Get your signs ready!

Get your signs ready!

The California football team program has an even better chance to increase its national profile on September 1st. In addition to the highly anticipated home opener against Tennessee, the Bear Insider has learned that ESPN GameDay will be bringing its wildly popular show to Berkeley.

With the scarcity of top match-ups on September 1st, plus the fact that the game is scheduled to be broadcast by ABC, the Cal-Tennessee game was a logical selection.    The Cal-Tennessee game is currently the only college football game scheduled to be broadcast by ABC/ESPN while the only other intersectional match-up of even mild national interest is Notre Dame/Georgia Tech, which is scheduled to be televised by NBC.  Other nationally televised games for that day are relatively low-profile; Kansas State at Auburn (ESPN or ESPN2), Arizona at BYU (Versus), Virginia at Wyoming  (Versus), New Mexico at UTEP (CSTV), and Baylor at TCU (CSTV).

The college football pre-game show, which features host Chris Fowler along with analysts Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit, includes interviews, features, and prediction. From the set, the trio also offers updates during the day, as well as segments on ESPN's SportsCenter, College Football Scoreboard Show, and College GameDay Final.  By going to a different campus each week and including a backdrop of hundreds, and sometimes thousands of people, the show helps show the sprit and energy unique to college football.

While preparations for the show will begin well in advance of September 1st, the Cal community will get its first sign of what's in store when five big rigs and two production compounds arrive on campus the Wednesday before the game.  To learn about the details of the show as well as what the preparation week consists of, ESPN's College GameDay site offers a detailed explanation.

While no location has yet been finalized, sources close to the athletic department indicate that Sproul Plaza is being strongly considered.  While Sproul Plaza isn't as close to the stadium as other GameDay locations have been, it does have the benefit of being closer to the center of campus, having lots of available open space, and offering the backdrop of the pre-game rally and band performance.

Cal's last experience with College GameDay was in 2004, when the show was broadcast outside the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum prior to the Cal-USC game. Producers' concerns that choosing a West Coast location might result in low attendance due to the early start were for naught as both schools' student groups actively organized themselves to get prime positions behind the set in hopes of getting a sign or a flag on camera and arrived several hours in advance of the show.

Because the show will be broadcast at an hour far earlier than college students are accustomed to waking up on a Saturday, expect a significant effort from the marketing department to bolster attendance.

Official announcements from the Cal athletic department and ESPN are expected shortly.


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