Game Day 101: Cheering on the Dogs in Athens

University of Georgia

University of Georgia

One of the primary pleasures of life on this planet returns Saturday.

I mean, take a beautiful campus located in one of the coolest cities around, fill it with well-fed and lubricated folks cheering on their favorite college football team, and you’ve got game day in Athens.

Many of you are old hands at this and have your UGA home-game routine down to a fine art, from where you park to what you eat to when you arrive at your seats. But maybe you’ve got tickets for Georgia-South Carolina on Saturday and you haven’t been to a game at Sanford Stadium before, or perhaps not in a long time.

What can you expect as you and more than 92,000 others prepare to enjoy an evening Between the Hedges? Here’s a brief overview we call UGA Game Day 101. …


Maybe all roads don’t lead to Athens, but a lot of them do, so you don’t have to sit in congestion on Ga. 316 if you’re making the trip from metro Atlanta. You can take I-20 East to Conyers, then Ga. 38 to U.S. 78 (where you can still get on 316 if you wish). If you’re partial to I-85, you can take it to 316 or go all the way to Jefferson and then take U.S. 129 into Athens. Or you can just take U.S. 78 all the way into Athens, which is the route I’m partial to. From Augusta, most folks take I-20 West and exit on U.S. 78 North. And from Greenville, take I-85 South to Ga. 106 to Athens. Once you get into Athens, there are a lot of signs directing you to UGA. Best advice: Get there early so you can avoid the tie-ups and enjoy the town and campus a bit.


This is the one aspect of game day in Athens that isn’t heavenly. Many of the parking lots surrounding Sanford Stadium are available only to folks who’ve given a ton of money to the athletic association. If you’re not one of them, there is a limited amount of public parking near the stadium which is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Most of it is on East Campus, surrounding the Ramsey Center off College Station Road. East Campus offers multiple decks and surface parking. Once that’s full, overflow parking is located at the Intramural Fields, off College Station Road, where you can park until three hours after the game ends. (After that, you get towed.)

UGA also has a number of parking decks on both the North and South campuses where you can pay to park. Keep in mind, though, that no grills or other flammable devices are allowed in or on top of the decks. And, frankly, concrete parking decks aren’t very good places to tailgate anyway.

It used to be you could park on sidewalks, on city streets in neighborhoods immediately surrounding the campus and anyplace on campus you might be able to squeeze your vehicle into, but no more (except some sidewalk parking is allowed on the south side of Carlton Street from Sanford Drive to East Campus Road). Don’t park on campus unless it’s in a lot, or you’ll get towed. And the same goes for those neighborhood streets where the city police put up “no parking” signs early Saturday morning. Of course, game-day parking isn’t forbidden on all city streets, so if you don’t see a no-parking sign, you’re safe.

A lot of churches and schools in the vicinity of campus also offer parking, generally for anywhere from $10 to $20, depending on how close in they are. And there are commercial tailgate/parking lots as well.

One thing all the lots have in common: Only one parking space per vehicle. You’re not allowed to take up parking spaces with your chairs and tables.

Designated areas are provided for RV’s and large trailers. More information is available on the Gameday Gameplan site.


UGA’s campus transit system provides free shuttle service on game days from the East Campus Parking Deck/Ramsey Center area and from the Intramural Fields if they’re needed for parking. The shuttle buses run for 5½ hours before the scheduled game time and will drop fans off at Gate 6 of Sanford Stadium until 15 minutes after kickoff. (The gates to Sanford Stadium do not open until two hours prior to the scheduled kickoff.) Return shuttle service runs continuously for two hours after the game ends.


University of Georgia

University of Georgia

A lot of longtime tailgaters still grumble mightily about this rule instituted in the past five years, but no tailgating setups are allowed on campus before 7 a.m. on Saturday.

Tailgaters who want to watch television or use anything else requiring electricity must provide their own power source.

The most heavily used area for tailgating is on North Campus between the Arch and the UGA Library. Spaces are available on a first-come, first-served basis, though a small area near the Administration Building is set aside as a alcohol-free “family friendly” area. (It used to be a much larger area and another one was provided on South Campus, but there wasn’t much demand and so the area was reduced.)

Deep fryers and low country boils are not permitted on campus because they’re considered dangerous.

Portable toilets are provided around the campus on game days. In addition, permanent restrooms are available at five buildings on campus: Boyd Graduate Studies Building, the Tate Center, the Student Learning Center and Joe Frank Harris Commons.

