The Grove will host ESPN’s “College GameDay” this weekend for the first time in the show’s 20-year history. Now, for the first time, the famous Grove tailgate will be broadcast live to the entire nation.
The show moves location from week to week, traditionally broadcasting from the site of the most important college football match=up that week. This weekend, #11 Ole Miss Rebels will play host to the #3 Alabama Crimson Tide, and it’s undoubtedly the biggest game this week.
“Two of the top teams in the SEC are battling for a place at the top of the division,” said sophomore Megan Ferguson. “I can think of a better place to be this weekend, and obviously (College) GameDay agrees with me.”
College GameDay is hosted on a raised platform with the campus and fans in the back ground. The Grove stage, located in the heart of the tailgate, will be where they host the show.
Excitement about the match-up and the arrival of GameDay has the Ole Miss student body buzzing.
“The Grove is a unique place that cannot be captured with just words or still pictures,” said Ole Miss Student Daniel Siemers. “I think that having College GameDay will help show the nation why our tailgate is consistently ranked the best in the nation.”
Many of the Alabama fan base is sure to make the drive from Tuscaloosa. This might be the largest population on the Ole Miss campus in the history of the school. But it isn’t just the tailgate that has Ole Miss fans excited.
Although the Ole Miss football program has had its low points over the last few decades, the program has been rising since Head Coach Hugh Freeze took over in 2012. Following the win last week over Memphis, the football program has a record of 4-0 to start the season for the first time since 1970. The team and program are on the upswing, and being the feature of ESPN’s show is great publicity.
“I was actually surprised when I saw how highly Ole Miss was ranked this year,” said University of Michigan student Max Cornell. “Growing up in the Big Ten Conference, I forget about SEC teams that aren’t traditional powerhouses like Ole Miss and Arkansas.”
Last year, Ole Miss made a statement by defeating #6 LSU, but still finished 6th out of the 7 teams in the SEC west division.
With all the potential and hype over the possibilities for this season, this game carries a significant amount of weight. If Ole Miss could manage to defeat the annual powerhouse Alabama, it would show the nation that this team is a serious contender for the top spot in the west. It would surely catapult Ole Miss into the Top 10 and would be a huge momentum and confidence boost to the team.
With the nation’s eyes descending upon Oxford Saturday, the Rebel Nation swells with anticipation and hope.