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The best and worst college football locations for game day weather
Angela Fritz September 4, 2015 Email the author
College football weather can be brutal.
Break out the grill and dust off the bleacher cushions — college football season is finally
here. Though it might start off hot and sweaty, still in the midst of summer’s heat, it will end in the coldest
month of the year, spanning three full seasons. Depending on location, schools can range from oppressively hot
high temperatures to 20 inches of snow during an average football season.
The elements can be brutal for teams and fans, so Alex Lamers, a meteorologist for the National
Weather Service in Tallahassee, Fla., compiled a phenomenal interactive climatology of college football
stadiums. Where does your team stack up?
Looking at every type of weather in his database, Lamers breaks down the teams with the most
extreme weather during college football season.
University of Wyoming — Coldest, most number of sub-freezing days, most number of snowy
University of Colorado — Most snow overall
Florida Atlantic University — Most rainfall, most number of rainy days
Arizona State University — Hottest, most number of 90-degree days
University of Nevada Las Vegas — Driest, least number of rainy days
On the icy end of the spectrum, the Mid-American and Big Ten games — solidly frozen in the
Midwest and the Northeast — are the worst to attend if you’d rather not huddle under four wool blankets in the
stands just to avoid becoming a human popsicle.
The Mid-American Conference, which boasts chilly team locations like the University at Buffalo,
Central Michigan and Massachusetts, is ranked the coldest in Lamers’s analysis, with an average high
temperature of around 62 degrees. The Big Ten is a close second, though, with an average high of 63. These
might seem like pleasant game day temperatures, but these schools are starting out the season with average
highs in the 80s, and they’re ending them with highs in the 30s.
Interactive: College football temperatures
The next coldest conference is a huge jump to the Mountain West, where the average is a
much-warmer 70 degrees. And the Mountain West average is likely skewed a bit cold because it’s home to the
coldest school in the rankings — the University of Wyoming, which has an average high temperature of just 55
degrees during college football season. Brr.
Top five coldest:
1. University of Wyoming
2. University of Minnesota
3. University of Wisconsin
4. Washington State University
5. Central Michigan University
On the other side of the spectrum, Conference U.S.A. — including the toasty locations of UTEP,
Southern Mississippi and Florida Atlantic — takes the prize, with an average high temperature of 76.35 degrees.
The Sun Belt Conference is a close second, with an average high of 76.27 degrees.
Conferences ranked by average high temperature, from coldest to warmest. (Alex Lamers)
Lamers smartly looks at not just how much rain a school gets during the season but how many
days it rains. After all, if it is raining on game day, who cares whether it is a constant shower or a
torrential downpour? They’re both miserable in their own ways.
Two regions stand out by far in the rain category — southeast Florida and the Pacific
Northwest. Plenty of schools in the Southeast get well over 10 inches of rain during college football season,
but these schools are clocking in totals at or above 15 inches per season in addition to racking up more than
15 days of rainfall over ¼ inch.
Top five rainiest:
1. Florida Atlantic University (17.8 days)
2. University of Miami (17.4 days)
3. Florida International University (17.4 days)
4. University of Oregon (15.2 days)
5. Oregon State University (14.8 days)
Interactive: College football precipitation
Want a team to cheer on that is basically dry the entire season? Try the University of Nevada
Las Vegas — which averages just 1.3 days with rainfall over ¼ inch — University of Nevada, San Diego State,
Fresno State or the University of Southern California.
As expected, the Mountain West have the best chance for snow (and a lot of it) during football
season. “The University of Colorado in Boulder has the greatest average snowfall in college football season,
with 20.8 inches,” writes Lamers. “While Colorado and Wyoming are neck-and-neck for the average number of
1-inch snowfalls, Wyoming has the greatest average number of snowy days (at least 0.1 inches of snow, or
measurable snow) although that is not reflected in the map.”
In the Great Lakes, Minnesota and the University at Buffalo are (unsurprisingly) bringing in
the highest football season snow totals