It’s the fourth quarter of a primetime college football game, and your squad is up 3 with just over a minute left to play. A white, ESPN-branded flag flutters slightly against the wall, because, yeah, this game is nationally televised. The opposing team has the ball at its own 45, and it’s third and 3. A stop here for the defense, and it’s game, set, match. The scoreboard implores you and your ketchup-stained brethren to “Get Loud!” You do. The whole stadium does. It sounds like you’ve accidentally stumbled onto an airplane runway without ear protectors. “This must be the loudest college football stadium ever,” you think to yourself.
Every college football fan probably thinks his or her team’s stadium is the loudest. There is no definitive ranking of stadium noise levels measured in decibels, since not every stadium has attempted to record it. A handful have, though, so we decided to bring you the loudest of the bunch. Although places like Texas A&M’s Kyle Field and Ohio State’s Ohio Stadium might belong on this list, we could find no record of their decibel levels. So cover your ears. You might be surprised by which stadium is No. 1.
7. Michigan Stadium (Michigan Wolverines)
“The Big House,” so called because of its 109,901 seating capacity, largest in college football, surprisingly comes in last on the voice meter. Michigan Stadium was originally measured at 100 decibels in 2007, but new skyboxes increased its maximum noise level to 110, which still pales in comparison to other venues on this list. Michigan Stadium, which is shaped like a big bowl, is unable to capture and keep sound in-house, since the noise made by fans has nothing to bounce off, and the sound dissipates into the air above.
Hear Michigan Stadium get loud for its first-ever night game in 2011.
6. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium (Florida Gators)
When you come to “The Swamp,” prepare to leave with some slight ringing in your ears. Ninety-thousand Florida Gator fans have hit 115 decibels on the noise scale, according to the SEC blog, Saturday Down South—a good but not great statistic for the 12th-largest college football stadium in the country.
5. Beaver Stadium (Penn State Nittany Lions)
Known for its “White Out” themed games, when every fan is encouraged to wear white to give the impression that an actual blizzard is about to blow over the field, Penn State’s Beaver Stadium can also party like its 1999—to the tune of 122 decibels. That noise level is the equivalent of standing near someone who’s sandblasting, or standing in the front row of a Kings of Leon show. Happy Valley gets loud.
4. Autzen Stadium (Oregon Ducks)
If you know anything about Oregon football, you’re well aware of the seemingly thousands of uniform combinations the team trots out every Saturday and the school’s immensely expensive athletic center. And although Autzen Stadium, home of the Ducks, holds only 54,000 people, it is one of the loudest stadiums in college football. Crowd noise hit 127 decibels in a 2007 game against USC, loud enough for a human being to start experiencing pain in his or her ears. So enjoy yourself if you’re attending a Ducks home game this season, but be prepared to ask “what was that you said?” a lot the week after.
3. Tiger Stadium (LSU Tigers)
They don’t call it “Death Valley” for no reason. It gets so loud down in Baton Rouge, you’ll be dead by the time you leave. Just kidding, of course, but a noise level of 130, which Tiger fans hit in a 2007 game against Florida, is kind of like being on an aircraft carrier while an F/A-18 Super Hornet takes off. Translation: not pleasant.
2. Memorial Stadium (Clemson Tigers)
Fans at Memorial Stadium, another place commonly referred to as Death Valley, were measured raising their combined voices to a level of 132.8 decibels during a 2007 game against Boston College. That’s loud. That’s like running-four-jackhammers-at-one-time loud. If you feel like risking going deaf by age 30, Clemson football home games are definitely for you.
1. Husky Stadium (Washington Huskies)
Surprise! Husky Stadium, home of the University of Washington Huskies, holds the record for loudest college football stadium with a whopping 133.6 decibel level. The record was set way back in 1992 during a game against Nebraska, so we’ll forgive you for having no idea that these purple-clad athletes were No. 1. Husky Stadium’s insane capacity for noise is due to its two gray overhangs on either side, which trap sound and bounce it back toward the field below. A packed Husky Stadium could mean serious eardrum damage, which means you could be telling kids to “turn down that damn music” much sooner than you’d like.