When the story of ESPN College GameDay is told, the chronicle will have to include the events of Oct. 4, 2014. It was a legendary day for ESPN’s college football pregame show, one that also apparently still resonates both in Oxford, Mississippi and fans of the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Ole Miss beat Alabama, 23-17. Rebels fans surely still remember that fondly in Oxford. But it’s Katy Perry that most of the rest of us are talking about nearly two years later, with the Crimson Tide set to return to Mississippi on Saturday.
Katy Perry? Yes, Katy Perry. On Oct. 4. 2014, the pop star sensation appeared on College GameDay — the show’s first visit to Oxford — to pick games with Chris Fowler, Desmond Howard, Kirk Herbstreit and Lee Corso. Corn dogs were involved, and the fried treats on a stick were both wielded and thrown. Lest you doubt that this really happened, here is some video evidence. Corso has probably never been happier on that set. Oklahoma quarterback Trevor Knight, whom Perry asked to call her, was also likely quite excited later on.
College GameDay will be in Louisville for the clash between the Cardinals and No. 2 Florida State. But Alabama is returning to Oxford for a SEC showdown with Ole Miss at 3:30 ET this Saturday, which compelled AL.com’s Michael Casagrande to revisit Perry’s part in that memorable day. Why did Perry make a celebrity guest picker apperance in Oxford, attending her first college football game? Her manager is an Ole Miss alumnus and contacted Michael Thompson, the associate athletic director in charge of communications and marketing. Thompson then made arrangements with ESPN to create college football television history.
Though the school and athletic department officials quickly learned just what a circus Perry’s presence in the Grove created, what might be most interesting in Casagrande’s story is that Perry did not just leave after GameDay was done broadcasting. She wanted the full college football experience for a game at Ole Miss.
“Here (are) our students and our band walking by and she has her phone up and she’s filming it,” Thompson said. “She had never been to a college football game. Her experiencing what college football is all about with the kind of pomp and circumstance of pregame and tailgating and marching bands and things that are just so unique and special to college sports and college football in the SEC … it was neat to see somebody who’s probably experienced things you and I will never experience in our life, as far as being around the world and playing in front of millions of people. For her to be in awe or mesmerized in a real fan way, it was really awesome.”
Perry didn’t want any part of leaving the game early, as was originally the plan. Nor did she want to continue watching the game from a luxury box. So what happens when Katy Perry is on the sideline and Ole Miss breaks a 10-year losing streak against Alabama? Well, click over to Casagrande’s article to get the rest.
Meanwhile, if you want more Katy Perry on College GameDay, the following video awaits you.