ESPN's College GameDay heading to college football hotbed New York City

ESPN College GameDay hosts Lee Corso, left, and Kirk Herbstreit confer during the telecast from The Junction prior to Mississippi State playing Auburn in an NCAA college football game in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Oct 11, 2014. No.3 Mississippi State beat No. 2 Auburn 38-23. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

ESPN has already chosen its destination for College GameDay on Sept. 23, and it’s somewhere the show has never been before.

New York City.


Ah yes, nothing screams college football like the bright lights of Times Square.

“New York City is a melting pot of college football fans and the heartbeat of America,” said ESPN vice president of production Lee Fitting. “Thousands of alumni gather in the city each fall Saturday to root on their school and we are bringing College GameDay to New York for them! We want every alumni base and college football fan near and far to join us in Times Square to provide the celebratory, festive atmosphere that is synonymous with the show.”

New York becomes the 81st city to host College GameDay, which will have its set between 43rd and 44th street and 7th avenue with the set’s backdrop facing 44th street. The show plans to highlight “New York’s modern day fandom,” according to a press release. Whatever that means.

“We will celebrate the sport that never sleeps in the city that never sleeps,” said College GameDay host Rece Davis. “College football’s roots and the foundation of what’s become a national phenomenon began in the Northeast. We will pay homage to that tradition, while embracing what makes college football great in New York in 2017 – the fans and alumni bases that gather each week to root on their team in a communal fashion which is most unique to college football.”

The slate looks pretty light that weekend, so the decision to go to New York City does makes some sense, especially when the show has never broadcast from the Big Apple before. Still, we saw last year when GameDay was hosted by Western Michigan what it means for the hosting school and surrounding town.

There had to be a location on, ya know, an actual college campus that could have made the cut. C’mon ESPN, get creative!

Any of these games would have been more fun than NYC (and I say this as somebody who has lived in the Northeast my entire life):

• Washington at Colorado (Boulder rules)
• Texas Tech at Houston (A celebration of Houston in the aftermath of Harvey)
• Alabama at Vanderbilt (especially if Vandy beats Kansas State this weekend)
• TCU at Oklahoma State (even with Bedlam in Stillwater later this year)
• Mississippi State at Georgia
• Penn State at Iowa
• UCLA at Stanford
• Literally any town where there is a college football game being played (no disrespect to Fordham or the guy who emailed me for not mentioning Columbia’s game against Georgetown)

This also could have been the weekend Washington State was finally thrown a bone, but it will be New York instead. This does have the chance to be one of the more diverse crowds in GameDay history with college football fans displaced to NYC for work getting the chance to show off their school pride. But in the end — and I think most fans would agree — GameDay works best on campus.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!