Everyone loves to try and figure out where ESPN Gameday will be going, if there will be anywhere new, etc. Even Vanderbilt, back in 2010, got a visit from the Saturday morning college football preview show. This season has spiraled slightly out of control, so guessing the weekly visits might be a little more difficult than originally anticipated, but it’s still fun. There’s only 7 weeks left, so we’re going to go out on a limb and tell you where the juggernaut will be heading over the next few weeks.
But first, let’s show you where they’ve already been.
- August 31: #5 Georgia at #8 Clemson
- September 7: #14 Notre Dame at #17 Michigan
- September 14: #1 Alabama at #6 Texas A&M
- September 21: Delaware State at #1 (FCS) North Dakota State
- September 28: #6 LSU at #9 Georgia
- October 5: #4 Ohio State at #16 Northwestern
- October 12: #2 Oregon at #16 Washington
- October 19: #5 Florida State at #3 Clemson
- October 26: #12 UCLA at #3 Oregon
So this week they’ll be back on the West Coast to see the Ducks play again, only this time it will be in Eugene. Which means we get to see the Gameday crew open up the show in the dark again. What about the next 6 weeks? Here are our predictions:
Nov 2: Miami (FL) at Florida St
Currently, Florida St is ranked #2 in the BCS and they should beat NC State in Tallahassee this weekend, so they’ll be undefeated at 7-0. Miami, currently #7 in the BCS rankings, has Wake Forest this weekend, which would push their record to 7-0 as well. This game will be massive. The ACC has been waiting for a big Miami / Florida St game since Miami joined the conference back in 2004. The only way Gameday isn’t in Tallahassee is if Florida St loses at home to NC State this weekend. And hey… we’ve seen crazier things.
- Oklahoma St at Texas Tech: Oklahoma St should win at Iowa St this weekend, pushing their record to 6-1, and Texas Tech has a huge game at Oklahoma. Tech is currently #10 in the BCS, but with a win over Oklahoma, they would likely jump Clemson to #9.
- Michigan at Michigan St: Both of these teams are quietly 6-1 already on the year, with Mich St playing a should-be win at Illinois this weekend to push to 7-1, and Michigan is on a bye week, so they’ll sit at 6-1. This could be a battle of top 25 teams, and a huge game in the Big 10 Legends Division.
Nov 9: LSU at Alabama
LSU should steamroll Furman this weekend, and Alabama should take care of Tennessee, then both teams have a bye week to prepare for each other. The so-called “Saban Bowl” is always a huge game, and it always seems to come down to the very end of the game, except for the National Championship game 2 years ago where Alabama dominated in a 21-0 victory. Other than that, every Bama / LSU game has been within one score since Saban took over at Alabama in 2007. LSU is currently ranked #13, but with UCLA, Texas Tech, and Miami all playing as the underdog in huge games before this weekend gets here, there’s a chance this could, once again, be a top 10 showdown.
- Nebraska at Michigan: Again, these two teams quietly have 6-1 records. If Michigan can get past Michigan St to get to 7-1, and Nebraska handles Northwestern and wins at a surprisingly 5-2 Minnesota team, to also get to 7-1, both of these teams will be in the top 20.
- BYU at Wisconsin: Anybody wanna explain why Wisconsin scheduled this game? I would say for schedule strength, but they’ve already played at Arizona St this year. It’s very possible Wisconsin could have 3 losses at the end of the year, and only one of them be to a Big 10 school (having already lost to Ohio St). Wisconsin plays at Iowa the week before this and should be 6-2 and in the top 20 by the time this game rolls around. BYU hosts Boise St on Fri, Oct 25. If the Cougars win that game, look for them to get back into the top 25 as well.
- Virginia Tech at Miami (FL): Regardless of whether or not Miami beats Florida St, they’ll still be in the top 20, and Virginia Tech, who currently sits at #14, only has Duke and a contest at Boston College before traveling to Miami to see who will be the representative of the Coastal Division of the ACC.
Nov 16: Oklahoma St at Texas
There would be no better storyline for Gameday than if Mack Brown turns this thing around at Texas. After looking so terrible to open the season, we see that Ole Miss and BYU, two teams that dwarfed his bunch, are actually pretty good. What the Longhorns did to Oklahoma… whew. I don’t believe anybody saw that coming. After a bye week last week, they have games at TCU, hosting Kansas, and at West Virginia. They should run all of those to get to 7-2 and 6-0 in the Big 12, while Oklahoma St, currently #19 in the BCS, will have won games at Iowa St, at Texas Tech, and Kansas to be sitting at 8-1 and 5-1 in the Big 12. It’s a potential Big 12 Championship elimination game.
