Standing in section 103 of Sanford Stadium Saturday for Georgia football’s game against Kent State will be a man wearing a shirt that says ‘Cheerio & Go Dawgs.’
It will be Chris Biggs’ first Bulldogs game after traveling some 4,500 miles from Scotland to Atlanta and then up the road to Athens.
The Edinburgh resident arrived in the United States for the first time late Wednesday.
“It’s beautiful and such an amazing city,” Biggs said of Athens. “I didn’t expect it to be as beautiful as it is. Everyone has been so generous and welcoming, and Southern hospitality is really a thing. I’ve really been blown away.”
Biggs, known as British Bulldog on Twitter, gained a notable following on the platform in recent years as he shared his devotion for Georgia football.
He credits the NFL for the growth of American football in the United Kingdom in recent years, but it was the pageantry and passion behind college football that he found most intriguing.
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Biggs, a public servant in Edinburgh, finds ESPN’s College Gameday each week and tunes into it in the afternoons in Scotland.
Watching Nick Chubb, Todd Gurley and Sony Michel perform during Mark Richt’s last years as head coach is what persuaded him to root on the Bulldogs in 2014. He now considers American football his greatest passion.
“It’s such an amazing product,” said Biggs, who is a Manchester United soccer fan. “College football, for me, seems a lot more authentic. And this tradition that goes along with it. The passion of the fans is probably like nothing else. The Bulldog Nation is rabid with absolutely passionate fans. Like for when we follow English soccer or football. I really, really appreciate that. One thing led to another and now it’s a bit of an obsession.”
Biggs, who was born and raised in Southwest England, sold around 200 of the ‘Cheerio & Go Dawgs’ t-shirts to fund his trip to the United States.
He’s also had numerous UGA football supporters help in making his trip special.
Dwight Standridge of Bulldogs Battling Breast Cancer has hosted Biggs in Jefferson for a few nights. He even set up a Sanford Stadium tour for Biggs on Thursday, and he met tight ends Brock Bowers and Oscar Delp while Standridge had them autograph a couple of items for his charity.
Biggs began Thursday with Mama’s Boy, ‘which set me up quite nicely,’ before enjoying the sights of Athens, including a visit to The Arch and the stadium tour.
He was taken to the Royal Peasant in Five Points for a taste of home that “was different, I’ll give it that,” Biggs said. A few pints at Creature Comforts capped the night.
“It’s so cool and I do like a craft beer,” he said.
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Biggs began watching Georgia games through British Telecom’s partnership with ESPN, which showed many American football games. The sports network’s app is another way he streams games. If all fails, he can usually arrange a VPN that allows him to find the game and project it to his television.
Noon kickoffs are ideal for Biggs, who can tune in around 5 pm local time in Edinburgh. It’s games like January’s national championship where his true Georgia passion is displayed.
“I couldn’t miss it and I took (Tuesday) off from work,” Biggs said. “It probably finished at like 5 in the morning here. It was crazy, but so much fun.”
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Biggs plans to hop from tailgate to tailgate on Saturday to join people he met on Twitter who invited him to drop by. He’ll take in the Dawg Walk and then enjoy what should be an easy Georgia victory.
He returns to the UK on Monday after five nights in Athens, although he would prefer to stick around a little longer and do it all again.
“In hindsight it doesn’t seem like a long enough time,” Biggs said. “There’s so much to do here. Athens is such a vibrant town, it’s a very, very cool place with loads to do, loads to see and a lot to eat. It doesn’t seem long at all.”