November 17, 2012; Athens, GA, USA; A general view of the field looking over the hedges prior to the game between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Georgia Southern Eagles at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Sanford Stadium ranked 3rd in SEC by CFB experts poll

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In what has got to be one of the toughest things to apply a ranking number, a group of college football experts was asked by Athlon Sports to rank all the SEC stadiums, and Georgia’s Sanford Stadium was ranked 3rd in this poll.

Now before we get down to the nitty gritty of who the voters were, and how they ranked Georgia’s beautiful venue, we need to look at what some of the positives and negatives are about Sanford Stadium from the eyes on the inside.

One thing the no stadium in the conference can top Sanford in is beauty. The stadium is set in the heart of one of the most green and lush campuses in the country, and the renovations that have been done to nearby buildings have only added to its opulence.

The hedges, the bridges, the beautiful turf and the rolling hills of Georgia’s campus all add up to a sight-seeing spectacle when you visit Sanford Stadium for the first time…and every other time.

Amenities are quite good in Athens as well. The stadium is right next door to the Tate Student Center and the University Bookstore, providing shopping and food options for visitors before and after games. Downtown Athens – well known for it’s great eateries and nightlife – is also only walking distance away from the stadium.

The parking situation is about as good as it is in any other major college.

Meaning, it sucks.

Parking lots are sprawled all over campus and in the neighboring areas around it. There are a couple of large lots that have ample space for campers and buses, and generally speaking if you are only coming for game day, you’re probably better off parking away from the stadium anyway.

The tailgating in Athens is some of the best, and if you’ve never spent time before a game at Georgia walking around campus sampling the delectable grilled and fried offerings from fans (who are almost always more than happy to show off their prowess with a pair of tongs and a BBQ brush), then you have missed some serious gastric jewels.

The fan support and noise…well, that’s one of the areas where Sanford Stadium (much like every other venue within the state’s borders) is lacking.

Georgia fans are supportive, yes. Some of the most passionate, loyal and (forgive me) myopic fans in the nation.

From their sofas, that is.

Most home games sell out, yet there are usually plenty of empty seats, even against SEC foes. Of course, the big games like Auburn and Georgia Tech always pack the place, but why Georgia fans can’t create that much fervor on a regular basis is a mystery.

Here is what the writers at Athlon had to say about our beloved stadium:

It may not be the SEC’s biggest or loudest stadium, but it is the most beautiful. The Bulldogs’ home stadium is located in the heart of the plush greenery of the gorgeous Athens campus. The famed privet hedges line the field and separate the Georgia fans from the action on the field with style that matches the dolled-up student section. Mark Richt is 68-14 “Between the Hedges” and has his team poised for another perfect home slate in 2014.

With all that now said, here is how the experts ranked Sanford Stadium against all the other venues in the SEC:

Expert name
Ranking of Sanford Stadium
Stadium Ranked #1
Tim Brando, SiriusXM (@TimBrando)4Neyland Stadium, Tennessee
Dan Wolken, USAToday (@DanWolken)2Tiger Stadium, LSU
Steven Godfrey, SBNation (@38Godfrey)1Sanford Stadium, UGA
Billy Liucci, (@BillyLiucci)4Bryant-Denny Stadium, Alabama
Josh Ward, Sports Animal (@Josh_Ward) 4Tiger Stadium, LSU
Jon Cooper, SaturdayDownSouth (@JonSDS)5Tiger Stadium, LSU
Seth Emerson, Macon Telegraph (@SethEmerson)4Tiger Stadium, LSU
Barrett Sallee, BleacherReport (@BarrettSallee)9Tiger Stadium, LSU
Reed Carringer, FootballTimeInTennessee (@FootballTimeMag)6Tiger Stadium, LSU
Mitch Light, Athlon Sports (@AthlonMitch)1Sanford Stadium, UGA
David Fox, Athlon Sports (@DavidFox615)4Tiger Stadium, LSU
Braden Gall, Athlon Sports/SiriusXM (@BradenGall)4Tiger Stadium, LSU

So what does all this add up to? Well, obviously LSU’s Tiger Stadium took the top honors among this group of experts, while Georgia’s Sanford Stadium finished 3rd in their average of votes.

What do you think, was this too low, or pretty accurate? Sound off below and let everyone know what you think of Saturdays Between the Hedges.

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