Predicting Every College GameDay Location for the 2019 Season
Writer: Andrew Carlisle
College football season is right around the corner. This years offseason unmercifully stretches 228 days long from January 8, 2019 to August 23, 2019, but hey, we can now start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. With every college football season comes ESPN’s flagship Saturday morning show, College GameDay.
Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard, Rece Davis, Lee Corso, and others will give us all the information we need to know about the top teams and biggest games around the country hours before the games start every Saturday during the fall. College GameDay is such an integral part of everyone’s Saturday in the fall, that it has become a guessing game to see where the show will take place every week. The location isn’t released until the Saturday night or Sunday morning prior to that weeks show, but based on the schedule for the fall we can already begin to predict where College GameDay will air its first episode for this season in August, and beyond.
Week 0: Miami (FL) vs Florida, Neutral Site Game at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida
Two games take place on August 24 this year, Miami (FL) vs Florida, and Arizona vs Hawaii, so rather than declare this week one, I’m calling it week zero. Now I don’t know if College GameDay will host a show for a Saturday with only two games, but the Army-Navy Game is the only game on the second Saturday in December and College GameDay is there every year, but different circumstances, I know. However, if College GameDay does do a show for week zero, Miami (FL) vs Florida is the easy choice given that its a rivalry game, both teams should open up ranked in the Top 25, and Miami has a new look under Manny Diaz and a lot of transfers set to play this season. If nothing else, week zero can serve as a College GameDay preview and prediction special for the upcoming season.
Week 1: Oregon vs Auburn, AdvoCare Classic, Neutral Site Game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas
Traditionally in week 1, there are a few big neutral site games between Top 25 games that get us even more fired up for the season. This year is no exception to that as Oregon and Auburn should both be represented in the Top 25. Auburn brings Derrick Brown and their SEC defense to the gridiron against the Oregon Ducks and their high-powered offense led by Heisman trophy hopeful Justin Herbert. This is a rematch of the 2011 National Championship game in which Cam Newton led Auburn to a 22-19 win over Oregon. This will be the first time that these two teams have played since that thrilling National Championship game. The week one slate this season isn’t all that impressive so this should be the location for College GameDay on August 31, 2019.
Other Possible Locations: None
Week 2: LSU @ Texas
Is Texas back? Can LSU’s offense be depended on in big games this year? Those questions and more should be answered when these two heavyweights collide in Austin, Texas on Saturday September 7, 2019. Off the heels of a 10-win season capped off by a victory in the Sugar Bowl over Georgia, Texas will look to continue to ride the wave of momentum into this season. On the other side, LSU wants to prove they can push Alabama in the SEC West this season and compete for a National Title. This would be College GameDay’s first appearance in Austin since 2009 when Texas defeated Texas Tech 34-24.
Other Possible Locations: Texas A&M @ Clemson, Stanford @ USC
Week 3: Oklahoma @ UCLA
Oklahoma thrashed UCLA by 28 points at home a year ago, and this is the second game of a home and home series for the two squads. If UCLA can defeat a pesky Cincinnati team in week 1 and head into this week three game at 2-0, then this game will have a lot more intrigue than it currently does. Chip Kelly has had a year and a half to implement his style, system, and culture that brought him great success at Oregon, and he’ll go up against a top three coach in college football in Lincoln Riley who has his third different transfer quarterback in as many seasons in Jalen Hurts, the former Alabama signal caller.
Other Possible Locations: Clemson @ Syracuse, Stanford @ UCF, Florida @ Kentucky
Week 4: Notre Dame @ Georgia
This intriguing matchup includes the last two number three seeds in the College Football Playoff, it is also the second game of a home and home series The first game of the series was a nailbiter 20-19 win for the Bulldogs in South Bend. Both teams expect to compete for a national title this season after Notre Dame made the College Football Playoff, and Georgia narrowly missed out. The quarterbacks should garner the attention in this game, as Jake Fromm is a potential first round pick in the 2020 NFL draft and Ian Book impressed in his first season as the starting quarterback for the Fighting Irish a year ago.
Other Possible Locations: Oregon @ Stanford, Michigan @ Wisconsin, Auburn @ Texas A&M
Week 5: Ohio State @ Nebraska
This will mark College GameDay’s first conference game of the season, and this matchup could be a preview of the B1G Championship in December. It will also be Ryan Day’s first true road game as the head coach at Ohio State, without the interim tag attached. Quarterbacks Justin Fields and Adrian martinez should both be in the running for B1G Conference player of the year as well. Oh, and to add to the intrigue, both teams should come into the game undefeated at 4-0. Scott Frost is looking for his first big win, and Ryan Day is looking to match Urban Meyer on the field as he has done in recruiting this offseason.
Other Possible Locations: USC @ Washington, Houston @ North Texas
Week 6: Auburn @ Florida
This is an SEC division crossover game that will attract ESPN with Oklahoma vs Texas likely the landing spot for the following week. Florida hasn’t gotten a ton of College Football Playoff attention this offseason as Georgia remains the favorite in the SEC East division, but make no mistake, this Florida team is legit. Auburn will probably come into this game with a loss or two having previously played Oregon and Texas A&M, however if they don’t this could potentially be a top 10 matchup in Gainesville.
Other Possible Locations: Washington @ Stanford, Iowa @ Michigan
Week 7: Oklahoma vs Texas, Neutral Site Game at the Cotton Bowl Stadium
This location will likely give College GameDay its biggest crowd of the entire year. The location is right in the middle of both schools, the Texas State Fair is held during this weekend, and these are the two favorites to win the Big 12 this season. It’s also a rivalry game that should feature two top 15 teams, and after what former Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield said about current Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger recently, the anticipation for this game should only increase.
