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College GameDay
College gameday logo.png
Format College Football
Starring Chris Fowler
Lee Corso
Kirk Herbstreit
Desmond Howard
Country of origin  United States
Location(s) Bristol, Connecticut
See locations below
Running time 2 hours
Original channel ESPN (1987–present)
Original airing 1987

College GameDay is an ESPN show covering college football. It first aired in 1987 with Tim Brando as host and Lee Corso and Beano Cook as analysts. Beginning more-or-less as an analysis of college football games, the show would undergo a radical transformation beginning in 1993 as the show began incorporating "live" broadcasts. The official name of the show is College GameDay built by The Home Depot. There is a separate radio broadcast, ESPN Radio College GameDay, on ESPN Radio.

Today, the only original cast member remaining is Lee Corso. Chris Fowler serves as host and Kirk Herbstreit, former Ohio State quarterback, serves as Corso's counterpart and foil. Starting in 2008, Desmond Howard has been added to the cast in the show's introduction. Craig James, currently providing analysis on ESPN Thursday Night games and on ABC's Saturday afternoon games, was on the show in the mid 1990s. Steve Cyphers is usually featured as a reporter. Nick Lachey joined the crew as a contributor during the 2005 season. Discussions are often held between the GameDay cast and studio analysts, including Lou Holtz and Mark May.

College GameDay began its 23rd season on September 5, 2009. The show ended that season in Pasadena, California, site of the 2010 Citi BCS National Championship Game, on January 7, 2010.



Backstage of the set - Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso, and Chris Fowler
The GameDay crew record a post-game segment for SportsCenter.




In 1993, GameDay began broadcasting live from outside a stadium hosting a game most Saturdays. The selected stadium is usually hosting one of the biggest matchups of the day, regardless of whether the game airs on an ESPN network. The first show "on the road" took place at South Bend, Indiana for the match up between #2 Notre Dame and #1 FSU. The show takes on a festive tailgate party atmosphere, as thousands of fans gather behind the broadcast set, in view of the show's cameras. Many fans bring flags or hand-painted signs as well, and the school's cheerleaders and mascots often join in the celebration. Crowds at GameDay tapings are known to be quite boisterous and very spirited. Flags seen at the broadcast are not limited to those of the home team; for example, one large Washington State flag can be seen at every broadcast, regardless of the location or the teams involved. The idea began in 2003 on WSU online fan forums and has resulted in the flag being present at over 80 consecutive GameDay broadcasts.[2][3]

The show's current intro and theme music is performed by country music duo Big & Rich, who perform their 2005 crossover hit "Comin' to Your City" with revised lyrics that mention several top college teams and a guest appearance by Cowboy Troy. Additional music that has been used for the show include "Boom" by the rock group P.O.D.

Corso picks Miami to upset Virginia Tech: note the head of Sebastian the Ibis.

Typically, the show will end with Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit issuing their predictions for that day's key matchups, finishing with the game to be played at the stadium hosting GameDay, for which Corso signifies his prediction by donning the head piece of the mascot of his predicted winner. Starting with the 2009 season, a celebrity guest picker will give picks for the day's key games alongside the GameDay regulars (such as Bob Knight when GameDay aired from Texas Tech in 2008). Prior to 2009, this was not done on a regular basis.

In past years, when no suitably important game is available, it will originate instead from the ESPN studios. (Herbstreit, who in 2006 became a game analyst for ABC's Saturday Night Football, is not allowed to make a pick for the game at which he is assigned due to parent company Disney's conflict of interest rules; however, he is allowed to give one or two keys to the game.)

College GameDay was also a source for many arguments regarding the purported east coast bias: From 1993 until 2004, GameDay had only been to two regular season games on the entire West Coast (1998 at UCLA and 2000 at Oregon). Given the popularity of the show and the media coverage it brought to the highlighted game, teams and fans of the West Coast teams felt that the show was only magnifying the perceived problems with excess media focus on East, South and Midwest games; ESPN attributed its lack of West Coast games to the need for a very early start time (07:00 AM PST) and an alleged lack of high quality matchups.[4]

The show's current primary sponsor is The Home Depot. The secondary sponsor for many of the featured segments is Pontiac.

With the addition of the Saturday Night Football game on ABC in 2006, GameDay has increasingly aired from that game. This could be done for many reasons including the fact Kirk Herbstreit is on both programs, thus making it easier for him. Another reason could be to give the Saturday Night Football game added exposure.

Beginning with the show's 21st season (2007), College GameDay began broadcasting in high-definition on ESPN HD.


The College GameDay setup

All game-time rankings are ESPN/USA Today (Coaches Poll). If a listing is blank, that week's show originated at the ESPN studios. Ohio State has hosted 12 College GameDay broadcasts. Ohio State's record is 9-3, with losses to Penn State, Texas, and Southern California. Florida has hosted 11 College GameDay shows (7-4). Michigan (9; 7-2) is third. The Gators have appeared in the on-site game the most times (32, winning 21). Ohio State (26) is second in on-site appearances. Florida versus Florida State has been the most-covered matchup, being covered eight times - five times in Gainesville, twice in Tallahassee, and once in New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl.

Including the 2009-2010 basketball season's announced schedule, 17 schools (Boston College, Clemson, Florida, Kansas State, Kentucky, LSU, Michigan State, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Texas, UCLA, and Wisconsin) have hosted College GameDay for both basketball and football events.

