Top football stadiums in the country (Part 13)


Archie who

I went to see Tennessee play Ole Miss in Jackson in 1968 and all my Mississippi relatives were coming up to me and saying “Archie Who!!” I didn’t know what they were talking about until the game started. Below is the rest of the story from Sports Illustrated.

November 24, 1969

Answer To A Foolish Question

All week Tennessee fans taunted Ole Miss with cries of ‘Who’s Archie?’ On Saturday Archie Manning showed them

You’d have thought those folks from Tennessee would have known better, being neighbors and all. Shoot, any 10-year-old kid who ever got his button nose past the cover of a history book can tell you it doesn’t take all that much to rile Mississippians. Remember when old Abe got up and started off his inaugural speech by saying cotton underwear itched? Bam: a civil war. And you know how easily upset the traffic cops there get when they see a rich Yankee tourist driving 38 miles an hour in a 45-mile-an-hour speed zone.

So what does Steve Kiner do? Steve Kiner, he’s one of Tennessee‘s All-America linebackers, and one day he’s sitting around jawing with some of the boys about the horses they got playing football at Ole Miss. “Hee-haw,” says Kiner, “them’s not horses, them’s mules.” You can guess how gracefully that was received in Oxford and Biloxi and Vicks-burg, where they hang pictures of Archie Manning, the Ole Miss junior quarterback, on the living room wall, right next to the ones of Robert E. Lee and, lately, of Spiro T. Agnew. “Mules, huh?” was the word. “Well, old Archie will show them who’s mules.” In Tennessee, where everybody was feeling good about being unbeaten in seven games and being ranked No. 3 in the nation, they laughed and started handing out ARCHIE WHO? buttons. And, baby, that really tore it.

All this, of course, was greeted with secret delight by Johnny Vaught, the Ole Miss coach and a man who would welcome a Greek bearing gifts, just as long as they could be used as psychological weapons. And should the gifts be less than needed, Vaught, it is suggested, is not opposed to fattening them a bit. Last Wednesday, three days before he would send his troops out to destroy Tennessee 38-0 at Jackson, Miss., the gnarly old oak of a coach never so much as glanced up as a small plane came roaring over his practice field spewing enemy leaflets. But the pilot turned out to be a strange breed of propagandist. On his third pass—after dropping such pleasantries as “Archie who? Archie Mud” and “Wreck the mules, the Vols are No. 1,” and all supposedly signed either by Kiner or Doug Dickey‘s Vols—the pilot cut his motor and yelled, “Go get them. Rebels! To hell with Tennessee!”

While the fires were raging in Mississippi, Vaught was making certain that no fuel was getting back to Tennessee. He closed off all players, most especially Manning, from interviews. Practices are always closed. Vaught once ran the president of the alumni association off the practice field. Another time, when a small plane circled the field, Vaught suspended the drill, called the FAA and had the plane grounded. When it turned out to be a member of the faculty showing off the campus to friends, Vaught told him to go fly someplace else. He did. “Once, just as a joke. I asked him if I could watch one of his redshirts take a shower,” said a veteran Mississippi reporter. “He figured I must be up to something, glared at me and said no I couldn’t, that the shower room was off limits.”

But then, Vaught has always been a suspicious man. When he arrived in 1947, his first move was to call in the state highway department and have them bulldoze a new practice field—eight feet deep. Deciding then that this wasn’t secluded enough, he called the bulldozers back and had them dig a second field, this one even deeper, and he had it surrounded by thick bushes and burly campus cops armed with walkie-talkies. One player suggested that if Vaught thought God was looking down on a practice, he’d put a roof over the field.

