Predicting the SEC's 7 best chances to host College GameDay in 2023
Believe it or not, there were only 3 in 2022.
Three times, College GameDay made its way to an SEC campus. All of them were for Tennessee games.
Stunning? Absolutely. Do I think that’ll be the case again? Absolutely not.
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That’s no knock on the Vols, who had their best season in 2 decades. That’s just the nature of the ever-popular pregame show. Find the teams that move the needle. Excluding the postseason, LSU was part of 3 College GameDay games during the 2019 regular season.
Part of predicting where College GameDay will be is trying to guess which team could be on the rise. At least in the preseason. During the season, that task is a little bit easier.
For now, though, I’ll do the more daunting task of predicting which 7 SEC games are the best bets to host College GameDay.
(I’ll only predict the games that will be on an SEC campus or a neutral-site game involving an SEC team.)
7. Tennessee at Alabama (Week 8)
The competition — Utah at USC, TCU at Kansas State, Penn State at Ohio State
Thought this would be higher on the list? Remember a few things: Alabama is extremely likely to host a College GameDay game earlier in the year against Texas (spoiler alert for this list). It also has another favorable shot to host for the LSU game in November. Repeating schools can happen, but it’s usually done when there aren’t a lot of other options. In this case, there are plenty of other options. You’ve got a pair of Power 5 championship rematches, and that’s not even including the likely possibility of GameDay choosing Penn State-Ohio State as the Buckeyes’ best home game of 2023. So yes, while conventional wisdom suggests last year’s thriller in Knoxville makes the rematch an obvious choice to host GameDay in 2023, some other factors pushed it down this list.
6. Georgia vs. Florida (Week 9, in Jacksonville)
The competition — Ohio State at Wisconsin, Oregon at Utah
I know, I know. We’re expecting this to be a lopsided matchup. Is it possible that this could actually turn into an off-the-grid FCS week for GameDay? Sure, but it’s also possible that preseason expectations for Florida are so low that this matchup feels a bit different by late-October. It also could turn into a chance for GameDay to see the 2-time defending national champs for the first time in 2023. My best bet would actually be that GameDay makes a trip out West to see Oregon-Utah or even the Luke Fickell Bowl in Madison, but even if it’s a 2-touchdown or 3-touchdown spread, it’s still an iconic atmosphere with 2 premier programs. Never rule it out.
5. Alabama at Texas A&M (Week 6)
The competition — Oklahoma vs. Texas (in Dallas)
Yes, I do think there’s a chance that GameDay has its eye on a team that went 5-7 last year. Why? A&M has a pretty favorable path to 4-1 ahead of the Alabama game. The Miami game is the only true road game in that start, and as we know, that’ll be a battle of 5-7 teams from 2022. The fact that the Aggies have been wildly disappointing the last 2 years and they played Alabama as well as they did could very well make this a GameDay matchup, especially knowing the way things played out the last time the Tide went to College Station. We could see Oklahoma-Texas in its last matchup as Big 12 teams, but you’d probably need those teams to have a combined 1 loss to make for a better case than Alabama-A&M.
4. LSU at Alabama (Week 10)
The competition — Washington at USC, Notre Dame at Clemson, Kansas State at Texas
Man, that slate is absolutely loaded. Like, from coast to coast, it’s darn good. There’s a decent chance that all 4 of those games are matchups of top-15 teams with conference title shots. For my money, this is the best weekend of the year, at least looking at it in May. I suppose there’s a chance that in the likely event that GameDay travels to Alabama for the Texas game, it could bypass LSU-Alabama for one of those 3 intriguing options. But we had a Year 1 Alabama victory for Brian Kelly and LSU has actually fared better against the Tide in Tuscaloosa than in Baton Rouge. If this is a Playoff elimination game to decide the West, it’d be awfully tough to turn down.
3. Georgia at Tennessee (Week 12)
The competition — UCLA at USC, Washington at Oregon State
Isn’t it wild that everyone is picking UGA’s schedule apart even though it has to travel to face an 11-win team? That’s how good UGA has been. That includes 2 dominant victories against the Josh Heupel Vols (don’t argue with me on how “close” that game was last year). Maybe if it’s clear that Tennessee has taken a step back from its 2022 levels, GameDay could opt for the battle of LA or a super intriguing game in Corvallis, where the crew made a lone visit to back in 2010. But the reason I had this so high was because this appears like it’ll be the only chance you can realistically sell an upset of the 2-time defending champs. If the Vols are even just ranked, this feels like a no-brainer.
