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ESPN's 'College GameDay' setup begins on U of M campus

Updated: November 27, 2019 05:36 PM

Setup is underway for ESPN's "College GameDay."

The nationally televised broadcast is making its first trip to Minnesota ahead of Saturday's big game between the Gophers and Wisconsin Badgers.

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Thousands of fans are expected to pack Northrop Mall for the pregame show.

Before this week, Minnesota was one of the few Power Five schools in the country that have never hosted GameDay.

"I know a lot of people, a lot of my friends are excited about College GameDay because the Gophers haven't seen," said Ike Abasiri, a sophomore at the University of Minnesota.

College GameDay has been all over the country, but this week Minneapolis becomes the 89th city to host the show.

"We've gone from sunburn to frostbite," said Judi Weiss, ESPN College GameDay Senior Operations Producer.

Weiss said when they initially toured campus, the Northrop Mall location stuck out because of the size and scenery.

"We love to showcase the University, and when you have iconic backdrops, it just makes the show pop," Weiss said.

Gophers to host 'College GameDay' Saturday against Wisconsin at Northrop Mall

As for the snowy, cold conditions, Weiss said besides the wind presenting some problems, they were prepared for the hours-long setup in these conditions. In fact, they love it.

"I think it's going to be wonderful, I think the snow really adds to the whole ambiance of college football, the eve of December," Weiss said.

"It'll be a little different but it'll be good for GameDay and to see Minnesota, something different all snowy like this, it'll be a lot of fun," said Owen Counsil, a freshman at the University of Minnesota.

The GameDay gates open at 5 a.m., and the show starts at 8 a.m.

"Of course I'm going to be here on Saturday morning," Abasiri said.

"We're excited to share the moment with all of you," Weiss said.

Because it's a holiday week, the GameDay setup will take a bit longer and everything should be completed by Friday.

Just in case Minnesota weather doesn't cooperate, GameDay does have a setup inside Northrop Auditorium. ESPN said it's standard procedure to have a backup plan.

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