Someone Had Some Painting To Do

Over the course of the summer, there were some interesting changes in stadium capacities at the top of the college food chain. Two stadiums -- Michigan and Tennessee's Neyland -- have a national reputation for not much butt room. Both expanded over the summer, though not in the same way.

Meanwhile, with The University of Alabama's latest expansion of Bryant-Denny Stadium, the Crimson Tide will be playing in the nation's fifth-largest stadium for college and/or professional football when Bama hosts San Jose State to kick off the 2010 season.

The latest renovation and expansion of Bryant-Denny Stadium has increased capacity to 101,821 from 92,138 (and the nation's eighth-largest on-campus stadium).

At the beginning of the summer, it was believed that Alabama would have the fourth largest stadium, behind Beaver Stadium at Penn State (107,282), Michigan (106,201), and Ohio State (102,329). Right behind Alabama was Darrell K. Royal at Texas (100,119) and Tennessee's Neyland Stadium, which had announced a renovation that would result in the loss of seats, down to 100,011.

But a funny thing happened over the summer. Michigan completed a renovation that increased the Big House to a palindrome -- 109,901 -- and regained the title of biggest.

And one can only surmise that the paint brushes have been brought back out for the visitors' seats in Knoxville. Neyland is now up to 102,455 and in third place.

"All of the improvements and the expansion of the new South End Zone complex will be complete well in advance of the season opener and we are proud to have a stadium of the size that reflects the passion, commitment and enthusiasm of our incredible fans," said UA Director of Athletics Mal Moore.

The 2010 project is the fourth expansion of Bryant-Denny Stadium since 1988 and the seventh expansion in the stadium's history. Other expansions were completed in 1946, 1961, 1966, 1988, 1998 and 2006. Those projects expanded Bryant-Denny Stadium to a capacity of 92,138 prior to this latest project. The evolution of Bryant-Denny Stadium has been significant from its origins back in 1929 when its original configuration included a grandstand that seated 12,000.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban commented on the improvements to Bryant-Denny Stadium Wednesday.

He said, "I think the stadium looks fabulous. I think we had one of the best venues in college football before we made the addition of the end zone, and now we're over 101,000 people. I think now we may be one of the top two or three venues, in terms of a place to play college football, of anywhere in the country. I think it's a beautiful stadium and a great place to watch a game. We have tremendous enthusiasm from our fans there and I know our players are always excited about playing at home. I think all those things are positives for the program in the future. I think we have a tremendous facility and anytime you have tremendous facilities it certainly contributes in a positive way to the future of the program."

BamaMag Top Stories