2. LSU vs. Florida State (Week 1, in Orlando)
The competition — Colorado at TCU, Virginia at Tennessee (in Nashville)
Don’t tell anyone, but the Saturday slate in Week 1 is actually pretty weak. That’s why we could see ESPN, in Disney’s backyard, opt for a Sunday night game as the GameDay host. It makes sense from a branding standpoint, and we know that when Florida and Miami met in Orlando in the 2019 opener, College GameDay made it the host. You have the rare case where you don’t have to worry about a lack of buzz hosting on what’ll technically be a non-Saturday. ESPN will have the Disney backdrop with a pair of hyped fan bases that travel extremely well. If this game were on Saturday, it would be No. 1 on the list. Also, Deion Sanders’ debut against runner-up TCU shouldn’t be totally ruled out.
1. Texas at Alabama (Week 2)
The competition — Nebraska at Colorado
Look. I know that the Deion hype is through the roof. We shouldn’t ignore the possibility that ESPN, who aired 1-11 Colorado’s spring game on its main airwaves and nobody else, decides to be there for Sanders’ home debut. You’ve got a rivalry renewed against Matt Rhule-led Nebraska, who also figures to have a desperate, well-traveled fan base.
But come on. Texas at Alabama is happening. We know the game is at 7 ET on ESPN, which isn’t a deal-breaker that it’ll host GameDay, but this seems like an obvious choice. The Longhorns nearly beat Alabama in Austin last year, which is part of it. But remember that Alabama was a 3-touchdown favorite and GameDay still made sure it was at Texas. It didn’t matter that it was a FOX Big Noon game. This year, with more questions about Alabama, I’d be stunned if GameDay picked anything but the future SEC foes.
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I think later in the season after Colorado has only won 1-2 games the curiosity will fade to the background.
No one gives a c rap about CO.
Ron…Agreed. The Buffs have a big mtn. to climb out there.
I would have the UT/Bama game certainly higher than the snooze fest in Jacksonville. This almost feels like a Tennessee hit piece. Amazing how rent free UT is in the minds of the Media and especially UGa fans…
Completely agree. After that faux flag operation to steal a win against Bama, y’all laid an absolute t u r d in Columbia and got blown TF out. Losing the top two players from last year ain’t gonna help. Hope the viles suck eggs all year. RTR!!!
rigth back atcha bamabonehead. i know it must stink having to celebrate a win over UT vicariously through SC. we didnt steal a win. your team choked. simple as that. The better team won. accept it.
Yep. The better team won. Just like in Athens. Accept it or are you still going with the “We Lost on Purpose” BS your top fan blathers about
So….Alabama is so great because they lost to a team that lost to Carolina. Got it. Just stay away from my trees.
So what, we ruined your season, that’s enough for us..LOL. And finished second in the SEC. lol. sorry, remember head to head? And we’ll do it again this season but I kinda think AU, TN and LSU gets you this season.
Congratulations on your big moral victory. Hopefully it helps with that whole 1998 thing
” snooze fest in Jacksonville.” ??????
I pity the fools like you who can’t see what’s coming your way.
After the first night of destruction next to the Great Salt Lake, Gameday will be stationed in Gainesville for the rest of the season
The Mertzinator will make sure it’s not a snoozefest
You sir are one of the few with vision. Your name has been written in The Book of Mertz. A smidgeon of Mertzy will be granted to you to use as you will since the Mertzinator is not scheduled to lay waste to your village. You may sell it to other SEC clans scheduled for destruction. A most valuable gift for those who can see
Sun Belt Billy will have the gators floundering again. There is no Richardson to bail him out this year. Enjoy your 5 wins.
” no Richardson to bail him out this year.”
One of the most laughable comments I have read
VolMaster…Your comment of “no Richardson to bail him out this year” shows your lack of understanding of football. AR15 did not ever bail the Gators out. He played well vs. Utah and then there were the other games in the season. If you’re going to post, at least know what you’re posting about.
Its not Richardson’s fault that Sun Belt Billy is terrible. He was the 4TH OVERALL PICK IN THE DRAFT. And that is despite how bad of a coach Sun Belt Billy is. Yall need to get your head out of your backsides and realize its the coach not the QB. Like I said, enjoy your 5 wins this year. Maybe only 4.
That’s a terrible take. I guess you’ll blame NFL coaching when Richardson fails to live up to expectations.
There you go Volmaster, double down on the stupidity.
