ESPN’s ‘College Gameday’ puts Charlotte in national spotlight

CHARLOTTE — ESPN’s “College GameDay” in Romare Bearden Park put the Queen City in the national spotlight Saturday morning.

College football’s most electric atmosphere kicked off around 9 a.m. at the park ahead of the Dukes Mayo Classic at the Bank of America Stadium.

The show’s set was completed Thursday, and the broadcasting team arrived Friday.

It’s the biggest game of the first full week of college football, which is the border battle between the University of North Carolina and the University of South Carolina. Kickoff was at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

“You’ve got bragging rights,” said Desmond Howard, “College GameDay” analyst. “They probably recruit some of the same areas too so there’s a lot at stake when you can put together a game like this. Then you have the fanbases. The fanbases, they love this.”

The head coaches were interviewed live and music star Darius Rucker was the guest picker. Rucker formed his band Hootie & the Blowfish in the 1980s while attending USC. Fans were allowed to enter the pit, which is the closest spot to the stage starting at 6 a.m.

Some college football fans in the Charlotte area may have been disappointed because ESPN is not airing on Spectrum.

There is a dispute over how much money Spectrum pays ESPN and Disney for their network broadcasts.

So Disney pulled its programming.

The dispute does not impact ABC programming or Channel 9.

The Duke’s Mayo Classic aired on Channel 9 at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Tez ruled ineligible

UNC wide receiver Devontez “Tez” Walker won’t play in Saturday’s game, the head coach announced.

Tez tried to transfer from Kent State to UNC to be closer to family.

The NCAA changed the rules two days after his request then denied it months later.

Walker appealed that decision and said Friday that the NCAA denied that too.

Tar Heels head coach Mack Brown said in a statement, “I can’t express my disappointment in the NCAA strong enough.”

Tez a letter to the NCAA governor that said, “I appeal to your logic as a man and a leader. Please, review my situation so I can achieve my dream as a student athlete.”

UNC expects the NCAA committee to review his case next week.

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