When the first-ever college football game was played in 1869, just about 100 spectators showed up on Rutgers' campus. Fast forward 147 years to Sept. 10, 2016 and Bristol Motor Speedway played host for a special Tennessee-Virginia Tech neutral site game that drew an NCAA-record 156,990 paid.
Crowds of 100,000-plus have become commonplace in college football thanks to extraordinary renovations and multimillion-dollar projects. Today, eight schools boast home stadiums that hold a capacity of at least 100,000.
Here are the 25 largest capacity stadiums that serve as primary homes for college football teams entering the 2018 season. Updated capacity numbers were taken from each school's athletics site.
|1||Michigan||Michigan Stadium (Ann Arbor, Mich.)||107,601|
|2||Penn State||Beaver Stadium (University Park, Pa.)||106,572|
|3||Ohio State||Ohio Stadium (Columbus, Ohio)||104,944|
|4||Texas A&M||Kyle Field (College Station, Texas)||102,733|
|5||Tennessee||Neyland Stadium (Knoxville, Tenn.)||102,455|
|6||LSU||Tiger Stadium (Baton Rouge, La.)||102,321|
|7||Alabama||Bryant-Denny Stadium (Tuscaloosa, Ala.)||101,821|
|8||Texas||Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium (Austin, Texas)||100,119|
|9||Southern Cal.||Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (Los Angeles, Calif.)||93,607|
|10||Georgia||Sanford Stadium (Athens, Ga.)||92,746|
|11||UCLA||Rose Bowl (Pasadena, Calif.)||90,888|
|12||Florida||Ben Hill Griffin Stadium (Gainesville, Fla.)||88,548|
|13||Auburn||Jordan-Hare Stadium (Auburn, Ala.)||87,451|
|14||Oklahoma||Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium (Norman, Okla.)||86,112|
|15||Nebraska||Memorial Stadium (Lincoln, Neb.)||85,458|
|16||Clemson||Frank Howard Field at Clemson Memorial Stadium (Clemson, S.C.)||81,500|
|17||Notre Dame||Notre Dame Stadium (South Bend, Ind.)||80,795|
|18||Wisconsin||Camp Randall Stadium (Madison, Wisc.)||80,321|
|19||South Carolina||Williams-Brice Stadium (Columbia, S.C.)||80,250|
|20||Florida State||Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium (Tallahassee, Fla.)||79,560|
|21||Arkansas||Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium (Fayetteville, Ark.)||76,800|
|22||Michigan State||Spartan Stadium (East Lansing, Mich.)||75,005|
|23||UAB||Legion Field (Birmingham, Ala.)||72,000|
|24||Missouri||Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium (Columbia, Mo.)||71,168|
|25||Iowa||Kinnick Stadium (Iowa City, Iowa)||70,585|
- Here is a breakdown by conference of the schools who appear in the top 25:
|ACC||BIG TEN||BIG 12||C-USA||PAC-12||SEC||INDEPENDENT|
- Before that 2016 Battle at Bristol meeting between Tennessee and Virginia Tech, Michigan Stadium owned the modern-day college football attendance record. In 2013, Notre Dame visited Michigan and played in front of a crowd of 115,109. Michigan won 41-30.
- Nebraska owns the NCAA record for most consecutive sellouts at its home stadium, moving its current mark up to 361 games entering the 2018 season. This streak at Memorial Stadium began on Nov. 3, 1962 when the Huskers hosted Missouri in Week 7.
- Arkansas' Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium moved up a spot to No. 21 on the above list thanks to a renovation this offseason that has added 4,800 new seats in the North End Zone area.
- Meanwhile, USC's renovation to Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum will include a reduction of 16,000 seats once complete in 2019. As part of a new deal, it will also be renamed United Airlines Memorial Coliseum.
- While the Rose Bowl's capacity for UCLA home games stands at 90,888, its all-time attendance record is 106,869. That was set in 1973 at the 59th Rose Bowl Game, which saw USC defeat Ohio State 42-17. The Trojans were then unanimously voted the No. 1 team in the nation in both the final AP poll and coaches' poll.