Clearly it is you the one with your head up your rear
TN and FL is an early matchup and many will curious to see both teams. I kinda think gameday will show in Gainesville for this. Any chance for ESPN Gameday to see a potential TN slip is must see for them. But UF has some athletes and TN is NOT taking this game lightly in the least. First start for Joe in such an environment will be interesting.
I believe VolMaster and gwhite are roomies, their logic is identical.
Assuming TN is humming like they were last season, that game will be a lock for Game Day. Especially with the back story of the Vols winning the game last year. But my guess is that WLCP will also attract Game Day just for the tradition of the game itself. And I think Florida is going to be pretty good this year despite all of the angst against Mertz. I think his performance in a new system with fast receivers are going to surpass what the narrative is currently. Either way, I’ll be tuning in to both of those games whether ESPN shows up or not!
Yet here you are with the second post mentioning UGA. So just who is living rent free in whose mind?
What drove UGA and their fans nuts last year was how much exposure TN got with Gameday. It just works out that way with how many good teams TN plays. Plus, Neyland is always a successful outing for them. When you play a weak regular season you have to expect this UGA fan..lol Your schedule is so weak that if you were to lose a game, you might actually get Gameday to come and watch you all against even an 8 win SEC team..lol
Ole Miss vs AU will be a nice matchup as Coach Freeze takes the field for the first time against them.
Hugh Freeze. Lane Kiffin.
Low character. High coaching. Former Ole Miss coach vs. current Ole Miss coach. Could be quote worthy and meme worthy on many levels.
TN has known plenty of low character human beings.
Looking forward to TN-Bama
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TN will be involved potentially with 3 College Gameday appearance games again. TN at UF, TN at Bama and UGA at TN. SC at TN would be interesting for them but not sure SC is going to be anything like last year’s two game miracle streak lol. The A&M at TN game could become something should A&M be much improved or have beaten Bama. These guys go where they can get the ratings when they can. Sometimes going to small venue schools is unavoidable.
Who cares if CGD shows up at your school. I don’t watch it.
I don’t think Game Day loves Alabama that much.
Bama just plays a real schedule with lots of big time, nationally significant games on the schedule.
“Bama just plays a real schedule with lots of big time”
Lots of teams do, ma’am.
I don’t like the new ” expand comments” and “collapse comments” Because now when you want to check comments on something you posted, clicking on the comment no longer takes you directly to that comment, just the article. Then you have to scroll down and find it.
That sux. I I don’t want to have to take the time to scroll down to see that Ron Mexico has told me to eat a bag of di cks or Braves1471 is insulting my intelligence.
Maybe it’s gwhite who insults me. I get my Vol trolls mixed up
Too funny, and I agree about the collapse and expand thing.
Or you could just leave the comments collapsed and feel as if you won the war of smack talk or troll talk. Then not even have to read all?that nonsense troll talk.
It’s almost as if SDS wanted to reduce activity on their comment boards. This new expand and collapse comments feature has been poorly programmed.
When you click on anyone’s comment you should be taken to that comment, bypassing everything else.
The new expand/collapse comment button is stupid. It serves no purpose. If they actually wanted to improve the site they could remove and prevent all the spam comments. But it’s SDS, so I don’t expect much.
I would have thought USC/UNC would have at least gotten a mention week one just for the Rattler/Maye matchup, oh well!
All the hype about Drake Maye is real. He is a heckuva player. As long as UNC’s defense plays defense he can be in N.Y.C.
Pretty crazy that Deon has been able to create so much buzz around a program that has in the dumps for over 2 decades. With the way he’s hitting the portal and has improved recruiting so quickly, I think the Buffs will be competitive in 2-3 years which would be a great feat if he pulls it off.
Fun to read about SEC football while watching the baseball tournament, so thanks for the article. That said, TN vs Bama will not overmatch the Nittany Lions vs the Bucknuts. And why would the Gameday crew not go to the Washington vs Oregon game? My money says they throw the PAC-12-2+? a bone and make a trip out west.
Week 5 – IN THE GROVE
LSU at undefeated Ole Miss!!
TXReb…A few years ago Game Day was in the Grove and Katy Perry was the guest picker. That was the best Game Day broadcast ever…everyone on that set was having fun. The Grove is the absolute best tailgating I’ve ever experienced anywhere. I have some friends who are Ole Miss grads and I’m at one(1) Ole Miss home game every year. The Grove Rocks !
I was also at the game and got a pic with the goal post in the Grove. Its awesome that Alabama and LSU home games alternate every year. Never miss either.