If you don’t want to tailgate, UGA has a variety of on-campus dining options, and there are lots of restaurants near the campus eager for your business.

Be aware: Consumption of alcohol is allowed on campus on game days (except in the family area) but if you wander off onto city streets, you’re liable to get busted by Athens’ finest for violation of the Athens-Clarke County ordinance banning open containers of alcoholic beverages.

If you’re tailgating, bring trash bags. Hundreds of garbage bins are also supplied all over campus, but there are still jerks who think nothing of leaving piles of trash behind after the game. Don’t be one of them.


AJC staff

AJC staff

With the Redcoat Band getting everyone revved up with school fight songs, the team enters the stadium about two hours before game time (or at about 5 p.m. this week) by walking through the Tate Center parking lot with fans gathered on either side (and on the Sanford Drive bridge above). If you’re not already pumped up at this point, the Dawg Walk surely will do it for you. Coach Mark Richt finds he gets so ramped up that he generally only participates in the walk about once a season.

The nearby Tate Plaza is a lively place to hang out before the game, with various student groups manning tables where they push their various interests and street preachers more than willing to tell you why you’re headed for damnation. The UGA Bookstore is open and provides just about anything a follower of the Red and Black could want. And outside it there’s usually a tent set up with hotdogs, hamburgers and such. Eating before you enter the stadium is recommended, as the lines are long and the prices high inside Sanford.


Everyone must have a ticket, regardless of age. No re-entry is permitted at any gate.

Ticket scalping is not allowed on campus but you’ll see plenty of folks offering tickets in the vicinity. As with any event, the closer you wait to kickoff, the better the price is likely to be.

If you don’t have a ticket, can’t find one at the right price and still want to hang out in the vicinity of the stadium, you can watch the game for free on video screens in the Tate Center, adjacent to Sanford.

The entire stadium has been declared smoke/tobacco-free. There’s also a long list of items you’re not allowed to carry in, which range from umbrellas to horns or other noisemakers, alcoholic beverages, food and drink, bottles of any sort, ice chests and large bags over 7.5” wide and 13” long. Still cameras are allowed inside the stadium; video cameras are not. You can check out all the stadium policies here.

Game programs are sold by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes for $5. Souvenir and food and drink booths and stands are located all around the stadium.

And here’s a plea on behalf of stadium regulars: Don’t wait until the last minute or until after the game starts before heading to your seats. And if you’re thinking of taking a very young child or an infant, the best advice is: Don’t. They won’t enjoy it, which means you won’t enjoy it and neither will the folks sitting around you.

Oh, and if you need to use a restroom, try to avoid going in natural breaks in the action such as between quarters or at halftime unless you want to stand in a very long line. Especially for the women’s restrooms.


While the traffic trickles into Athens starting early on a Saturday (getting more congested as game time approaches), it’s just one giant mess after the game as most folks try to leave at the same time. If you can, hang around the stadium until the Redcoats are finished with their postgame concert. If you’re tailgating, you might want to wait out the worst of it by enjoying another chicken leg (watch the drinking, though, as you’ll soon be out on those city streets).

UGA’s postgame traffic plan tries to direct everyone leaving the East Campus area onto the Ga. 10 Loop. They make everyone go in the same direction, which isn’t necessarily where you want to go, but the Loop more or less circles Athens, so you can still get where you’re going eventually. Don’t try turning around in the median unless you want to pay a fine.

Lumpkin Street, the major traffic artery through the town and campus, backs up quite a bit going downtown and toward Five Points after a game. If you’re in a hurry to get out of town … well, unless you’re familiar with the side streets of Athens, you might as well forget getting out of town in a hurry.

Just resign yourself to the wait, tune in the postgame show on the radio and hopefully revel in another Dog victory!

64 comments Add your comment

GT / Clemson

September 11th, 2009
7:31 am

You can lay the blame in this one squarely on Paul Johnson for being “too nice”, especially after his bravado last weekend about “we have to be nasty”. When Tech was up 21-0, and driving for their 4th TD, with first and goal at the Clemson 10, he called three running plays, the third to set up the field goal on 4th down, rather than trying to keep his foot on the pedal and drive the dagger home with the 4th TD. Yes, sir, ‘ol Paul failed to walk the walk after talking the talk – but in the end, a win is a win!


