Atlanta may be college football's biggest market, and Georgia Tech resides in the heart of it. Opening its doors in September of 1913, Bobby Dodd is the oldest FBS stadium in the country and definitely has a classic college football feel to it. Like something out of a "rah-rah" 1920's football film, this place makes you feel like you've gone back in time.
The historic stadium’s legendary namesake served the university for 57 years as assistant coach, head coach and athletic director. Dodd most notably racked up 165 wins and a national championship during his coaching tenure from 1945-1966. The stadium was renamed for Dodd in 1988 and currently holds up to 55,000. But like the historical atmosphere, Georgia Tech's football dominance seems like a long time ago. But recent years (2015 notwithstanding) have seen a bit of a renaissance under Paul Johnson's unique option offense.
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Food options at Bobby Dodd consist of a wide variety of popular chain restaurants. You should easily be able to find something for any palate.
Chick-fil-A, Smashburger, the Malt Shoppe and Sonny's Bar-B-Q can be found around the concourse, as well as a variety of standard concession options. Pricing is very reasonable, with most items selling for $4-$6 and items topping out at $8.
Drink options consist of Coke products, Dasani and hot chocolate. $4 will get you a standard souvenir cup and $6 gets you a large collector's cup.
In my opinion, you can't go wrong with a barbecue sandwich from Sonny's, but Smashburger is an excellent chain choice for burger fans.
Combine the oldest stadium in the FBS with a classic college football contender, and you get exactly the atmosphere you would expect. Nostalgia hangs around the stadium and throughout campus for a Yellow Jackets game, which makes for a must-see college football atmosphere. It may not be as loud or large as some of its nearby SEC neighbors, but what Bobby Dodd lacks in scale, it makes up for in aura.
The stadium itself is mostly bleacher seating, but it offers plenty of room to move around. The concourse on the home side is wide with plenty of room to move, but the visiting side is much more prone to bottlenecks. There really aren't bad seats in the house, and the upper deck is still relatively close to the field.
Walking through campus, you'll see tailgates on frat row with sharply-dressed students grilling on their lawns before heading to the game. Outside the gates of the stadium, you'll catch a glimpse of the 1930 Ford Model A known as the "Ramblin' Wreck" as it drives through the festivities. It really feels like a trip back in time to the early days of college football.
Inside the stadium, the atmosphere you'll get offers even more of the unique classic college football pageantry. Student sections behind both ends zones erupt as the Ramblin' Wreck leads the Yellow Jackets onto the field. The Yellow Jacket Marching Band is one of the more impressive bands in college football and puts on a great show. Overall, the pageantry of the Georgia Tech football game day makes a Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium an essential trip for the college football fan.
There really aren't bad seating options in Bobby Dodd. It's small enough to offer excellent views from just about anywhere. But sideline seats are easily the best, if not for the football then for the excellent views of the marching band.
It's hard to complain about a campus that is less than a mile from the big city attractions of Atlanta. The city, although close, doesn't at all take away from the college experience. The green areas of campus are just west of the stadium, and it makes for a beautiful walk to and from the game.
Georgia Tech is a beautiful campus just north of Atlanta and has every amenity you could ask for nearby. If you're looking for postgame (or pregame) activities, there's more than enough to fill your Saturday. Just across the Interstate (less than two blocks away) is The Varsity. I would argue it's impossible to go to a college football game in the state of Georgia without making a stop here. The greasy burgers and chili dogs are a staple of the Georgia experience. If you head south for about three-quarters of a mile, you'll find some great places to load up on additional football or indulge in some Atlanta touristy activities. On Marietta Street you'll find Stats, a sports bar with more TVs than anyone could need on a football Saturday, and even a ticker with sports news running around the bar. Practically next door, you can eat a hearty German meal with a giant beer while you watch the big games of the day at Der Biergarten.
If you're looking for tourist options, the Georgia Aquarium, World Of Coca-Cola and Olympic Park are all across the street from the food and bar options. The College Football Hall of Fame is in the same vicinity as the other attractions, and is an obvious must for someone attending the oldest stadium in the sport. But truly, you'll have no problem finding things to do in Atlanta.
Hotels are also in abundance in the Atlanta area. There are plenty of places to stay within walking distance, but expect the price of a night to go up accordingly. There is a Hampton Inn literally across the street for those looking for a short walk. But the ideal locations are adjacent to Olympic Park where all of the local attractions are while still within short walking distance to the stadium. You can find the Omni Hotel, Hilton Garden Inn and Embassy Suites located there.
Yellow Jacket fans may not be the loudest and most passionate in college football (as is often the case with big-city teams), but there is a lot of pride in the history at Bobby Dodd. The student section is large, the fans are loud and the atmosphere is an excellent one.
A Georgia Tech game averages about 49,000 in attendance, which ranks in about the middle of ACC football. Because Bobby Dodd seats 55,000, you still get the full stadium atmosphere that makes a college venue great, but it can't compare to the football factories of the southeast for fan enthusiasm.
The students line both end zones and they provide the bulk of the noise. Even at its intimidating loudest, Georgia Tech isn't known as one of the top atmosphere's in football. It's more of a cool atmosphere than a wild one. Probably the best known crowd tradition is the singing of "I'm a Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech." Many programs have famous fight songs, but there may not be any more recognizable words to a song than this.
The stadium is located just west of I-75 about a mile north of downtown Atlanta. The southern city is known for a lot of traffic congestion, so plan to arrive early to account for difficulty navigating the interstates. However, once you exit the interstate onto campus, you'll find it incredibly easy to get around.
