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ESPN to host College Gameday for Notre Dame vs Navy to start 2020 season in Ireland

Coming... to your wonderful country with terrible country.

Retrospective - American Football in Ireland Photo by Sportsfile/Corbis/Sportsfile via Getty Images

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Navy Midshipmen will kick the 2020 season off in Dublin Ireland, and this one is going to have a different look and feel than in 2012. I had heard rumors before about ESPN’s College Gameday making the trip to spotlight this game — but you never can tell. Well, actually, we can now as they announced the decision on Saturday morning.

Here is the press release:

College GameDay Built by The Home Depot to Originate from Dublin, Ireland, Ahead of Notre Dame vs. Navy

First-Ever College GameDay Outside the United States

OCTOBER 5, 2019 -- College GameDay Built by The Home Depot is bringing its iconic pregame show to Dublin, Ireland, on Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020, kicking off a new college football season and marking the first time in history the traveling roadshow will originate from outside the United States. The 11-time Emmy Award-winning pregame show, in cooperation with Aer Lingus, the flag carrier of Ireland, and Tourism Ireland, will set the scene for the Aer Lingus College Football Classic between Notre Dame and Navy at Aviva Stadium. College GameDay is expected to begin at 11 a.m. ET/4 p.m. GMT and the game will kick off at 2 p.m. ET/7 p.m. GMT. Both will air on ESPN.

“College GameDay has built its legacy traveling from city to city, campus to campus showcasing the unmatched passion of college football fans and the pageantry surrounding the game,” said ESPN Senior Vice President of Production Lee Fitting. “The Notre Dame-Navy rivalry serves as the perfect backdrop for College GameDay’s inaugural international appearance. We look forward to giving the great fans of Ireland and the thousands of Americans traveling to Dublin an unforgettable experience.”

Dublin, Ireland, Adds to Rich History of College GameDay Sites; Marks Show’s Latest Milestone

To date, College GameDay has staged 372 road shows from 86 cities within the United States. Notre Dame was the first institution to host the live event on November 13, 1993, and their fans welcomed it with such fervor, a college football tradition was born. Now, College GameDay has traveled to 72 different colleges and universities, with its undetermined weekly destination becoming one of the sport’s key storylines each week.

Overall, Notre Dame has hosted the spectacle nine times, most recently during Kickoff Weekend of the 2018 season (September 1, 2018), and College GameDay has originated for a total of 30 Irish game sites. For Navy, College GameDay now traditionally concludes its regular-season tour by televising from the annual Army-Navy game.

Pregame Show Honored Multiple Times; Recognized as the Best in the Business

College GameDay’s rich history is also critically acclaimed, as the show has won 11 Sports Emmy Awards in the previous 11 years. Its Emmy awards have been multi-layered, including its recognition for overall show content, storytelling and remote/technical expertise. For five consecutive years, the show was honored in Outstanding Studio Show Weekly category and has won that category a total of 11 times (2008, ‘10, ‘11, ‘14, ‘15, ‘16, ‘17, ‘18).

Commentators Shape the Show, Recognized as the Sport’s Key Voices

The show’s accolades extend to its commentators. Analyst Kirk Herbstreit, who began on the show in 1996, was honored with the Sports Emmy for Outstanding Studio Analyst across all sports this past year – the former Ohio State quarterback’s third such award for his work on the show (2010, 2011). Rece Davis, who is in his fifth season hosting the show, was nominated in the Outstanding Studio Host category. Lee Corso, who coached at Navy from 1966-68, has been part of the program since it began in 1987. His legendary headgear selection concluding the show each week has become part of college football history.

Analyst Desmond Howard is in his 15th season on the program, while this is David Pollack’s ninth season. Howard’s pedigree is among the best of any analyst, having captured a Heisman Trophy and named a Super Bowl MVP in his playing days and later was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame (2010). Pollack is looking to join Howard in the Hall of Fame this season, as the former three-time first-team All-American is nominated for the honor.

College GameDay’s interviews and storytelling, which is a backbone of the show, is fronted by Maria Taylor, Tom Rinaldi, Gene Wojciechowski and Jen Lada. Chris “The Bear” Fallica is in his 24th year on the show, having started the same year as Herbstreit. Fallica continues in his research role, providing key pieces of information throughout the show.

Nearly Two Million Viewers Tune-In in Each Week

This season, through the first five full regular season Saturdays, College GameDay is averaging 1,931,000 viewers, up 7% year-over-year. The premier pre-game show has averaged more than 1.8 million viewers per season for more than a decade.

While I personally don’t have many feelings about this, I do believe that ESPN will provide a solid broadcast for the show and for the game. I’m secretly hoping they really shine this thing up in a way that CBS never did.