DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Durham is taking the college football world by storm as Duke prepares to take on Notre Dame this weekend. Preps are underway to welcome thousands of fans and one of the most popular pregame shows in college sports.
When most people think of Duke athletics, they think of Blue Devils basketball. But now, the country and students like Jaden Rodriguez are setting their focus on a different team.
“Now, you can’t get tickets,” Rodriguez said. “There are students who, for the first time, cannot get seats.”
“The buzz is crazy,” Duke senior Connor Aylett said. “Everyone’s talking about waking up at 6 a.m. tomorrow for GameDay. That’s only stuff you see for basketball, and that doesn’t start until way later. So from the moment you get to campus, it’s a totally different atmosphere.”
The undefeated Duke football squad is set to face the Fighting Irish on Saturday night, and the excitement is building on campus.
“Every day when you come into this main quad, your blood pressure just gets boiling,” Duke freshman John Tolsma said. “Now it’s all starting to compound into tomorrow morning. It’s going to be a blast.”
Starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, thousands of people will serve as the background for the famous College GameDay pregame show. Millions will watch on TV.
“If you told me as a freshman we’d get College GameDay for football one of these days, I think you were dreaming,” Duke senior Brandon Lee said. “But it’s incredible that we’re ranked and we’re 4-0.”
“This is what college football is,” college football analyst ‘Stanford Steve’ Coughlin said. “And I know this hasn’t been the norm here in Durham, but you just feel the energy. I mean walk around. Everybody’s into it.”
A Durham restaurant, Moe’s Original BBQ, will feature their food on the show. They’re excited to be in the national spotlight.
“It’s a lifelong dream,” co-owner Mobley Estes said. “I’ve been watching College GameDay since I was a child. We never thought that this would happen and it is. And it’s just surreal.”
“Showcase Durham to the world,” co-owner Michael Roos said. “Show them that there’s good food here out in North Carolina and good people and it’s a great time.”
On top of that, fans hope to see the Blue Devils continue their success.
“Wallace Wade was the best stadium to watch bad football,” Rodriguez said. “Now it’s the best stadium to watch great football.”
Dozens of students say they’ll be up early Saturday to watch the pregame show before Duke takes on Notre Dame. There will even be a DJ playing music at 7 a.m.