Atlanta Airport is your main point of entrance into the city. It's technically a 20-minute drive into the city, but it's one of the busiest airports in the country and traffic in Atlanta can be difficult. There is a MARTA stop across the interstate from Bobby Dodd, which provides you with quick access if you're staying elsewhere in the city.
There are a number of parking lots on and around campus, and there will be attendants to direct street parking. Rates vary, but $20 for decent parking is probably what a visiting fan should expect. Most of the tailgating takes place on campus, but you'll be able to set up in most of the lots if you get there early enough.
Walking to the stadium is easy enough; just follow the crowds. You can enter on three sides and from any gate. The home side is open and free-moving, but if you're on the visitors side or need to walk around the scoreboard end, expect walking traffic to get a little tighter as you make your way around. It's an older stadium, so restrooms aren't pristine but are clean enough.
Everything is very reasonable compared to normal college football prices.
You can find tickets for under $50, and likely in the $25-$35 range for most games. Obviously, these prices can vary based on the game with higher prices for big games, but for a one-time visitor, it's more than worth the experience. A unique feature is an option to upgrade your ticket prior to game day, a feature I wish more college stadiums would embrace. This definitely gives more options for good seats than you get at some other venues that sell everything good to the highest bidder.
The extras here really lie around the tradition and pageantry. When I choose to go to a college football game, it's pageantry that sets it apart from every other sport. Georgia Tech has more than enough of this to go around, and the age of the stadium definitely contributes to that classic feel. The Ramblin Wreck rolling across the field is a site to see and the crowd singing "I'm a helluva engineer" is as unique as it gets. Again, this is a must-stop on the bucket list of any true college football traveler.
Bobby Dodd Stadium is the longtime home of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. The man for whom the stadium is named is a Hall of Fame player and coach who lost but one game as quarterback of the Tennessee Volunteers and then led Georgia Tech to an overwhelmingly winning record over 32 seasons as head coach, including a 9-4 record in bowl games.
The resume gets longer from there, with more than 25 years as Tech's athletic director and general recognition as a hard-nosed and honorable competitor, so it's no surprise he's got not only brick-and-mortar named after him, but also a Coach of the Year Award.
Recently, the field's been home to the exciting triple-option offense of head coach Paul Johnson and a consistently solid product. I must admit, as I age, I more and more frequently find myself drawn into their games and rooting on their side - even if I am a graduate of the University of Georgia.
but the fans could get into the game a bit more. There is a major difference between seeing a game here and at the University of Georgia.
Great staduim to watch GREAT football in a close setting. You can see top-notch teams in great environment.
Food is awesome and reasonably priced! GT knows how to make the fan feel warm with their hospitality from the time they enter until the time they leave.
Food varieties make me want to try something new each time I attend.
The oldest venue in the FBS, there is a lot of history at Bobby Dodd Stadium. It isn't the largest by any accounts, but what it has serves the place well. And Georgia Tech is pretty much the afterthought in Georgia with the Bulldogs an hour away from Atlanta. It is a great place to watch the game and you do feel close to the action, regardless of where you sit.
Food & Beverage: Great variety of sweets (from funnel cakes to cotton candy to the sweet smell of pecans), and salts (pizza, nachos, dogs, and now a Mexican stand). The food overall is great.
Atmosphere: While Georgia Tech will never win out the entire state of Georgia, there is a top notch atmosphere with the band playing, the Ramblin Wreck, and the area itself is just a fun place on gameday. Great college feel to it.
Neighborhood: Around you have some good spots, with the Varsity an Interstate crossing away. Not too bad, but nothing really to get excited about as most of the campus buildings are around the stadium.
Fans: They are intense during the games I've been there and they cheer from the coin flip to the very end. And they have one large passion: hating UGA.
Access: While you can see it off of I-75/85, trying to park in or around campus is a pain. When you do park, it is a healthy distance away.
ROI: Georgia Tech's tickets are relatively cheap to get, regardless of who comes in save for Georgia. Any spot in the stadium is a good view and if you are upper level endzone, you have a great scenic skyline view of Atlanta. Scoreboard has been upgraded and the place is an underrated gem.
Extras: The place is nice overall and as I mentioned earlier, the sightlines are splendid all over as you really don't miss anything as well as you are very close to the action as well as it is a nice place to take in a football game.
Overall, while it doesn't have the same feel as larger stadiums (GT holds a little over 50,000) you still get a great college football experience and it is a must do for any college football fan.
Near the heart of college football’s biggest market in Atlanta stands Bobby Dodd Stadium. Opening its doors in September of 1913, Bobby Dodd is the oldest FBS stadium in the country and definitely has a classic college football feel to it. The historic stadium’s namesake served the university for 57 years as assistant coach, head coach and athletic director. Dodd most notably racked up 165 wins and a national championship during his coaching tenure from 1945-1966. The stadium was renamed for Dodd in 1988 and currently holds up to 55,000.
I've been to a number of GT games. I love the venue with the skyscrapers in the background. The crowd can be a bit game at tame relative to peer universities. Still there are few venues with this level of charm
Atlanta has plenty to do, so maybe you don't need an excuse to go, but a Yellowjackets game is a lot of fun. The stadium is laid out a little weird, with separate sections that don't connect (you used to even have to go to the basement for concessions), but it is a fun time with decent fans and some interesting traditions like seeing the Ramblin' Wreck drive around. Traffic isn't the greatest but you can see the field from the freeway, so it is easy to find, and parking isn't bad - I have noticed this about stadiums in big cities; they are used to much worse traffic on weekdays with all the commuters going back and forth, so Saturdays are like nothing even with 50K+ football fans.
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