- Edward Aschoff, ESPN Staff Writer
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In the world of college football, staying stagnant puts you behind. If you aren't trying to get bigger, strong and faster on the field, you're lost.
But you're also going to suffer if the environment surrounding your program isn't sparkling and dazzling to look at.
That's why stadium expansion is running rampant and why video scoreboards are getting bigger, brighter and bolder. High-definition screens have grown and more entertaining videos and graphics have made it into college football stadiums.
Fans love what's happening on the field, but looking up and seeing all those detailed pixels rounds out the game-day experience.
But does size really matter? Do we really care how large JumboTrons are? Do fancy graphics bring you to more games?
For athletic departments, the answer is a resounding yes, or they wouldn't bother. A massive big screen also looks pretty nice on all those recruiting visits.
They might be obnoxiously big and a little unnecessary, but we love them all the same. Here are the 10 biggest and most entertaining scoreboards in college football:
1. Texas: Well, there's one thing that Longhorns fans can cheer about: That enormous video board that basically takes up one side of Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. The board stands 55 feet tall and is 134 feet long, measuring around 7,370 square feet. Texas' board has been the largest in college football since 2006 (see Texas A&M below) and has a beautiful pixel pitch (the distance between pixel clusters, is a measure of high definition) of 20mm and native resolution of 2064-by-848. Texas' gigantic LED board provides fans with a bodaciously big Bevo. That screen should also really make Charlie Strong's muscles pop!
2. Texas A&M: They say that everything is bigger in Texas, and that's exactly what the Aggies are getting with their new video board at Kyle Field. Rival Texas had the country's largest video board. But with Texas A&M throwing $450 million into stadium renovations, it only made sense that the Aggies' brain trust best the Longhorns. This board could be No. 1, but since we haven't seen it live, second place is where it goes. The Daktronics 13HD LED video board will be the first in college football to have 1080 resolution (that's 1,080 lines that create the image). It will sit in the south end zone, measure 47-by-163 and have nearly 300 more square feet (7,661) than Texas' big board.
3. Arkansas: It might not have the largest square feet (6,286), but it's actually the longest video board in the country at 166.3 feet. And it stands 37.8 feet tall. With strong player introductions and graphics, there has been plenty to take Razorbacks fans' minds off of the subpar play exhibited by their team over the last two seasons. The massive SMARTVISION video display creates a dazzling backdrop behind the north end zone while standing atop Arkansas' indoor practice facility.
4. USC: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is iconic in its own right, but the construction of its video board in 2011 gave the stadium a high-tech reboot. With a native resolution of 3,000-by-792, the Coliseum's board brings the Troy faithful one of the nation's best pictures at the size of 150 feet by 40 feet (6,000 square feet). It's currently the fifth largest video board in the country. What really gives it life is the raucous and impressively entertaining pregame player entrance that fills the board just before each home game.
5. Miami: The Hurricanes and their fellow students might have to travel some 20 miles from their Coral Gables campus to Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, but it's well worth it when they see what the stadium's big screen is packing. Before Texas came along, Sun Life owned the nation's biggest board. Now Miami sits in third place on the list, with a screen that measures 6,717 square feet (138.5-by-48.5). That's a very big Al Golden.
6. Arizona: The video board inside Arizona Stadium is 5,264 square feet (112-by-47), but there's more to it than just the size. When it was constructed 2011, Arizona's administration decided to make it more than just a fan experience; they created a player and recruit experience. This bad boy not only introduces players and coaches in high quality, it also is Xbox compatible. Is it necessary to play video games on a screen with 1,728-by-720 resolution? Absolutely not, but it's awesome just the same.
7. Mississippi State: Back in 2008, the school used $6.1 million to construct a true HD board that spans the roof of the Leo Seal M-Club Center in the south end zone of Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field. This behemoth stands 152 feet wide by 135.6 feet tall, with a main HD screen stretching 111 feet by 47 feet. When that thing lights up at night and the cowbells are clanking, you feel like some mythical creature is going to slither out of that pigskin sanctuary.
8. Oklahoma: It's only natural that “Big Game Bob” has a big-game board. It's barely shorter in length than Arkansas' monstrosity (166 feet) and is very aesthetically pleasing with its 3,168-by-600 resolution. And soon it will get bigger. A planned $370 million renovation of Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium will make the video board 8,750-square feet, up from 5,146-square feet.
9. Michigan State: Talk about an upgrade. When the school decided it was time to expand its puny scoreboard in 2012, the size grew from 567 square feet to a massive 5,300 square feet. It was a part of a $10 million project to upgrade the entire stadium's viewing experience. This gives a whole new meaning to The Big Green
10. Ohio State: The Buckeyes' high-def Panasonic scoreboard measures 42 feet by 124 feet and has an array of 25 speakers on each side. You get great picture quality along with fantastic sound. The fans also are offered some pretty neat extras, like videos of student-athletes and teams, interactive features with former Buckeyes and quality player introductions.
Baylor: McLane Stadium's seating capacity might be shrinking, but the JumboTron is growing. The board at the new stadium will measure 47 feet high by 107 feet wide and will feature a 15 HD pixel layout this fall.
Minnesota: It measures 48 feet tall by 108 feet long, but what really sets it apart is the fact that it displayed YouTube sensation “Dramatic Gopher” to distract Wisconsin kicker Jack Russell last fall. The gopher went 1-for-2 in distractions on the day.
South Carolina: The atmosphere already is electric enough before and during games, but add a 4,464-square-foot crowing rooster and it’s quite the image.
21hDavid M. Hale