I still watch College Gameday religiously — even though I don’t really like it anymore and know that there are better pregame shows available. Still, it’s a habit that I don’t want to kick, if only out of nostalgia for when it was a better product. Longing for when the show was full of in-depth stories from around the sport and tighter analysis, not constant four-team Playoff talk and personalities trying goofy segments.
Another issue that I seem to run into with College Gameday is that, outside of one game a year, they tend to go to the same locations over and over again. Viewers stop being interested in Ohio State or Georgia hosting, and the fans feel the same way, skipping out on attending because they’ll be back soon enough.
Think about some of the times they’ve gone to a more unique location, and how special those shows were.
Maria Taylor: This is the most signs I’ve seen in my years of doing College GameDay! #UCF #UCFGameDay #ESPN #CollegeGameDay @UCF_Football @CollegeGameDay pic.twitter.com/t5nTUWuITC— Nathan Boyett (@nathanboyett) November 17, 2018
James Madison (@JMU) providing College GameDay with one of the biggest, festive crowds the show has experienced pic.twitter.com/j7Nk6crO9f— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) October 24, 2015
Memphis is ROCKING pic.twitter.com/ih7PtpFn0s— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) November 2, 2019
Still, all of those teams were good, playing important games in their season. That’s the model, of course, sending the College Gameday crew to the game of the week. Frankly, it gets boring. So, it’s time that they change things up and go for something completely different.
College Gameday needs to go to Amherst for the UMass vs. UConn game in Week 6 of the 2021 season.
Now, here me out. This isn’t just a “wouldn’t it be funny” kind of joke. Though, it certainly would be funny. There is a lot of merit to sending Kirk Herbstreit to McGuirk Alumni Stadium.
For one, this is a great rivalry, significantly more real than the Civil ConFLiCT. It goes back to their days together in the Yankee Conference, where UMass won 17 Yankee Conference Championships and UConn won 15. Then, there was brief hiatus when UConn left for the FBS level, but it has resumed in recent years with UMass moving up to FBS. Now, UMass leads the all-time series 37-35-2, and despite the two programs struggling, they’re still competitive with one another.
This game has become even more important as UConn has moved to Independent status alongside UMass. Now, they’re competing for the same level of recruits, in the same region of the country. Oftentimes, they’re even competing for the same fans in the area, as their campuses are only an hour and a half drive from one another.
Speaking of fans, having College Gameday show up is a great way to get the local fanbases excited in their programs, helping two struggling programs to get back on their feet. At the same time, you won’t lose national fans, because there is interest in this game every year at a national level — if only to see just how bad they are. By showcasing the game, you help to raise interest in not just these programs, but the entirety of the sport, not just the top-25.
This is also a new location, which College Gameday likes to include at least once a year. This will make for a completely unique experience, in New England during the Fall. For those who don’t know, the Fall is generally considered the best time to be in New England, with great food options, outdoor activities, and weather. Picture it now, as platters of apple cider, apple cider donuts, clam chowder, turkey, and lobster rolls. They cut to show shots of Fall foliage and the Connecticut River Valley. UMass’ student population of nearly 30,000 students and its extensive alumni base have filled the Southwest parking lot. Victor Cruz or Julius Erving is on to guest pick. It would be an incredibly fun and unique experience all around.
PHOTOS: #UMass Amherst tailgate before UMass vs. FIU game http://t.co/allHUO1mho pic.twitter.com/39hHh66rza— masslivenews (@masslivenews) October 5, 2015
So, yeah. It won’t be the game of the week, at least not in a positive sense. It will still be a fun game that college football fans pay attention to, and there’s no reason to think it wouldn’t be a great product compared to what they’ve been producing anyways.
Now, there is going to be some competition for UMass vs. UConn to be the host for College Gameday. Here are a few other options.
Oklahoma vs. Texas (Texas State Fair)
Going to the Red River Rivalry would be a nice change of pace for College Gameday, who seems to go there every year. It’s a great rivalry and a great location, don’t get me wrong, but it’s also what you’d expect them to do. Besides, we don’t even know if Texas will be good next year.
Georgia at Auburn
Georgia and Auburn play one of the better rivalry games in the SEC, making this a popular option for Gameday, even if it’s not the best game in a given week. Georgia should be a top-10 team next year, if not better. The question is more about Auburn, and if they’re capable of bouncing back.
Alabama at Texas A&M
Are you ready for this game to get overhyped? Texas A&M’s toughest game before they play Alabama is going to be Colorado or Arkansas, depending on your point of view. So, they’ll be unbeaten. Alabama is Alabama. Seems like the game you’d expect them to go to, only for it to be put away by the third quarter.
Penn State at Iowa
This might be a better option for Fox’s Big Noon Saturday, but if Penn State bounces back they’re one of the teams that ESPN likes to find a reason to send the crew to. Besides, Iowa has a chance to be as good as 4-1 by this time.