Stadium Argument Follow-up

An awful lot of attention was applied to an ESPN blog post about “toughest” football stadiums in the ACC throughout the conference’s footprint this week.

SFN led the charge with a pretty comprehensive initial entry that can be seen by clicking here and then was followed-up by a great piece from LRM that received a lot of links in cyberspace.

You would think that everything that could be said on the topic would have been said…but there are actually a few follow-ups that we wanted to share with the community.

* First, we have to give some major kudos to Heather Dinich. Seriously. Ms. Dinich actually watched, listened and learned from the reactions of her readers and she then re-issued an updated version of her rankings. On one hand, it is very cool that someone doesn’t choose to dig-in their heels and not consider the opinions of others. On the other hand, for someone who runs ESPN’s ACC Football blog to be so far off base with her initial entry is really scary.

* Dinich moved Carter-Finley all the way to #4 (from #11) and knocked Kenan Stadium to #6 – still significantly higher than almost every other similar rankings from respected sources. Even scarier may be her appreciation for Georgia Tech (at #5). The following are her new comments on State and Carolina:

4. NC State, Carter-Finley Stadium (57,500) — The fairly new facilities here are impressive, but it lacks tradition.

PR No. 11 — I was stuck on the lack of tradition with this program, and lack of recent wins, but Wolfpack fans are passionate enough to compensate for that. I heard them at the Raleigh Regional baseball games and read their e-mails yesterday.

6. 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.

PR 4 — Argue all you want about this spot, but the intimate setting here is great for fans and the facilities here should impress any recruit.

* ^Intimate setting is great for fans? What fans? The MIDGETS who are the only people that can fit into the ridiculously tight seats? Or the triathletes who can park three miles from the stadium and hike the hills to get to their seats before kickoff? Hopefully not the thousands seats or so that are on the first 5 or 6 rows where you can’t see over the players on the benches. Or the seats beyond the 10 yard line whos sightlines are amongst the worst possible. If ANYTHING can tell you WHERE journalists disconnect with the real world, it would be comments like these.

* You see, Ms. Dinich (like all journalists) is a “fan” who gets to park in the media parking lot and watch the game from the comfort of the press box. So, she has NO CLUE what is really like to be a fan in one of these midget-seats with horrible sightlines amongst a fan base whose security actually forces fans to SIT down during games. But, DAMN they have some pretty trees!!

Next, we’d like to direct you to two other good blogs that picked up on this story and posted some good stuff.

(1) First, Hugging Harold Reynolds did a nice entry and proposed their own rankings that seem very consistent with the rankings of SFN, the N&O, and The Sporting News that we have previously highlighted. They also put Carter-Finley 4th, Scott Stadium 5th and Kenan 10th.

(2) Also, two authors at BC Interruption take a personal look at stadiums of Boston College opponents through the years. It doesn’t appear they’ve been to Carter-Finley yet (or they may have chosen to change their allegiances after their visit just like their old Head Coach!) What do these guys think about the Kenan Stadium experience that Ms. Dinich still defends?

Baby blue is so not manly that it almost has the Iowa pink locker room effect which makes you forget that you are at a football game and you just want to scan the student section for co-eds. It makes for a very non-VT like home field advantage.

Their author ranks Kenan 5th in his top five simply because he has only been to about five away games. (LOL!)

5. Kenan Stadium, UNC – I need to attend more away games so this gets knocked off the list.

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31 Responses to Stadium Argument Follow-up

  1. burnbarn 07/16/2008 at 3:05 PM #

    Good stuff.. and it was cool the author had the guts to change her rankings. Hat’s off to her and lets hope she is willing to continue to learn about the ACC.

    BTW, SFN, thanks for the story links at the bottom of the page….the way you guys have been putting up content; it really makes it much better.

  2. choppack1 07/16/2008 at 3:17 PM #

    I would add this – if someone listens -there’s a chance that they will improve in the other areas of their shortcomings.

