ESPN College GameDay posters
Scope and Contents
The ESPN College GameDay Posters consist of 16 posters created for the 2015 and 2017 ESPN College GameDays. Two of the posters were made for the 2015 ESPN College GameDay against the Richmond Spiders. Fourteen of the posters were created for the 2017 ESPN College GameDay against the Villanova Wildcats.
The 2015 GameDay posters focus on James Madison University’s quarterback, Lavaedeay "Vad" Monlique Lee, implying he will lead them to victory. Vad Lee had a strong season in 2014 by taking James Madison University to the FCS playoffs and led a strong 2015 season leading up to the Richmond game, season statistics were (7-0; 4-0) at this point in the season. These posters center on Vad’s leadership skills as quarterback and cheer him on through various pop culture references from 2015.
The 2017 GameDay posters primarily focus on James Madison University’s strength as a team, and school, over Villanova. Using viral internet images popular in 2017, they center on the inferiority of the Villanova team when being compared to James Madison University. These viral images, often called memes, are variously displaying James Madison University’s “superior taste” in all regards. Calling attention to Villanova’s cost of tuition and low football game attendance rates, the majority of the posters purport that James Madison University will defeat them. One poster references an inside joke to James Madison University students about how Villanova will lose the football game because they are not fans of the correct condiment. There are some posters that center less on the animosity of the two teams and instead are saying hello to friends and family.
An internet meme is a humorous image online that is often replicated and parodied to fit specific situations. These memes are used throughout the posters and represent the cultural references of the period and sometimes inside jokes from students at James Madison University directed at the opposing team.
- Creation: 2015
- Creation: 2017
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Held every Saturday morning during the college football regular season, ESPN College GameDay broadcasts live from the campus of the team hosting the featured football game. James Madison University was first considered for ESPN’s College GameDay in 2015. While there was conversation happening behind the scenes about James Madison University being that week’s possible location, it was a tweet from Lee Fitting, ESPN producer for GameDay, that started public recognition of the school for a possible host for GameDay. His tweet came as a response from a James Madison University account called “JMU Duke Blawg” who had been pushing for ESPN GameDay attention. Between Everett Withers’ as head football coach and Lavaedeay "Vad" Monlique Lee as quarterback, their season was gaining a lot of attention in the lead up to the GameDay picks. The undefeated season for James Madison University and the University of Richmond’s winning streak helped make them a strong contender. James Madison University was sitting at a (7-0) undefeated winning streak while the University of Richmond was (5-1) and on a five game winning streak at the time. ESPN announced on Sunday, October 18, 2015 that James Madison University would host the 2015 College GameDay on Saturday, October 24.
Similarly, the 2017 choice for GameDay was heavily influenced by online presence from the university and their long winning streak. With the popularization of social media, online attention from universities have become an easy way to get recognized, and from this, receive opportunities such as GameDay. The strategy for James Madison University was to lay the groundwork throughout their season while also maintaining a strong online presence in order to be considered. The Breeze, James Madison University’s school newspaper, posted an article on September 21, 2017 laying out the strategy in place to secure a second year of hosting College GameDay. Part of the university’s strategy included ensuring that James Madison University remained undefeated, that Villanova remained undefeated, and that the “JMU Nation must continue to nag College GameDay on social media.” Ultimately, James Madison University went on to have the nation’s longest winning streak, 17 games, in the lead up to ESPN College GameDay. On Sunday, October 8, 2017 ESPN officially announced that James Madison University would host GameDay on Saturday, October 14, 2017.
6 cubic feet (6 flat files)
Language of Materials
The ESPN College GameDay Posters consist of 16 posters created for the 2015 and 2017 ESPN College GameDays held on the campus of James Madison University. Two of the posters were made for the 2015 ESPN College GameDay against the Richmond Spiders. Fourteen of the posters were created for the 2017 ESPN College GameDay against the Villanova Wildcats.
The collection is arranged in sub-groups according to date and ESPN College GameDay opponents.
Posters were donated on or soon after October 14, 2017 directly following GameDay events and collected at the front desk of Carrier Library. One of the 2015 GameDay posters was donated on October 9, 2017 directly to Special Collections. One 2017 poster was donated in November 2018. The posters were donated by JMU students, alumni, and fans. Donors were not asked to sign deeds of gift.
Other Formats Available
All posters have been digitized and are available online via Artstor.
- Bell, Brittany. “A Journey Well-Written - JMU.” James Madison University, 16 April 2021, https://www.jmu.edu/news/alumni/2021/2021_04_16_a_journey_well_written.shtml.
- Bozek, Richie. “JMU selected for ESPN 'College GameDay' next weekend.” 2015. The Breeze, https://www.breezejmu.org/sports/jmu-selected-for-espn-college-gameday-next-weekend/article_3afdfd8e-743a-11e5-9742-3bee473e4cd1.html.
- Holtzclaw, Harry. “A look at how JMU can get College GameDay once again.” 2017. The Breeze, https://www.breezejmu.org/sports/a-look-at-how-jmu-can-get-college-gameday-once-again/article_0ec75c94-9ed9-11e7-a150-a797ee396993.html.
- "meme, n." OED Online, Oxford University Press, September 2022, www.oed.com/view/Entry/239909.
- sports desk. “ESPN's 'College GameDay' announces return to JMU.” 2017. The Breeze, https://www.breezejmu.org/sports/espns-college-gameday-announces-return-to-jmu/article_1c195fac-abed-11e7-a6d6-3fe7ae1346f6.html.
- “2015 Football Cumulative Statistics.” James Madison University Athletics, https://jmusports.com/sports/football/stats/2015.
One poster was received attached to a wooden dowel. The dowel was removed so that the poster could be properly filed and stored. Given the usage of mixed media (glitter, ribbons, paint, etc.) in their creation, the posters were interfiled with acid-free paper. Several of the physical posters exhibit smearing due to water exposure and warping as well as color loss and image degradation.
The posters were digitized in October 2022 by graduate assistants Mariam Ismail and Kayleigh Bishop using a Nikon D3300 digital camera with a 18-55 mm lens. Bodeene Amyot Cairdeas, digital and audiovisual archivist, edited the digital files to address the following issues: color, exposure, and lens correction, distortion, and chromatic aberration. Tiffany Cole, archivist, uploaded the edited files and respective metadata into JSTOR Forum/ArtStor in December 2022.
- James Madison Dukes (Football team) (Organization)
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- James Madison University -- Sports (Organization)
- James Madison University -- Football -- 21st century (Organization)
- A Guide to the ESPN College GameDay Posters, 2015, 2017
- Grace Thomsen
- September 2022
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