College GameDay. The best pregame show on TV. Sorry, NFL, your shows are....not that good.
And guess where it’s going to be this Saturday. (I know, you read the headline)
Start spreading the news ...— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) September 14, 2017
For the first time ever, we're headed to New York City next week! pic.twitter.com/VVhGw9vjwZ
And see those over 1,200 comments for that tweet? A lot of those people (all of them?) aren’t happy about Rece Davis, Lee Corso, and the others being somewhere else besides a college campus.
But we are.
While a Rutgers pep band will be traveling to Lincoln to rep Rutgers and New Jersey, a bunch more band members, plus key elements of the Rutgers spirit contingent, will be right there in Times Square cheering on Lee Corso. Come on, Lee.....the Knight head!
Writers from around the country have joined in the “What was ESPN thinking” revolt over putting its premier pregame program off campus. From Teddy Greenstein’s column in the Chicago Tribune:
ESPNU/Sirius XM radio host Mark Packer tweeted: "Love 'GameDay' but there have been more important football games played in my front yard than Times Square."
Tweeted Stewart Mandel of the Athletic: "Hey, let's take an event that showcases the passion of college football to the least passionate spot in the country."
No passion in New York City? Ha!
Yeah, “the pomp and pageantry of college football”, as Chris Schenkel used to say, isn’t necessarily associated with NYC. Although, as Greenstein points out, Columbia is hosting Georgetown this Saturday. But they fail to realize that there are a lot of college football fans (the alumni!!) in the city and there are a lot of “college” bars there as well where alums congregate to watch their teams play.
That is exactly what ESPN is counting on. Kirk Herbstreit tweeted:
You'll love it. It's about how many alums are in NYC and how many different local establishments become watch parties!!! Be cool! https://t.co/wK0NPHQQT2— Kirk Herbstreit (@KirkHerbstreit) September 14, 2017
Justin Nails of Gridiron Now wrote:
“College GameDay” in Times Square. Some like it, some don’t. To some, the show should always be featured either on campus or at least in the city where a game is being played. But isn’t the “College GameDay” experience still about the fans?
He also quoted the ESPN Vice President of production Lee Fitting:
“New York City is a melting pot of college football fans and the heartbeat of America. Thousands of alumni gather in the city each fall on Saturday to root on their school and we are bringing College Gameday to New York for them! We want every alumni base and college football fan near and far to join us in Times Square to provide the celebratory, festive atmosphere that is synonymous with the show.”
I stumbled upon (not out of) such a “college” bar during the 2016 NCAA Wrestling Championships at the Garden. Feile on W. 33rd St is an University of Washington bar. Think that’s a rarity? Try this Google search result:
College football lives in NYC as much as it lives in Chicago (despite Northwestern’s attendance records). The fact that Rutgers will be able to take advantage of it is a bonus.
So, if you’re in the city on Saturday, you know, near Times Square, maybe have your Rutgers gear on. Stroll past the set. Maybe make a sign that says Rutgers loves ESPN College GameDay.
Good things might happen.