Other possible locations: Alabama @ Texas A&M, Penn State @ Iowa, Florida @ LSU, USC @ Notre Dame
Week 8: Oregon @ Washington
The two favorites for the Pac-12 North will meet at Husky Stadium in week 8 when Oregon and Washington square off. Oregon was able to fend off Washington in last years game 30-27 in overtime, and this one hopes to be just as exciting. The quarterbacks in this game are also expected to be some of the best in the nation this year. Oregon’s Justin Herbert is back for his senior season, while Washington will be breaking in Georgia transfer, Jacob Eason. The winner of this one will have the upper-hand in winning the Pac-12 North and playing for a conference title in December.
Other Possible Locations: Michigan @ Penn State
Week 9: Notre Dame @ Michigan
Notre Dame and Michigan will meet for the 44th time in week 9. Michigan leads the all-time series between the rivals 24-17-1. Both teams have College Football playoff aspirations heading into the season, and are lead by returning quarterbacks, Ian Book for Notre Dame, and Shea Patterson for Michigan. Last year's game between the rivals was played in torrential downpour for much of the game, and Notre Dame won 24-17. Both teams should still be in the college football playoff picture when week 9 rolls around so this is an ideal spot for College GameDay.
Other Possible Locations: Wisconsin @ Ohio State, Auburn @ LSU,
Week 10: Georgia vs Florida, Neutral Site Game at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Florida
The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party should be the home of College GameDay in week 10. Georgia is no longer the only top dog in the SEC East as Florida enjoyed a lot of improvement under Dan Mullen last year. This game could decide the fate of the SEC East and who will represent the division in the SEC Championship come December. These teams are expected to come into the game ranked in the top 15 as well, another reason College GameDay could be attracted to this location
Other Possible Locations: Oregon vs USC, Utah vs Washington
Week 11: LSU @ Alabama
The LSU vs Alabama game is often a site for College GameDay during the season, sometimes even more than once(2011 regular season game and National Championship game). It is also very indicative of where we sit in the college football season as this game takes place around the middle of November, notifying us fans that we have three to four weeks of regular season play remaining. This year should have just as much hype as any as Alabama is looking to get back to another National Championship game, while LSU hopes returning quarterback Joe Burrow can lead the Tigers to knock off the Crimson Tide for the first time since 2011.
Other Possible Locations: Missouri vs Georgia
Week 12: Wisconsin vs Nebraska
The B1G West division should be as entertaining as any division in college football this season. Wisconsin, Nebraska, Northwestern, and Iowa can all make the claim that they should be the favorite heading into the season, while Purdue and Minnesota could also get into the mix this season. Paul Chryst will look to get Wisconsin back into the B1G Championship race this season after a disappointing year. On the other side, Scott Frost has a lot of momentum heading into this year even after a disappointing 4-8 debut last year.
Other Possible Locations: Georgia vs Auburn, Texas @ Iowa State, Michigan State vs Michigan
Week 13: Harvard vs Yale
One week each year College GameDay goes to a game that isn’t as high-profile or flashy as we’re used to. This years game could be when two Ivy-League rivals square off when Harvard takes on Yale. Week 13 doesn’t have very many big games to choose from which is why we could see Harvard vs Yale as the host for College GameDay. Penn State could take a step back this season, while Texas A&M could potentially have 3-4 losses as well by this point. No one really trusts UCLA or USC right now either as both programs are going through rebuilds at the moment, giving way for Harvard vs Yale to host College GameDay for the first time since 2014.
Other Possible Locations: Penn State vs Ohio State, Texas A&M vs Georgia, UCLA vs USC
Week 14: Ohio State vs Michigan
Two words, The Game. Ohio State vs Michigan is one of, if not the best rivalry in all of sports. This year there are plenty of storylines to get College GameDay up to Ann Arbor, Michigan. Jim Harbaugh has been at Michigan for four years, and still hasn’t beaten Ohio State yet. Ryan Day enters his first game of the series as head coach for Ohio State after Urban Meyer went a perfect 7-0 against the Wolverines. This game should also decide the B1G East division and who will represent that side in the B1G Championship a week later.
Other Possible Locations: Notre Dame vs Stanford, Texas A&M vs LSU, Alabama vs Auburn
Week 15: SEC Championship, Neutral Site Game at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia
This could change depending on who the championship games include, but for now I am betting on an Alabama vs Georgia SEC Championship. Both teams have been ranked as top five teams by analysts and experts during the offseason and are loaded with talent on both sides of the ball. Tua Tagovailoa and Jake Fromm could also both be playing in their final SEC conference game as both are projected first round picks in the 2020 NFL Draft. Nick Saban also gets to face his prodigy Kirby Smart for the third time in as many years after narrowly defeating him in his first two attempts, what's not to like?
Other Possible Locations: B1G Championship, ACC Championship, Big 12 Championship
Week 16: Army vs Navy Game, Neutral Site Game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
College GameDay has covered the Army vs Navy game every year since 2014, and I don’t expect that to change this year. This will be the final game until bowl games start. While this game doesn’t feature teams vying for a National or Conference Championship, it is Nationally recognized and has a very large following in the football and overall sports community. It also allows us to recognize those who have served time in the military forces and those who continue to serve and protect our country around the globe.