UPDATE 9/24/11 @ 5:30 p.m.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Thousands of cheering fans arrived in the black of night to prepare for ESPN's live broadcast of College GameDay Saturday morning.
It's the first time the show has traveled to West Virginia University during football season.
WVU (16) takes on LSU (2) at 8 p.m. Both teams have a 3-0 record.
Rows of tents surrounded the stage, as many fans prepared to camp out until the show. However, many of them confessed to staying up all night in anticipation.
"It's game day! This is the biggest game in WVU history," says WVU student Elizabeth Newport.
Some fans started camping out days before the show in an effort to get the best view possible of stars like Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit and Erin Andrews.
"So happy for West Virginia. They wanted us to be here so badly. They should be so proud of themselves. And, that just makes us more excited about being in the venue," says Andrews.
For many fans, the event went beyond the thrill of being on television. It also signified WVU's importance on the national stage.
Corso disappointed WVU fans by picking LSU to win the game.
"It was all good except for Corso at the end, but that was expected," says WVU fan Adam Spriggs.
Kickoff is set at 8 p.m. Saturday on ESPN, but WVU fans started lining up Thursday to make sure they get a prime spot on game day Saturday morning.
Ticket sales have skyrocketed -- with more than 17,000 student requests -- up from a record breaking 15,000 in 2008 when Villanova came to town.
This is the first time the show has been produced and televised from West Virginia in its 25-year history ahead of a football game.
The ESPN staff arrived at West Virginia University Thursday morning to begin setting up the stage and other equipment for the show.
College GameDay will air from the field beside the Mountainlair Student Union.
Some WVU fans have already set up tents and are camping out in hopes of being part of College GameDay.
“It's crazy. Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit are going to be here," says WVU freshman Justin Hayslette.
Five tents are already set up near the stages with fans excited to be part of school history and at a chance to be on national television.
"I'd like to see a couple of them swing by and say hi though, appreciate us camping out and getting ready for them early," says WVU senior Ryan Hayslette.
The tents have all the necessities, including air mattresses for the fans to sleep on for the next couple of days. The fans say they will spend their time in the tents, making signs for the big game.
ESPN expects anywhere from 2,000 to 10,000 people on Saturday morning for the show.
ESPN GameDay stage director Mike Ruhlman tells WSAZ.com since this is the first time the show has been in West Virginia, it doesn't surprise him to see the tents already set up with fans.
“I think maybe sometimes schools like West Virginia feel like they're overlooked by the national media. So, when they get an opportunity like this want to show up and really show the nation the passion of their fans," says Ruhlman.
He also says if fans don't get to the Mountainlair until 4 a.m. or 5 a.m. Saturday they should still get a good spot for College GameDay.
ESPN will use three sets for the show. The crew will set up multiple cameras, including a "Fly Camera" that will get aerial shots of the crowds for the show.
WVU takes on LSU at 8 p.m. Saturday.
WSAZ will provide complete coverage of College GameDay in Morgantown, along with the game Saturday.
Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.
This marks the first time in the 25-year history of GameDay that it is heading to Morgantown, and the first time West Virginia is involved in a game that the show is featuring. The actual location of the GameDay set will be released this week.
GameDay, which breaks down the big games and matchups to watch out for that day, is hosted by Chris Fowler with Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard, Lee Corso, Erin Andrews and David Pollack. The show starts at 9 a.m. on ESPNU and then continues from 10 a.m. - noon on ESPN.
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