The area around Wrigley Field was buzzing on Friday afternoon as preparations were beginning for Saturday's Wrigleyville classic between Northwestern and Illinois.
The ESPN crew including Kirk Herbstreit and Desmond Howard were on live briefly on Friday afternoon in their setup for tomorrow's College Gameday, which will take place in the parking lot of the McDonald's at the corner of Clark & Addison Streets, beginning at 8 a.m. Northwestern University is running buses from campus in Evanston to Wrigleyville beginning at 5 a.m. for current students who want to be part of the "pit" that's always visible on the air during College Gameday.
Meanwhile, workers were busy setting up "Wildcat Way", a party tent that will stretch an entire city block from Addison to Waveland along Sheffield Avenue. It'll be heated and food and drink will be available, along with LCD screens and flat-screen TVs showing the game inside Wrigley along with other Big Ten games. While the setup of this party tent was going on, various purple-clad people, who appeared to be Northwestern alumni, were walking through the area, escorted by tour guides wearing Cubs jackets. There were also a few lonely-looking Illini fans wearing blue and orange taking in the scene -- they should be a minority, but a significant minority, of tomorrow's crowd.
Here's a slideshow of all the preparations going on around Wrigley Field on Friday afternoon: