Is College GameDay Coming to Your Campus? 8 Essential Tips to Make the Most of it!

Is College GameDay Coming to Your Campus? 8 Essential Tips to Make the Most of it! Is College GameDay Coming to Your Campus? 8 Essential Tips to Make the Most of it!

Originating in 1987, College GameDay is a weekly broadcast aired live on ESPN featuring a marquee matchup of college football teams, predictions, celebrity guests, witty fan-designed signs, free stuff, and much more. Even better, GameDay rotates its broadcast across campuses each weekend based on the most notable match-ups of the college football season so if you live near a major university, GameDay could make a stop at your campus sometime in the fall.

I love college sports so I'm more than a little obsessed with College Gameday. Luckily for me, I’ve also been working on my Ph. D at the University of Texas since 2018, so I’ve been fortunate enough to experience two College GameDay broadcasts during my time in Austin, and they’ve both been major highlights of my time here. However, in the time between my first and second rodeo, I’ve learned a thing or two about making the absolute most of the College GameDay experience and my second GameDay was, by far, my best. So here’s my College GameDay survival guide for anyone looking to have a good time (and maybe get on TV) if ESPN comes to your city.

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Be Prepared

Make a list of GameDay essentials (think: sunscreen, disposable water bottles, sunglasses, snacks, and of course, a witty sign) and stick to it. Also check out the weather forecast—GameDay goes on rain or shine!

Remember: GameDay is an Investment

If you want to get the most out GameDay, invest in it! This could be a monetary investment—you may want to pay for on-campus parking, or fork over some cash for a professionally printed sign like I did—but most importantly, GameDay should be an investment of your time and energy. That means spending time designing your sign, making GameDay plans, and spending several hours 1.) waiting in line to get in and 2.) at the broadcast itself. No matter how you choose to spend your GameDay, be sure to spend some time (and maybe money) to make the most out of it!

Go early

Getting up at 4:00 AM on a Saturday (or any day) just to wait in line for a few hours may not sound like most people’s definition of fun, but if you want a good spot in the GameDay pit, be sure to go early (and bring coffee and snacks to enjoy before you go in). The line to get in gets really long really fast, so save your spot no later than 5:00AM.

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Treat College GameDay Like an Actual Game Day

All athletes have a pre-game routine and if you’re going to College GameDay, preparing the night before can make a world of a difference in whether or not you have a good time the day of. So the Friday before GameDay, be sure to go to bed early, hydrate, and set out everything you’ll need before you heard to campus so it's easy to grab. And wear athletic shoes (or at lease shoes you can stand around in for a while)!

Go All Out…

Fun fans make GameDay special, so why not be one of the wild ones? Wear your school colors, paint up, bring a sign, and get loud! The cameras love crazy fans, so go big or go home. And—I can’t emphasize this enough—make a great sign (or three like I did)!

…But Know the Rules

College GameDay is a ton of fun, but there are rules to the broadcast. For example, GameDay signs are not allowed to be vulgar, political, or contain promotional references, and certain items like bags and food aren’t allowed if you want to get into “the pit” (the area closest to the big stage). Having your sign, snack, or favorite purse thrown away isn’t going to make GameDay really fun so check the GameDay rules (and any on-campus rules) before attending.

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Make a Day of it

College GameDay may only last a few hours, but the fun doesn’t have to stop there. If you can snag tickets to the game afterwards, that’s a great way to round out your GameDay, but if the game is sold out (or too expensive to attend), there are still ways to kill a Saturday after the broadcast ends. Grabbing lunch, walking around campus, or hitting up local shops or cafes is a ton of fun after GameDay ends (and you’ll probably need a coffee anyway!).

Bring Your Team

When GameDay came to Austin in 2019, I knew I was going…even though none of my friends were too keen on joining me. I still had a blast, but this year, bringing people along made GameDay all the more special. If for some reason, you have to go alone, you still should because GameDay is, in a word, an experience. But bring friends and significant others if you can—the people you share your day with are what make GameDay great.

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* Originally published on September 16, 2022, by Katie Lever, Ph. D

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