If you followed college sports at all last Fall, November 8 should ring a bell. It was the Game of the Century. Alabama vs. LSU. 1 vs. 2. This game would determine who went on to the National Championship, though both teams ended up facing off again in the Rematch of the Century for the crystal.
ESPN’s College Gameday arrived in Tuscaloosa on Thursday, setting up at the Walk of Champions outside Bryant-Denny Stadium. My friends and I decided we would immerse ourselves in the Gameday experience and go to the set on Saturday morning, something we’d never done before.
We arrived at 3:30 a.m. in matching t shirts, carrying ‘Bama signs.
Our group opted to stand in front of the side stage, which is something I recommend. You can stand in the center area, but it’s harder to see what’s going on. Plus, there’s a good chance that cheerleaders will be perform stunts in front of you for the entire show. A pro to standing in the center: Chris Fowler and Erin Andrews greeted a few (I stress- a few) audience members on the front row of the center area.
However, if you’re directly behind the side stage on the front row, you’re guaranteed to get your five seconds of fame, at least. All the hosts and guests (except for Lee Corso) do segments on the side stage at some point. Plus, a large screen at the side stage allows you to watch what’s happening on the main set.
A must do for College Gameday: make a sign. However, security is incredibly strict on signs, especially if you’re near the front. Due to the Tyrann Mathieu synthetic marijuana situation, many signs had marijuana references (Ex: Grass- Les Miles eats it; Honey Badger smokes it), and they were quickly taken away. One of the best moments of the day was seeing Erin Andrews read our sign.
The commercial breaks at College Gameday allowed us to see the personalities behind the hosts. Watching Desmond Howard and David Pollack singing along and dancing to Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite” was beyond adorable.
So, if College Gameday decides to come to your city, especially if it’s your college town, definitely get a group of friends together and go. Here are my recommendations
- Arrive early. As I said, we arrived at 3:30 a.m., but it was the Game of the Century, after all. It’s best to not go to sleep that night and take a quick nap after Gameday.
- Make a sign. Try to brainstorm something creative and trendy.
- Bring snacks. We had coffee, Red Bull and Pop Tarts. Mmmm.
- Bring blankets and/or chairs. It will be nice to have something to sit on.