I wrote back on October 7th about the chances of ESPN’s College Gameday coming to the UCF Knights’ home game against the Cincinnati Bearcats. Now here we are, almost a week out from the game, and the possibility is real.
Indications suggest that the Knights’ home game against Cincinnati on November 17 is on ESPN’s list of games that GameDay may broadcast from. The main competition for the Knights hosting GameDay figures to be the Syracuse-Notre Dame game, which will be played at Yankee Stadium.
Hints have been dropping all week on social media.
ESPN’s Chris Fallica confirmed on Twitter that Cincinnati-UCF is on the list:
It’s definitely on the list, that I can assure you— Chris Fallica (@chrisfallica) November 5, 2018
One of four undefeated teams left hosting a ranked team, 21-game winning streak, site the show hasn't been. Lots of reasons to consider going there.— Chris Fallica (@chrisfallica) November 5, 2018
Syracuse Athletic Director and former ESPN VP John Wildhack mentioned the Cincinnati-UCF game as the main competition Syracuse-Notre Dame game on a radio interview with ESPN Syracuse:
Per John Wildhack on @ESPNSyracuse, he believes SU-Notre Dame will be on a "short list" of potential @CollegeGameDay sites. Believes UCF-Cincinnati will be the competition. He added that when he was at ESPN, he always pushed for Gameday in the Northeast.— CuseSports44 (@CuseSports44) November 5, 2018
Wildhack was an executive at ESPN from 1980-2016.
However, I’ve been told that there are some logistical issues with doing College GameDay at a site like Yankee Stadium. It is expensive to do a TV show in the Bronx, where you would need security for fans, etc., but also with it not being on a college campus, ESPN would have to work with the city of New York, which also can be more expensive than working with a school at a campus site - especially at a baseball stadium, which is not the ideal set up for a show like GameDay.
Weather could also be a potential issue. New York is projected for temperatures in the 40s with a 30-40% chance of showers Saturday morning. In Orlando it is expected to be 75 degrees in the morning with little chance of a shower.
There also a fact that College Gameday has not been to a G5 school since 2016, and since 2007, Gameday has done it least one show each season from a G5 or FCS site. They have yet to do one this season.
Below is a list of Group of 5 sites that College GameDay has been to since 2009
- #7 TCU at #16 BYU (G5: Mountain West)
- Army at Air Force (G5: Mountain West)
- #16 Utah at #4 TCU (G5: Mountain West)
- #24 Oregon State at #3 Boise State (G5: WAC)
- #4 TCU at #6 Utah (G5: Mountain West)
- #4 Wisconsin at #3 TCU (G5: Mountain West)
- SMU at #10 Houston (G5: C-USA)
This game is very comparable to the Cincinnati-UCF game with the Cougars that year being ranked and in the top 10 in the polls.
- Navy vs. Troy (G5; Sunbelt; GameDay aired on the deck of USS San Diego)
- #9 Notre Dame vs # 21 Temple (G5 :AAC) ( Philadelphia )
- Buffalo at #14 Western Michigan (G5: MAC)
Another game where Gameday went because the ranked team was the story as Western Michigan with P.J. Fleck, who was undefeated took on Buffalo who had a 2-8 record.
As you can see, GameDay’s appearances at Houston and Western Michigan fall in line with the storyline of UCF.
Even Cincinnati Athletic Director Mike Bohn this week talked about the chances of GameDay coming to Orlando on November 17th:
Mike Bohn on with Mo mentioned a win against USF and we could be looking at ESPN College Day in Orlando— BearcatJournal.com (@BearcatJournal) November 7, 2018
So it’s highly advisable that attend the game Sat night
We should get an official answer around Saturday night where GameDay will be. If UCF beats Navy, the win streak would be at 22. So let’s do a checklist of what GameDay may be looking for:
- Storyline: UCF’s 22-game win streak, potential AAC East title on the line vs. Cincinnati
- Scenery: Orlando, Florida, 75 degrees on campus with large student enrollment
- School that has never hosted GameDay
- Lee Corso’s homecoming in Orlando
- Gameday continues its streak of being at a FCS/G5 site every year since 2007
So plenty of signs are pointing towards College GameDay coming to Orlando. Keep also on a lookout for the start time for the game between the Knights and Bearcats. There been some chatter that Cincinnati-UCF could end up being 8pm kick on ABC. That relevant cause that is the prime spot in college football with Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit calling the games. Do not be surprise if it ends up that Gameday comes to UCF and Cincinnati-UCF becomes the ABC primetime game so Herbstreit can stay in Orlando and be the game of the week as many times Gameday is at location of the ABC primetime game. We should know the kick-off time around the same time that Gameday is announced on Saturday.
But of course that is all assuming UCF takes care of business against Navy on Saturday.