit dated, so it was welcome news to hear Syracuse will undergo some major upgrades to the locker room, student-athlete lounge, cafeteria, Hall of Fame lobby and team auditorium. The Carrier Dome hasn't provided much of a home-field advantage of late.
7. Cincinnati. The Bearcats have made major strides at improving their facilities under coach Butch Jones and recently added new practice fields. Nippert Stadium is historic, but it's also old and small and in major need of upgrades.
8. Temple. The Owls are nearing a $10 million renovation of their practice facility, with an expansion of the strength and conditioning area to 10,000 square feet, along with remodeled locker rooms, coaches offices and meeting space. It was much needed, but still not quite on par with the best in the Big East.