Buy your poster board and set your alarm clocks: College Gameday will officially be originating from Northwestern's Evanston campus for the much-hyped game against Ohio State. Here's the official word:
Northwestern, here we come! First time since the blizzard of '95! @collegegameday— Chris Fowler (@cbfowler) September 29, 2013
This from Pat Fitzgerald actually came out first:
:-) I love our men! #BIGCats!— Pat Fitzgerald (@coachfitz51) September 29, 2013
We've been looking forward to this for a while. We wrote about how College Gameday-friendly this game looked when Northwestern announced this game would be in primetime back in April, two weeks ago, we wrote how all the pieces had seemed to be falling into place. All that needed to happen, seemingly, was for both teams to set up so that they'd reach Oct. 5 undefeated.
Now, it's official. They waited on Ohio State to pull away against Wisconsin and guarantee that they'd be undefeated, and now, here we are.
Of course, this is awesome. It's the sports' signature show, and a great opportunity to show the world Northwestern is a) good at football and b) has an existent fanbase. So let's do that. And it underscores the importance of a game that seems like the biggest game in program history more and more with each passing day.
This is the third time Northwestern has played host to College GameDay. The show visited E-Town in 1995, the first year the show went someplace every week, to check out Northwestern-Iowa during the Wildcats' first Big Ten championship run in about 400 trillion years. They ended up forced inside McGaw Hall due to snow, which happens in Evanston in November. And they visited Northwestern-Illinois in 2010 for the teams' game at Wrigley Field, but that was more about the location than the game (which turned out to be an ugly Mikel Leshoure-dominated Illinois win, although the highlight was Brian Peters' wrong-way touchdown. This is the first time the show has profiled the Wildcats in about 20 years due to the quality of the team, and the first time the show has come to Evanston since it became a cultural phenomenon.
It also has to do with the fact that other options weren't really that appealing -- the show could have visited Stanford-Washington, and perhaps a service academy matchup between Air Force and Navy (Barack Obama said he wanted to do GameDay!) but most of the slate is dull. This game is the highlight.
Details on the on-campus location are still unclear. The show has moved away from filming at stadiums, which is good, since Ryan Field is a dump. Deering Field is supposedly in use for Homecoming events, and it's extremely silly that Northwestern won't change that, but, whatever. Other options include Lakeside Field, which would be awesome if they could get the lake/Chicago as the backdrop, although signs would get blown, and I'm not sure where else.
We'll have plenty of discussion on this site of what GameDay signs you should make. Also, I've said this in the comments, but I'm gonna want a Sippin' on Purple sign on TV, and since I can't actually make it to Evanston, I'm willing to pay for a surrogate. Pls get in touch.
Unfortunately, Lee Corso will most likely be opting for a Brutus Buckeye head. But here's to him showing us his Willie head and perhaps bringing out a tiny Wildcat kitten.
Go Cats and stuff.