    As I noted in the other topic – our education system is doing a horrid job of teaching analytical thinking these days. So it doesn’t surprise me at all that a) someone would write an article where they appear to be judging stadiums on tradition and aesthetics when the title is about “intimidating stadiums” and
    b) that the article would contain no statistical data supporting her contentions.

  3. sautz 07/16/2008 at 3:36 PM #

    I remember the first time I went to Kenan to see VT play. I thought lucked out completely and my 4th row seats would be awesome. Needless to say I couldn’t see anything and had to move to one of the many empty sections. No real point here, I just felt it was stupid to put the seats so low you couldn’t see over bushes or 6 ft tall players.

  4. TheAliasTroll 07/16/2008 at 4:50 PM #

    tough – difficult to accomplish, resolve, endure, or deal with

    She is right w/ respect to Carolina if you happen to be an opposing fan, those baby blue pom-poms and the metrosexuality of the fans over there are tough to deal with and endure. It is a good thing that you only have to be exposed to it for the first half though. With respect to the opposing FOOTBALL TEAM, not so much though.

  5. b 07/16/2008 at 4:58 PM #

    BC=better chicks. Had to laugh at that.

  6. EverettBeez 07/16/2008 at 5:06 PM #

    Can you get your nails done while you are at Kennan?
    I saw one game there, with my mom in high school! lol. I honestly don’t recall much about it.
    I participated in a track meet at Wade – and just recall how funny the urinals were – round so you faced other guys. I’d expect that in Chapel Hill. I hope they were urinals!

    So Kudos to SFN in general and particularly LRN for his great post on this topic.

  7. TheAliasTroll 07/16/2008 at 5:16 PM #

    “Can you get your nails done while you are at Kennan?”

    LOL! They probably give out free colon cleaning too, and they are real pushy about it and try to hold you down and force it.

  8. ruffles31 07/16/2008 at 5:54 PM #

    Adam Gold this morning had Carter-Finley at 11th as well. His rationale was that we have to win games in order to move up. He had BC around 6th as they are 17-2 since they joined the ACC. Yeah, when we were up there last year the reason the Pack lost was the crowd. YEAH!!!!!

  9. Uncle Everett 07/16/2008 at 7:51 PM #

    Ms. Dinnich is an IU grad so I’m sure she remembers a certain all-world Antwaan Randle-El getting shellacked by a so-so NC State team in C-F.

    Think she might hold a grudge?

  10. GoldenChain 07/16/2008 at 9:10 PM #

    BC=better chicks????!!!!

    Dude, he DOES need to get out more!
    New England has the worst looking women in the country!
    Heck, I’ve been in 20 different countries and they’re the worst looking on an international level!

  11. roandaddy 07/16/2008 at 9:50 PM #

    One of my favorite Lou Holtz lines was when he apparently said Duke was the hardest places to play. I can’t find the quote.. but essentially it was.. you walk through the parking lot, no one is there, its hard to get motivated for a game like that.

    PS.. in other news.. anyone see Hannah didn’t make it at FSU?

  12. choppack1 07/17/2008 at 7:49 AM #

    Golden Chain – When was the last time you were in Boston? I have no reason to lie about this, but Boston is a great trip – lots of good bars, things to do and see, and fantastic scenery. If I was a single guy, I’d want to live in that town…Great ratio and quality.

  13. waxhaw 07/17/2008 at 8:20 AM #

    Where did Adam Gold have UNC? I find it hilarious that our record the last few years is held against us. I’m assuming Duke was last so that means UNC-CH was ahead of us. As bad as we’ve been, we’ve still been better than the holes.

    SFN: Our record would be significantly better at home over the last four years if (a) we played in the Coastal Division and (b) we played Duke twice over that span (that Carolina has BARELY beaten).

    Of course, I don’t expect Adam or the 850 guys to take any thought or analysis that ‘deep’ in light of their need to create bite-sized thoughts and manufacture ‘controversy’ in an attempt to get NC State people mad enough to call in and boost their ratings.

