Originally posted on College Spun  |  Last updated 10/15/13
College football might be on to something. Could the game between Tennessee and Virginia Tech at the Bristol Motor Speedway be the tip of the iceberg for games being played at massive venues? The game scheduled for Sept. 10, 2016 between the Volunteers and the Hokies has us wondering – what other enormous venues could host major college football games in the future? Here are five such places that could potentially host college football games, too. For reference: Bristol Motor Speedway: Holds 165,000 people  5. Las Vegas Motor Speedway: Holds 142,000 people. Twitter/@LVMotorSpeedway The Las Vegas Motor Speedway would easily be one of the most exciting places capable of holding a large college football game in the future. The speedway opened in 1971 and sits about 15 miles north of Vegas’ strip. Imagine the money that would be thrown down on this game. The track’s future has been in question following the tragic death of Dan Wheldon, two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500. The track is still busy with drag racing events, including the NHRA Toyota Nationals but this could be perfect timing for them to bring in new revenue with a college football game – or even a series of games. Las Vegas can keep fans who would come to the city for the weekend as busy as well as any city can. Also, the large event could help bring exposure of west coast teams, namely those from the Pac-12, to east coast markets. Prospective Teams: USC, UCLA, Arizona State, Arizona, Oregon, Stanford, Washington, BYU, Boise State, Utah and Colorado would all make sense. UNLV is obviously close to the track but wouldn’t generate much interest nationwide. Best Matchups: Oregon vs. Stanford would be exciting as they are the two top programs in recent years from the west coast, and presumably the entire country would watch their game at the speedway. USC vs. UCLA would also be interesting. Which would bring more fans? 4. Texas Motor Speedway: Holds 154,861 people. Twitter/@TXMotorSpeedway You cannot talk about college football without mentioning Texas. Thus, the Texas Motor Speedway, which opened in 1996, would be a great place to host a major college football game. Located on the north side of Fort Worth, roughly 36 miles from Dallas, the track is perfectly situated in both Big 12 and SEC country. The Fort Worth-Dallas metropolitan area has more than enough amenities for fans. Annually, the track hosts the NRA 500, the AAA Texas 500, the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300, the O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge and the Firestone 550 among other races. If a Saturday can be found between these races it could be a highly successful game if the right teams were brought in to play. Prospective Teams: Texas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Baylor, LSU, Arkansas, Alabama, Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas Tech are all close enough in proximity for a lot of fan support.  Best Matchups: Texas vs. Oklahoma – the Red River Rivalry could sell out the speedway for a wonderful installment of the annual game. Baylor vs. LSU would be exciting as well, as Baylor’s football program is on the rise and relatively close to Fort Worth and LSU’s fans travel very well. 3. Charlotte Motor Speedway: Holds 167,000 people. Twitter/@CLTMotorSpdwy Located in Concord, North Carolina just northeast of Charlotte, the Charlotte Motor Speedway is one of the most well-known venues in America. Each year it hosts the Coca-Cola 600, the Sprint All-Star Race and the Bank of America 500. Since opening in 1959, the track has raised the annual number of visitors to the Charlotte area. Charlotte is one of the fastest growing cities in the country and could easily host a high-profile college football game and keep all of the fans that travel there satisfied. As a bonus, it sits in the heart of ACC country and many college football fans would be interested in the possible contest. Prospective Teams: Clemson, South Carolina, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Wake Forest, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Tennessee could all easily make the trek to the speedway. Best Matchups: Clemson vs. South Carolina highlights the two top teams in the Carolinas. Or for sentimental reasons, North Carolina vs. South Carolina, billed as the revival of a longstanding rivalry. Longshot, I know. 2. Daytona International Speedway: Holds 167,785 people with infield capacity that reaches 200,000 people. Twitter/@DISupdates The Daytona International Speedway opened in 1959 (the same year as the Charlotte Motor Speedway) in northeast Florida. The Daytona Beach area has numerous famous beaches that thousands of people visit on every year. The Deltona–Daytona Beach–Ormond Beach area has a population of over 494,000 people, so there are numerous establishments in the region for people who go to the game to enjoy over the weekend. Daytona Beach hosts the Daytona 500, the NASCAR Coke Zero 400 and numerous massive bicycle festivals. Thus, Daytona Beach is equipped to handle the attention of a major college football game. This is especially true since the track resides in both ACC and SEC territory. The significance of this game could not be understated. Prospective Teams: Florida State, Florida, Miami, Georgia, Clemson, South Carolina, Auburn and Alabama are all historically-revered programs and close enough to the region. Best Matchups: Florida State vs. Florida, one of college football’s marquee rivalries. Or Georgia and Florida, always an exciting border war that’s currently played in Jacksonville. 1. Indianapolis Motor Speedway: Holds 257,325 people with infield capacity that reaches 400,000 people. Twitter/@IMS The IMS is the largest stadium in the world; its hallowed ground has captivated the minds of sports fans since 1909. The history of the world’s first speedway can be felt from the parking lot and a major college football game would only increase its legend. This makes sense for many reasons though, as the IMS resides in the city that the NCAA Hall of Champions is located. Indianapolis has also hosted the first two Big 10 Football Conference Championship Games (and the upcoming three) as well as the Final Four multiple times and the Super Bowl in 2012. The infrastructure is there, Indianapolis is no stranger to hosting large sporting events and the city is centrally-located in the lower Midwest. The downtown is vibrant and walkable and has ample hotel space just a few miles from the track in the up-and-coming west side district appropriately named Speedway. The IMS is the Coliseum of American sports facilities and Indianapolis could be argued as the capitol of the Big 10 region (Chicago doesn’t agree). There is no reason a game shouldn’t be planned there. Prospective Teams: The obvious choice is Notre Dame. Then Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Missouri, Pittsburgh and Louisville are relatively short drives. Indiana and Purdue are in state but how much interest those two teams would draw outside of the state of Indiana is suspect at best. Best Matchups: Notre Dame vs. Ohio State – this would have the possibility of selling out and could produce the largest possible crowd in world history to ever watch a football game. Or for more drama, Michigan vs. Ohio State in the first regular season meeting not held in Ann Arbor or Columbus. Who wouldn’t watch that? Honorable Mention: The Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY. Opened in 1875 and home to the world-famous Kentucky Derby, it would be a majestic place to witness a major college football game. The stands hold over 120,000 people and Louisville is conveniently located between Big 10 and SEC country. Sadly, the logistics in making a game work here seem impossible. Not to mention the horse-racing purists and historians not wanting to see the celebrated land tarnished by a violent sport such as college football. The closest teams would be Louisville, Tennessee, Ohio State, West Virginia and Missouri, but any matchup between historic powers from the Big 10 or SEC would draw massive attention. This is more of a fun thought than a possibility. 
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