On Saturday, College GameDay will be live from Rupp Arena for the seventh time. It will be Kentucky’s 15th appearance on the program, which, believe it or not, is embarking on its 14th season.
For Kentucky fans, GameDay hit its peak in the first year of the John Calipari Era when 22,144 fans filled up Rupp Arena, shattering the previous record of 8,159 held by Kansas State. After so many years, it’s only natural that the show’s gotten a little stale, so in honor of their seventh trip to Rupp, I came up with seven ways to jazz it up a bit.
1. Let Seth Greenberg and John Calipari debate one-and-done
Greenberg backed off his comments about Kentucky’s “spoiled” freshmen this morning on KSR, but obviously he has feelings on the topic or he never would have brought it up on SportsCenter this week. Greenberg and Cal are friends, so why not let them debate the matter live on the show with the rest of the panel? The one-and-done phenomenon has polarized the sport for years and there’s no bigger symbol of it than Calipari and Kentucky, so open it up for discussion. You know Cal will be game.
2. Let Jay Bilas work the Rupp ice cream machines
Twice this season, Bilas has raved about — and, in turn, received — Rupp Arena ice cream. Why not invite him into the Borden ice cream booth to try his hand at making the perfect swirl?
3. Rupp ice cream eating contest
Take it one step further by bringing those cones down for an eating contest. Which fan can survive the brain freeze?
4. More shoutouts from former players
Last year, John Wall sent in a video in which he picked Kentucky to beat Kansas by taking off a hoodie to unveil his old jersey. With so many Cats in the league now, this should be an obvious and relatively easy bit. The All-Star Game is coming up next month, so the show could dedicate an entire segment to the Cats in the league.
5. Guest picker: John Short
If only to see the panel’s reaction when he predicts “Kentucky by 35 biggins.”
6. More crowd interaction
Aside from the halfcourt shot to win $18,000 and showing off all the signs, there typically isn’t a lot of fan interaction at GameDay, which can make it a pretty boring event to attend. Kentucky fans are the most knowledgable in the sport, so put them to the test with some trivia. A “Pick Your Favorite Florida Villain” bit would be perfect. (The answer is always Joakim Noah.)
7. Let Ryan Lemond give a pep talk
Want to really get the crowd riled up? Unleash Ryan Lemond on them. I guarantee you no one will yawn, check their phone, or read a book during his pep talk. Just don’t let him say “squirt to the ceiling” again. …Actually, do. It’ll be the most interesting thing to happen on GameDay in years.