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The Big House: Still Not The Biggest House, But Getting Close

7/17/2010
Big_House

The Big House gets just a little bigger.

The University of Michigan recently announced that after renovations, Michigan Stadium will seat 109,901, just in time to host UConn on September 4. The renovations put The Big House ahead of Penn State's Beaver Stadium (107,282) once again as not only the largest college stadium in the country, but the largest stadium in western hemisphere. Were it not for India's fanatical soccer supporters or North Korea's love for displays of large, choreographed displays celebrating Kim Jong Il, Michigan Stadium would be the largest non-racing venue in the world. Mexico's Estadio Azteca is close behind, but not even Latin America's soccer fans can compete with college football.

Now that Michigan has settled who has the largest stadium on both American continents, we figured we'd take a look at where The Big House measures up in other areas:

Home-Field Advantage

The Big House can hold almost the entire city of Ann Arbor. Impressive, though it comes up just a few thousand short of hosting the city's 114,024 population. Tennessee's Neyland Stadium also falls short, unable to hold the 173,890 people who call Knoxville home. Alabama's Bryant-Denny Stadium (not to be confused with character actor Brian Dennehy) can squeeze in all of Tuscaloosa, with about 7,000 or so seats to spare. But Penn State's Beaver Stadium clearly takes this title, as the venue can hold the town of State College, about three times. Advantage, Penn State.

League Expansion

As the Pac-10 Becomes the Pac-16 and the Big Ten changes from an 11-team league to a 12-team league (or back to 10-team league again? We've lost count) the stadiums themselves could expand to hold more fans and alumni. For example, Beaver Stadium has more than double in size since it first opened in 1960. But The Big House takes this category all the way for a touchdown - and then some. When Michigan Stadium was built in 1927, it was designed to expand as far as 200,000 seats, leaving open the possibility of becoming The Biggest House on Earth.

Most Unassuming

Built below grade, the average pedestrian would never have any idea how massive Michigan Stadium truly is from the outside. However, Yale University goes one step further. Built into an earthen berm, the Yale Bowl looks less like the home of Bulldogs and more like the hovel of hobbits. Not the most intimidating entrance for when the Harvard Crimson come to town, but that's what a cappella jams are for, right?