ESPN Gameday at Cal: At Least Neuheisel's Delicate Feelings Weren't Hurt

Berkelium97:  As you all know, ESPN's College Gameday came to Cal Saturday morning on their season-long tour.  Armed with a camera and four signs, I arrived at campus around 5:30am to see what goes on during Gameday.  This is my story.

ragnarok:  Mine too!  I arrived at the Sproul Pool around quarter to six; Berkelium97 and tmoran3020 were already waiting.  With no sign of either Rishi (who arrived late) or royrules22 (who slept through the whole thing), we decided to head down to Haas, where BearStage and AndBears were already waiting in line.

I had heard that Looney's would be providing breakfast for the first 500 fans, and while I didn't quite know what to expect (smokehouse BBQ?  naw, not for breakfast...), muffins and Coke Zero didn't quite hit the spot.  Chocolate milk was nice, though.


Berkelium97:  Anyway, the main reason we were here was for our hilarious signs.  This was my 28"x44" Neuheisel sign that never made it to broadcast because I had to take it down.  While we were waiting in line, some ESPN girl was going up and down the line approving signs.  The sign police were very strict and made Ragnarok take down his "Josh Shipp drinks Zima" sign.

ragnarok:  Yeah, that one didn't even make it past the preliminary approval process.  I really thought the sign was rather tame, and I was caught off-guard by the whole process.  When I went to College Football Gameday in Eugene, Oregon in 2007, there wasn't anyone checking my signs.  People brought whatever they wanted!

Berkelium97:  After this, we had to have our signs checked at the door to Haas to again make sure they were ESPN-safe.  Once in the arena, ESPN employees still wandered around making sure signs weren't offensive.  It was worse than passing through airline security. I swear I saw Nestor out there checking signs and banning signs that did not reflect well on UCLA.  Although I successfully passed through the first two sign-approvers, an ESPN employee came up to me after we got to our seats and made me take down the Neuheisel sign.  I offered to cross out the "bet" part of the sign, but he still said it wouldn't be allowed.  Apparently it might be "offensive" to certain people.  By certain people, he clearly meant Neuheisel and BruinsNation who obviously can't take a joke.  It didn't make sense, as others were allowed to keep their Neuheisal signs.  It was very disappointing.

ragnarok:  It really, really was disappointing.  Here's a photo of Berkelium destroying his own sign, with the help of the ESPN employee.


JShufelt's brilliant work is destroyed by ESPN's thought police.


Berkelium97:  This was on the other side of the Neuheisel sign.  Thankfully, no one in ESPN knows who pedobear is, so they had no problem with this sign.  Huge thanks to CaliforniaBone for taking this sign down to the front and getting it lots of airtime.




CaliforniaBone also helped get this one some attention by bringing it down to the front.  This sign references the rule that Josh Shipp clearly broke in hitting the game-winning shot for UCLA against Cal last year.



This was on the other side of the "Rule 3..." sign.


TMoran3020 made this one.


And the backside of tmoran's sign.

ragnarok:  Once we were inside, it was time to find some seats.  As you can see, most of the arena was empty.


That's right, 6:16am.

To concentrate the students and get everyone in the TV shots, everyone was shunted into the stands on the West side of Haas Pavilion, behind where ESPN had set up their GameDay booth.  Unfortunately, we weren't among the first people in line, so we had to settle for what seats we could get.  In the end, I decided to head for behind the band, hoping we could horn in on some gratuitous band shots.  We relied on band member CaliforniaBone to get our signs some serious TV time.


 You can see our chosen spot under the pedobear sign.


Berkelium97:  Best sign of the day.  Apparently this guy planned on bringing it to the game, but heard about Gameday at the last minute and decided to bring it.


Rece, Hubert, Digger, and Bobby at the stage.  Notice Bobby Knight's red shirt.  He was getting yelled at by the students for this.


Digger puts a Cal jersey on Bob, much to the crowd's delight.


Bob turns around to tell us all how his wife dresses him and that he wasn't going to overrule her decision.  He then tells us about his son who graduated from Stanford.  He was great at playfully antagonizing the crowd.

"No way I'm changing my shirt to please a bunch of students."


He brought this guy over to let us know what a nice shirt he was wearing.  Boos rained upon the unfortunate ESPN employee.


You can see the back of the Max sign here.  Note the cardboard frame they hand-made for it.


During live filming.

 The whole production is actually pretty minimal, with just enough set built to show up on television.


This is what it all looked like on ESPN.

This was weird: he got to keep his sign and it even more overtly referenced Neuheisal and his betting! He even has dollar signs! Dollar signs!  Why this guy got to keep his sign and I didn't, I'll never know.  Regardless, I like this sign.  He even got the ESPN sticker of approval.

ragnarok:  You can also notice this guy wearing one of the fan giveaways for the day, a "State Farm"-branded hat that was basically a plush, cartoon-y basketball net.  Kinda stupid, if you ask me, but they don't look too bad if everyone is wearing one.

Berkelium97:  More good signs: "Bruin girls are easy, but UCLA still can't score," another "What's a Bruin anyway?" "Hip Hip Jorge!"


They would often cut to this board where they were eliminating bubble teams.  You could barely see Max and my stimulus $$ sign during these segments.

Lots of good signs here: "Bruins can't handle Randle," "Sarah Palin likes the Bruins," and something saying "Bears Bruins Battlestar Galactica." I have no idea what that Battlestar Galactica poster is supposed to mean.

ragnarok:  It's a reference to an episode of "The Office", where Jim does a mocking impression of Dwight.


Berkelium97:  At one point, Max's head was brought down to the floor and was run across the back of the stage.


Someone in the band brought in a giant, stuffed bear and passed it around the lower rows.

ragnarok:  My favorite part was when one of the band members took their sombrero and then mimed putting the hat on Jay Bilas' head while he was talking about something or other, completely unaware.

For those who've never been to a GameDay taping, they set up screens with the feed from the actual show, so you can see what's going on while it's going on, and cen tell when you and your sign are actually on TV.


"If this was class, I'd be in bed."

"Free Marshawn".

Berkelium97:  This was a great shot, it has my stimulus and Pedobruin signs, ragnarok's "Thanks for Tedford," and tmoran's ESPN elements sign.

ragnarok:  I feel like I should explain about the "Thanks for Tedford" sign.  Originally, I brought that sign to GameDay in Oregon, and I simply reused the cardboard, adding my own signs on top.  Of course, after my "Josh Shipp drinks Zima" sign was confiscated, I was left with the "Thanks for Tedford" sign underneath.  OK, it didn't make too much sense in context, but I'm still thankful for Tedford.

Berkelium97:  Except for the ridiculously strict sign police, this was a great event to attend.  Afterwards, Ragnarok, AndBears, and I even walked past Bobby Knight and company on Durant.  We exchanged pleasant jabs about Bob's shirt and continued on our merry ways.


The opinions expressed in a FanPost are, in every way, reflective of the opinions of every California Golden Blogs Marshawnthusiast. Moreover, they are reflective of every employee of SBNation, including Tyler "Blez" Bleszinski.

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