Publisher's note -
If your school is selected to host ESPN’s “College GameDay”, it’s like somebody scheduled a parade and everybody you know is going to be there.
About two million people climb out of bed every Saturday morning to watch the show and it almost never disappoints. It’s
Eleven hours before Saturday’s Arizona-UCLA kickoff, GameDay will be live on the UA mall.
“It’s cool,” said UA junior nose tackle Sani Fuimaono. “It’s what I used to wake up to watch when I was in high school.”
GameDay goes beyond cool. What’s a good word? Nirvana. It’s got to have a little music to it.
GameDay used to be snooty. It used to be Alabama-Auburn and Nebraska-Notre Dame, and an excessive diet of Wolverines, Volunteers and Buckeyes.
But over the last 15 years, GameDay has become monument to all the people of college football. It has given us Harvard-Penn, Army-Navy, Southern-Grambling and, believe it or not, North Dakota State-Incarnate Word.
The NDSU Bison hosted GameDay twice. That’s one more time than
“It’s gonna be big,”
GameDay was once the center of all “East coast bias” in college sports. Its first 24 locations were so far from the Pac-12 that when it finally erected a stage for the November 1998
But until Pete Carroll turned USC into a powerhouse, GameDay went 49 consecutive shows, from early 2001 to late 2004 — without a Pac-12 host.
All of that has changed. USC has since been host to 10 GameDay shows;
“Just to show off our campus and the city of
ESPN won’t divulge the identity of GameDay’s much-anticipated “guest picker” until Saturday.
In 2009, when
Perhaps this time GameDay will fly
The appeal of GameDay is now part of
When ESPN decided to televise the 100th meeting between Division III football rivals Amherst and Williams, the Lord Jeffs against the Ephs, the
They left the decision to football coach Jim Ostendarp, who famously said “we’re in the education business, not the entertainment business.”
You almost expected a poetry reading.
Twenty-two years later, the Ephs and Lord Jeffs met again, a showdown for the 2007 Little Three championship, and when ESPN’s GameDay crew erected a stage three days in advance, the population of Williamstown grew and grew and grew, from 2,500 to almost 14,000.
People camped on every available plot of grass near the Massachusetts-Vermont border.
When the ESPN people flipped the switch early Saturday morning, downtown Williamstown was transformed into a mobile fraternity party. Dozens of people dressed in purple cow costumes (the Eph mascot is a purple cow). Others held signs that said “FEAR THE COW” and “AMWORST MUST GO.”
On Saturday morning at the UA mall, scores of bleary-eyed Wildcat fans will sway behind the GameDay stage. If you’re going to be part of the crowd, jot down these words and put them on a red and blue sign:
PLEASE COME BACK
The original wildcat mascot arrived on campus October 17, 1915, and was introduced to the student body the following day at assembly in Herring Hall.