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Post How was your game day experience?

Monday September 12, 2011

It was our first game back in Sanford Stadium since the Dawgs sent Tech home with a loss last November. What did you think?

The Scene

Traffic wasn’t bad around town even at 11 AM. Though central campus was pretty thick with tents, we were still able to navigate down Milledge and Lumpkin without much standstill. We must’ve been between the early arrivers and the last-minute crowd. Postgame traffic wasn’t terrible after an hour or so. Downtown was packed since the ~8:00 finish allowed for things to move right into a full evening of Athens nightlife. I saw a lot more charter buses than I remember in the past, and they didn’t help things move through downtown.

It was unfortunate to find the Visual Arts building blocked off for renovation. The College of Environmental Design will benefit from the refurbished building, but it will affect some nice tailgating spaces on the eastern edge of North Campus. Otherwise, I didn’t see many problems in and around North Campus. It was a perfect day for a tailgate and a nice change from the typical blast furnace of a Georgia-South Carolina game.


I liked the new scoreboard. At a cost of $1.4 million, I hope you did too. The display was crisp, the animations popped, and no one in our eastern perch had a problem seeing anything. The board looked great when it went full-screen. I had to remember to look at the scoreboards rimming the upper deck to see time as well as down and distance when the main display went full-screen, but that’s not a problem. Some constructive criticisms:

  • If you’re going to run scores, keep them updated. I think there are still 7 minutes left in the Auburn/MSU game. Those running the show must’ve realized the problem because we started seeing the sides of the scoreboard increasingly used for stats, and I prefer that anyway. You have this large screen with its best feature being the dynamic repurposing of areas of the display. Some individual stats mixed in would’ve been nice, too.
  • The live video on the board was cropped too closely. I tried to watch a bit of the 3rd quarter on the board since it required less looking directly into the sun, but it was difficult with the shot so tightly zoomed in on the QB. Pull it back a bit and let us see the play.
  • There’s a fine line between augmenting the game with the videos and music and going into ACC territory. I’m not even talking about the blatent ads that pay the bills. Keep Zombie Nation out of our stadium.


I have mixed feelings about moving the band to the west stands. The point was to project their sound to more of the stadium, and that worked. Of course the sound isn’t going to be as strong in my part of the stadium as when they sat three sections over from me, but I think they project well to all corners now. It’s not an ideal arrangement with the visitor’s band so close – the result more often than not was just indistiguishable noise.

Another problem was the separation of the band from the cheerleaders and main block of students. You lose a bit of punch there without the cheerleaders, band, and students in the same corner – coordination starting and sustaining cheers was tough on Saturday.

The new pregame was a welcome refresh. The only hiccup was the attempt to start a GEORGIA-BULLDOGS cheer, but that will work itself out as fans get used to what’s going on. It’s necessary but not good that the band has to exit the field in the east endzone and hoof it along the track all the way back to the west stands. I think it was the midpoint of the first quarter and several series into the game before they were able to play much of anything from the stands. You can only do so much with the congestion of that narrow track corridor, but the pace of getting them back into the stands after pregame has to pick up.

This was a great touch:

The Crowd

For the most part, the back-and-forth flow of the game led to an involved and supportive crowd. Of course there were people around who were overserved or had their minds made up about players and coaches a long time ago (easily identified with the clever and original nicknames they used like “Booboo”.) I can only speak for myself, but a lot of the optimism with which I left the stadium despite the loss came from observing how the people around me handled the events and outcome of the game. If the tone after the Boise game (from those who even bothered to stay) was one of torches and pitchforks, the tone Saturday was one of disappointment tempered by anticipation of what this team and its young stars can become.

3 Responses to 'How was your game day experience?'

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  • Please, god, tell me Zombie Nation has not made its way to Sanford Stadium. It’s enough to have to hear it in Stegeman, but I can *almost* stomach that.

  • Here is the bullet version of the letter I wrote Mr. McGarity on our gameday experience.

    2 Positives

    1) Support for CMR
    2) Praise for moving the RCB.

    3 Negatives

    1) The influx of additional students into the lower level caused an overflow of students into at least sections 117 and 118. The CSC officers stationed at the top of these sections did not check tickets. This led to an undesirable situation with rambunctious students in sections with season ticket holders.

    2) Pointing out the noticeable absence of GBI officers at our game.

    3) A lengthy plead for the Academy Sports commercial to be recut WITHOUT the Zombie Nation crap.

  • Worst post-game traffic in at least 4 years.