The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Point/Counterpoint | What is the best Big Ten football stadium?

Sports editor Kenna Roering thinks Kinnick Stadium takes the cake, while sports reporter Jake Olson argues for Beaver Stadium.
Iowa+Hawkeye+fans+enter+Kinnick+stadium+before+the+Hawkeye+Football+home+opener+against+Utah+State+in+Iowa+City+on+Saturday+Sept.+2%2C+2023.
Jordan Barry
Iowa Hawkeye fans enter Kinnick stadium before the Hawkeye Football home opener against Utah State in Iowa City on Saturday Sept. 2, 2023.

PENN STATE 

When you think of an intimidating college football crowd, two words come to mind: Beaver Stadium.

Penn State football historically has one of the best home stadiums in not only the Big Ten, but the entire country. 

Holding the second largest stadium capacity in the country behind the Big House of Michigan, Beaver Stadium fills its capacity of 106,572 consistently, making it one of the best home-field advantages in the country. 

While it may not have the outright biggest capacity, the noise it creates makes up for it. Named the best college football stadium by Bleacher Report in 2023, the Nittany Lion home field has gotten as loud as 107.7 decibels — the equivalent of a chainsaw, leaf blower, or snowmobile. 

In addition to having one of the most consistent home-field advantages in the country, another thing Beaver Stadium is known for is its famous “White-Outs”.

Started in 2004 by Penn State Director of Branding and Communications Guido D’Elia in response to reporters calling the home crowd one of the quietest they had heard despite seating over 106,000, the Nittany Lion faithful pack the stadium to the brim with fans wearing all white once a year.

Since then, Beaver Stadium has been one of the most noise-deafening stadiums in all of college football, with ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit calling the white-out fans the best student section in the country. Heck, even Sports Illustrated named it “The Greatest Show in College Sports” back in 2005 when it first started. 

This noise-filled stadium is a distraction to any opposing team that steps in it. Even their head coach James Franklin calls it a distraction, saying players get caught up in the energy and enthusiasm. 

IOWA

I’ve attended games at a few Big Ten stadiums in my life: Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Northwestern. Nothing beats a Saturday inside Kinnick Stadium. 

It starts with the Hawkeye Marching Band. Then there’s the introductions of the honorary captain, the Kid Captain, and the Military Hero of the Game. 

The list continues with The Wave, I-O-W-A chant, Pancheros Burrito Lift, and of course, the SWARM. 

Ever since I was a kid, I had to make it to my seat in time to watch the Hawkeyes run out of the tunnel hand-in-hand to “Back in Black.” 

No other Big Ten stadium holds traditions throughout each game that come close to Iowa’s. 

Tyler Sash’s 86-yard pick six in a comeback 42-24 win over Indiana in 2009; the infamous pick-six against Michigan State when Sash intercepted Kirk Cousins and then lateralled the ball to Micah Hyde who returned it for a TD in 2010; Iowa’s first 12-0 season in program history in 2015; Keith Duncan’s 33-yard winning field goal as time expired to crush No. 3 Michigan’s playoff hopes in 2016; the Hawkeyes’ 55-24 beat-down of Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes in 2017.

And arguably, the loudest moment inside the Kinnick brick walls to date: Spencer Petras’ 44-yard touchdown pass to Nico Ragaini in No. 3 Iowa’s 23-20 win over No. 4 Penn State in 2021. 

My ears rang for the next two days. 

Those are only some of the legendary moments I’ve witnessed inside Kinnick in my lifetime. The list could go on and on. 

While those games were special, the unbelievable atmosphere and tradition inside Kinnick is what will make those moments remain etched in my brain forever. 

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About the Contributors
Jake Olson, Sports Reporter
(he/him/his)
Email: [email protected] Jake Olson is a Sports Reporter for The Daily Iowan. In his three years with the paper, he has covered everything from rowing to basketball. He is studying journalism and mass communication with a minor in sports and rec management.
Kenna Roering, Sports Editor
she/her/hers
Kenna Roering is The Daily Iowan's sports editor. She is a junior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism with a minor in sports and recreation management. Kenna previously worked as a sports reporter for men's wrestling and volleyball and was the summer sports editor in 2023. This is her second year with the DI.