MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Beale Street looked like a river in a sea of blue that took over for College GameDay.
Fans poured in hours before sunrise Saturday to catch the three-hour broadcast live, in the cold, from the intersection of Beale and B.B. King.
“It’s absolutely fantastic. Everybody is really excited. Everybody is in blue like we wanted,” Jennifer Volmer said after arriving for the show.
All came to celebrate a football program that they said has come so far. Many fans said they never believed GameDay would be in Memphis for football.
“This is unprecedented. It takes this program to a different level. These coaches, players, staff have worked to move this program forward. This moves the program forward in a significant way,” Memphis President Dr. M. David Rudd said, prior to the start of the show.
The three-hour show featured Memphis in every way. Head Coach Mike Norvell was on the show to talk about the matchup and elevating the program to new heights.
Throughout the program, the GameDay hosts made several comments on what they called an impressive turnout by fans.
While the focus was on football, the day couldn’t pass without mentioning the Memphis Basketball team. Coach Penny Hardaway made an appearance on the show and “Penny” chants broke out when the team was spotted watching the show from the Alfred’s rooftop.
The show’s guest picker Jerry “The King” Lawler rolled in on a Batmobile. On set, he was seated next to Lee Corso, who sported a full Elvis suit and wig.
Corso, who sung praises about Memphis all day, teased fans when he held up a Tigers head before tossing it aside for the SMU Mustang head.
Lawler and Desmond Howard both chose Memphis to win. Kirk Herbstreit did not pick because he will be calling the game when it kicks off at 6:30 p.m. on Local 24 News.
Even though Corso’s pick was SMU, fans and the country got a full display of what makes Memphis the city it is.
“It shows the heart of Memphis. This is the soul of Memphis. It’s just everything to us,” David Wieland said as he watched from the packed crowd.
And, of course, there was a lot of talk of Memphis BBQ.