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June 19, 2007

2007 ESPN College Gameday Location Predictions (Weeks 1-4)

I'm going to take a crack at projecting the sites for ESPN's College GameDay's telecasts in 2007. The forecast is rather long so I'm going to break it into three separate posts. My assumptions are built on GameDay attempting to balance the desire to showcase the best game of the week with the business need of promoting games on their own family of networks (ABC, ESPN and ESPN2).

Last year, GameDay televised games from competing network sites for LSU at Florida on CBS and Tennessee at South Carolina (CBS...I think). In 2005, they were at three competing network sites.

The most outrageous example of being in the wrong town was the Sept. 16, 2006 telecast which showcased #4 USC hosted #19 Nebraska. That was the same day that #6 LSU played at #3 Auburn (CBS); #11 Michigan played at #2 Notre Dame (NBC); and #7 Florida played at #13 Tennessee (CBS).

I heavily leveraged the web site for the best composite week to week schedule that I've seen. With that as a are my predictions for Weeks 1-4...

Cal Memorial Stadium
Week 1 (Sept. 1)
Projection: Tennessee at Cal
Why: It's a near mortal lock. The only match-up of that Saturday putting two Top 25 teams against each other, and it's the ABC 8:00 pm (EST) game of the week. (Update: Cal is expecting it to happen)
Darkhorse: None.

LSU's Tiger Stadium

Week 2 (Sept. 8)
Projection: Virginia Tech at LSU
Why: A cross region battle of near consensus Top 10 teams televised on ESPN at 9:15 pm (EST). Combine the football aspects with the overwhelmingly compelling Virginia Tech tragedy story, and you have another near lock.
Darkhorse: Normally, Miami at Oklahoma, Notre Dame at Penn State, and Oregon at Michigan would all make great candidates for host sites. But Miami, ND and Oregon are all consensus projections to start the season outside of the Top 25.

Week 3: (Sept. 15)
Projection: USC at Nebraska
Why: The Trojans will start the season at #1, and the Huskers look to come into this game 2-0 with a ranking around 15-18th. The game is already confirmed for 8:00 pm on ABC. The Big Red crowd will be nuts in the early morning as it'll be Gameday's first trip back to Lincoln since the OU game in 2001.
Darkhorses: Notre Dame at Michigan and Tennessee at Florida. If Notre Dame can upset Georgia Tech and Penn State in weeks 1 and 2, the GameDay crew would have a tough decision to make. However, there are several games that look appealing for visits to Michigan's campus this year so even early ND momentum may not keep the GameDay crew away from UM. Tennessee at UF looks unlikely as it's a CBS game.

The Big House

Week 4 (Sept. 22)

Projection: Penn State at Michigan
Why: Penn State should be moving up the polls at a nice clip if they beat the Irish at home in Week 2. Michigan will have an excellent shot at being a Top 3-5 team for this ABC televised game. This is another very easy to project game.
Other Candidates: Unlike Weeks 5 and 6, it's not a very sexy week for college football match-ups. UGA at Alabama isn't totally out of the question if both teams roll into the game undefeated. Iowa at Wisconsin isn't totally out of the question given that it's ABC's 8:00 pm (EST) Prime Time telecast, but it seems a reach.

During Weeks 5 and 6, things start to get much more interesting.

In the coming articles, we'll discuss Weeks 5-8. We'll also look and see if there's any realistic shot of Athens hosting GameDay this year. Our last and only host game was the 1998 Tennessee debacle. More tomorrow.

See Also::
-- College GameDay Past Sites List - Wikipedia
-- Complete 2007 TV Composite Schedule -
-- Preseason Mags Composite Top 25 - HeyJennySlater



Anonymous said...

Tenn/SC was an ESPN night game last year, if I recall correctly. I remember watching it after the cocktail party. It might have been an ABC game, but I'm 95% certain it was ESPN. Either way, it was GameDay self-promotion.

Anonymous said...

You think those Nebraska players' comments were scripted?
I think I saw the corner of a cue card in the shot.
Heck, I'd go to a Cornhusker game if I live in Nebraska too... what else are you gonna do?

Anonymous said...

I personally think the following website is the best site for college football TV listings.

Anonymous said...

TN@SC was the ESPN night game.

Astronaut Mike Dexter said...

As much as I love the "College GameDay" atmosphere, that Wikipedia list indicates that Georgia is 2-6 all-time when "GameDay" comes to town (whether it's Athens or anyplace else).

So with that in mind, I'd just as soon they stayed the hell away from the Dawgs this year.

Unknown said...

Doug, I blame Goff, Donnan and Callaway more than ESPN.

The Blame Game
UT '95 (L) - Goff coached
UF '99 (L) - Donnan's OL stunk
Bama '02 (W) - Man Enough!
UF '02 (L) - We just stunk it up
LSU '03 (L) - ESPN didn't miss 3 FGs
SC '04 (W) - Dawgly goodness
AU '04 (L) - If we sign McNeil instead of Inman, I think this is a different outcome
UF '05 (L) - Suckiness

So...UGA is 2-6 overall. 2-4 under Richt. And 2-2 under Richt when not playing the eventual national champs or undefeated teams.

That's probably about normal for anyone in that scenario.

Unknown said...

I left off '98 at home vs. UT.

2-7 all-time
2-4 under Richt
2-2 when not playing the eventual national champs or undefeated teams

Anonymous said...

PWD - how true about McNeil. Tennessee signed Brandon Jeffries over McNeil (recruiting "rumors" are that we wouldn't accept his attempts to commit)...imagine McNeil and Sears as bookend tackles in 2004 and 2005.

Anonymous said...

Your blog sucks

Anonymous said...

Woo Hooo! Gameday announced that they will open at Virginia Tech! Go Hokies!

Would Cal and UT be a better matchup than East Carolina at Va. Tech? Probably. Will there be more raw emotion at VT? Definitely.

Thank you, football fans everywhere, for your support during the past three months. This is a small college town. It is not "everyone knows everyone" small - but there are only a few degrees of separation between most people. The recent events have had more of an effect that I would have imagined.

We are the Hokies. We will prevail.

- Class of '92, now local resident.

Anonymous said...

dude ure an iddiot they already announced they r going to va tech the first week, good work

Anonymous said...

ESPN's College GameDay program made it official: Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit and Chris Fowler will broadcast their Sept. 15 morning show from Lincoln for NU's game against Southern California.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Huskers will come close to beating USC but USC will win

Anonymous said...

I agree that ABC really missed the boat on this one. In Fowler's letter, which I found to be refreshingly open, he indicated a desire for regional balance along with promoting ABC games. What does that say about ABC's view of the PAC-Ten and the conference's ability to produce a legitimate Game of the Week?

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