September 11th, 2009
7:35 am

wow….At Tech, you could give all this info in 2 or 3 sentences. Plenty of tickets. plenty of parking. come late. please stay till end..


September 11th, 2009
7:39 am

I feel better about the Coaching staff in Athens after watching Johnson pull Daboo’s pants down. Geez……..Example one…..Tech’s kicker lines up to try a 50+ yard field goal and has NEVER kicked one over 40…………………………HELLO…….anybody on the Clemson staff realize that and defend for a fake……..I thought our man Fabris was coaching special teams at Clemson


September 11th, 2009
7:43 am

The sidewalks never caused a problem in the past….but they allow the big shots to park together and clogged up the entrance to the bridge at the stadium. I just dont understand, it never cause a problem before and lets change the rules. You know, some day everyone could say enough is enough…but I really doubt it… has become unfriendly…..heck, you could take one bottle of water at Tempe last year… we just take bottle caps with us when we buy in stadium….and speaking of stadium…we have everything new and being built….but do you think they have done anything about bathrooms…nope….that is why they use the sink now…oh well, jdawg

Milton Dawg

September 11th, 2009
8:18 am

Hey nerds and JB… why are you talking about the GT game? I could care less. This is a DAWG blog in case you forgot. Great post as usual Bill. Yes, parking is a big headache now. Try the church parking. It’s a bit of a walk but hey, it’s not a bad walk before the game and after a big win it’s a fun walk! Thanks again Bill! Go Dawgs!!


September 11th, 2009
8:19 am

I have this sick feeling that our team is going to look like a bunch of deer in headlights tomorrow night. I dont even think CMR has a whole lot of confidence from reading and listening to his comments. And to think he had so much fun and enjoyed himself so much from Jan to Aug. Maybe someday we will return to our old form when there was pasion and determination ala the days of Green and Pollock. we have lost that the last few years……Maybe CMR needs to start calling plays again and take control of this team. BooBoo will get us beat bad tomorrow if he calls like he did last week.

coach joe

September 11th, 2009
8:25 am

tim tebow for president

Coach Mark Richt

September 11th, 2009
8:29 am

dont believe the hype, we suck!

Coach Mark Richt

September 11th, 2009
8:31 am

athens is overrated on gameday. drunk idiots listening to old playbacks of herschel walker running over bill bates. boring. quit living in the eighties dawgs

George O'Leary

September 11th, 2009
8:40 am

I taught Urban everything he knows,check my resume’


September 11th, 2009
8:45 am

I would give anything to be tailgating in Athens tomorrow in my Zorro outfit looking at all the pretty girls and singing Glory, Glory to ole Georgia. I’ve been banned from Grant Field for flashing the band


September 11th, 2009
9:04 am






September 11th, 2009
9:08 am





Ramblin Rick

September 11th, 2009
9:10 am

A few other tips:

Gentleman.. make sure your tattoos can be seen by everyone

Make sure to stop by Wal Mart and get your PBR Ice, cigarettes & chewing tobacco

Check the front door on the double wide to make sure its locked

Warn your wife she might get smacked around after UGAy loses another close game

And of course.. talk smack no matter how crappy your team is


Danny forde

September 11th, 2009
9:11 am

What a wonderful place to be on Saturday, I hear the tix are hard to find again, as usual. I have to reiterate, it is a wonderful place to be every day also. Wish I could be there, but I’l have to settle for watching with the 2000 UGA grads here in Colorado.

I thought Tech won, why are these losers on the Junkyard Blog? Maybe they can’t read. Ramble On, glad to see some creativity anyway. Was this a 3 point stomp also? Explain the correlation of your numbers, they seem to be out of sequence, it appears that you left a couple of them out.

coach smith

September 11th, 2009
9:14 am

I think all TECHIES need to get a life and WORRY about your own team!

Without a bogus holding call, TECH loses that game

And there is NO WAY your QB survives running the ball 20+ times a game and the team won’t survive either…not to mention completing 3-16 passes with 2 PICKS!

Techies will be crying over losses to Miami, VaTech, FlaSt, Georgia, and maybe one more! Bank on it


September 11th, 2009
9:44 am

As if the Techies know anything about tailgating or what they are brain wasshed about Athens from living on that dump north of the projects and just south of the water treatment plant.

Adams has killed alot of what made gameday in Athens fun. Glad I enjoyed it at its best.


