College GameDay prepping for ‘blue everywhere’ at game tomorrow


Gameday vs. Florida

Jacob Eads

Grab your signs, don your blue and get ready for another rendition of ESPN College GameDay broadcasted from Lexington’s Rupp Arena.

ESPN College GameDay will host its namesake show from the floor of Rupp Arena Saturday at 11 a.m. as a precursor to the heated top 10 matchup expected between UK and Kansas.

Students who are brave enough to face the winter weather can begin lining up outside of Rupp Arena Saturday morning at 5 a.m., but doors aren’t set to open until 9 a.m.

This will be College GameDay’s eighth trip to Lexington, and the 17th time UK will be featured on the show. UK maintains the second most appearances on College GameDay, behind only North Carolina.

“We don’t need extra proof of it, but it’s yet another instance of Kentucky basketball being a tradition that is unmatched in college basketball,” said UK Athletics Director of Strategic Communication Guy Ramsey.

It may seem like ESPN pulls this broadcast off without a hitch almost annually, but those who work behind the scenes say it takes more effort to produce than you might think.

While students were still in class Friday, crews were busy staging all of the equipment and infrastructure needed for tomorrow’s show. This week, about 65 ESPN staff members will be in Lexington for College GameDay, according to coordinating producer Drew Gallagher.

Faculty in UK’s School of Journalism and Media also heralded the amount of work ESPN puts into pulling off a broadcast of this caliber. 

“There are weeks of preparation and work done for this broadcast. ESPN will have people who focus on everything from pre-production to graphics, lighting, setting up cables and much more,” said lecturer Andrew Dawson. “ESPN is also a well-oiled machine and I am sure they have to produce this kind of show down to an exact science.”

But organizers said that despite all of the preparation, Kentucky’s fans made it an easy decision to bring College GameDay to Lexington again.

“Kentucky has an incredibly passionate fanbase. Blue everywhere,” said Gallagher. “This matchup features two of the all-time winningest programs, and are both relevant this season – it was a no-brainer.”

Kentucky actually holds the record for the most attended broadcast of College GameDay, dating back to coach John Calipari’s first season at UK when the Wildcats faced off against Tennessee.

22,144 fans attended that show. Gallagher said it was up to UK fans to try and beat that record this year.

“Those folks will be able to get closest to the court, and the chance to be on camera. Bring your clever signs,” Gallagher said.

Let’s hope all of the Wildcats who attend Saturday’s College GameDay festivities are thawed out by tipoff come 6 p.m.