Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post Road Dawgs on to the next destination

Wednesday October 25, 2017

As I start to pack the car for the trip down to Jacksonville, I’m reminded how much Georgia’s road crowd has become a part of the 2017 story. Georgia has almost always enjoyed strong support away from home, and bonding with fellow Road Dawgs deep in enemy territory is an experience rivaled only by a Saturday in Athens. But when Georgia fans lit up Notre Dame, the breathtaking scene of so many Bulldog fans taking over a proud cathedral of college football became nearly as big of a story as the win.

Bulldog fans followed up that strong showing with a larger-than-usual crowd at Tennessee. They again took over an opponent’s stadium at Vanderbilt. Why are so many Bulldog fans hitting the road? Now we know that 2017 is looking like a special season, but few sensed that before we boarded planes for Notre Dame. There are a few other things going on.

1) Notre Dame was a bucket list trip. I think we can consider this game an outlier. Most planned this trip well before we knew how the team would turn out.

2) The home schedule over the next two years isn’t very appealing. If you want to be in the stands to see Georgia in its biggest games, you have no choice but to travel. We got an unexpected treat by catching Mississippi State at their 2017 apex. Georgia’s next best chance of hosting another ranked opponent is probably Auburn at the end of the 2018 season.

3) Nashville’s a fun, easy road trip. There are of course better game experiences but outside of the New Orleans/Baton Rouge combo, there aren’t many better destination cities in the SEC.

4) Georgia usually travels well to Nashville and Atlanta. Georgia fans might have a higher demand for those tickets this year, but it’s not unusual to see an impressive showing of red in those stadiums where home support can range from apathetic to lukewarm. They’re smaller stadiums, so it’s a lot easier for a few thousand fans to make an impact.

The showing for the Florida and Auburn games should be interesting. The 50/50 balance in Jacksonville is always fluid, but die-hard supporters of both schools usually show up even in leaner years. Florida’s recent losses might free up some tickets on their side. Can Georgia’s road fans do much to erode the orange and blue sections of the stadium? Dawg fans failed to sell out their GA/FL allotment earlier in the year, but extras were quickly snapped up when released a couple of weeks ago. Now with a possible undefeated record and the SEC East title on the line, Georgia fans should be active in the secondary ticket market for this game.

Depending on Georgia’s success over the next three games, the trip to Auburn projects to be a quality matchup with SEC and national playoff implications. That means another prime CBS slot and ridiculous ticket demand. For the first time this season, Georgia fans looking for tickets will face a home crowd with as much enthusiasm for their own team. As with Tennessee, you’re digging deep just to get a ticket at face value, and there won’t be many available at that price.

It was a happy coincidence earlier in the season that the Road Dawgs added a fun footnote to the rise of the 2017 team. Now as the Dawgs exit the bye week and begin to deal with some very real possibilities and expectations, a lot of people are asking when it will be time to buy in on this year’s team. Georgia’s three toughest remaining games are arguably away from Athens, and the team knows that there will be a large group of fans who have already bought in and will be in the stands to see them get it done.

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