  14. Noah 07/17/2008 at 8:21 AM #

    In 1996, I got a media pass for the State-UNC game for Kenan. No trouble parking, I enjoyed the pre-game meal (they put together a MUCH better spread than State does. It was a full meal that was really tasty. At State, it’s hot dogs. The cookies at C-F were good though). I enjoyed almost getting into a fight with Woody Durham. And even though we lost, I enjoyed standing on the sidelines beside Mike O’Cain (who has a really foul mouth when his team gives up a long touchdown right before halftime). We were right beside the coaches and right beside the UNC dance team. (All kinds of snacky) So, if that’s your Kenan Stadium experience, yeah, I can see why you’d rank them sixth.

    In 2002, a very, very nice person hooked me, my dad, and two other mighty fine NC State fans up with tickets for the game at Kenan. We had to park at the hospital and tailgate while inhaling diesel fumes. We wandered over and sat down on the 20 yard line. Finally, an usher said, “You guys are in the wrong seats.” Turns out that our seats were on the 50, about 20 rows up. Just perfect seats. (Makes you wonder what kind of idiot Carolina fan sells those seats to State fans?)

    We had a good time watching State come back and DOMINATE Carolina in the second half. I got sunburned, but we had fun yelling at the idiot Carolina fans around us. It’s like sitting in the middle of an Orvis catalog.

    If THAT is your Kenan Stadium experience, I can see it ranking up there.

    But overall, the seats are horribly uncomfortable. The sightlines do suck. The fans are pathetic. The traffic to and from the game is about as bad as you could possibly imagine. Access and egress from the stadium itself is awful. Parking is non-existent.

    It’s better than the Orange Bowl. It’s better than Wallace Wade (they ought to just have those games in some dirt field somewhere). I hear there’s a nice aquarium over in the coach’s office.

  15. RAWFS 07/17/2008 at 8:22 AM #

    Boston is a great trip, Chop, I will give you that. At the same time, I would tell you that Boston is no better than Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, New York or San Diego in any of the categories you mention.

    As far as ladies go, it gets no better than LA. Hands down, bar none, there are more hot women in LA per square mile than any other city in the country.

    Were it me, and I were single and young again, I would look at the Bay Area or Chicago. Chicago because the people there are just damned good people, and there is lots to see and do in the Second City. The Bay Area because of the landscape, the job opportunities and also the culture.

  16. choppack1 07/17/2008 at 8:30 AM #

    RAWFS – You’re right about big cities in general. And yea, LA since every female who wants to be an actress would go there – and the great weather – would have an advantage over all.

    I told my cousins who have just graduated to do things:
    1) Go overseas for a brief bit.
    2) Go to a big city

    All too soon you end up w/ a wife, mortgage and kids…and I don’t think 1 and/or 2 would be as enjoyable w/ them.

  17. Noah 07/17/2008 at 8:34 AM #

    As far as ladies go, it gets no better than LA. Hands down, bar none, there are more hot women in LA per square mile than any other city in the country.

    San Diego might be able to challenge you on that.

    Comparing Boston to LA in terms of hot women is like comparing the heat of the sun to the heat of an oven. Yeah, the sun’s a little bit warmer. Doesn’t mean that the oven is COLD.

  18. Noah 07/17/2008 at 8:35 AM #

    Choppack – excellent advice. It’s the last time in your life you have that much time. It’s also the last time you won’t mind travelling and being poor.

  19. choppack1 07/17/2008 at 9:14 AM #

    Yep Noah. I learned those things too late!

  20. RAWFS 07/17/2008 at 10:23 AM #

    You are both correct. And Noah, that’s an apt analogy. Yessir, there are some very attractive ladies in Boston.

    And I cracked up at “all too soon you end up w/ a wife, mortgage and kids…and I don’t think 1 and/or 2 would be as enjoyable w/ them.” Preach that truth on!

