Michiganders love their football, and even more so, arguing about football. There are five universities that are in the FBS division of college football, and all of them are rivals with one another. These five schools are also proud of their stadiums, especially with a certain school in Ann Arbor boasting about its maximum capacity.
When looking at all five of the FBS stadiums in Michigan, how do they stack up against one another? Though some people would disagree, a majority would be willing to admit that the five belong in this particular order.
5. Rynearson Stadium (Eastern Michigan University)
Rynearson Stadium is located in the northern part of EMU’s campus in Ypsilanti, which opened for the first time in September 1969. Since then, there have been a pair of expansions, but the stadium is lacking in upgrades compared to its counterparts, even in the Mid-American Conference.
Though the stadium itself seats over 30,000 people, Rynearson Stadium has yet to have more than 87 percent of its seats sold for a single game. Many college football fans feel that Rynearson needs a serious facelift to draw in a crowd, with many citing the track that surrounds the field as one of the biggest eyesores.
4. Waldo Stadium (Western Michigan University)
There’s a big jump from number five to number four as many consider Waldo Stadium in Kalamazoo to be a perfectly fine venue for football. With a cost of just over $4 million when adjusted to today’s money, Waldo has been open since 1939 and has seen a capacity number jump from 15,000 to its current 30,200.
There have been instances in which Waldo Stadium has gone well over capacity, including a 2000 matchup against Indiana State that drew in over 36,000 people. Of course, Waldo does have one tiny problem due to its elevation. No other part of Kalamazoo is lower than Waldo Stadium, which can result in easy flooding.
3. Kelly/Shorts Stadium (Central Michigan University)
There was once a time when Kelly/Shorts Stadium was lower on the list, but due to upgrades both during and after the Brian Kelly era, the Chippewas’ home stadium in Mount Pleasant climbs up to number three. Opened in 1972, the capacity has increased from 20,000 to over 30,000, breaking the attendance record in 2012 with 35,127 against Michigan State.
The stadium has seen a lot of new amenities added over the years, including new team facilities in the end zones and permanent lighting that make it stand out. Of the three MAC schools in Michigan, CMU’s football stadium stands out as the top.
2. Spartan Stadium (Michigan State University)
Originally named College Field when it first opened up in 1923, Spartan Stadium has seen a lot of changes over the years. This includes massive expansions and renovations, two of which have taken place since 2005. Spartan Stadium’s capacity has increased to over 80,400 during its history and has been home to some of the most memorable games in the state.
The updated press box and luxury suites are a sight to behold, and the seating arrangement makes Spartan Stadium a true home advantage for the boys from East Lansing. The new bells and whistles at Spartan Stadium haven’t gone unnoticed, and it’s only expected to get better as the Big Ten Conference revenue increases.
1. Michigan Stadium (University of Michigan)
We mentioned it earlier, and of course “The Big House” has to be tops in the state due to its size and history alone. Opened in Ann Arbor in 1927 with a capacity of 72,000, Michigan Stadium has undergone a lot of changes that have increased that capacity to 107,601. The record attendance was set against Notre Dame in 2013 with over 115,100 people in the stadium.
Michigan Stadium was built with the idea of potentially needing 150,000 seats, and that may one day be realized. The stadium is built into the ground and is unassuming for fans from the outside, and feels like its own large city when you’ve passed through the gates.