View Original Notice ? UCLA welcomes ESPN’s ‘College GameDay,’ keeps focus on Oregon
The UCLA football players will not have the opportunity to participate in on-campus festivities that come with ESPN’s “College GameDay” setting up on campus Saturday morning, despite being part of the reason the college football pregame show is on campus.
The Bruins will instead focus on their showdown with No. 10 Oregon in its homecoming game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, a few hours after the show airs from Wilson Plaza on the Westwood campus.
“We have a hotel on campus,” Bruins defensive lineman Odua Isibor said. “But we’ll be focused (on the game). … We’re a strict, business-oriented operation so we’ll wake up, do our morning workouts and straight on a schedule to the game.”
The game will air on ABC at 12:30 p.m., the earliest start for a UCLA game this season, but students and fans will have to be on campus in the early hours of Saturday morning to be a part of the show experience.
“I think it’s cool,” UCLA coach Chip Kelly said. “I think it’s a great opportunity for our fans and student body, especially after last year when nobody could go to games and now everybody gets to attend.”
UCLA Athletic Director Martin Jarmond suggests people show up to campus close to 4 a.m., when access to the designated area for the show will open. The show will be televised on ESPN from 6 to 9 a.m.
Jarmond mentioned in a statement on social media that “there will be giveaways, free food, energy, and lots of good times to be had.”
“I think it will be a really fun atmosphere having ‘GameDay’ there,” UCLA tight end Greg Dulcich said. “It will be really exciting.”
Dulcich and starting quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson mentioned they were familiar with the show and have watched it on occasion at a younger age.
“It’s a big deal,” Thompson-Robinson said. “I know it hasn’t been done here in a while so it’s an exciting time for the team, the community and the campus. It should be fun, but at the end of the day we still got to go out and win the game.”
The show has traveled to eight games involving the Bruins (5-2 overall, 3-1 Pac-12), including three against Oregon (5-1, 2-1), but it will be just the second time for a UCLA home game and the first time on campus.
The Bruins hold a 3-5 record in those games and 1-2 against the Ducks.
The first “College GameDay” visit for UCLA was at the Rose Bowl, featuring the second-ranked Bruins defeating No. 11 Oregon 41-38 in overtime on Oct. 17, 1998. It was also the first time the show had come out for a game between two Pac-10 (now Pac-12) teams.
With the opportunity to have the show on campus instead of back in Pasadena, UCLA will have the opportunity to show off the campus and its traditions to a national audience.
The show will also share its own traditions, including a segment that involves the broadcast crew sharing their insights and predictions on select games. Lee Corso likes to rally the crowd on set when picking the featured game, in this case UCLA vs. Oregon, by reaching under the desk to pull out and wear a mascot head (or other school-related attire) to represent his pick.
The show also welcomes a celebrity guest picker each week that holds some affiliation or connection to the host university. Country singer Kane Brown (Georgia), actor Ashton Kutcher (Iowa) and New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (Penn State) have all appeared as guests this season.
The Chargers will have a bye week this week, creating the possibility of running back Joshua Kelley (UCLA) and quarterback Justin Herbert (Oregon) to join the show.
Kelley was on campus Tuesday to visit with the team during practice. He became the eighth Bruin to rush for 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons in 2019. Kelley has several former teammates, including center Duke Clemens, tackle Sean Rhyan and Thompson-Robinson, still on the team.
never a dull moment with this guy pic.twitter.com/VhxJgfcTR6
— UCLA Football (@UCLAFootball) October 19, 2021
SOMETHING TO PROVE
The San Diego State Aztecs’ Twitter account has encouraged its fans to show up to the UCLA campus on Saturday morning to represent the undefeated Aztecs and “show the nation who’s got the best football team in CA!”
SDSU fans are encouraged to also reach out to the school’s marketing department for pre-made signs to wave around during the show.
Ranked No. 22 in the latest AP Top 25 poll, SDSU (6-0) holds nonconference victories over the Pac-12’s Arizona and Utah.
Aztec fans, @CollegeGameDay is coming to Southern CA this Saturday, let's show the Nation who's got the best football team in CA! Bring your @SDSU signs to the 6 am show b4 the Oregon-UCLA game. If you plan to attend & would like a pre-made sign, email [email protected] pic.twitter.com/D6t6yyhWzO
— San Diego State Aztecs (@GoAztecs) October 18, 2021
Running back Zach Charbonnet is listed as the starting running back on the Bruins’ two-deep depth chart for the game against Oregon.
It’s the first time the junior is listed as the Bruins’ No. 1 running back, despite leading the team in rushing with 697 yards through the first seven games of the season.
Charbonnet rushed for 131 yards last week against Washington. Brittain Brown has been listed as the starter and had a 146-yard rushing performance against Arizona.