ESPN’s College GameDay is a tradition like no other. Waking up to the voices of Kirk Herbstreit, Rece Davis, Desmond Howard, Maria Taylor and Lee Corso putting some silly mascot head over his is music to every college football fan’s ears.
The Saturday morning three-hour show travels to campuses as the site of a college football game of their choosing each week, and it’s back in action for the 2020 season.
GameDay opened up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to showcase a season opener between All-American quarterback Trevor Lawrence’s Clemson Tigers and the Wake Forest Demon Deacons on Saturday, Sept. 12. Corso and the crew set up shop at Cardinal Stadium for a Louisville-Miami ACC matchup in week 3.
Not only does this mean college football will have a sense of normalcy amid the coronavirus pandemic, it also means our beloved and hilarious GameDay signs are also back (maybe).
However, because of COVID-19, fans can’t attend the pregame show. That doesn’t mean Clemson and Florida State fans in the ACC to Alabama and LSU fans in the SEC can’t still get the GameDay experience.
College GameDay is going virtual, much like the NBA Playoffs and the NFL Draft have done, while MLB opted for cardboard cutout fans. Here’s how to nab one of these coveted spots for the college football season:
What Are College GameDay’s Virtual Fans?
College GameDay is featuring a “virtual fan wall” for the first time that will show off 40 lucky fans at any one time in a rotation format.
There are a ton of rules for those lucky fans who make it on TV, which may make it difficult for anyone to flash a sign like fans in the past have done. However, it seems like a pretty easy process to sign up for.
“We’re really doing everything we can, or at least our bosses are, to try to give the fans the closest thing that we can get them to what you’d expect from GameDay — which means trying to put it on the road,” Herbstreit said of making virtual fans part of the show in an interview with Nashville’s 104.5 The Zone.
How To Become One
College GameDay has made it simple for NCAA football fans. Basically, you just have to follow three simple steps to get your face behind the ESPN gang and on TV in front of millions of people.
Step 1: Go to CollegeGameDay.com.
Step 2: Fill out the questionnaire, including your favorite teams, and wait for a response email.
Step 3: Hang out with GameDay on ESPN!
There are a few caveats to note, via ESPN’s rules of entry.
For starters, only 50 fans of each “marquee team” being highlighted will be selected each week. The show will showcase four marquee football teams each week, meaning up to 200 diehard team fans from the Big Ten, SEC, ACC or any other conference will be chosen. Another 300 fans of teams not one of the marquee teams will also be chosen. That makes 500 total, but the show states that it may choose less than that number each week.
Hopeful virtual fans that enter their info will hear back from ESPN “on or by each Tuesday” at about 8 p.m. ET.
The rules also state virtual fans may not disparage ESPN, the NCAA or its member conferences. Behavior that is inappropriate, profane, hateful, slanderous or indecent is all prohibited, as is any material referencing alcohol, drugs and smoking of any kind. No mentions of personal Venmo accounts can be made either, which means this kid who solicited money to buy beer is out of luck this year.
The GameDay signs are a huge part of the show’s experience, and it sounds like ESPN is all but disallowing that part to take place. Don’t even try disrespecting host Rece Davis or Kirk Herbstreit.
Still, ESPN’s College GameDay is sure to be a blast before big-time matchups every Saturday morning. There will undoubtedly be moments that will be trending on social media. Let’s just be glad the offseason is over and we can watch Lee Corso make a fool of himself and drop F-bombs.