‘College GameDay’ bus travels alone

Almost 1,500 fans saw and toured ESPN’s “College GameDay” bus during a three-hour stop at the Buffalo Wild Wings in Middletown, Ky. on Thursday. It was making a promotional trip to Louisville in advance of Saturday’s broadcast from Lexington centered on the Missouri-Kentucky game.

Driver Bobby Stephens said the bus makes a stop every Thursday near the location of that Saturday’s game, and he said the Middletown crowd was one of the biggest he’d encountered.

Fans of UK, Louisville and many other teams began arriving an hour early to enter contests and check out the bus’ plush accommodations, according to event organizer Tracy Blair Haus, an agent for “GameDay” sponsor State Farm Insurance.

Stephens travels alone on the bus from “state to state, college to college, coast to coast” for 26 weeks a year, counting football season.

“GameDay” hosts Rece Davis, Jay Bilas, Digger Phelps and Jalen Rose fly to game cities, and the bus serves as a lounge for them and ESPN workers.

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A massive picture of the hosts is displayed on the side, along with the schedule of stops. Inside it has six TVs, plus a kitchen, bathroom and leather seating.

It’s the same bus — with a new exterior design — used for the football “GameDay” with Chris Fowler, Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit and Desmond Howard.

Stephens said Corso has become one of his best friends and is a “gentleman’s gentleman,” and all the hosts are “the most down-to-earth people you’ll ever meet.”

Louisville’s Ellen Jones, who waited in line in the cold to tour the bus, is a big “GameDay” fan.

“I think I could fit in really well with them,” she said, pointing to the picture of Davis, Bilas, Phelps and Rose. “I could be the next Erin Andrews, hopefully.”