Big Ten Football: Ranking The Best GameDay Experiences

My love of college football has brought yet another game day environment list. This time the conference is the Big Ten or (B1G) for some. They are arguably the second best conference when it comes to football and holds traditions that are far stretching

14. Maryland

university of maryland football team offensive line


The fans and student body really don’t give a crap about their Terps football team. This is a hoops school and even a lax school. The Redskins and Ravens are both nearby so why bother watching the Terrapins get stomped on by the likes of Michigan and Ohio State. At least when they were in the ACC they were somewhat competitive. The tailgating scene is decent with the most noteworthy moment coming from this gem that went viral.

13. Rutgers

For a school that played in the first official college football game is not very good at football as of recent. The shit play on the field is one thing, but fans still have a great time and have an awesome tailgating scene. The fans with access to the Scarlet Lot are the most intense, arriving at dawn for the noon games at the terribly named HighPoint Solutions Stadium. Former coach and current OSU assistant Greg Schiano started the scarlet walk in which the players walk around the stadium before the game. The reason Rutgers is so low on the list is the play on the field makes even the biggest Rutgers fan lose hope. With one win last season and being in a division with the likes of Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Penn State, i don’t see it getting any better soon.

12. Purdue

What is there to do in West Lafayette? Exactly nothing. Purdue lacks the character and identity of most Big Ten teams. From the tailgates at Slayter Hill to the student body dressing up in costumes for the early morning bar-hopping tradition known as “The Breakfast Club,”  Boilermakers fans make a game-day experience. Credit Purdue for being one of a handful of Big Ten schools that permit alcohol sales throughout the stadium. But Ross-Ade Stadium is rarely full and lacks the buzz of a big-time atmosphere. The inspiration around Purdue superfan, student and bone cancer patient Tyler Trent made for an inspired driving season that led to a bowl game and an upset of Ohio State subsequently knocking them out of the CFP. Pretty cool.

Best game day tradition: The Breakfast Club

11. Illinois


Illinois has done a good job at enhancing their game-day experience by adding the“Illini walk” of fans cheering the players as they march into the stadium and a pregame fan fest with local bands and bouncy houses for kids. That’s the good. Memorial Stadium is one of the deadest venues in the Big Ten. The students simply don’t give a rip. The student section is rarely full, with many opting for the bars or maybe even the library instead of the stadium. With the frigid Illinois cold late in the season make the fan turnout that much worse.

10. Northwestern

9. Indiana

8. Minnesota

7. Michigan State

6. Iowa

5. Michigan

4. Ohio State

3. Wisconsin

2. Nebraska

With the Scott Frost era in full effect, there is much to be excited about in Lincoln. Whether the team is bad or not, fans still pack Memorial Stadium, making it one of the best environments in the Big Ten. The stadium is situated near campus and downtown Lincoln, where the most intense pregaming takes place. The “O Street” area is full of college bars, and the Haymarket part of downtown is prime for fans in their 20’s. The experience as a fan of the visiting team is unmatched as Nebraska fans are as inviting as any.

1. Penn State


Over a 100,000 fans descend into Happy Valley every home football weekend and transform it into one of the best parties in college sports. Lots open Thursday night for tailgating as a pop-up town of white tents and RVs near Beaver Stadium. Students set up camp for first-come, first-served seating in their section. Stroll through the tailgating area before kickoff and you’ll likely be invited to share a beer or a nice bratwurst sausage. It’s hard to beat the raucous environment of a whiteout during a night game in State College with fans chanting: “We are. Penn State.”

Best Game-day tradition: We are Penn State

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