September 11th, 2009
9:44 am

I’m more worried about WF than UGAg…really, I’m not kidding.

Saint Simons

September 11th, 2009
9:48 am

All the trailer parks will be empty this weekend, one big Jerry Springer show!!!!!!! 24 – 10 hahahahahahahahahahahahahaahaha

coach smith

September 11th, 2009
9:50 am

Are there ANY Tech fans that have CLASS? Every single post by a Tech fan (on a UGA blog mind you) is completely CLASSLESS!

Insults are the last refuge of the defeated!

Dabo Dawg

September 11th, 2009
9:51 am

At least the Tigers look good win lose or draw. CMR teams look pathetic win lose or draw.


September 11th, 2009
9:56 am

Ramble you should be worried. It looks like there is another instate team besides the Dawgs that can give up unanswered points. Congrats on the win though, PJ will have those guys wishing they had never let Clemson back in the game.


September 11th, 2009
9:59 am

Bill great article for the first time attendee or the old grad like me. Kudos.

Silver Classic

September 11th, 2009
10:01 am

I’m susprised that you didn’t mention Bulldog Park for tailgating, This is not the only way…..but by far, the best way to tailgate at UGA.

Carolina Henry

September 11th, 2009
10:01 am

Better have that ample supply of Pepto Bismol dawgnation. Ah the memories of the Sanford cow field 14 – 9 ,16 – 12 and now this saturday 17 – 6 Carolina! No tds again for the mutts!

Saint Simons

September 11th, 2009
10:02 am

just a reminder!!!!!!!!!!!! 45 – 42 hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha


September 11th, 2009
10:11 am

I can’t wait to get back to Athens on a football Saturday. Seeing old friends, eating a lot of good food and just enjoying life to the fullest for a few hours. We should not have to try to convert other fans to our way of tailgating. Each school has its own special way of enjoying Saturdays. Our way just happens to the the best!!

Play Logan Gray

September 11th, 2009
10:14 am

Georgia Tech : Champion of underserved 3 point wins! !!!!!!!! hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Play Logan Gray

September 11th, 2009
10:16 am

undeserved that is

Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho

September 11th, 2009
10:17 am

Everyone keeps hoping that the GT fans will show class and act like they’ve been there before, but they have no class and they’ve never won before so give them a little slack. This is uncharted waters for them


September 11th, 2009
10:23 am

I fell into some tickets for the game Saturday (don’t worry, I’ll leave the Orange and Blue at home). I’ve been in Atlanta for a few years but this will be my first game day in Athens. Where are the good game day bars? Anything near the stadium I should hit up? I’m usually a big tailgater but there will just be two of us going.

Paul's Johnson

September 11th, 2009
10:24 am

That game was comical.

A mediocre team beat another mediocre team by three points, basically on the holding call against Clemson. I must say that it proves what I have said all along, that the option can be shut down, evidenced by the Tigers second half defensive effort. GT will not move up in the rankings as last night proved that you are overrated at #15. Four losses coming your way.

Tomorrow our beloved Dawgs will right the ship as they get a convincing victory and we get to breathe a sigh of relief and look forward to Bobby Pu.strino’s Razorbacks.

One thing became clear after watching the Sweatbees last night. UGA lost to a pretty decent OSU team. OSU could easily beat GT or Clemson.
Can’t wait for 11/28/09 and the Bug beatdown.

Go Dawgs!!

Paul is a Johnson

September 11th, 2009
10:26 am

Welcome to Thursday Night Football, the only way anyone will watch ACC football. I didn’t think it was possible for Tech to have a QB as bad Reggie Ball but Nesbitt is going to give him a run for his money.


September 11th, 2009
10:29 am

I just want to thank you for including the Redcoat Band so much in your gameday article. I was in the band for 3 years and its nice to know we are a part of the UGA gameday experience. You wont find a more passionate and dedicated group of student football fans anywhere on campus!


September 11th, 2009
10:39 am

ahhhh, tailgating in athens… esp for the first games when the coeds are wearing their short skirts and tight shirts… is that an arch in yer pants, or are you just happy to see me?


September 11th, 2009
10:41 am

To all the redneck,trailer trash known as UGA fans, your’e pathetic whiners.My question is why you comment on GT victory over CLEMSON? We got the victory so what, we’re 2-0, I guarantee UGA will be 0-2 late Saturday night and you drunk mutts will be calling for W.Martinez and M . Bobo to be fired . ” THWG!”


