WHATS GOING ON TODAY
USC students will be able to make posters today from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Greene Street in front of the Russell House. Cocky and the cheerleaders will be there, and Sandstorm will play at noon. Students can participate in the Cornhole Challenge presented by the Home Depot and Coke Zero from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The winning team will receive two VIP backstage passes to College GameDay. Advance sign-up is required at www.bit.ly/usc-cornhole.
Students will be able to camp out Friday night between the GameDay set and the McKissick Museum from 5 p.m. until 7 a.m. on Saturday. All tents and gear must be removed from the Horseshoe by 7 a.m. Students can rent tents, sleeping bags and other equipment from Outdoor Recreation. Pizza will be delivered two times during the evening, and breakfast will be served.
The university issued some fun guidelines for the students. Read more here
NAVIGATING GAMEDAY SATURDAY
Take the shuttles: The Fairgrounds and Farmers Market parking lots will open at 8 a.m. Saturday to accommodate fans. Free shuttles will run from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. with drop-off and pick-up locations at Greene Street in front of the Russell House and at the northwest corner of Williams-Brice Stadium off George Rogers Boulevard.
Standard game shuttle routes from the Colonial Life Arena will resume at 4 p.m. and continue 90 minutes following the game for $3 roundtrip. The standard shuttle is free to students with a valid student ID card. The standard game shuttle will continue to pick up and drop off at Colonial Life Arena and the main entrance of the Fairgrounds on Rosewood.
Fair prep: All Gamecock Club season parking passes will be honored on Saturday, but the back of the Fairgrounds will not be available due to preparations for the State Fair. About 400 gameday parking spaces will be sold between the Fairgrounds and Farmers Market on a first-come-first-served basis.
DOS AND DONTS DURING THE BROADCAST
• In general, get there early to be near the front in the crowd shots. Filming starts at 9 a.m. Dont get mad when the cheerleaders come in late and take the front row.
• Everybody wears school-related attire or colors, so you have to be innovative to stand out. Getting painted up helps, especially if youre in a group of kids adorned in body paint. Odd headgear stands out.
• Signs are allowed, in fact encouraged. But ESPN bans political or religious messages and vulgar language. That means you have to come up with a clever non-political, non-religious, non-vulgar message, or even more clever to make that political, religious or vulgar message subtle enough to get past the censors. Because of the limited access points to the Horseshoe, expect fewer clever signs to make it into the crowd.
• To get a better chance to be seen, signs need to be on a stick or pole so they can be held above the crowd. Giant faces stand out. Last time GameDay was here, a cardboard cutout of a monkey got plenty of screen time.
• Dont forget to set your DVR to record the show. Its tricky. The first hour is on ESPNU, and the last two on ESPN. Your time on the screen likely will be fleeting. You might need to do a screen grab later to prove you (or your clever sign) made it.
• Survival tips: Carb load. Its like a marathon. The show lasts three hours, and youll be standing. Also, dont wear sandals or flip flops. Your toes would get crunched in the crowd.
TUNE IN SATURDAY
9 a.m. Saturday broadcast starts on ESPNU, digital cable channel 1502
10 a.m. broadcast moves to ESPN, digital cable channel 1500
Singer Darius Rucker is expected to join the ESPN College GameDay crew just before noon to announce his pick (which ought to be the Gamecocks). Where else will he be this weekend?
THE PARTIES BEFORE AND AFTER
Patrick Davis plays at Tin Roof at 8 p.m. Friday. After seeing Camden native Davis perform for rabid USC fans in Nashville, we really dont think theres a better person to perform at a Gamecock pep rally. When it comes to the Gamecocks Davis, who wrote the Gamecock odes Im Just a Big Ole (Game) Cock and Wingo and his Yard Cocks, is as faithful and cautiously hopeful as they come. Hell also sing songs written during his day job, you know, the ones that came out of sessions for Pat Green, Jewel, Lady Antebellum and Darius Rucker. Tin Roof is at 1022 Senate St. $15; (803) 771-1558 or www.patrickdavismusic.com
TLC Sports Bar & Grill, at 936 South Stadium Road, will open at 9 a.m. Saturday And it wont close until 2 a.m. There will be live music by DJ DDL before the game, at halftime and, of course, after the game. www.facebook.com/theloosecockaboose
Billy Currington performs at the Lowes Tailgate concert, beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday in the old Farmers Market property across from Williams-Brice Stadium. Lowes is sponsoring these free concerts around college football games this fall (an interesting counter programming to Home Depots sponsorship of ESPN GameDay). The country star, known for No. 1 hits such as Pretty Good at Drinkin Beer and People Are Crazy, is a Georgia native, but dont hold that against him.
DJ Pipes will play music at 5 Points Pub after the game Saturday, 2020 Devine St. $5-$8; www.the5pointspub.com