In households across the state, the countdown to that first kick-off is well underway.
And this week, Fort Worth’s college football fans got another reason to eagerly anticipate the start of the season.
Sports network ESPN will be bringing college football’s longest-running and wildly popular Saturday morning programming to Sundance Square this season.
Not once, but twice.
College GameDay, a show made famous for its colorful hosts, roving campus settings and “headgear” prediction segment, will begin and end its coverage of this year’s college football season right in the center of Cowtown.
While the Cowboys Classic on Aug. 30 — which will open the show’s season — and the college championship game on Jan. 12 — which will end the season — will both be played at AT&T Stadium in nearby Arlington; the preview show will be broadcast from the middle of Sundance Square Plaza.
Crews will construct the show’s set between Third, Fourth, Commerce and Houston streets, with the Tarrant County Courthouse in the background.
Sports fans will remember that this is not the first time Sundance Square has attracted the network.
ESPN successfully broadcast from the square during the NCAA Men’s Final Four in April, as well as before the Super Bowl in February 2011.
Tracy Gilmour, marketing director for Sundance Square, told the Star-Telegram’s Sandra Baker that the plaza was constructed “with the intent that we could host these types of events with a national presence.”
And ESPN’s decision to return to Fort Worth for a third and fourth time suggests that the network’s past experiences here have been as positive for the network as they have for the city.
But choosing Fort Worth as the place to begin and end the season has a special resonance for Texans.
For many of us, college football is king.
“We can’t think of a better place to kick off the College GameDay season than the location that will host the first College Football National Championship in January,” said Lee Fitting, ESPN senior coordinating producer in a network news release.
Frankly, we can’t think of a better place, either. And we couldn’t be prouder to have them.