Nippert Stadium Is A One Of A Kind Jewel

CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 03: Anthony McClung #6 of the Cincinnati Bearcats runs the ball on his way to score a touchdown against the Connecticut Huskies on December 3, 2011 at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati defeated Connecticut 35-27. (Photo by Tyler Barrick/Getty Images)

cog·ni·tive dis·so·nance

The state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, esp. as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change.

There is no greater creator of cognitive dissonance in college Football than Nippert Stadium. Simple Google image searches and forays onto sites like stadium journey can't really begin to scratch the surface of what Nippert Stadium is like when it gets rocking. What is described and what is experienced are two entirely different things. Especially at night. The stats are hard to miss. Since the start of the 2007 season the Bearcats have gone 24 and 5 in games at Nippert Stadium.

When the discussions come up about which programs and teams have the best home field advantages the usual suspects come up. Ohio State, Oregon, Florida, LSU, Virginia Tech, Alabama etc. UC never seems to enter the discussion but no one ever enjoys coming to Nippert. Especially at night.

The assumption is that any venue that seats under 40,000 people can't really be a tough environment to play in. But it is the environment that surrounds the stadium that makes it so tough. The Lindner Center and the Campus Recreation Center towering over the East and North sides of the stadium. Tangeman University Center abuts the West Side and the Dieterle Center looming over the South Side of the Nip. The effect of all this is that all the noise created by the fans is reflected back in the direction of the playing surface, amplifying it on the way to the surface. The end result is a auditory assault befitting a crowd two or three times the capacity of Nippert Stadium.

A few years ago during the 2009 season* a team of consultants descended upon Nippert Stadium to study the acoustic properties of the crowd . Sensors were deployed throughout the stadium on the floor of the arena as it were, though obviously not on the playing surface itself. As the story goes after a big play the crowd roared and broke one of the censors. This team of engineers had cris crossed the country visiting venues and testing in the same way. The only other venue to break a censor during theirs tests was Tiger Stadium also known as Death Valley. Or as I prefer to call it, the home of the earthquake game.

* I remember this anecdote as being from the UConn game that season though that could be incorrect. This story has made the message board rounds so someone has to remember precisely what I have forgotten.

Its one thing to expound on this subject, which I can do ad nasuem, but it is something that has to be experienced for yourself. Nippert is not perfect by a long shot, and there is work to be done to improve it. Work that will be done if you listen to Whit Babock. But any college football fan worth his salt has to make a trek to Clifton to experience a night game at Nippert for themselves. From the skydivers to the band running down the steps tempting fate and jackass style hijinks with every step. There is something for everyone. And once the game starts its a sonic assault unlike any other.

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