    You young guys would do well to read and learn from that. These are the good ole days for a lot of us older folks, but we’re like old dogs that don’t go hunting any more. We *could* go hunting, we *have* gone hunting, but these days we’re chained down in the yard. If you think it won’t happen to you one day, think again. It will. It ain’t that bad, in fact it’s pretty good. It’s just once in a while you remember getting on the scent.

  21. wufpup76 07/17/2008 at 10:23 AM #

    If more MSM journalists would listen, learn, and be able to admit some errors I would actually enjoy hearing what they had to say … sometimes … 😉

    So, yes – the initial attempt was of poor quality from Ms. Dinich, but having good character and admitting you may have been wrong gets you a second chance to make it right in my book … very cool, and I’ll be glad to read her stuff in the future

    Also, I think we’re all missing the point about the pine trees over in Chaple Hole … You see, they have “special” pine trees – like the trees that come alive in The Lord of the Rings – The Two Towers … You never know when the Hole’s pine trees are going to come alive and start stomping on opposing players and fans … It hasn’t happened – yet … but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen in the future, and that thought alone is scary enough to merit Chapel Hole a top 5 toughest places to play ranking … Beware of those sleeping giant pine trees – one day we’re gonna make them angry and they’ll get us for invading the Hole … You’ll see …


  22. EverettBeez 07/17/2008 at 11:00 AM #

    We old dogs might not hunt, but as buddy of mine use to say “just because you own a car doesn’t mean you can see what’s new on the lot.” Excellent advice about going overseas – and if you can’t do that, drive around the country. There is a ton to see and the time to do it is when you are not married, with kids, and a garden, and dogs . . .

    Noah – I always enjoyed my food in the press box at C-F. Those brownies they made filled you up for like 3 days. Nothing fancy, but they use to have a grill, and it was free! In high school, that is best of all. My buddy went to Charlotte to a race, state up in the boxes, open buffet, open bar. who wouldn’t love a sport that comes with an open bar?

    I do remember going to Kennan with my mom, sitting in traffic coming in on 54, forever. Parking not even half way up the hill, and walking, walking walking. This was before 40 got there, so you crawled along in traffic from the old Governor’s inn.

  23. Noah 07/17/2008 at 11:41 AM #

    The press room at Reynolds used to be stocked with Brothers’ Pizza. After Brothers went to hell, it was Two Guys.

    The brownies at C-F were good, but the Choc. Chip cookies were outstanding. But Kenan’s food was better. Plus, at C-F, you ate in the press box (which was slightly less than a little league dugout). Kenan provided a media dining room with big rounds and linens and silverware.

    The Panthers provide a pretty good spread too, but the old timers say that the Eagles in the 70s were the king. They provided steak and lobster EVERY GAME for the press.

    BTW, I-40 has not improved traffic to and from that place at all. And again…parking your car? Not an option. Traffic to and from Wallace Wade is suprisingly similar…

  24. whitefang 07/17/2008 at 11:47 AM #

    As a fan rather than a player the big issue I have with Kenan is the lack of parking/tailgating opportunities. I have been there many times with cheap tickets and walked forever. 3 seasons ago however a UNC friend who has great seats and gives a fair amount to the Holes gave us his parking place and tics to the UVa game so my son could brings some friends down and meet us at the game. At this point in my life, live college football is all about the tailgate. His parking pass was really close. So close in fact that we were in the parking deck at the south? end zone. His instructions to us were “get in the deck early so you can park on the outsides so you can see out of the deck.” We did but sitting in a deck smelling exhaust fumes is not my idea of a good tailgate even if you can see the stadium entrance.

  25. EverettBeez 07/17/2008 at 11:53 AM #

    Ah yes, Pizza at Reynolds – but when I was working for the SID, it was only for ACC games. I don’t recall getting anything really during out of conference games. And whatever there was use to be served in one of those classrooms that lined the outside wall, tables pushed to the outsides, no seating as I recall.
    For the NCAA’s, was in 82?, maybe 83, they had an open bar hospitality room over in Case. Ummmm. As a high schooler, I took full advantage of that one.

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