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Oct. 21, 2010 Volume 32, No. 9

Not just another GameDay

Joy Millard has worked for the University of Missouri for 27 years, so she doesn’t wake up Saturdays during football season wondering which team to root for.

But this weekend’s Homecoming game between the undefeated Tigers and the University of Oklahoma will be a little different for Millard, the director of the MU Conference Office. Her son, Trey, is a freshman running back for the Sooners, who also come into the game undefeated.

“Sure I went to MU and I work for MU and I root for MU all the time,” Millard says. “Except for this weekend. It’s definitely a mixed bag.”

A tight end and running back at Rock Bridge High School, Trey Millard has made the successful transition to fullback at Oklahoma, where his teammates have dubbed him “The Load” for his punishing blocking and running style. Millard scored the deciding touchdown, his first as a college player, on a five-yard pass in the Sooners 31-29 victory over Cincinnati on Sept. 25. The following week against Texas, he carried the ball five times for 15 yards, including two important third-down conversions during the Sooners first touchdown drive. He also caught two passes for nine yards to help the Sooners beat the Longhorns 28-20.

Naturally, Joy Millard hasn’t missed an OU game this fall. Although she won’t have to travel to catch her son play the Tigers, that doesn’t mean the weekend won’t have its logistical challenges. With 35 to 40 relatives and friends expected to be in Columbia for the game, she’s been busy working out an entertainment and lodging schedule.

She’s also trying to figure out what to wear to the game.

“I was wondering if I should get Mizzou and OU T-shirts, cut them down the middle and sew them together,” Millard says. “But I just don’t think I have time for that.”

What to wear shouldn’t be a problem for anyone else this weekend. MU officials are urging students, faculty and staff, alumni and fans to break out the gold for the arrival of “College GameDay,” ESPN’s popular college football pregame show.

This will be the first time GameDay, which ESPN started taking to college campuses in 1994, has come to MU. The network’s crew is expected to arrive Wednesday night and begin building the GameDay set Thursday morning just south of the circle drive at Eighth Street. With iconic views of the Columns and Jesse Hall as the backdrop, ESPN will tape a SportsCenter broadcast from 9:20 to 11:45 a.m. Friday.

For Saturday’s live GameDay broadcast, from 8 to 11 a.m., campus officials are preparing for as many as 20,000 people to pack Francis Quadrangle. To date, the GameDay attendence record is held by the University of Nebraska, which reported a turnout of more than 15,800 people. 

Access to the quad will begin at 3:30 a.m. Saturday. Activities will be planned to occupy fans until the broadcast begins.

Campus Facilities personnel are also preparing for the network’s arrival. ESPN is considering brief campus shots, possibly as lead-ins to commercial breaks, featuring student-driven sustainability efforts, such as Tiger Tailgate Recycling and Mizzou Dashboard, an online energy-usage system in place in several campus residence halls.

In an e-mail to MU faculty and staff, Chancellor Brady J. Deaton said that, coupled with a full slate of Homecoming activities and the dedication of the MU Student Center, this weekend’s national spotlight will present a “unique challenge” to the campus. He noted in particular that parking would likely be more difficult Saturday afternoon than on typical home football dates.

“I ask your patience, understanding and support as we welcome ESPN and alumni and celebrate our students’ outstanding leadership in staging our Homecoming tradition,” Deaton said.

For a schedule of the weekend activities, visit Updates will also be posted at