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Tate Ratledge: 'Neyland Stadium is the best stadium in the SEC'

ns_headshot_2024-clearby:Nick Schultz07/05/23

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One of the highest-profile games during the 2022 college football season was Tennessee vs. Georgia. The Bulldogs defeated the then-undefeated Volunteers in front of a packed house and electric atmosphere at Sanford Stadium.

The year before, though, Georgia was the visiting team as it went into Neyland Stadium — a 41-17 Bulldogs victory. Tate Ratledge was on the team for both of those games, and he said he thinks the Neyland is better than Sanford, although he made it clear he wasn’t talking about the fans.

“No offense to Sanford or Georgia fans, but Neyland Stadium is the best stadium in the SEC,” Ratledge said on “Real Talk Georgia” this week. “112,000 and it’s a bowl? Right on the river?”

Sedrick Van Pran was quick to defend his home stadium, though.

“I disagree with that,” he said. “Forget the numbers. … Sanford when we played Tennessee was definitely louder than when we played at Tennessee.”

As he later clarified, Ratledge wasn’t talking about the atmosphere of either stadium. He was talking about the designs, and he said that on the podcast when he brought up an interesting question.

What if Georgia fans filled Neyland?

“Imagine if our fans were in that stadium, though, how loud it would’ve gotten,” Ratledge said.

Van Pran didn’t disagree with that way of thinking.

“That’s probably true,” Van Pran said.

Sanford Stadium seats roughly 93,000, which ranks fifth in the SEC. Neyland, meanwhile, sits third in the conference with nearly 102,000 seats. Still, the three players on the show — Ratledge, Van Pran and Zion Logue — agreed the atmosphere in Athens is electric. If Georgia had more seats, they made the case it could be even louder.

But Ratledge again pointed to the design of Neyland. It has three levels of seats, which tends to trap sound. A great example of how raucous the atmosphere can get was last year’s game between Tennessee and Alabama in front of a sold-out, checkered crowd in Knoxville. The Volunteers, of course, won that game on a last-second field goal.

“That’s the thing that makes Neyland so loud, it’s three levels all the way across,” Ratledge said. “It just traps sound.”

This season, though, Georgia will make its return to Neyland when the Bulldogs take on Tennessee. That game is one of the last of the regular season, set for Nov. 18 — just one week before Georgia’s rivalry week matchup against in-state rival Georgia Tech.