ESPN College GameDay 101

It’s been 12 years since ESPN’s popular college football pregame show College GameDay has been in Lincoln. Most of the current student body at UNL was under 10 years old at that time. Here is a quick crash course in the show that has had Lincoln buzzing all week:

What is College GameDay?

College GameDay presented by The Home Depot is a three-hour pregame show on ESPN which airs every Saturday morning during college football season. The show is hosted by Rece Davis, and features analysts Desmond Howard, Kirk Herbstreit and Lee Corso. It also features David Pollack, Chris ‘The Bear’ Fallica, Jen Lada, Tom Rinaldi, Maria Taylor and Gene Wojciechowski. 

The show changes location every week, heading to the site of the most important game of the week. 

Where is College GameDay?

If you walk on the east side of Memorial Stadium, the set is impossible to miss. The show is already set up outside of Cook Pavilion in the parking lot. Students will be allowed in the set’s pit area, and all fans can watch from the space surrounding the pit area. Entry to the event is free.

When is College GameDay?

The actual show starts at 8 a.m., but the pit will be open for students to enter at 5:30 a.m. There will be live segments from the set on ESPN platforms starting at 6 a.m. On Friday, ESPN’s College Football Live will air live from Lincoln on the set at 2 p.m. 

Rules for signs

Holding up signs in the background of the show is a popular tradition that actually originated with one man in Lincoln sending a message to his friends in the background in 1994. All signs in the pit area will be inspected. Signs cannot be vulgar, political, religious or promote outside brands or websites.

Who will be the celebrity guest picker?

One of the major points of speculation throughout the week was about which celebrity will the show bring on to predict the day’s games. On Thursday afternoon, ESPN announced that actress Gabrielle Union will be the guest of honor for the show. Union is a noted Nebraska fan, born and raised in Omaha. She wrapped up her first season as a judge on America’s Got Talent last Wednesday, Sept. 18.

Advice for students attending:

Iowa State student Jordan Hamann was kind enough to send along some advice for students going to the show. Hamann attended GameDay when it stopped in Ames, Iowa, for Iowa State’s showdown with Iowa two weeks ago. Here are his tips:

1. If you want any chance of being at the front or even at the pit at all, then my advice for UNL students, especially if this is your first time going to College GameDay, is to get there early — like really early. 

It's hard to know how early as it would depend on when they're letting you line up to get into the pit. I arrived at the set of College GameDay in Ames at 1:30 that morning. After they began allowing us to start lining up at 3:30 a.m, there were already roughly 400 people. Thankfully I was at the front of the line, and I was the first one in the pit at 5:30 when they let us in.

2. Load up on fluids and carbs at least a few hours before arriving at College GameDay. Also, be prepared not to eat, drink, or get any sleep for a minimum of 24 hours. I went 37 hours of no sleep and minimal food/drink consumption. The reason being was because you cannot bring any food or drink into the pit; yes, that includes water. 

3. Most important of all, have fun with it. Get crazy with those signs and posters, but remember to be respectful and appropriate. Be respectful of the other fans with you in the pit. If this is your first ever College GameDay like it was for me, you're in for quite the life-long memorable experience. Also, if you’re the first one in like I was, then kudos to you.

Where can I read about the event after it ends?

The Daily Nebraskan will have several reporters and photographers on the scene, meaning there will be plenty of coverage.