ESPN College GameDay set going up at Papa John's Cardinal Stadiu - WDRB 41 Louisville News

ESPN College GameDay set going up at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The grounds outside of Papa John's Cardinal Stadium started to look like a hometown tourist attraction on Thursday, with the number of U of L fans stopping by to take pictures of the ESPN College GameDay set. 

Setup started early in the morning and lasted all day as the college football pregame show prepares to spotlight U of L's matchup against Florida State on Saturday.The Cards come into the game ranked No. 10 and Florida State No. 2. 

"I just had to see it. It's exciting," said Josh Cundiff, who brought his wife Jasmin and 10-month-old son McKoi to also take in the giant stage. 

"We don't pack light, we've got six semis that hit the road, plus a mobile unit and a couple box trucks. It's quite the caravan," said Senior operations Producer Judy Weiss. After 19 years on the road with ABC/ESPN Weiss knows where every piece goes and has gotten use to life on the road. 

"Every week, for 15 weeks," she said. "I love it."

Weiss is like the glue in a crew of 65 holding the College GameDay show together. She hit the ground at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium Sunday, scouting locations, coordinating equipment, crew and schedules. It is the show's first trip to Louisville. 

"We bring in local stage hands to build stages and offer opportunities to local college students who are studying broadcasting in the area," Weiss said. "We are like a well-oiled machine."

As the stage was going up, we found U of L sprucing up its campus with groundskeepers laying beauty bark around the athletic complex. 

"In about an 18-hour period, we've got the number No. 1 in the nation, Notre Dame, coming to play our soccer team, the No. 2 field hockey team, Duke, coming to play field hockey, and No. 2 Florida State facing our football team on Saturday," said U of L Athletic Director Tom Jurich. "So in an 18-hour spread, you've got three of the top two teams in the country coming." 

Jurich credits U of L's transition to the ACC. 

"It's a fun national stage we are on," he said. "It's fun to be in a competitive matchup like this when everyone matters."

The big games also draw in big crowds. Producers expect thousand to pack "the pit" behind the GameDay set for the show's broadcast at 9 a.m. Saturday. 

The so called crazies will fill in right in front of the Trager Field House. Cundiff says his family will be there and hopes baby McKoi can make his national television debut.

"I've been trying to teach him to throw up his L," Cundiff said. 

"I'm psyched," Weiss said. "We love coming to new cities."

It's only Week 3 of the college football season, but the hype in Louisville feels like a championship. 

Fans can start lining up to fill in "the pit" behind the GameDay set at 4 a.m Saturday. The show starts at 9 a.m., and kickoff for the game is at noon.

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