ESPN College GameDay kicks off at 8 a.m. Saturday, with lines to get into the 'pit' at the center of the GameDay compound starting as early as 3 a.m.
On Friday afternoon before Maria Taylor, Desmond Howard and David Pollack hosted a live episode of College Football Live on the GameDay set, three of the college football show's hosts — Rece Davis, Howard and Pollack — spoke to reporters about the decision to come to Ames, what the hosts have seen from the city so far and what to expect from both the game Saturday afternoon and GameDay in the morning.
But before the hosts were made available, GameDay's coordinating producer, Drew Gallagher, elaborated on the show's decision to make the trip to Ames for the first time and what Cyclone fans should brace for Saturday morning.
One of the major things Gallagher revealed was not who will be the guest picker, but who won't be the guest picker — fan favorite Seneca Wallace.
The former Iowa State and NFL quarterback will be a part of the show, Gallagher said, but he will not make the game picks alongside Lee Corso.
GameDay’s Rece Davis on the atmosphere pic.twitter.com/MqXtDvBlJK— Zane Douglas (@zdouglas27) September 13, 2019
"We're still sort of finalizing our guest picker right now," Gallagher said. "Looking at bringing in a celebrity maybe to Ames. More info on that hopefully to come later today."
Those details were released Friday night, as Davis tweeted out the identity of the guest picker: country music star Eric Church.
Great vibe around Ames as we get ready for @CollegeGameDay. Crowd will be huge. Matt Campbell will join us. And pleased to have country music superstar @ericchurch as our guest picker for the Cy-Hawk. See you Saturday morning!— Rece Davis (@ESPN_ReceDavis) September 13, 2019
Now, here are some of the best bits from Friday's interviews, with some serious and some not-so-serious soundbytes.
Rece Davis on why the Cyclones are getting GameDay:
"The biggest thing for me is that they're not used to having us. I mean, we're always welcomed and treated very well at places that become regular stops — the Ohio States, Alabamas, Michigans — we're treated great, but the fans are very used to it. So it's not different for them. I think the thing that always strikes me about going to a new place is that fans are really proud of their program, their rivalry, their school and they want to showcase that.
Desmond Howard talking to the media before tomorrow's big CY-Hawk game. pic.twitter.com/p3dhfpAANJ— Matt Belinson (@BelinsonMatt) September 13, 2019
"I don't think this is like them coming out just to see us. They're coming out to use our show — which I hope they enjoy and value — as a way to show the pride that they have in their school and their program. So I think when they get the opportunity to do that for the first time, or the first time in a long time in some cases, you can really get a lot of energy."
Davis on what he's expecting from Cyclone fans:
"I can only imagine what it will be like for the Cy-Hawk game and on a Saturday. Hopefully they'll come out and get started nice and early with us. I'd like to see a scene similar to what we had at Washington State last year [Washington State had 25-30,000 fans present at its 2018 GameDay stop].
"We'd love to see something like that here."
Desmond Howard on his first day in Ames:
"One of the things I like to do is collect vinyls. I went to a mall yesterday at about 6:57, the record store there was closed. Was very disappointing, really disappointing. Then I was gonna go to another one, I think it was called the Vinyl Cafe, it was closed. So it hasn't been really great for me, if you really want to know.
Rece Davis on Brock Purdy pic.twitter.com/ivyv6VGDzH— Zane Douglas (@zdouglas27) September 13, 2019
"I'm looking forward to some sort of redemption today."
David Pollack on Iowa State's defensive scheme:
"I just love the system, I love what they do. I think it was created because of the Big 12 and finding answers, and here's the thing: everybody is copying what Iowa State is doing. I don't know if y'all realize that or not. I watched Clemson the other day, and I'm going, 'That's literally Iowa State's defense.' It's something that's being noticed all across college football."