I have been to nearly 100 games over the past years to the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. The 10,270-seat arena, which gives the aesthetic sensation of viewing a fall-time vista, fills with Aggie Blue several winter nights of the year.
It may not be the largest arena in Utah, but it has been recognized by several as the loudest and best venue to watch a college basketball game west of the Mississippi.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
The concession selection has evolved over the years with a few traditional mainstays. There is a selection for everyone from normal concessions, local restaurants and vendors to national chains. The normal fare is very affordable and includes nachos ($4), pretzels ($3), hot dogs ($3), Churros ($4). There are two concession areas located along the concourse dedicated to the regular fare, while two others add pizza, bbq pork sandwiches, and World Famous Aggie Ice Cream.
Local vendors include stands with kettle korn and roasted almonds, while there are two sandwich shops located to the side of the concession areas. Paun Island serves up Suka Chicken and Kalula Pork sandwiches ranging from $5-$10 depending on size, while Frank's offers chicken, beef or turkey subs ranging from $8-$20.
USU is a Coca-Cola sponsored university and only carries Coca-Cola products at events. Powerade, Smartwater and other sodas range from $3-$4.
The chain restaurants include a Utah original in Costa Vida. The chain opened in 2003 and its fresh mexican food made its way to the Spectrum very soon after. A newer addition and sponsor of Aggie athletics is Chick-fil-A. The restaurant opened in Logan during 2011 and now sells its chicken sandwiches at the Spectrum.
The 2011-2012 season has been somewhat of a down year for the USU men's basketball team, and there was also an issue between the students and university administration during the first home game of the season. Those two factors have made for a down year in attendance in the student section, but during Senior Night against the Idaho Vandals, the Spectrum was in the form that has made it famous nationwide.
The doors open one hour before tipoff and for some games, the students have been waiting in line for hours -- sometimes all day. The student section, which constitutes half of the stadium, fills up fast and all the way to the brim. There is a buzz from the moment the doors open and the famous chants and heckling intended for opposing teams, begins much before tipoff.
There is also a great community feel during and after the game. Aggie men's basketball is something the connects Cache Valley and appeals to all ages.
The Spectrum is surrounded by student housing and lacks in proximity to restaurants. Fredrico's Pizza, a Cache Valley establishment, has been a local favorite for several years and Aggie Ice Cream is sure to please. However, this is where the buck stops when it comes to close restaurants.
What is unique about Logan, is there are several post and pre game hang out spots and several restaurants have touted themselves as the place to hang out post game. Angie's Diner, known as "Where the Local's Eat" is the hole-in-the-wall diner of Cache Valley and a local treasure. The prices are reasonable and selection is nothing short on variety.
The Aggie student body is quite frankly what makes the Spectrum a premier venue for college basketball. It is the most ruthless, relentless and organized group of students I have ever seen. Most say it only compares to the Cameron Crazies at Duke University's Cameron Indoor Stadium. If you haven't attended an Aggie men's basketball game, go search it on YouTube and enjoy a small fraction of what goes on at the Spectrum.
The student body never varies from tradition. Although, two chants in particular have been implemented in the past three years and have made the student body that much more famous. One minute before tipoff, the students begin the, "I Believe That We Will Win," chant. During the starting lineups, each player is assigned a motion with or phrase that each student repeats during the announcement of that players name. The students always give an emphatic, "Stew!" when his name is announced across the PA.
Each time the opposing team fouls a prompt shout of, "You, you, you, you, you, you, Suck!" ensues. During the first half, the opposing team shoots toward the basket not facing the student section. This doesn't discourage the students from rabid attempts to distract free-throw shooters. A confident shout of, "You will miss it!" begins as a soft slow chant and increases speed and volume rapidly during the first shot. If the free-throw shooter misses the shot a self-affirming, "We were right, we were right!" follows. If the shooter makes the free-throw, the heckling continues in the form of, "You still suck!"
With the quality of officiating which often reigns in the WAC, "Take his whistle" chants happen almost on a nightly basis.
When the Aggies get momentum, the Spectrum becomes increasingly louder and with each crowd pleasing play -- a dunk, a shot and the foul or a long 3-pointer -- sends the student body into a frenzy bordering on psychotic. There have been several occasions where I am pretty sure I lost my hearing, both in the student section and sitting on press row.
The Aggies tend to be a second-half team and there is no question that the student body plays a huge factor as the opposing team shoots toward the basket under Section F. Section F hosts the most ruthless and faithful of the student body -- including the "Shirtless Wonder" "Wild Bill" Sproat.
