ESPN ‘GameDay’ to broadcast from U

Amid the widespread hype that is surrounding the undefeated No. 5 U football team, ESPN’s “College Football GameDay” crew will broadcast from campus this weekend as one battle among several of the nation’s most heated rivalries.

The traditional rivalry between the U and Brigham Young University at Rice-Eccles Stadium was chosen as the backdrop for ESPN’s broadcast rather than some of the nation’s other heated rivalries, including Auburn-Alabama and Michigan-Ohio State.

U officials are encouraging students to support their team, as this national exposure could have a substantial impact on the future of recruiting for the U’s athletic and academic programs.

“This has the potential to bring more attention to the U than anything since the Olympics,” said Alex Lowe, president of the Associated Students of the University of Utah. “It is imperative to get the student body out to ‘GameDay.’ The players really appreciate the support and passion of the student body.”

Coach Urban Meyer promised ESPN that 20,000 people would turn out for the ‘GameDay’ broadcast, providing an atmosphere similar to that of typical Ute home games.

U Athletic Director Chris Hill was more modest, but encouraged maximum hype and support.

“I don’t think the number is a set thing, we just want to have the biggest crowd we could get,” Hill said. “We just want to get as many students as we can there and go from there. It’s going to be the center of college football.”

Hill added that the 90-minute live shot would be important for the U and the surrounding area.

“I think, for our athletics program, it’s probably the next biggest [second to the Olympics] visibility that we’ll have for years in national exposure,” Hill said. “We’ve got to pull out all the stops, get flags out and show our best face.”

Lowe said this weekend will provide U fans an opportunity “to show we are as dedicated as any fans in any institution throughout the nation.”

He added that the exposure not only provides national recognition for the football program, but it also transfers into the university as a whole. The experience could influence how prospective students view the university.

“I think it helps recruiting anytime we can get good positive exposure for our campus,” Hill said. “It helps the athletics department and the entire university…we’re dependent on each other.”

Kickoff for Saturday’s game is at 5 p.m. The “GameDay” crew-Chris Fowler, Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit-will broadcast from the west part of the west stadium lot near the TRAX station on Friday and Saturday.

Friday’s broadcast will begin at 3 p.m. and a radio portion will occur from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The live segment of the broadcast will take place Saturday morning from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. and will continue with updates throughout the day.

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