Love it or hate it, ESPN’s College Gameday has a special place in the hearts (full or dark) of fans of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Gameday started in South Bend, and in the always ridiculous conversation of “relevancy,” the show (and more importantly a team’s performance in a game they are attending) has the ability to boost their stock.
Now that we are only a month and a half away from the start of the season, many are wondering where Gameday will start the season. Many believe it will be the Auburn Tigers versus the Washington Huskies, but some think that it could certainly be in South Bend for the Irish versus the Michigan Wolverines.
So how important is a visit from Gameday for Notre Dame’s season opener against the Skunkbears? Well... we will get to that.
A Brief History
As you should all know already, the first College Gameday road show was in South Bend for the 1993 matchup against the Florida State Seminoles for what was labeled as “The Game of the Century.” It was an incredible success for ESPN and for Notre Dame.
That’s a fantastic start, but here are the cold hard facts about the Irish and College Gameday that you should know (includes bowl games):
- Notre Dame has appeared on the show 28 times. That ties them for 6th all-time with... Michigan.
- The Irish are 12-16 when Gameday visits the game.
- The opponent most faced by the Irish on Gameday are the Wolverines (6) followed by the USC Trojans (5) Florida State (3) and the Nebraska Cornhuskers (2).
- Notre Dame is 1-5 all-time against Michigan with Gameday in attendance (94L, 98W, 99L, 03L, 11L, 13L).
- Notre Dame has been on Gameday 19 of their 25 years. They weren’t on in 1997 or 2016 and from 2007-2010. Supposedly, ESPN’s Gameday was not allowed on campus from 2006-2009 because of Charlie Weis.
- 7 years saw multiple Notre Dame appearances: 1999 (2), 2002 (2), 2004 (2), 2005 (2), 2006 (2), 2012 (4), and 2015 (2).
- The other teams Notre Dame has faced are: 1996 Ohio State Buckeyes, 1999 Tennessee Volunteers, 2002 Air Force Falcons, 2005 Pittsburgh Panthers, 2006 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, 2012 Stanford Cardinal, 2012 Oklahoma Sooners, 2012 Alabama Crimson Tide, 2015 Clemson Tigers, 2015 Temple Owls, 2017 Miami-Florida Hurricanes.
- Gameday has been in South Bend only 7 times. Notre Dame is 4-3 in those meetings.
Will Gameday be in South Bend on September 1?
To put it bluntly... No. Gameday will probably be in Atlanta for Auburn VS Washington. Both teams will be ranked highly, and most likely will be a “better ranked” matchup as compared to Notre Dame vs Michigan.
ESPN also loves the whole interconference debates (or shouting matches). The SEC vs the Pac-12 presents several intriguing storylines and it also gives a special nod to the Huskies which appear to be a team that ESPN has given a lot of love to lately as a program on the rise.
It’s in Atlanta, and ESPN LOVES neutral site games. Gameday has opened the season up at a neutral location 9 out of the last 10 years (does not include the Buckeyes playing in Bloomington against the Indiana Hoosiers on a Thursday). The one time on campus during that time was in 2013 for the Georgia Bulldogs at Clemson.
Should Gameday be in South Bend on September 1?
Yes — yes they should. On the surface this may seem biased, but it’s actually because of a different kind of bias.
NEUTRAL SITE GAMES ARE AN EVIL CURSE UPON MANKIND. All of them. I find nothing interesting about playing a neutral site game to open the season after bowl season ended 9 moths earlier. Isn’t college football supposed to be more special because of what the schools, the stadiums, and the fans have to offer?
If this game was going to be played on The Plains or in Husky Stadium, I could see the enormous draw and could definitely get behind the move, but as it is... meh. Starting the season off in South Bend with two teams, programs, and fanbases that hate each other is far more interesting. This isn’t just a throw-in game either as both teams will also be ranked fairly high (most likely top 12).
It just sounds like more fun and more in the TRUE spirit of college football.
Should Notre Dame even want this?
There’s an argument to be made that fans of the Irish shouldn’t want Gameday to be there against Michigan. 12-16 overall and 1-5 against Michigan all-time with Corso and the gang in attendance isn’t the best stat to look at — like it’s pretty scary.
Put that all aside because it’s absolute crap. Notre Dame should absolutely want this game to get the Gameday bump. Notre Dame needs a win in a HUGE matchup such as this game, and they need that win to get burned in the brains of the college football world.
Winners want the ball and this is just too fun to not want.