To add to the distraction factor of Wild Bill, Section F composes the most unified distraction tactics I have ever seen.
The Aggie student body is so loud and ruthless that a certain team in Utah took a hiatus from the Spectrum before returning this season, and another altogether gave up on trying to win inside the Spectrum.
Parking at any sporting event is rarely pleasant, but parking for Aggie men's basketball games is very reasonable. At one time, there used to be several places one could park for free and walk a small distance, but the university has put the clamps down and free parking at a reasonable walking distance is difficult to find. However, $5 per vehicle at several nearby parking areas including a free shuttle from some areas.
The price to attend an Aggie men's basketball game is beyond reasonable compared to other premier venues and the Aggies boast one of the best home records in the nation. Disappointment is unlikely to follow after a night in the Spectrum.
One extra point goes to "Wild Bill" Sproat. The superfan brought huge popularity to and exposure to an already popular student body. He made several ESPN appearances and trended on twitter during several games.
One more point goes to the innovative idea of the Aggie Shack. The retail store sits on the concourse adjacent to the main entrance to the Spectrum. The Aggie apparel is somewhat overpriced, but in those urgent situations when one forgot to wear blue, it is a great resource to have.
One more extra point goes to the PA announcer Rob Flygare. Although his phrases cause occasional head scratching, his intonation and enthusiasm tends to send the fans into that much more of a frenzy.
Attending a game at the Spectrum is something that should be on the bucket list of every sports fan. Although the venue is nestled in a location very much out of the way for non-locals, it is well worth the trip.
**Lead photo attributed to Nate Voge.
I have never experienced anything like the Spectrum. The atmosphere is just crazy. The 4000 students all chanting in unison has brought comments from Espn calling this the best student section in the western U.S. Many media reporters have also said the same thing.
Count on the student section being full 99% of the time. And to endure your ears ringing for hours after the game is over, and that's not even for rivalry games. When Utah, Byu, and Weber actually man up and come to the spectrum all hell breaks loose. Students camp out for days in freezing weather to see the Aggies play.
Over all the Spectrum is one of the best. Food selection is great. Parking is a non hassle environment. And being located in the beautiful cache valley the scenery is gorgeous. On game day fan support can be seen all along main street on the way into town.
There is no better place than the Spectrum.
As a student at Utah State University and after attending every single home game of my college career I can say The Spectrum never ceases to amaze me. I have never been to a game I was not utterly pleased with.
Please refer to title.
There is no place better to watch a college basketball game.
Greatest sports venue I've ever been to!
There really are no words to describe the experience and excitement of an exciting game in the Spectrum. The crowd is loud and excited regardless of if a rival comes or if it's a preseason game against a D-III opponent. However, if it's a rival game against the likes of say Nevada or New Mexico State, you're in for a treat. The crowd is loud, creative, ruthless, smart and just all around entertaining and they sit closer to the game than I've seen in any other arena.
The town of Logan is worth traveling to as its beauty and outdoor activities are among the top in the nation. The tickets are inexpensive. $19 for a general admission ticket for one of the better teams and best crowds in the nation is worth it. The orange and yellow seats leave a little to be desired. I guess they are supposed to warm the thoughts of the locals during the bitter cold Logan winters?
Go to the Spectrum. You wont regret it.
Nothing compares to the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. It is one of hardest places to pick up a win on the road for opposing teams. The Spectrum houses the HURD, the loudest, craziest, most BULLigerent fans in all of America. From ESPN's visits, they have claimed the HURD and Utah State to have the best crowd and home-court advantage in the West. Opposing teams endure a brutal "Hell on Earth" environment each visit. It's no wonder teams refuse to play there. Although the seats aren't Aggie Blue, but the colors of the scenic Autumn Cache Valley, once 10,270 Aggie fans clad in navy blue pack the seats, it's a beautiful sight. For new visitors, Ibuprofen and ear plugs are a good recommendation. You can expect from the months of October to March for most Utah State students to have permanent raspy voices. That's just the price us Aggies pay to support our team and make sure no visiting team leaves unscathed.
I have experienced the spectrum madness for years i have seen a Top Ten team, Top 25 and some high caliber teams lose in the Spectrum! It is an amazing place! And certainly the best in the West!!
The Spectrum is like no other arena I've ever been in. The atmosphere is beyond crazy. As a student of USU, I'll admit that this was a down year for the Aggies. Even so, the student section filled up just as quickly as ever. If you want an incredible place to watch a basketball game, look no further than the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
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