The Power 5s that have never hosted ‘GameDay,’ ranked by their chances

Photo of The Power 5s that have never hosted ‘GameDay,’ ranked by their chances
Facebook
VKontakte
share_fav

Some should get a visit sooner than later. Others might never get one.

When Washington State had a College GameDay party in 2018, following years of fan campaigning to bring the show to Pullman, it checked another school off the list.

Which list? Of course, it’s the list of Power 5 schools to have never hosted college football’s flagship pregame show. Of the 65 campuses in the power conferences (including Notre Dame), just 11 have still never hosted the ESPN crew since the show’s 1987 debut. Most Group of 5 and FCS schools also never have, though one or two a year get a visit.

I’ve ranked those Power 5 schools in order of when I think they’ll finally get GameDay. I’ve used a points system, grading each school from 1-5 in three separate areas: how good the team is likely to be over the next four years, how often it gets home games against GameDay-worthy programs, and how raucous an atmosphere its fans are liable to create whenever the team turns out to be good.

I’m grading on a curve and not including teams that have already had GameDay. Everyone’s aware that the best atmosphere on this list is not as electric as the ones at huge legacy programs. But Wazzu’s GameDay showed just how fiercely some smaller schools can bring it. Everyone’s also aware that the best teams on this list are not, say, Playoff contenders — or they’d have already hosted.

Thank you in advance for agreeing 100 percent with my analysis.

Team quality: 4

The Cyclones are playing well under Matt Campbell, whom they’ve inked to a long-term deal. They won 16 games between 2017 and ‘18, including an upset of eventual Playoff team Oklahoma and of then-unbeaten West Virginia.

Visiting team quality: 3

Either Oklahoma or Texas visits every year, providing consistent chances to take down a blueblood.

Atmosphere potential: 5

Ames seems wild, with boisterous fans and a marching band that dresses up like dinosaurs. Iowa State is half the reason ISU-West Virginia is nicknamed the Riot Bowl. Jack Trice Stadium has long had a reputation as a place where top-10 teams go to lose. Any trip by a highly ranked team to Ames has the potential to wind up like this:

Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images

Team quality: 4

Dino Babers’ spread offense is good fun, and Cuse won 10 games in 2018.

Visiting team quality: 3

The Orange showed in 2017 and 2018 that they’re the nation’s best team at playing Clemson.

Atmosphere potential: 5

They play in a historic and unique stadium that’s hosted the basketball version of GameDay a handful of times. And they have a passionate fanbase in a somewhat remote region that would rally around a football GameDay.

Team quality: 3

The Gophers are not great, but they seem like they’re on the upswing.

Visiting team quality: 3

The Big Ten West is increasingly interesting, thanks to Scott Frost at Nebraska and Jeff Brohm at Purdue. Either could produce an interesting game in Minneapolis, as could Wisconsin.

Atmosphere potential: 4

GameDay might decide it would like to broadcast from a snow globe. Plus, P.J. Fleck is weird enough to fill plenty of air time.

Team quality: 2

The Terps have been between mediocre and bad for a long time.

Visiting team quality: 5

Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, and Michigan State make regular visits, and Maryland usually plays soft enough non-conference schedules to have a good enough record in early October.

Atmosphere potential: 2

I went to Maryland, as I say too often in this space, so let me explain. Students do not care about football 97 percent of the time. Getting a bunch of 20-year-olds to relocate from fraternity satellite house backyards to a central location will not be a small task. But the student body can rev it up, usually for one or two men’s basketball games per year. And it would be wrong to count out a school whose students can do this:

Team quality: 3

The Bears’ current brand of football is effective, but not sexy enough to generate a lot of national attention for anything but an elite team.

Visiting team quality: 2

Cal plays in the Pac-12.

Atmosphere potential: 4

However, when Cal was good in the mid-2000s, around 60,000 people were showing up. In the event of Cal getting good again, it’s not hard to imagine fervor, though it would require USC getting its act together or Washington or Oregon being in serious Playoff contention.

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Team quality: 3

The Demon Deacons are plenty respectable under Dave Clawson, with three bowl wins from 2016 to ‘18.

Visiting team quality: 3

They play in the interesting half of the ACC, which means regular visits from Clemson and a Florida State that shouldn’t be mediocre forever.

Atmosphere potential: 3

There are, like, 5,000 kids at this school, and I was prepared to put the Deacs quite low on this list. But one of my best friends went there, and he’s insistent that the environment would be great. He texted me:

Game day and Wake was good? Stadium would be full and everyone would be very excited. Complete 180 to the average. game. It was always packed for Clemson/FSU even when we weren’t good (at least until the end of the first quarter when we’d be losing by 3 TDs+)

If that doesn’t get ESPN to Winston-Salem, I don’t know what will.

Team quality: 1

You’re fairly thinking Rutgers is too high on this list, on account of being terrible and showing no signs of improvement. You’re also thinking Rutgers is too high on account of its bad play driving away a ton of fans, to the point that Rutgers now has to use gimmicks like hot tubs to try to get students to show up.

Visiting team quality: 5

But Rutgers gets all of those Big Ten East powers out to Piscataway often. The program is probably never returning to its brief Greg Schiano glory, but there will be a year in which Rutgers has a nice record ahead of a visit by a Michigan, Penn State, or Ohio State.

Atmosphere potential: 3

If Rutgers doespull off another 10-win team, remember PANDEMONIUM IN PISCATAWAY?

Team quality: 1

Kansas.

Visiting team quality: 3

But it hosts Texas or OU every year.

Atmosphere potential: 4

Les Miles being in charge now gives the Jayhawks a bump, because TV people and the public adore Miles.

Currently, Kansas students care enough to rush the field after a two-thirds majority of home wins. Here’s a shot of students in 2007, when KU was good and averaging 47,000 fans a game:

Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Team quality: 3

UVA’s pretty good nowadays. All due respect to Bronco Mendenhall.

Visiting team quality: 2

But the program plays in the bereft ACC Coastal, which is horrible as long as Miami and Virginia Tech are down and won’t suddenly become elite. Clemson only visits every four or five years.

Atmosphere potential: 2

Virginia is a basketball school, and nothing about a William & Mary-FSU-Old Dominion-Duke-Georgia Tech-Liberty-Virginia Tech home football slate (to use 2019 as an example) is screaming “GameDay’s coming to Charlottesville!” at me.

Team quality: 1
Visiting team quality: 3
Generic atmosphere: 2

Next.

Team quality: 2
Visiting team quality: 2
Generic atmosphere: 1

OK. That is the end of this ranking.

view SB Nation: NFL