AUTHOR: VTMiller TITLE: HOKIE LAND Finally gets honors! DATE: 8/22/2005 07:45:00 PM ----- BODY:

Sorry Morgan... looks like your LSU boyz have some catching up to do...
August 21, 2005 No place like home

David Lavender Staff Writer
The stadiums have been cleaned, the gridirons groomed and the fields painted. In less than two weeks, fanatics all over the nation will begin to file into their home venues. But all stadiums were not created equal, and some teams will have competitive advantages when playing at home this season. Though sheer attendance numbers help, it's all about quality – not quantity – when it comes to home field advantage in Division I football.
Virginia Tech doesn't have the largest stadium, but the Hokies regularly sell out their home games.
How hard is it for opponents to infiltrate your stadium in mass? How often do the games sell out? And – forget rivalry games – how loud and nasty does the crowd get for the season-opening cupcakes? After taking all of these things into account, here are the top 10 home field advantages in college football. 1. Lane Stadium (Virginia Tech) Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, Va., doesn't blow people away by the brute strength of a massive stadium, but with knowledgeable fans that always reach a frenzied pitch at the right time, the Hokies make the most of their numbers. Every good stadium has at least one end designed for deafening noise levels, and the enclosed South End Zone at Lane Stadium fits the bill perfectly. Holding more than 11,000 screaming Virginia Tech fans, the section amplifies noise and renders audibles useless. That's not to mention the isolation factor. With the nearest major airport nearly 45 minutes away, opponents' fans are never out in force at Lane Stadium. The X-factor: Beamer Ball The hard-nosed Hokies are never outhustled. With the most intense special teams unit in college football year-in and year-out -- not to mention the defense's penchant for scoring points -- there's never a dull moment at a game in Blacksburg. Capacity: 66,233
In a 1988 game against Auburn, the crowd roared so loudly that the earth tremor actually registered on a nearby seismographic meter.
2. Tiger Stadium (LSU) Boasting some of the most hardcore tailgaters in the nation, Baton Rouge is filled with tens of thousands of purple and gold-clad fans by Friday afternoon. An estimated 120,000 fanatics take part in pre-game festivities as the excitement crescendoes until the game's conclusion. Once inside the stadium, LSU fans don't sit on their hands. With the seats wrapping completely around the field, 'Death Valley' is arguably the loudest venue in college football. Former Alabama coach Paul Bryant may have put it best, saying, "Baton Rouge happens to be the worst place in the world for a visiting team. It's like being inside a drum." Death Valley isn't going to get any quieter anytime soon, either. For starters, an ongoing renovation, which should be completed during the season, will push the capacity to more than 92,000. Also, the Tigers carry a 10-game home winning streak into the 2005 season.
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