In the midst of all this tight seclusion was Archie Manning, big (6’3″ and 205 pounds) and redheaded and wondering why in hell he isn’t able to grow sideburns like everybody else. “But then,” he says, “I guess it’s because I only shave twice a week, sometimes.” He makes up for his lack of sideburns in other ways. Like throwing passes. In Ole Miss‘ first eight games—before walloping Tennessee—he completed 128 of 222 for 1,394 yards and six touchdowns. And like running: 100 carries for 363 yards and 11 touchdowns. Which makes it hard to understand how Mississippi managed to lose to Kentucky, Alabama and Houston, the first two by one point each. And after that they beat Georgia when the Bulldogs were 3-0 and ranked sixth, and after that they beat LSU when the Tigers were 6-0 and also ranked sixth.

“I guess it’s because all the games we won, we played in Mississippi in the daytime,” said Billy Gates, Ole Miss sports information director. “And the three games we lost were out of the state at night. Do you know of any bowls played in Mississippi in the daytime?” Against Kentucky, Ole Miss was looking to Alabama, which came the next week. Ole Miss‘ game plan was to run, mostly not to show off Manning’s passes to ‘Bama scouts. And so they ran, and Manning passed but 13 times for 84 yards and no touchdowns, and Kentucky won a shocker 10-9. And then against Alabama, Mississippi geared its defenses to stop a running attack—and Alabama came out throwing and won 33-32. “Those we should have won,” admits Vaught, holding up one finger. “Just one point each. But the kids knew we should have won and they didn’t get down. We have a thing here called matter-of-fact pride. We never lose it.”

Whatever it is they have at Ole Miss, they had it all against Tennessee, which came in favored anywhere from 11 to 6� points. Upstairs in the press box, Orange Bowl scouts were smiling and saying all they were afraid of was Tennessee losing in a rout—and you know that can’t happen. And downstairs the Ole Miss players were thinking that if they won, Vaught had given them the night to stay in Jackson—something he had done only once before in his career—and didn’t they already have the $5 traveling money to get back to Oxford the next day? Sure it could happen.

“Boys, what it’s going to take out there today is a great team effort, so let’s go,” said Vaught, knowing the boys were so high he didn’t have to say anything else.

And did it ever happen. After the opening kickoff, Manning took Ole Miss 82 yards in 11 plays, mostly on the running of Randy Reed and Bo Bowen, and then himself three times for the last three yards and the touchdown. Vaught had told him to open with a running game and then, when Tennessee stopped it, to go to the air. Tennessee never was to stop it.

On the second drive, after a short Tennessee punt, Ole Miss went 38 yards in eight plays, with Reed recovering Manning’s fumble in the end zone for the score.

The third drive was 16 yards in five plays after a 49-yard return of a punt by Bob Knight. Manning passed five yards to Riley Myers for that one. It was 21-0, and they were just moving into the second quarter, and Ole Miss players were saying things like “Where’s Kiner?” and “How do you like them mules?” and a few other things.

The rout was on. Upstairs one Orange Bowl scout said something about being sick and left. “They can’t do anything wrong,” another moaned. Just then, Ole Miss‘ Cloyce Hinton kicked a 42-yard field goal to make it 24-0. The kick sailed low, fluttering, swooping and, just as it was about to die, it struck the crossbar and bounced over. “Dang, I never saw such a gosh-awful lousy field goal in my life,” said Heywood Harris, Tennessee sports information director, “but, dang, I guess it counts.”

Early in the third quarter, all hope of a Tennessee recovery died when Reed went a yard for a touchdown, making it, after the kick, 31-0. That’s the same score the Vols beat Ole Miss by last year. No longer was anyone in orange clothing yelling “Archie who?” The last score, a one-yard dive by Bowen in the fourth quarter, just rubbed it in a bit.

When it was over and they added it all up, Manning had completed nine of 18 passes for 159 yards and one touchdown, and had run for another score. He and the rest of the team had earned a night on the town.

Here is a list of the top football stadiums in the country.

Power Ranking All 124 College Football Stadiums

By Alex Callos

(Featured Columnist) on April 19, 2012

When it comes to college football stadiums, for some teams, it is simply not fair. Home-field advantage is a big thing in college football, and some teams have it way more than others.

