SEC Football: Georgia Bulldogs took a lot of heat about the size of its Saturday crowd. Forget the numbers, what about the noise?
The Georgia Bulldogs won a big SEC football game Saturday night. Even if beating Auburn has become commonplace for the Dawgs, Auburn went into the game ranked No. 7, so it was a legit big win.
The tremendous performance of Kirby Smart’s team was somewhat overshadowed by a national, social media response to the size of the crowd. The Georgia football program claims,
"Last night’s crowd was 20,524 which is a capacity sellout. Our normal capacity is 92,746. So, you are looking about at 22% capacity"
Short of a count at the stadium entrances showing a different number, questioning the Georgia program is moot. It is important to remember different states, even different cities establish capacities for public events. In terms of crowd size, governmental bodies have more authority than the SEC.
For months, Georgia Governor, Brian Kemp has taken heat for downplaying the threat from COVID. His rather ‘laissez-faire’ attitude might indicate a reluctance to enforce attendance guidelines. Did the Bulldogs take advantage of an opening afforded by the Governor? We don’t know.
Our companion site, Dawn of the Dawg gave a full-throated defense the attendance numbers released by the school were accurate. We don’t doubt their sincere belief.
There are other questions, about masks.
Apparently, mask-wearing is unimportant to many Georgia fans. The SEC mask guidelines specify wearing them upon entrance, in all common areas and when otherwise not being able to social distance. Enforcement was always going to be an issue. Particularly among students, ignoring mask mandates is not restricted to Athens, GA.
Since Saturday night, some of us have been wondering about the crowd noise. Early in the game, Kirk Herbstreit commented Auburn quarterback, Bo Nix and his teammates could not hear each other.
A sense of it is provided in the tweet below.
From that particular camera shot, the 22 percent attendance claim appears suspect. If it is accurate, 20,524 fans cannot make enough noise outside to disrupt players hearing signals.
SEC football schools may use artificial crowd noise this season. Music can be louder and more distracting. The decibel level is not to exceed 75, but it may not be enforced. The crowd noise band-aid seems fake but it is not inherently unfair. Home teams should have a home crowd advantage and a big part of that is noise. How much artificial noise is too much for an SEC football game? No one seems to know and in the SEC there is rarely ever ‘too much’ of anything.
A good guess on Saturday, Oct. 17, there will be plenty of artificial crowd noise at Bryant-Denny. Crimson Tide fans will love it. The Bulldogs will not.