Ranking the best ESPN College GameDay visits this season
ESPN’s College GameDay show is beloved by virtually every college football fan. It’s an absolute must-watch every week as Chris Fowler, Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit and others combine football analysis, entertaining features, and a whole lot of fun all while on a college campus.
So far this season, College GameDay has been to six locations, but which have been the best? SDS breaks it down.
6) Aug. 30 – Arlington, Texas
To open up the season, ESPN College GameDay traveled to Arlington, Texas for a neutral-site matchup between No. 1 ranked Florida State and Oklahoma State. Although it was the first College GameDay of the season, which is always exciting, the neutral-site location certainly takes some of the pizzazz out of the show. College GameDay is always at its best in front of a raucous on-campus crowd.
The highlight of this week had to be the appearance of Stone Cold Steve Austin. The former wrestling star came on the show as the season’s first celebrity guest picker. Unfortunately for Austin, he didn’t do so well on his picks, missing on two big upsets: Utah State over Tennessee and Wisconsin over LSU.
5) Sept. 27 – Columbia, SC
ESPN’s trip to Columbia, S.C. comes in at No. 5 on our list. The decision to travel to South Carolina for the Gamecocks’ matchup against Missouri that week was a little perplexing. Although, there weren’t many high-profile games that weekend, so they did about as best they could.
Despite the small selection, it was still a rather underwhelming experience at Columbia. The game wasn’t nearly as hyped up since Missouri had lost to Indiana at home the weekend before and lacked the big-game intensity that helps make College GameDay special. Also, a confusing move to have Kenny Chesney, a vocal Tennessee fan, as the guest picker was an interesting move and slightly unpopular move.
4) Sept. 13 – Fargo, ND
On the worst week of the college football season, ESPN College GameDay was forced to venture outside the FBS and travel once again to Fargo, ND for North Dakota State. Although it’s a unique location, the draw for much of College GameDay’s audience just isn’t there.
Don’t get me wrong, the downtown area of Fargo was filled to the brim with people and the atmosphere was great, but it simply just doesn’t have the same mystique has many of College GameDay’s other visits this season. Still, it’s always great to see Chris Folwer and the guys explore more unusual locations rather than the same places every year.
3) Sept. 20 – Tallahassee, Fla.
For the second time this season, ESPN’s College GameDay went to a Florida State game. This time, GameDay found themselves at Florida’s state capital to take in Clemson vs. FSU.
The FSU fans and students did their part, packing the background of the GameDay set to take in the three-hour pre-game show. Of course, GameDay that morning was even more interesting considering the Jameis Winston suspension for the entire game. Jimbo Fisher was supposed to be present during the show for an interview, but cancelled after the suspension of Winston was made public the night before.
The appearance of Jimbo Fisher’s son, Ethan, also gave the show a real special ending. Fisher’s son was brought on to help Lee Corso with his headgear pick in a particularly nice touch. He is currently battling Fanconi anemia, a rare blood disease. Corso, an alumnus of FSU, unsurprisingly picked the Seminoles to beat Clemson.
2) Sept. 6 – Eugene, Oregon
Whenever College GameDay goes to Eugene to visit the University of Oregon’s campus, it’s always a special week. And of course, Oregon fans didn’t disappoint. They are always one of the loudest fan bases on GameDay and aren’t shy about showing up early, considering the show goes live at 6 a.m. in the morning, thanks to the time zone.
One highlight of the visit to Eugene had to be the wrestling match between the mascots of Michigan State and Oregon. As always, it’s a party in Eugene when GameDay comes to town. You can bet the crew will be back before too long.
1) Oct. 4 – Oxford, Miss.
Easily the best College GameDay visit of the season was last week’s trip to Oxford, Miss for the Ole Miss – Alabama game. Not only was it College GameDay’s first ever trip to The Grove at Ole Miss, but the atmosphere was nearly perfect for that kind of enviornment. Reports of 100,000-plus people showing up to The Grove for the morning show doesn’t seem too far off.
And of course, it was the guest picker Katy Perry that stole the show. Thanks to an outrageous outfit, corn dog props and more security than President Barack Obama, it was quite the spectacle. Not to mention she was virtually perfect in her picks, calling both Mississippi teams to win their games that day. It’s regarded by a producer involved with College GameDay as the best show they’ve ever had.