The Norman Transcript

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October 26, 2012

GameDay setting up shop

ESPN program to be broadcast from South Oval

NORMAN — Anthony Rodriguez was there in 2008. He was in the middle of the hundreds of Oklahoma fans who showed up in the early morning hours of Saturday, Nov. 22, to take in ESPN’s College GameDay on the Oklahoma campus.

“It was electric, being it was my first time,” Rodriguez said. “All I could think is, ‘Dang, I wish I would have made a sign.’ It was packed more than I expected and I knew we were at a very huge game.”

No. 2 Texas Tech was in town.

OU won 65-21.

It was the last time the traveling road show known as GameDay appeared in Norman. It has taken, perhaps, the two most storied programs in the history of the college game to bring it back. No. 5 Notre Dame meets No. 8 OU at 7 p.m. Saturday at Owen Field.

“We are excited about having them here again,” said Pete Moris, who runs athletic media relations for the Sooners. “It will be a great day for college football … Games like this are what college football are all about. Having that date circled on your calendar, hotels sold out for months. It’s great for the community, it’s great for the fans, great for the university and football program.”

In its 26th year, College GameDay has grown from a simple studio into the foundation of ESPN’s college football coverage. Produced at a different campus site each week, it packs in fans by the thousands hours and hours before kickoff.

“The best part for me was actually seeing everything happen live and in person,” said Kyle Salomon, who was also at the 2008 game. “I have watched College GameDay since I was a little kid, so to see it in person and how everything works was pretty cool.”

GameDay first went on the road on Nov. 13, 1993, to South Bend, Ind., for a matchup between No. 1 Florida State and No. 2 Notre Dame. GameDay has been on site for 27 Oklahoma games since 1995, including last season’s 55-17 win over Texas at the Cotton Bowl. Saturday will mark GameDay’s seventh Norman appearance. Only Florida (34) and Ohio State (30) have been featured more times than OU. The Sooners are 5-1 in their six previous appearances.

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