Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
After seeing Ted Miller's rankings of the toughest places to play in the Pac-10, many of you e-mailed wanting to see the same for the Big Ten. You ask (nicely), and you shall receive.
Ted addressed this in his post but it's worth repeating. There are several variables by which these stadiums can be ranked -- history, recent success, day/night kickoff time. The easiest way to do it is determining where an opposing team least wants to play during the 2009 season.
Since the Metrodome is out of the rotation and no games have been played at TCF Bank Stadium, the rundown includes only 10 venues.
In reverse order ...
10. Memorial Stadium, Indiana -- The tailgating crowd too often doesn't translate into the stands, and Indiana lacks the true home-field advantage that most Big Ten teams enjoy. Though the stadium renovation should help, small crowds to watch a historically poor team don't help.
9. Ryan Field, Northwestern -- Northwestern's attendance struggles are well documented, and the bigger crowds usually include a sizable chunk of opposing fans. Night games are a totally different story, but there aren't many of them. The stadium configuration doesn't translate to particularly loud crowds.
8. Ross-Ade Stadium, Purdue -- Boilers fans are loyal, but they might be a little too nice. Ross-Ade doesn't have much of an intimidation factor for opposing teams, and it doesn't help that Purdue has struggled against the Big Ten's elite for some time.
7. Memorial Stadium, Illinois -- The renovation certainly helps, and the student section in the north end zone should create some problems for opponents in the coming years. It's still a little spacious in the south end, but I really like the atmosphere for night games. This place could climb the list if Illinois strings together a few good seasons.
6. Spartan Stadium, Michigan State -- This is always a solid if not spectacular game-day experience, and Michigan State boasts a decent student section in the southeast corner. It's not quite intimidation central, but that could change if Michigan State starts to win more consistently.
5. Michigan Stadium, Michigan -- For being one of college football's great cathedrals, the Big House has never seemed overly daunting. The shallow bowl doesn't put fans right on top of the game like other large stadiums, and the winged helmets always seemed more intimidating than the setting.
4. Kinnick Stadium, Iowa -- For starters, it's always packed. And arguably no stadium in the Big Ten puts the fans closer to the field than Kinnick. Throw in the color schemes -- black and gold in the stands, pink in the visitors' locker room -- and this is not a fun place to play.
3. Camp Randall Stadium, Wisconsin -- It's still not an easy place to visit, but Camp Randall lost a bit of luster last season as Wisconsin dropped consecutive night games to Ohio State and Penn State. There might not be a better in-game tradition than "Jump Around" at the start of the fourth quarter, and Wisconsin fans never make it easy for opposing players.
2. Beaver Stadium, Penn State -- If every game was played at night, Beaver Stadium would get the nod for the top spot. Penn State's White-Outs are freakin' awesome and very intimidating, and the sight of the massive stadium rising from the hills is enough to make opposing players tremble.
1. Ohio Stadium, Ohio State -- From the sheer noise to the ruthless fans to the inferno of scarlet, no opposing team enjoys playing at The Shoe. There's tons of tradition at the stadium, and it doesn't hurt to have a team that has dominated the Big Ten for most of the decade.