GameDay Crew Pleased With Stadium View

FAYETTEVILLE — "Yeah, this is a good view," ESPN Gameday spokesman Mike Humes said Friday morning as he looked in at Reynolds Razorback Stadium from the GameDay set that was nearing completion in the Broyles Center parking lot affectionately known as "The Pit."

"Anybody want any Red Bull?" asked a production guy, who quickly found several takers for the caffeine-laced energy drink that boosts weary workers who sometimes subsist on four hours' sleep during college football weekends. "You can't come to college towns all the time and not go out at night," explained one crewman. Already, the ESPN crew seemed to like Fayetteville. Down the street from the GameDay set, tents were filled with students awaiting the best ticket locations for today's 6 p.m. Tennessee-Arkansas game. Horn-honking near the GameDay set was constant throughout the morning, as drivers responded to two students holding a sign that read, "Honk if you love the Hogs." A GameDay cameraman said, "This is a wonderful stadium view. We're thankful for that. Usually, we don't get anywhere near as good a view." The crew members basically live on the road during the football season, although about 20 of them reside in Bristol, Conn., ESPN's home. Humes, who has been with GameDay almost seven years, said, "Bristol is OK — it's like a college campus. ESPN is on 64 acres, with 26 satellite dishes. The best eating in town is in the ESPN cafeteria. One time, the crew had to drive from the South Florida-Army game to Bristol to do GameDay because of a lightning storm." That was in 2003. "We had to abandon (West Point)," Humes said. "It got too wet." Rain had originally been forecast in Fayetteville today, but on Friday, Humes heard the weather was to be clear and cool. "Rain is not pleasurable (for GameDay) if it's blowing, too," Humes said. "More than anything, it dampens the crowd. But we're expecting a great atmosphere here. I hear the fans show up pretty early." The record turnout for GameDay itself is 15,808, for a Notre Dame-Nebraska game in Lincoln. Humes said fan enthusiasm and signs are welcome this morning, as long as the signs are not offensive. "It's a family show," he reminded. Corso, Herbstreit, Fowler and contributing analyst Desmond Howard attended a production meeting from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Friday, at which a minute-by-minute rundown of the show was laid out. "We make sure everyone is on the same page," Humes said. "The topics are fairly structured, but what Lee may be saying, for example, is not necessarily what has been discussed beforehand — including his picks." Corso is the show's lighting rod. "He is passionate about college football," Humes said. "He takes it seriously — his picks are important to him — but he's also an unbelievable entertainer." The GameDay workers will have everything cleared out by 3 p.m. today, but Corso and Co. will reappear after the game, probably sitting in director's chairs on the field. Though GameDay began taking its show on the road in 1993, this is its first visit to Fayetteville. "It's just a matter of when it works out," Humes said. "You could be having a great season, but the opponent may not be. This (Tennessee-Arkansas) is a great game, with a lot on the line. We're happy to be here."

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