LAWRENCE — ESPN’s “College GameDay” show isn’t new to Kansas football players like Malcolm Lee or Cobee Bryant.
Every one of them watched it growing up, and Lee will still try to do it if the Jayhawks have a late game on a Saturday and he can put it on a TV at the hotel they’re staying at. Bryant recalled fond memories of the show on his living room television. But on Saturday, while they may not see much as they prepare for a game scheduled for 11 a.m., they’ll have the chance to make memories they’ve never had before.
Because, for the first time, “College GameDay” will be broadcast from Lawrence outside David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. The program will feature the Big 12 Conference matchup between No. 17 Kansas (5-0, 2-0 Big 12) and No. 18 TCU (4-0, 1-0 Big 12). And his presence is something that can mean a lot to the show both now and in the future.
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“It’s great to see our show finally getting that kind of notoriety and all that, and I look forward to filling the booth again for three weeks in a row,” said quarterback Jalon Daniels, who will actually play in front of a sold-out crowd of new at home “But the same preparation.”
According to Jayhawks wide receiver Lawrence Arnold, an opportunity like “College GameDay” is something they’ve been working toward. It goes back to what they were doing in the winter and spring with athletic performance director Matt Gildersleeve and others. It is a routine that is paying off.
Maybe that routine should have paid off earlier this season. Kansas head coach Lance Leipold has certainly heard the conversation on the subject for more than just the time following last weekend’s win over Iowa State. But the fact that it didn’t and that both Kansas and TCU came through allowed for a much more intriguing scenario in early October.
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Daniels’ profile could continue to rise to heights that many would not have expected. Other standouts, like defensive end Lonnie Phelps Jr. and running back Devin Neal, could also see more national recognition come their way. The Jayhawks no longer surprise anyone, they just provide more examples for those who follow them.
“Most of all I’m excited for Lawrence as a community,” Lee said of the arrival of “College GameDay” in town. “I know it’s probably been really hard being a KU soccer fan for the last twelve years. So national attention is great. All the festivities and excitement, that’s fine. But at the end of the day it’s just another game… We’re still focused on TCU. So, it’s not something we want to distract ourselves with.”
Bryant made the same comment about not wanting to be distracted. Although he believes that Kansas deserves it as a team, and for him it is the realization of a dream, he still wants to stay focused. He knows this is a matchup of two ranked teams.
Players can watch the coverage later on Saturday or in the following days if they wish. They can read the stories, look at the pictures and watch the videos. It’s just a matter of whether what you’re about to see triggers a happy memory or one you wish had been different.
Jordan Guskey covers the University of Kansas athletics at The Topeka Capital-Journal. Contact him at [email protected] or on Twitter at @JordanGuskey.