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Pros & Cons Of Holding College GameDay On Old Main Lawn

It’s official! ESPN’s College GameDay is headed to Happy Valley next weekend for Penn State’s White Out clash against Michigan. But there’s one question left: Where on campus will the crew set up for the show?

We provided some suggestions of our own last week *cough cough Canyon Pizza* but Lee Fitting, ESPN’s Vice President for College Sports, tweeted his own top pick Saturday night — Old Main Lawn.

But is that feasible? Here’s some pros and cons for holding College GameDay outside the most notable building on campus:


  1. It’s the most notable building on campus! If anything spells “quintessential Penn State” it’s Old Main, with its beautiful marble facade and colossal columns. We can’t think of any campus backdrop more picturesque. And quite frankly, it’ll look even better next to a crowd of white-clad fans.
  2. There’s plenty of open space. Old Main Lawn is big enough for all types of activities, including carnivals with camels and elephants. Coincidentally, that’s precisely the right size for a giant crowd of rowdy and still drunk hungover college football fans holding huge posters.
  3. Old Main is conveniently not reserved at all on Saturday, October 21. Trust us — we checked 25Live. And yes, it was a pain in the ass.
  4. Timing. On Old Main Lawn, the crowd will have enough time to get in place early — as early as they want to. Conversely, the tailgate lots don’t open until 8 a.m. Saturday. The show ends at noon, so people will have plenty of time to make their way to the stadium — or the tailgate lots — at a decent time. Let’s face it, if it weren’t for GameDay, most students wouldn’t make it to the lots until after noon anyway and you can’t even get in the stadium until a few hours before the game anyway.
  5. Location. Old Main is close for both students and visitors. And people will be able to come and go as they please throughout the show to eat or shop downtown. Shop local, y’all! It’s especially convenient for fans to stop by Friday afternoon for the filming of College Football Live. Because unless you’re camping out for Nittanyville you have no reason to be at the stadium at 3 p.m. Friday.


  1. But what about the grass?! We all remember what the HUB Lawn looked like after the first outdoor involvement fair. We’d hate to see Old Main Lawn serve the same sentence and turn into a mud pit heading into winter.
  2. It’s a lot further from the stadium than the BJC. Google Maps plots it at 1.3 miles, or about a 25-minute walk. Sure there’s plenty of time, but is there plenty of energy? We already mentioned most of the crowd at 9 a.m. will be still drunk hungover. For some, it’s just not worth the trek, and we wouldn’t want to see the GameDay crowd suffer for it.
  3. The filming angle could be a little weird. Unlike Curtin Road, where GameDay posted up last time the crew visited Happy Valley, Old Main is on a slight hill. In order to get a good shot of Old Main, the stage should be somewhere in the middle of the lawn. ESPN might have to get creative to get the faithful sign-holders into the shot.

What do you think of hosting College GameDay on Old Main Lawn? Let us know in the comments!

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About the Author

Elissa Hill

Elissa was the managing editor of Onward State from 2017-2019. She is from Punxsutawney, PA [insert corny Bill Murray joke here] and considers herself an expert on all things ice cream. Follow her on Twitter (@ElissaKHill) for more corny jokes.

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