Best, is what describes the days of a young person’s life while they are in college meeting new people from different communities, trying new things and having so much fun.
Hopefully they are learning too.
If their school is fortunate, the best day of their life and that of the university is if ESPN’s College Game Day broadcasts from their campus.
For college football fans, this is the highlight of their television watching week.
College GameDay, branded as ESPN College GameDay built by the Home Depot for sponsorship reasons, is a pre-game show broadcast by ESPN as part of the network’s coverage of college football, broadcast on Saturday mornings during the college football season, prior to the start of games with a 12:00 pm ET kickoff.
In its current form, the program is typically broadcast from the campus of the team hosting a featured game being played that day.
It first aired in 1987 with Tim Brando as host and Lee Corso and Beano Cook as commentators, giving an overview of college football games, but the show underwent a radical transformation beginning in 1993, and began incorporating live broadcasts.
The show is known for its prediction segment that appears at the end of each broadcast. Typically there are four predictors: Corso, Herbstreit, Howard, and an invited guest, usually a celebrity, prominent athlete, or radio personality associated with the host school for that week.
A female reporter that adds personality, information and additional fun to the show is Maria Taylor.
Ms. Taylor attended Centennial High School and had a successful four-year basketball career in which she received many awards. Among the awards were being a member of the Atlanta Tip-Off Team of the Year, being a Fulton County Scholar Athlete of the Year, Offensive MVP of her high school volleyball team for three years, a three-time All-Region Selection, and being named All-State as a senior.
She was also selected to be a member of the 2004 USA Volleyball Junior National A2 team.
Our dynamic reporter received an athletic scholarship to the University of Georgia, where she continued to play volleyball and basketball from 2005-2009.
If you watch the show you already know about her enjoyable reports and contributions.
In terms of women becoming reporters and gaining a foothold in a once completely male oriented industry, in speaking with NBC News, Maria shared, “The best thing that you can do to break down any of the barriers that women face in sports is to be over prepared — know your value, but also know the subject matter that you’re covering,” said Taylor. “That way, when a guy comes to you with a question about a certain team or a player, you don’t pause — you are confident in yourself and your knowledge base.”
Good to know.
Another thing we would like to know is what goes on behind the scenes in preparation for College Game Day and since we see so many exuberant young people shouting and having a good time in front of a live camera often shaking homemade signs, what are some of the rules for participation?
USA Today educates, “There are certain crowd rules: No food or drinks, no vulgar signs, no throwing objects, no religious signs and no political signs, among others. ESPN’s security team culls through the signs, removing one for every five that pass muster.”
Students often plan on camping out overnight on Friday just to get a good spot for the GameDay show, which starts at 8:00 AM Saturday morning.
In general, the pit at the College GameDay stage fits 500 to 700 people. The pit opens at 5:30 a.m. and is first come, first serve. Those who aren’t waiting in line for a spot in the pit still have the option of hanging out on its outskirts, and people can come and go as they please.
Here are ESPN policies for the Pit:
-No food or drink
-No vulgar or inappropriate signage
-No offensive language
-No bags, backpacks or purses
-No pens, pencils, markers or dry erase boards
-Throwing of objects is prohibitive
As thousands of people are expected to attend the event and lines will start early, ESPN security is works with the authorities and police to manage crowds and safety.
On September 26, 2019, College GameDay finally came back to Nebraska. The show had not been there since 2007. With the return of Native Son Scott Frost as their coach and the continued improvement of the program, it appears it was time for the big show to return to Cornhusker nation.
How did the school benefit?
According to dailynebraskan.com, “Because millions of fans watch College GameDay, the Nebraska Athletic Department is expected to receive approximately $50 million in free advertising, according to Brandon Meier, senior associate athletics director of marketing and multimedia.”
Adherence to high standards are really important. You don’t want to ruin a product where so much time and effort went into it.
Behind the scenes, GameDay is propelled by an orchestra of technicians, cameramen, producers, directors, set designers, stylists, crowd pumpers, handymen, drivers and security guards. The show itself, so watertight in its execution, is built, developed and maintained during the course of several days of preparation.
Once we see the finished product, all of the pre-prep really shows.
Then there is the food.
Tailgating is a ritual and when you research most of the foods serve, as you might guess, pork, beef, chicken and BBQ grills are everywhere.
Don’t forget the pizza too. What is a college campus without pizza?
Having said that, the dishes can still be very creative. It’s only limited by your imagination and as we know, college students have great imagination.
So if you are a college student and are fortunate to experience GameDay live, realize it is a once in a lifetime experience since it travels from school to school.
Hopefully you are there for 4-5 years otherwise something may not be quite right.
So embrace your special College GameDay. There’s iconic broadcasters, reporters with great personalities, a national spotlight, delicious grilled food and a lifetime of memories made with your friends.
That menu is the ultimate definition of college student fun.
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Opening photo Murray State photo credit