- Michigan St at Nebraska: Michigan St and Nebraska both would have to beat Michigan, then Michigan St would have a bye week before playing the Cornhuskers, who play Michigan the week before this. If both teams beat Michigan, both will definitely be in the top 20, which sets up a play-in game for the
- Texas Tech vs Baylor: Currently, Texas Tech is undefeated and #10 in the BCS rankings, but will have to get through games at Oklahoma, and hosting Oklahoma St and Kansas St. Baylor, currently #8 in the BCS, will have to get through games at Kansas, and at home on a Thursday night against Oklahoma. This is a neutral site game, being played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, so it’s already on a massive stage. If both of these teams can get here undefeated, it will be massive. My guess is that Tech loses to both Oklahoma and Oklahoma St, which would setup the Oklahoma St vs Texas game as a potential Big 12 Championship elimination game.
- Maryland at Virginia Tech: If Virginia Tech wins at Miami on Nov 9th, they should be ranked in the top 10. Maryland hosts Clemson this week, with both teams coming off huge losses last week. Maryland should have a good, healthy QB CJ Brown for this one, after he played so poorly in his first game back after sitting out two weeks with a severe concussion. Even if Maryland loses, if they’re sitting at 6-3 and Virginia Tech is 9-1, this would be an attractive matchup.
Nov 23: Missouri at Ole Miss
Lee Fitting and the Gameday crew have been wanting to go to the Grove at Ole Miss for YEARS and the team has never been good enough for them to get there… but if everything falls right, this could end up being a HUGE game. Missouri is currently #7 in the BCS and is 7-0 with games against South Carolina, Tennessee and at Kentucky before getting a bye week heading into Oxford. Ole Miss, currently 4-3 after knocking off then-#6 LSU with a last second field goal, only has to navigate Idaho, Arkansas, and Troy to get to 7-3 before hosting Mizzou. This could be a top 20 matchup, with Missouri in the top 5, maybe top 3 or 4 at that point, and their ticket to the SEC Championship game already punched. If South Carolina beats Missouri this weekend, that makes this game even more appealing because South Carolina would have 2 losses and own the tie-breaker over the Tigers. All sorts of storylines could go through this game.
- Texas A&M at LSU: This game would be a whole lot of fun, but expectations are that LSU will have just lost to Alabama, putting them at 7-3, and Texas A&M looks like they’ll be 8-2 after wins at home over Vanderbilt, UTEP, and Mississippi St. The Gameday crew gets to Baton Rouge quite a bit… so if given the chance to cover an SEC game, they’d probably rather cover the team playing in Oxford that probably will represent the SEC East.
- Oregon at Arizona: If Oregon gets through UCLA this weekend, then at Stanford on Nov 7th, then Utah on Nov 16, they’ll be sitting at 10-0 heading into Arizona, where Rich Rodriguez’s team, currently sitting at 4-2 after last week’s win over Utah, could conceivably be 8-2 and in the top 20. The Wildcats travel to Colorado and California the next two weeks before hosting UCLA and Washington St. All of these are possible wins. My guess is that UCLA beats Arizona and makes this game just another average PAC12 matchup. But if Rich Rod’s bunch is riding a 5 game winning streak with Oregon coming to town… this one could have national title implications.
- Baylor at Oklahoma St: Baylor will have played Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech before they get to this matchup. If they can weather that storm and reamin undefeated, there’s a chance that Oklahoma St could be 9-1 and in the top 10 after wins at Texas Tech and at Texas. This could be another of those Big 12 Championship elimination games.
Nov 30: Alabama at Auburn
This is the dream matchup. Alabama still has Tennessee, LSU, at Miss St, and Chattanooga, which they should roll through and stay at #1 in the country. Auburn, after knocking off Texas A&M last week, currently sits at #11 with games against Florida Atlantic, at Arkansas, at Tennessee, and Georgia before a bye week leading up to the Iron Bowl. They should, if they play up to their potential, be 10-1 and ranked in, probably, the top 7 or 8 of the BCS. Which would mean the Iron Bowl would be the SEC West Championship game with the winner getting to play in the SEC Championship. If everything breaks right, it will be the first time that Alabama and Auburn have played for the SEC West since 1994. And with Birmingham being ESPN’s biggest market for college football, there’s absolutely no way that they don’t make this trip to the Plains if both teams win out.
