The Big 12 Conference has seen its fair share of changes over the years.
Schools have left and schools have joined. Teams have risen to the top of the food chain only to fall back toward the bottom.
And the football stadiums that the league’s 10-member schools call home are no exception to those changes.
As the sport of college football has evolved, so have the venues. The grandstands have risen to new heights, and the amenities are leaps and bounds above what they once were — at least for most teams. But just how drastic has all of the change been over the past 20 to 30 years?
We wound the clocks back — courtesy of Google Earth — in an attempt to see how much has changed for each football stadium in the Big 12. Some have undergone more renovations than others, including an entirely new stadium and location for Baylor in the last five years. Below, you can see the comparisons between the oldest and most recent aerial shots that were available.
So join us on our journey back through time.
West Virginia: Milan Puskar Stadium, 1988 vs. 2016
1988 capacity: 63,500
2018 capacity: 63,000
Compared to other stadiums in the Big 12, not a ton has changed in Morgantown over the years. The grandstands at Milan Puskar Stadium are essentially the same format now as they were in 1988 — double-decker grandstands with the lower bowl making its way around each end zone. Their are fewer seats today than in previous years.
Even the pathways around the facility remain largely the same. The biggest differences? The addition of club seating on the northwest end zone which accounts for the shrinking capacity and a new scoreboard.
Kansas State: Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium, 1991 vs. 2014
1991 capacity: 43,000
2018 capacity: 53,300
Not much has changed over the past 27 years surrounding Kansas State’s stadium. The stadium itself has been spruced up, recently undergoing a multi-phase renovation that brought an improved press box, club-seating area. and an overhaul of the football complex adjacent to the stadium’s north end zone. The stadium name was also changed from KSU Stadium to Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium in 2005 after Snyder’s initial retirement.
Now, Kansas State’s legendary coach gets to spend his Saturdays in a stadium named after him. No other active FBS coach has that perk.
Kansas: Kansas Memorial Stadium, 1991 vs. 2017
1991 capacity: 50,071
2018 capacity: 50,071
There’s an apartment complex adjacent to the east grandstand today, and that might be the only thing that has changed in the last quarter century or so around Memorial Stadium. Kansas football’s home has the same seating layout as in 1991, except for the removal of its historic track around the football field four years ago. Other items are set to change soon with plans for a complete overhaul of the stadium. But for now, make your way to Lawrence if you want to travel back in time to a stadium that hosted Kansas Big 8 greats such as Gale Sayers and John Hadl.
Iowa State: Jack Trice Stadium, 1994 vs. 2017
1994 capacity: 48,000
2018 capacity: 61,500
Jack Trice has a similar look to what it had at its opening in 1975. Aside from the surrounding athletic facilities that have since been constructed, the biggest change over the years has been the enclosure of the south end zone, which was completed in time for the 2015 season. The north end zone scoreboard, which was added in 2011, sits 36 feet high and 79.5 feet wide. The changes provide a classic vibe for one of the best stadium atmospheres in college football.
TCU: Amon G. Carter Stadium, 1995 vs. 2018
1995 capacity: 44,008
2018 capacity: 45,000
When it comes to changing a stadium without starting from scratch, TCU probably wins. The west grandstand at Amon G. Carter Stadium was leveled after the 2010 season, with the clunky two-deck structure replaced by a state-of-the-art triple-deck grandstand in time for TCU’s arrival to the Big 12 in 2012. A second deck was added to both the east and north sides of the stadium. The east grandstands are set for more expansion after the 2018 season, with a third deck of club seating planned to open in 2019. A new scoreboard will also be installed above the north end zone.
Texas: Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, 1995 vs. 2017
1995 capacity: 77,809
2018 capacity: 100,119
Like TCU, a lot of change has taken place on the Forty Acres during the last 23 years. Though the west grandstand remains as it was in 1995, you wouldn’t recognize the place if you stepped foot in it back then. The track seen in the old photo has been removed, and, most notably, a second deck has wrapped around both the north end zone and west grandstands to create a horseshoe design. The additions brought the DKR to a capacity of more than 100,000, making it the largest stadium in the Big 12 by a wide margin and eighth largest in college football. More improvements appear on their way, notably to the seating behind the south end zone, as athletic director Chris Del Conte recently hinted.
Baylor: McLane Stadium, 1995 vs. 2017
1995 capacity (Floyd Casey Stadium): 50,000
2018 capacity: 45,140
McLane Stadium didn’t open until 2014, but this is how the site looked when the Bears still played their games at the now demolished Floyd Casey Stadium off campus. Needless to say, the game day atmosphere has improved significantly since the old days, from “sailgating” on the Brazos River to a double-deck horseshoe grandstand that is shaded around the stadium.
Oklahoma: Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, 1995 vs. 2018
1995 capacity: 75,004
2018 capacity: 86,112
The basic foundation of the “Palace on the Prairie” hasn’t changed since 1995, but plenty of additions have been made. An upper deck was added to the east side of the stadium in 2003, while the south end zone was finally enclosed — complete with suite seating — in time for the 2016 season. Future plans call for a major overhaul of the stadium’s west side, including a replacement for the aging press box. Success under Bob Stoops and now Lincoln Riley have provided the impetus for preserving one of college football’s most iconic facilities while improving both the capacity and spectator amenities.
Oklahoma State: Boone Pickens Stadium, 1995 vs. 2014
1995 capacity: 50,614
2018 capacity: 56,790
Boone Pickens Stadium’s biggest change in the last 23 years is the enclosure of the west end of the stadium to form a horseshoe, which brought the facility’s capacity to 56,790. Club seating now wraps around the top of the entire grandstand, which includes a new press box. The artificial turf field received an overhaul the year after the above photo was taken and also in 2014. Improvements for 2018 include a new high-definition Jumbotron in the east end zone, placed above the school’s recently-added 1945 national championship plaque.
Texas Tech: Jones AT&T Stadium, 1995 vs. 2017
1995 capacity: 50,500
2018 capacity: 60,454
Changes to Jones AT&T Stadium in the last 23 years include expanding the second deck around the north end zone, which also received a new scoreboard as part of the renovations. Club seating has also been added to the top of the east grandstand — a similar concept to the project that will soon be underway at TCU. Jones AT&T Stadium’s capacity has grown by nearly 10,000 during that span.