Magic Box

Through this ranking, we are again reminded of the rich football traditions that exist among schools in the CAA.

Because what’s the offseason without a little friendly competition? Don’t deny it — there are some stadiums you know you love…and some you absolutely hate. And although you may despise the opposing team, you sometimes have to respect the stadium that they play in. And although William & Mary plays in the “lower” FCS level of competition, CAA stadiums do not disappoint.

They don’t call the CAA the “SEC of the FCS” for nothing. Yes — we would still contend this claim, despite our compadres out west who would beg to differ (I mean, which league won the National Championship last year?). Anyways, to pass the time, we at the W&M Sports Blog felt compelled to post our personal rankings of the top CAA stadiums. If this doesn’t get you ready for the football season (CAN IT COME ANY FASTER?!), then absolutely nothing will.

So without further ado, Roll Tribe Roll.


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12. Rhodes Stadium (Elon Phoenix)

  • Location: Elon, NC
  • Opened: 2001
  • Capacity: 11,250
  • Surface: Grass
  • Construction Cost: $17.6 million

WMSB Take: Cool looking stadium in a great setting, but lacking for seats on 1/2 of the field. We’ll give Elon a pass this time, seeing as they only joined the CAA in 2014.


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11. Johnny Unitas Stadium (Towson University Tigers)

  • Location: Towson, MD
  • Opened: 1978
  • Capacity: 11,198
  • Surface: FieldTurf
  • Construction Cost: $32 million

WMSB Take: Probably wins the award for best named stadium in the CAA, with Unitas having lived in Towson, MD (and his kids attending). Of course, he played extensively during his Hall of Fame career for the local Baltimore Colts. However, there just isn’t much to set Towson’s stadium apart from most other stadiums.


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10. Villanova Stadium (Villanova University Wildcats)

  • Location: Bryn Mawr, PA
  • Opened: 1927
  • Capacity: 12,500
  • Surface: FieldTurf
  • Construction Cost: Unavailable

WMSB Take: Villanova has proven to be a tough team to beat in recent years, undoubtedly helping is its home-field advantage. However, Villanova Stadium seems due for a renovation to bring it into the modern era, boasting the stadium with the oldest opening date in the CAA.


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9. Meade Stadium (Rhode Island Rams)

  • Location: Kingston, RI
  • Opened: 1928
  • Capacity: 6,555
  • Surface: Grass
  • Construction Cost: Unavailable

WMSB Take: Definitely one of the more interesting stadium configurations in the CAA, Meade Stadium sits upon (quite literally) the Ryan Center — the home of Rams Basketball.


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8. Alfond Stadium (Maine Black Bears)

  • Location: Orono, Maine
  • Opened: 1947
  • Capacity: 10,000
  • Surface: FieldTurf
  • Construction Cost: $11 million (1998 renovation)

WMSB Take: A cool looking stadium with the baby blue track to boot, the Maine Blackbears boast an impressive grandstand with an ornamented press box.


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7. Delaware Stadium (Delaware Blue Hens)

  • Location: Newark, DE
  • Opened: 1952
  • Capacity: 22,000
  • Surface: FieldTurf
  • Construction Cost: $1.64 million (original 1952 cost in 2016 dollars)

WMSB Take: Having undergone 5 (yes, you read that correctly) expansions since its opening in 1952, the Blue Hens now boast the second largest stadium in the CAA, and one of the largest in the FCS.


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6. Richmond Stadium (University of Richmond Spiders)

  • Location: Richmond, VA
  • Opened: 2010
  • Capacity: 8,700
  • Surface: FieldTurf
  • Construction Cost: $28 million

WMSB Take: The second newest stadium in the CAA does not disappoint in looks. With all the amenities, the only thing holding it back might just be its smaller size.


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5. LaValle Stadium (Stony Brook Seawolves)

  • Location: Stony Brook, NY
  • Opened: 2002
  • Capacity: 8,300
  • Surface: FieldTurf
  • Construction Cost: $29 million (in 2016 dollars)

WMSB Take: A mean-looking NFL-styled stadium, the Stony Brook Seawolves know how to get the place rocking on third down for opposing teams.


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4. Wildcat Stadium (University of New Hampshire Wildcats)

  • Location: Durham, NH
  • Opened: 1936
  • Capacity: 11,015
  • Surface: FieldTurf
  • Construction Cost: $25 million (expansion cost)

WMSB Take: Renovated just last year, we would call this money very well spent. Much like Albany and W&M’s new additions, we certainly see common themes among the CAA’s renovated stadiums — including large, glass-heavy grandstands with freshly minted seating to boot. Very nice.


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3. Bob Ford Field (Albany Great Danes)

  • Location: Albany, NY
  • Opened: 2013
  • Capacity: 8,500
  • Surface: FieldTurf
  • Construction Cost: $24 million

WMSB Take: Following the Great Danes’ move to the CAA, this brand new stadium opened in September 2013, and is the newest in the league. Sparkling with a purple and yellow hue, this stadium truly is elegant in its design.


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2. Zable Stadium (William & Mary Tribe)

  • Location: Williamsburg, VA
  • Opened: 1935
  • Capacity: 12,672
  • Surface: FieldTurf Pro
  • Construction Cost: $27 million (2016 renovation)

WMSB Take: Of course, we’re homers. But hey, we didn’t put us #1, did we? The second oldest stadium in the CAA underwent major renovations before last season’s Home Opener. These renovations included an entirely new upper deck seating section, fully loaded suites, a brand new press box, brand new turf field, updated sound system and restrooms, and more. If you haven’t been since the renovation, we highly recommend you do — and don’t forget to grab a beer at Paul’s after. Roll Tribe.


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1. Bridgeforth Stadium (James Madison Dukes)

  • Location: Harrisonburg, VA
  • Opened: 1975
  • Capacity: 24,877
  • Surface: FieldTurf
  • Construction Cost: $62 million (recent expansion cost)

WMSB Take: Much like their #1 preseason ranking this season, JMU’s Bridgeforth Stadium easily takes the cake as perhaps not only the best stadium in the CAA, but potentially also the entire FCS. Set in the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains, stunning views of the sunset and JMU’s famous Wilson Hall do not disappoint. Dukes, we tip our hats to you on this one…but by the way. When are you moving up to FBS again?

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