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Your Guide To College GameDay On The HUB Lawn

Penn State football officially announced that College GameDay will take place on the HUB lawn prior to Saturday night’s White Out game against No. 16 Michigan.

ESPN’s flagship Saturday morning show set up shop on Old Main lawn prior to each of the last two White Out games. The change was a big one after the show was based outside Beaver Stadium in 2009 during its last appearance in Happy Valley. ESPN and Penn State Athletics didn’t clarify exactly why the change was made, but Old Main’s iconic bell tower is currently covered by black scaffolding as it undergoes renovations.

Although GameDay’s location might’ve changed, not much else about the show itself will change this weekend. Here’s everything you’ll need to know prior to showtime on 9 a.m. Saturday.

The GameDay ‘Pit’

For those of you unaware, College GameDay’s “pit” is the area that gets most of ESPN’s cameras’ attention throughout the show. Entry into the pit is free and open to the public, but you’ll most likely have to arrive at the crack of dawn in order to secure your spot there.

Overnight camping won’t be permitted, but fans can begin lining up for their spot in the pit beginning at 5:30 a.m. Saturday. The pit will open an hour later, and all fans who enter will be screened with metal-detecting wands by security personnel.

There are a number of rules that those in the pit will have to follow:

  • No offensive, vulgar, inappropriate or solicitation signage will be allowed (i.e., no political, religious, or .com, .org, .net)
  • No signs or flags on a stick
  • No pens, pencils, markers or dry-erase boards

These rules regarding signs are fairly self-explanatory, but they’re crucially important for you to follow. Do not try to bring a sign on a stick into the pit. You’ll be turned away if you have one, which would absolutely suck.

  • No bags, backpacks, or purses are permitted
  • No food or drinks
  • Throwing of objects is prohibited

Again, these are as important as they are self-explanatory.

We’d recommend arriving at the HUB lawn no later that 6:15-6:30 a.m. Saturday if you want a shot at standing in the pit. It’ll be filled on a first-come, first-served basis, and navigating in and out might be tricky. If, for example, you need to go to the bathroom or grab a quick snack, your spot in the pit may not be saved.

What To Expect

College GameDay is madness in the best possible way. Happy Valley will be the center of the college football world on Saturday, and the atmosphere and passion exuded by Penn State fans will absolutely reflect that. It may not be a perfect morning, but the HUB lawn is perhaps the optimal location to host GameDay on Penn State’s campus.

Old Main lawn might have given the GameDay crew a beautiful backdrop, but the HUB lawn is more practical. The HUB is, well, the central hub of Penn State’s campus. There are places to get food, bathrooms, and plenty of places to sit and relax inside the HUB, so it makes up for what it might lack in beauty and Penn State tradition with tons of everyday use.

According to Penn State director of retail dining Dave Gingher, the following restaurants will be open inside the HUB on Saturday:

  • Starbucks: 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Burger King: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Panda Express 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Expect to be part of a sea of white on Saturday morning, but that sea could also get pretty chaotic at times. Although there are multiple bathrooms in the HUB, you might spend a bit of time waiting in line to use them solely because of the volume of people expected to flock to GameDay. The lines at Starbucks, Burger King, and Panda Express could potentially be worse.

Parking & Transportation

Penn State Athletics is encouraging students to walk to the HUB lawn prior to College GameDay. If you choose to drive to the event, however, you have multiple options when it comes to parking.

Athletics recommended the parking garages in downtown State College — including those on Beaver Ave., Pugh Street, and Fraser Street — and street parking in town as fans’ main parking options. All of those parking garages are a 10-to-15-minute walk away from the HUB lawn, and you can also park your car in the HUB, East, and Nittany Decks on campus for a flat rate of $25.

Fans with Beaver Stadium parking permits can also park in their assigned lots beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday — an hour before showtime. Although this option rules out entering the pit, Beaver Stadium is a little more than a mile away from the HUB lawn.

You can make the 25-to-30-minute walk to College GameDay’s set from there, but the White and Blue Loops will also be running throughout the morning. We’d recommend taking the Blue Loop, which will pick up fans in front of McCoy Natatorium and stops a couple blocks away from the HUB lawn on College Ave.

Events Surrounding College GameDay

College GameDay’s three-hour broadcast on Saturday morning won’t be the only event hosted by ESPN this weekend.

ESPN and Penn State Athletics haven’t released any specifics yet, but the HUB lawn just might turn into an ESPN-centric festival once the set gets up and running on Friday. College Football Live will air live from the GameDay set at 3 p.m. Friday, and ESPN will shoot segments for shows like Get Up! and SportsCenter from the HUB lawn throughout Friday. Penn State also said ABC’s Good Morning America is “expected to have a presence” at some point during the weekend in a press release.

Although none of these additional details are confirmed yet, ESPN hosted a cornhole tournament on Old Main lawn during ESPN’s last two trips to Happy Valley. GameDay also put a novelty desk outside Old Main for fans to take their picture with.

There should be plenty of things to do — plus a lot of fans wearing white — on the HUB lawn throughout the weekend.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

In the most upsetting turn of events, Mikey graduated from Penn State with a digital & print journalism degree in the spring of 2020. He covered Penn State football and served as an editor for Onward State from 2018 until his graduation. Mikey is from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, he spends lots of time yelling about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. If you, for some reason, feel compelled to see what Mikey has to say on the internet, follow him on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino. You can also get in touch with Mikey via his big-boy email address: [email protected]

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