There are 124 FBS college football teams, and when it comes to the stadiums they play in, they are obviously not all created equal.

There is a monumental difference from the top teams on the list to the bottom teams on the list. Either way, here it is: a complete ranking of the college football stadiums 1-124.

33. Gillette Stadium: UMass Minutemen

Built in 2002, Gillette Stadium is not a college stadium by any means, but with a seating capacity of 68,756, it is a great place to watch a game.

The UMass Minutemen will be calling it home next season as they prepare for their first season at the FBS level.

Don’t expect this place to be too full for the UMass games, but it is still one of the best venues in the NFL and a great place to enjoy a college game also.

32. Jack Trice Stadium: Iowa State Cyclones


Home to the Iowa State Cyclones, Jack Trice stadium is also the home of 55,000 fans every Saturday, and since 1975, it has been one of the more underrated stadiums in the country. It is currently one of the best in the Big 12.

The hillside seating in all four corners of the stadium is not found at many other places, and this is one of the prouder crowds in the country.

They love to support their team, and the surrounding area is beautiful as well.

31. Carter-Finley Stadium: NC State Wolfpack


This 60,000-seat stadium was built in 1966 and is quite possibly one of the best two stadiums in the ACC.

The atmosphere here is certainly one of the best in the conference. The crowd is constantly loud and rowdy before, during and after the game.

They have sold out of season tickets here for nine straight years, making this one of the most difficult places to play in the ACC.

30. Alamodome: UTSA Roadrunners


The Alamodome is home to a number of different sporting events and is currently home to a new FBS team, the UTSA Roadrunners.

The Alamodome is a great place to watch a college football game even if it is UTSA.

Built in 1993, this stadium seats 65,000 people and is still quite a place to come on a Saturday, even if the football may not be the best.

29. Nippert Stadium: Cincinnati Bearcats


Nippert Stadium has been around forever and is a unique place to check out a college football game.

It is located right in the heart of the Cincinnati campus and has been an official football stadium since 1924, even though it was built in 1901.

It only seats 35,097 and has one of the best atmospheres in the Big East. The old bleachers and student section behind the end zone help give Cincinnati quite a home-field advantage.

28. Kinnick Stadium: Iowa Hawkeyes


This stadium has been around since 1929 and seats 70,585 people.

Be sure to get here before the Hawkeyes come out, as “Back in Black” from AC/DC plays when the home team enters the field.

The place can get very loud with 10,000 students yelling and screaming.

There is also tailgating around the entire stadium for miles. Come early and stay late, as this is one of the best places in the country to watch a college football game.

27. TCF Bank Stadium: Minnesota Gophers


The Big Ten is filled with excellent stadiums, and TCF Bank Stadium is another one of those.

With a seating capacity of 50,805, this outdoor stadium can get a little chilly being so far up north and is one of the smallest in the conference.

It is one of the newest college football facilities. Built in 2009 and brand-spanking new, this stadium is up-to-date and one offers some of the best amenities in the conference.

26. Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium: Louisvile Cardinals


Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium is the best the Big East has to offer and just short of reaching the top 25.

The 55,000-seat stadium almost always reaches capacity and is new as far as college stadiums go, having been built in 1998.

The inside of the stadium is excellent, and the surrounding area is even better. There is a lot to do in and around the stadium before the game.

25. Vaught-Hemingway Stadium: Mississippi Rebels


Ole Miss may not be one of the best teams in the SEC, but their stadium is one of the better ones in the conference.

This stadium was built in 1915, making it one of the oldest in the country.

It seats 60,850, and the experience all starts with tailgating on the Grove, a 10-acre stretch of tailgating heaven right outside the stadium.

Once inside, expect the fans to not only be loud, but show a little hatred toward the opposition.

That is just how they do it in the SEC. They love their football, and the Ole Miss faithful are no different.

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