September 11th, 2009
10:44 am

Same ol’ Stumbling Bumbles.. they eek out a win against an unranked team and suddenly they are Champions! But not on THEIR message boards, which they know NO ONE READS! Only on here, where they don’t belong. I promise you, we’re not kidding… WE DON’T CARE WHAT YOU THINK! Feel free to update us here after we whip your a$$ (again) in Nov – GO DAWGS!


September 11th, 2009
10:49 am

Ramble Rick you couldn’t have said it better. “THWG!”

Tuck Fech

September 11th, 2009
10:51 am

Can you imagine the hell UGA would catch from Terrorist Tech if we made RINGS for our players every time we beat them??

Paul's Johnson

September 11th, 2009
11:07 am

This just in.

Nielson TV ratings from last night’s GT vs. Clemson game, a pathetic 29.

As suspected, no one in the world gives a crap about Clemson or the overated Scrambling Wreck.

Watch the ratings soar tomorrow night as the world tunes in to watch a real team, the Georgia Bulldogs destroy the USC Chickens and embarress the Ole’ Ball Sack.

Sic Em'

September 11th, 2009
11:16 am

Tomorrow around 5pm, the young Freshman will experience the Dawg Walk for the first time. This will be the first time they truly know what being a Georgia Bulldog is all about. I plan to be right there cheering them on.

Enjoy the atmosphere young men. After tomorrow, you will know for the first time what its like being in a sea of 92,000 die hard red-wearing TRUE fans. Take that feeling you get and use it as drive and motivation to perfect your game and be the playmake of the near future.

Good Luck and GOOOOOOO DAWGS!!!!!


September 11th, 2009
11:20 am

gatorman, just head downtown..There are like 50 bars within 50 feet of each other


September 11th, 2009
11:28 am


If you leave the Uf colors at home anybody will welcome you in their tailgating party. Bars are generally used after the game but i like arch bar

George G.

September 11th, 2009
12:06 pm

Athens is a TERRIBLE city to tailgate in. No structure, no organization, no large spaces. Redonk.

Lakisha Tanisha Canisha

September 11th, 2009
12:59 pm

Manhole Stealer

September 11th, 2009
1:31 pm

I don’t know why UGA would be mad at us for coming onto a UGA blog, we copy or steal everything else they do. Why in the world would anyone care about UGA at Tech. We just stomped Clemson and we will stomp everyone else that we play just as badly. No reason for us to be on a UGA blog and take any crap from UGA fans about us Jackets on a UGA blog.


September 11th, 2009
2:19 pm

yep, tailgating in athens. can’t wait for all the beautiful babies…mmmhmmm.

George G.

September 11th, 2009
2:41 pm

Paul’s Johnson,

In case you live in a cave (and you’re a UGA fan, so I assume that’s a possibility), you would know that the NFL, which is the country’s most popular sport, kicked off last night a little after the GT / Clemson game.


September 11th, 2009
2:55 pm

LOL!! Why are the GT fans so obsessed with UGA?? I’ve been around college football awhile and have just never seen another school’s fan base sooooooo obsessed with another team. It hilarious!! LOL!! Has it always been this bad or is it just because they won last year???

Harry Dawg 73

September 11th, 2009
2:58 pm

I am a Dawg, born and bred. I also well know historic Bobby Dodd Stadium. Grand pa matriculated there long time ago and so he and I viewed plenty of Bobby Dodd coached teams, till Dooley ran Dodd off to Bitsy Grant Tennis stadium with his lil bottles of Jack Daniels. Tennis anyone??

Then, as now, to view a tech game, you park at the front gate on N Avenue and walk in. Plenty of seats, unless they play Clemson or Gawga, then the place is full of their fans. Otherwise, buy a 50 yard line ticket on game day and walz in. Place is mostly seated with Ga Power $58,000 per year plant engineers or Marta plant managers and they are usually quiet anyway. Don’t rock the boat, take charge guys that they all are.

Wake, Duke and NC St and mighty MD and VA and VA Tech and NC games generate wild tech stadium crowds of 12,000 – 14, 000 screaming fans. They leave and go home and rent Lassie movies.

Gooooooooooooooo Dawgs !! Sick em!! Woof, woof, woof.

Harry Dawg, class of 73