- Notre Dame at Stanford: This could end up being a BCS play-in game. Both teams, I believe, will have 2 losses at this point. Notre Dame already has 2, but has a favorable schedule, while Stanford will more than likely lose to Oregon. Between now and that date, Notre Dame plays at Air Force, Navy, at Pittsburgh, and BYU, while Stanford plays at Oregon St this weekend, hosts Oregon, at USC, and Cal before hosting Notre Dame in the last game of the season for both teams. There will absolutely be a BCS at-large bid waiting for the winner.
- Ohio St at Michigan: Michigan would have to roll through playing at Mich St, Nebraska, at Northwestern, and at Iowa if there were any chance of Gameday coming to Ann Arbor, but hey… nobody thought Missouri would be top 5 in the first BCS poll either. If they get through that gauntlet of a schedule, look for a 10-1 Wolverines team to be ranked in the top 10-12. Ohio St will still probably sitting at #4, and this game would be a play-in to get to the Big10 Championship game.
- Texas A&M at Missouri: If South Carolina beats Missouri this weekend, and then Missouri runs the table the rest of the way, this will be a game that Gamecock fans watch with some serious intensity. Johnny Football will either be 8-3 or 9-2 at this point because A&M has Vanderbilt, UTEP, Miss St, and a game at LSU before traveling to Columbia. If Missouri is 11-0 or 10-1, and A&M is 9-2, both teams should be ranked in the top 12 at this point.
- Clemson at South Carolina: For this game to even matter on a national level, both Clemson and South Carolina need to win out. South Carolina plays at Missouri this weekend, so here’s their shot at a top 5 team, which could really push them back up the rankings. Then they host Mississippi St, Florida, and Coastal Carolina before hosting Clemson. The Tigers, after getting demolished at home by Florida St last week, play at Marlyand, at Virginia, Georgia Tech, and Citadel, before traveling to the Gamecocks. It’ll be a big game… just not on the level that some of these others will be.
Dec 7: SEC Championship Game
Regardless of who it is, whether it’s Alabama or Auburn vs Missouri or South Carolina, the SEC Championship game is still the mecca of college football. This is big boy football on the grand stage, and it just doesn’t get any better than this. It’s guaranteed to be a top 15 matchup, and more than likely will feature #1 Alabama against a top 10 Missouri or top 10 South Carolina team, with the SEC East trying to knock off Alabama’s chance at 3 straight national championships. Gameday has been to Atlanta a billion times, and they know that College Football does, in fact, live here. The ideal matchup here would be #1 Alabama against an undefeated top 5 Missouri team. This game loses a lil luster if Missouri gets beat at home by Texas A&M the week before.
- Texas at Baylor: If Baylor and Texas win out, and the SEC has already knocked itself out of the national championship picture (which is entirely possible), this game will put the Big 12 in the biggest national spotlight that conference has seen in years.
- Big 10 Championship Game: If this ends up being a top 15 Michigan St or Nebraska against a top 3 or 4 Ohio St, this game could have a lot of mass appeal. However, if either the Spartans or Cornhuskers drop a game or two in the meantime, this goes back to being average, and Urbz would still have one of the weakest schedules in the country.
- Pac 12 Championship Game: This one has potential if Oregon wins out. There’s a strong possibility that this could be Arizona St against the undefeated Ducks. If the Sun Devils win out at Washington St, at Utah, vs Oregon St, at UCLA, and hosting Arizona, they’ll easily be in the top 15, which would setup as a good schedule booster for Oregon.
- ACC Championship Game: It’s getting more and more likely that Florida St will finish the season undefeated and be ranked #2 or #3 in the BCS heading into the ACC Championship game in Charlotte, NC. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Virginia Tech could end the season with an 11 game winning streak and an 11-1 record; their only loss being to #1 Alabama on a neutral field in Atlanta, GA in the first game of the season. Virginia Tech’s remaining schedule is Duke, at Boston College, at Miami (FL), Maryland, and at Virginia. They should be favored in every game other than the battle in South Beach. Florida St has NC State, Miami (FL), at Wake Forest, Syracuse, Idaho, and at Florida before the ACCCG. If this is a battle of top 8 teams, look for Gameday to make their first visit to Charlotte, NC. If it’s anything less than that, there’s no chance.