Even though college football season is five weeks away, lots of discussion is already taking place about where ESPN's College GameDay will travel during 2011. The first week of the season GameDay will likely be headed to Dallas for the Oregon-LSU game, and in Week 2 it is "very likely" the show will be in Ann Arbor for the Michigan-Notre Dame game, according to CBS Sports' Brett McMurphy.
The second week of the college football season features a few notable matchups, including Alabama at Penn State, South Carolina at Georgia and BYU at Texas. I could certainly see GameDay deciding to go to the Alabama-Penn State game, but in the end I do believe the show will be in Ann Arbor on Sept. 10.
There are many things working in favor of this game being featured on GameDay. For starters, it's Michigan vs. Notre Dame. That is an attractive matchup, especially since the two teams will be playing in Michigan's first ever home night game. Also, Desmond Howard, who is an analyst on GameDay, is scheduled to be honored during the game. To me it seems like a slam dunk to pick Ann Arbor.
If GameDay does come to Ann Arbor, it will be the show's first time going to a Michigan game since November 2007 when Ohio State came to town. For that stop the location of the GameDay set was a parking lot near the stadium instead of its usual spot on the golf course across the street from the Big House.
If the show returns for the Notre Dame game, I'm really hoping ESPN decides to put the set in the Diag on central campus. Since the game doesn't kick off until 8 p.m., it would be much easier to draw a bigger crowd of students (i.e. people who will actually be on campus in the morning) if the show is located on central campus rather than down by the stadium. After all, a pretty big crowd turned out for ESPN's SportsNation when it came to Ann Arbor last September, and that was on a weekday afternoon while classes were going on. SportsNation was filmed on central campus near the Diag, and I would imagine the turnout would be even bigger for GameDay.