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.