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Joel Klatt lists top five toughest places to play in the new Big Ten

On3 imageby:Kaiden Smith05/14/24

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When it comes to college football, the Big Ten Conference has always boasted some of the best game day environments in the country. A statement that only becomes even more true with the addition of four new powerhouse programs ahead of the 2024 season.

USC, UCLA, Oregon, and Washington join the Big Ten this year, not only spreading the geographical footprint of the conference, but also adding some exciting new game day environments and cultures to the Big Ten. Providing fans, players, coaches, and many others with exciting new experiences this football season.

With those changes in mind, college football analyst Joel Klatt ranked the top five toughest places to play in the Big Ten Conference given its recent additions. A list that can be seen below along with Klatt’s reasoning behind his hierarchy.

1. Penn State

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Despite four new teams joining the conference, Klatt believes that Penn State still holds the crown for the toughest place to play in the Big Ten. Specifically when there’s a whiteout in Beaver Stadium and the 100,000+ fans seem to bring a heightened level of energy.

“I think that the best environment in the new Big Ten is a whiteout at Penn State, so Penn State would be the toughest environment,” Klatt said. “Every time I talk with anybody who’s going on the road, they always say the same thing. Penn State, toughest environment in the Big Ten. So there’s that.”

2. Oregon

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Oregon lands near the top of Klatt’s list despite being a newcomer to the Big Ten with a stadium capacity of just 54,000. But he believes that the Ducks’ fanbase can still hang with the best in the country in terms of making things challenging for opponents. Even ranking Autzen Stadium as one of the top five toughest places to play in the entire country.

“Listen, Autzen Stadium I think is one of the most underrated environments in all of college football. I know it’s not a giant stadium in terms of total number of seats, but man it’s loud,” Klatt said. “And they get going in there, and they’re intelligent, they understand the game, they know when to get loud, and so I’ve got Oregon at number two.”

3. Ohio State

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Ohio State breaks into the top three of the new look Big Ten with one of the most iconic stadiums across the entire college football landscape, Ohio Stadium. Ranking No. 3 in the entire country in stadium capacity with the Buckeyes suffering just two losses at home in the past six college football seasons.

“Ohio State. Because of the way The Shoe is constructed, the intimidation of The Shoe, the way it all kind of plays out, I’ve got Ohio State at number three,” Klatt said.

4. Michigan

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The team who boasts the biggest stadium in the country is the Michigan Wolverines, with the national champions holding 107,601 fans at full capacity and Michigan Stadium. Representing one of the most historic stadiums in college football with one of the best nicknames, The Big House.

“Truth be told it’s not the loudest venue in college football, I do a lot of games there, and that’s not a knock. It’s just the way it’s built, there’s two decks, the fans kind of go out and back away in The Big House which is fine,” Klatt explained. “I think it’s the mystique, I think it’s obviously the quality of the opponent now facing Michigan the last couple of years.”

5. Washington

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Washington rounds out Klatt’s top five as another newcomer to the Big Ten fresh off of an appearance in the national championship game. A run that was surely predicated on home-field advantage with numerous key wins in Husky Stadium. Also representing one of the most difficult places to travel to in the Big Ten for most opponents as well moving forward.

“When you think of that game last year against Oregon, the noise up in Husky Stadium. It’s a great fanbase, it’s a proud program, I like Washington as my number five,” Klatt said.