College football is unlike any other sport when it comes to the passion and emotion fans have for their respective teams on game days.
I’ve had the fortune of calling games for FOX Sports alongside Gus Johnson since 2015, and now in our ninth year in the booth, I have been able to experience some pretty remarkable college football game-day atmospheres.
Now, let me be clear, I’ve never called an SEC game, so I can’t speak for Tiger Stadium at night, or Tuscaloosa, or Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee. But I can speak to all the stadiums and game atmospheres I’ve experienced, which includes some unbelievable Big Ten, Pac-12 and Big 12 venues.
Joel Klatt talks about his favorite college football atmospheres & more!
Joel Klatt lists his favorite college football atmospheres.
With that said, here is a look at the top-five game atmospheres I’ve experienced.
I’ve been to Folsom Field hundreds of time in my life. I’ve never seen an environment like what I saw this past weekend during the Colorado-Nebraska game at Folsom. It was electric and is a game I’ll always remember. Being a native of Colorado, a fan of that program, and then an alum, it was pretty special to see what went on. Shedeur Sanders did the old school Deion dance, and Colorado was rolling in that game. To see and feel the energy there was pretty special.
This was one of the greatest games and environments I have ever been a part of. The opening kick of the game, I barely had my headset on, and Saquon Barkley takes it the distance. I’ve never heard a stadium with that much energy go that flat, that quickly. It was an amazing return as Saquon took it down the left sideline and was like a rocket. He scored to give Penn State an early 7-0 lead and Gus was going crazy. From that moment on, Ohio State was just trying to climb back in that game. They never quite got back in the game until the end. And then, at the end, the sun was going down, the World Series was later that night on FOX, and J.T. Barrett found Marcus Baugh in the back of the end zone with under two minutes remaining. The fans came rushing out after the game. That was incredible.
This was the first game back from COVID. The “Jump Around” scene in that game … I still don’t have words for it. The outpouring of human emotion to be back from COVID in a stadium, it was electric. I’ll never forget that. It was like an earthquake up in the booth. Jenny [Taft] was jumping around down on the sidelines. We stayed live to cover it as it normally happens during a commercial, but we stayed live, which was a great decision by our production team. That was an amazing day.
This game took place at the old Cotton Bowl. The crowd was split 50/50, which was such a unique scenario. Oklahoma was down 21 in the fourth quarter and tied it up. Kyler Murray had a ridiculous 67-yard touchdown run late in the game. And then, the call that I’ll always remember. I think it was one of Gus’ best calls I’ve ever been a part of. When Cameron Dicker hits a 40-yard field goal and Gus screams “Dicker the kicker!” That game was wild. I remember walking out of the stadium and just feeling the energy in the state fair. That was an incredible day.
I’ll never forget this game. Even though in last year’s game they were both undefeated, this game was special. The snow was falling, the pictures were amazing, the streak Ohio State had over Michigan at that point, and the outpouring of emotion … I’ve never seen that fan base that loud. I’ve never seen them pour out on the field like that. That was pretty special. I just remember watching “Mr. Brightside” playing while the snow was falling, and I took a video of it. There are only a few times I’ve taken a video of the atmosphere, that was one of them. That was the best atmosphere I’ve ever been in and probably ever will be in. You can’t replicate that situation with the drought Michigan had. They had only won one time in 17 years up at that point. That was a pretty special day.
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