CINCINNATI — Clifton will be the epicenter of college football Saturday as ESPN's College GameDay arrives in town for the Bearcats' homecoming game against Tulsa.
Lee Corso and crew will be live from The Commons at 9 a.m., but as analyst Kirk Herbstreit said, "get there way earlier than that." This is GameDay's first time in Cincinnati, and the show is expecting a lot of energy from UC fans.
"Us on the crew, there's nothing like going to a location, a campus, for the first time," said Drew Gallagher, GameDay coordinating producer. "We're more excited this week — we can feel it among the crew...can't wait to see Nippert Stadium, can't wait to see Cincinnati fans. There's an energy that comes from the fans who have never been to a GameDay show before."
Gallagher said ESPN will open the pit area at 6:30 a.m. Lineup for the pit starts at 5:30 a.m., and UC is encouraging fans to wear red. Fans with the best (appropriate) signs will win two tickets to the game. Anyone who wants to be on TV will want a spot on the rail — and Gallagher said fans should remember to stay comfortable while standing outside for long hours.
"My advice would be wear comfortable shoes," Gallagher said. "Bring your energy, bring your signs. Remember, this is Cincinnati’s chance to tell the college football world how they feel about the respect they’re getting nationally."
The excitement is not contained to just three hours. Crews got to Cincinnati early in the week to set the stage, and ESPN's College Football Live will be, well, live from UC at 3 p.m. Friday. GameDay will also do Good Morning America and SportsCenter segments as early as 7:45 a.m. Saturday. A full list of live shots can be found here.
"At the end of the day, we're a national pregame show," Gallagher said. "Our job is to set the stage for the day ahead in college football, but also touch on the college football stories of the week. Certainly, the story of the week right now is Cincinnati."
Fans can park at Eden Garage on UC's East Campus Saturday. Parking starts at $15 for those who prepay online. Cash parking will start at $20. Shuttles will start at 6 a.m. Spaces are limited.
UC's homecoming parade will immediately follow GameDay, meaning streets around UC's campus will be closed late-morning. Calhoun Street between Vine and Clifton will close at 10 a.m., while Clifton Avenue between McMillan and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive will close at 11:45 a.m.
Entry into the Calhoun Garage from Calhoun Street will be closed at 10 a.m. and entry into the Clifton Court and Stratford Heights garages from Clifton Avenue will be closed starting at 11:15 a.m. All streets and garage entries will reopen when the parade ends around 1 p.m.
The team's catwalk will start in Campus Green at around 1 p.m., and the undefeated Bearcats will take on Tulsa at 3:30 p.m. at Nippert Stadium.