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Thousands of football fans pack CU campus for 'ESPN College GameDay' broadcast

It was show's fourth time broadcasting from Boulder, and the first time since 1996
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Posted at 5:14 PM, Sep 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-16 19:15:01-04

BOULDER, Colo — For the first time since 1996, "ESPN College GameDay" broadcast from the University of Colorado campus ahead of Saturday night’s Rocky Mountain Showdown between the CU Buffs and the Colorado State Rams.

Colorado football fans woke up early Saturday and made their way to campus to be part of the show.

“They haven't been here since the 90s, and this is going to be a fantastic year, and we're so excited that they decided to come to see this game,” said Heidi Canono, a CU Buffs fan. “Just to have them on the CU campus, it's awesome.”

"ESPN College GameDay" picks one football game to feature each week.

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College Sports

CU Buffs vs. Colorado State Rams: What you need to know

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“We give a free three-hour infomercial, about the team, the program, the school, and the community,” said ESPN host Desmond Howard. “There's no other program, no other show on TV that does that.”

The hosts told Denver7 there’s no bigger story in college football right now than Coach Deion Sanders and CU.

“I think it's great evidence of the impact that Deion and his entire staff have had on this on this university and this program in sort of resurrecting a proud tradition here,” said ESPN host Rece Davis.

Davis recalled coming to CU about a decade ago to call a game. He said the stands were empty.

“You could have thrown rocks into the stadium and not hit anybody,” Davis said.

ESPN's College Game Day in Boulder

ESPN host Pete Thamel said Sanders has done an unbelievable job.

“I think that in my 20 years as a national college football writer, I've never seen a coach have as instant and dramatic of an impact as Deion Sanders has had at Colorado,” said Thamel. “He has completely transformed a program that had basically been flatlined for two decades.”

Thousands of students showed up for the broadcast.

They even got to see some celebrities make special appearances, including The Rock and Offset.

While the ESPN hosts made no secret that they are in town because of Coach Prime and CU, fans said the national spotlight this week benefits both teams and the state.

“It's great for the state of Colorado. It's great for Boulder. It's even great for CSU,” one fan said.

“Whether you go to CU or CSU, I think it's good just for our state,” added another fan.

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