It’s almost the official middle of summertime – about six weeks past Memorial Day and about six weeks until the start of the college football season - so it is obviously a slow time where college sports are concerned. Fall practices are still several weeks out, and it’s really too soon for the major media outlets to start covering upcoming games. Still, it’s a 24×7 news cycle and the media needs to drive traffic in order to get paid for their ads. Lacking news, they quite often they come up with meaningless lists like ESPN.com’s “Toughest Places To Play In The ACC.”
11. NC State, Carter-Finley Stadium (57,500) – The farily new facilities here are impressive, but it lacks tradition.
That’s absolutely crazy – behind Boston College’s Alumni Stadium, Wake Forest’s Grove Stadium and, ahem, UNC’s Kenan Stadium – which they sold out in season tickets for the first time in ten years? Really, now. Author Heather Dinich, who claims to have been to all of the stadiums in her list had this to say about our rivals over in Chapel Hill:
4. UNC, Kenan Stadium (60,000) — This place is just the right size, and the picturesque pine trees make this one of the nicest venues in the league. Butch Davis has an amazing view of all of it from his office.
I will be the first to say that what I am no expert on football strategy, but if there is one thing I know it is that I have never seen a pine tree sack a quarterback or gain the tough three yards that a team needs to keep a drive alive. Call me crazy, but trees don’t make stadiums tough to play in, and neither do nice views of the football field from the coach’s office. Fans make stadiums loud, and loud stadiums make it harder on visitors. With all due repect to UNC, there’s is no more the fourth most difficult place to play in the ACC than NC State is the eleventh.
A similar conclusion can be drawn from the importance of the columns and architecture on the supposed “Gameday atmosphere and “toughest places to play” at Virginia:
The columns on the hill and the architecture make this one of my favorite fall road trips”
SFN Update 10:45am
We HAVE to turn your attention to this entry written in July of 2006 (dead time of year) about the same topic.
In addition to SFN’s rankings, the entry highlights similar lists by “Dave Sez” (a Virginia blogger and one of the best bloggers in ACC history) and Matt Hayes of The Sporting News. Some of the arguments against Hayes’ list hold even more water against this embarassing list by ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich.
Similarly, the comments section of ESPN’s blog also provides some interesting perspectives when you see that many non-NC State fans (like Clemson, VPI and others) are criticizing Ms. Dinich’s treatment of NC State. A couple of my favorites are below:
Sounds like Heather and Butch Davis enjoyed more than just a view from his office
Wow. It appears you ranked on prettiness alone. If you’re really talking about “toughest” stadiums, FSU and CLEM should be above VT. NC State should be about 4ish. Just ask App State’s coach who said after being asked if Michigan was the loudest place they’ve played: “No, Carter Finley was much louder”. UNC is definitely not a tough place to play. Half of their fans don’t even know what a football is, and it’s usually less than half full in the 4th quarter. Heck they even postponed their spring game until a Monday due to the minute possibility of rain. The only one espn got right was Duke!
I’m a huge unc fan, and I have to admit that this list is pretty silly after #3. love ‘em or hate ‘em the wuffies’ stadium is a tough place to play…much more so than uva, wf, bc or even my beloved heels. Ms. Dinich has lost all credibility with this list. It’s pretty embarrassing
To have UNC, BC, Wake Forest, and freaking Miami, who by the way hasn’t even played a game yet in their new stadium, ahead of NC State on the list is a joke. After seeing how horrible this list is I am doubting you have ever been to a game at any of these stadiums. Hell, I’m not even sure you’ve seen most of them on television. This was the worst sports article I have ever read, and you should quit your job if you are going to continue to write crap like this. It’s probably best you stick to cooking and cleaning Heather, and while you’re at it, go make me a sandwich!
I am a Clemson fan, so I am a little bias about Death Valley but I would have Death Valley, Lane Stadium, Doak Stadium and then Carter- Finley number four. There is no way Kenan Stadium is that high!
Once I read this entry I went through all of Dinich’s entries and was very disappointed in the how much she seems to know; or not know. But, when I ran across the following video some of Ms. Dinich’s qualifications became clear. Like..’you know’…’seriously’.
[VIDEO DELETED FROM SOURCE SITE @ YOUTUBE. INTERESTING]
The N&O’s ACCNow has logged a fantastic entry on this topic – “Defining Tough” – that can be seen by clicking here. (IF only NC State could have played Duke in Carter-Finley twice over the last four years). We obviously consider ACCNow’s list to be highly credible since it is so similar to SFN’s and Dave Sez’s lists.