Notable editions

  • August 27, 2000: The BCA Kickoff Classic was canceled due to severe weather. Moments after picking Georgia Tech to win against Virginia Tech, Lee Corso's rental car was struck by lightning. Corso later joked that God was a Hokie fan.
  • November 3, 2001: The first time GameDay went to a non-BCS conference venue (Army at Air Force, with a post-9/11 feel).
  • November 16, 2002 marked the first time GameDay was broadcast live from an Ivy League school as Harvard played at Penn.
  • September 27, 2003: At West Point, where most of the broadcast was suspended due to lightning.
  • October 4, 2003: GameDay's visit to Texas for the Kansas State–Texas game marks the first appearance of the "Coug Flag", as Washington State fans begin their ongoing tradition of flying a school flag at every GameDay broadcast.
  • November 20, 2004: GameDay came to Utah to watch the Utes become the first ever BCS Buster.
  • November 26, 2005 marked the first time that GameDay was live from a game involving two historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) as Southern University played Grambling in the Bayou Classic in Houston (the game was moved from New Orleans to Houston due to Hurricane Katrina).
  • On November 4, 2006, Chris Fowler did not host the show for the first time in 16 years. Rece Davis, host of College Football Final filled in for him. Fowler was on assignment, hosting ESPN's coverage of the Breeders' Cup from Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.
  • September 1, 2007: GameDay came to Virginia Tech four and a half months after the April 16 murders at the school.
  • November 10, 2007 marked the first time that GameDay was live from a Div. III location as Amherst played at Williams.
  • On August 30, 2008, the largest crowd ever to show up for the College GameDay telecast was where nearly 20,000 packed Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta for the Alabama vs. Clemson matchup.
  • The November 15, 2008 broadcast at Florida A&M was the first time GameDay originated from an HBCU.
  • October 3, 2009 Gameday was at the Florida State vs Boston College game to pay tribute to Mark Herzlich, a BC player who was diagnosed with cancer.
  • November 7, 2009 paid tribute to the troops by attending the Army-Air Force game.

20th Anniversary Memorable Moments

Chris Fowler and Desmond Howard conducting post-game coverage for GameDay in Columbus, Ohio.

During the 2006 season, as part of College GameDay's 20th year anniversary, they brought back some of the most unforgettable moments in the show's history. Some of the clips include:

  • College GameDay Hits the Road: On 1993-11-13, College GameDay hits the road, after six years in the studio, to see the #2 Notre Dame Fighting Irish take on the #1 Florida State Seminoles in "The Game of the Century". Lee Corso picks Florida State 31-30, but the end result was Notre Dame 31–24.
  • Herbstreit Joins GameDay: On 1996-08-31, former Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Kirk Herbstreit joined the College GameDay crew, to complete the cast that hasn't changed since.
  • Corso's First Mascot Head: On 1996-10-05, a tradition starts when Lee Corso picks Ohio State to beat Penn State by sporting a facsimile of Brutus Buckeye's mascot head. Since that day, every College GameDay has ended with Corso sporting the team's head gear, usually a mascot head (eventually shifting to official mascot heads provided by the university) or another headpiece when a team does not have a suited mascot, such as a Trojan-style helmet for USC or the signature winged helmet of Michigan. For the game between Harvard and Penn that College GameDay did in 2002, Corso dressed as Benjamin Franklin.


The GameDay crew gathers at the Home Depot field for a demonstration while in Blacksburg
  • By the Numbers: This segment appears twice in the show, when they examine various number of games by the numbers.
  • GameChanger: At the end of the show, Fowler, Corso and Herbstreit all pick a player that they think will have a game changing performance.
  • Saturday Selections: This is the most famous segment of College GameDay, when Corso and Herbstreit make their predictions on the top games in college football. This also includes the game at which GameDay is present, when Lee Corso puts on the head of the mascot whose team he predicts to win that game.
  • Speed Drills: In this segment, Fowler throws about six or seven questions at Corso and Herbstreit to answer in 60 or 90 seconds.
  • Spirit Meter: This segment, which was taken from the basketball version of College GameDay, looks to see how loud the crowd behind them really is. In its short existence on the football version, the loudest so far has been at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, OR, set on 2007-11-03 at 127.2 dB.
  • Trick of the Trade: In this segment, Desmond Howard is joined by either Lee Corso or a player to break down a play that a team runs well and how to stop it.
  • Upset Special: This is at the end of each hour when ether Corso or Herbstreit predict an upset to happen in a big game. Corso usually makes his at the end of the first hour and Herbstreit makes his before the Saturday Selections, at the end of the second hour.
  • What 2 Watch 4: This appears twice throughout the program, when they run down all of the big games and examine them.
  • Headgear: This appears at the last minute of the show. Corso puts on the mascot's head of the team he thinks will win the matchup involving the host university. Occasionally he will choose the opposing school's mascot to the consternation of the fans of the host school.



  1. ^ a b c d e
  2. ^ Steward Mandel, Burning questions about BCS, a few candidates for Tennessee and more,, November 12, 2008, Accessed November 12, 2008.
  3. ^ Michael Hiestand, 'GameDay' flag relay is worth a salute, USA TODAY, October 30, 2008, Accessed November 12, 2008.
  4. ^ As Mark Gross, coordinating producer of GameDay, noted: "You're asking a thousand people to show up 12 hours before the game starts [. . . ] By no means are we ignoring (USC). We always discuss the possibility. But the time is something to think about." Patrick Kinmartin, What time is it? Time for 'College GameDay' to make its way to L.A., The Daily Trojan, April 8, 2004.
  5. ^ ESPN College GameDay Information (compiled with help from ESPN research staff & school SIDs)

External links

  • [1] ESPN College GameDay Information (compiled with help from ESPN research staff & school SIDs)

See also


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