Forty names, games, teams and minutiae making news in college football (palanquin sold separately for coach’s use at future Liberty road games):
IS IT (EVER) COMING TO YOUR CIT-AY?
ESPN’s “College GameDay” show is headed to Ames, Iowa, for the first time this week for the fabled Cy-Hawk Trophy (21)* showdown between Iowa and host Iowa State. While that’s great news for Natty Light sales, it further whittles the number of Power Five programs that have never had America’s favorite Saturday pregame show on campus during its 25-year run.
(*Not really fabled.)
The current list is 10: California, Duke, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Rutgers, Syracuse, Virginia and Wake Forest. Six of those 10 remain undefeated all of two weeks into the season, so dare to dream. The Dash weighs in with best-case scenarios for which of those six can be the next Iowa State and bring Corso, Herbstreit & Co., to campus next in 2019:
California (22). When: USC on Nov. 16.
The Golden Bears’ upset of Washington in Seattle gives Cal (2-0) some hope for a special season in an un-special conference. There are several games Cal could lose between now and Nov. 16, including but not limited to trips to Oregon and Utah in October. But if the Bears can keep riding their tenacious defense, led by tackling machine Evan Weaver, and USC (2-0) doesn’t lose too many in the coming weeks, maybe we get Lee Corso hanging with the hippies in Berkeley.
(The Nov. 9 home game against Washington State would also be an option, but LSU-Alabama is also that day. Guess which one has a better chance of drawing GameDay?)
Competition on Nov. 16: Georgia at Auburn; Michigan State at Michigan.
Potential guest picker: Alex Morgan, George Takei.
Maryland (23). When: Michigan on Nov. 2.
The Terrapins would have to navigate four road games — at Temple on Saturday, then at Rutgers, Purdue and Minnesota in October — to make Michigan’s visit a truly momentous happening for the home team. The Penn State home game later this month would be a great opportunity, but it’s a Friday night affair. With the nation’s highest-scoring offense thus far (see Dash First Quarter), the Terps have something to sell.
Competition on Nov. 2: Georgia-Florida Cocktail Party; Utah at Washington.
Potential guest picker: Larry David. For this reason alone, it needs to happen.
Virginia (24). When: Duke on Oct. 19.
The Cavaliers may well have the best team in the ACC Coastal, but the home schedule doesn’t provide many juicy GameDay-level opportunities even if they keep winning. A Duke-Virginia game is much more likely to draw ESPN’s basketball show to campus than football, but if the Cavaliers can survive a trip to Notre Dame (Sept. 28) they could be a hot team at their next available home game.
Competition on Oct. 19: Michigan at Penn State; Oregon at Washington.
Potential guest picker: Tina Fey, Katie Couric.
Minnesota (25). When: Illinois on Oct. 5.
It hasn’t been easy rowing the boat to 2-0, with a seven-point victory over South Dakota State and a three-point win over Fresno State. But if the Gophers can improve their level of play, they simply need to beat Georgia Southern and win at Purdue to arrive at the Illinois game 4-0. (They likely would need the Illini to do its part by being 4-0 as well, which isn’t impossible.)
Competition on Oct. 5: Michigan State at Ohio State; Iowa at Michigan (the Wolverines will have multiple other opportunities to host later); Auburn at Florida.
Potential guest picker: Bob Dylan, Ric Flair.
Wake Forest (26). When: North Carolina State on Nov. 2.
The Demon Deacons don’t look like a team that will be undefeated after October, but the schedule isn’t overly daunting between now and then: North Carolina, Elon, at Boston College, Louisville, Florida State. Get to 7-0 and hope North Carolina State is pretty decent, and Wake might have a case.
Competition Nov. 2: Georgia-Florida Cocktail Party; Utah at Washington.
Potential guest picker: Tim Duncan. He doesn’t even have to be excited about it.
Illinois (27). When: Michigan on Oct. 12.
The Illini would have to win the previously mentioned game at Minnesota, but their only other two games between now and the Wolverines are at home against Eastern Michigan and Nebraska. A 5-0 Illinois team still might not be enough to draw the show, but perhaps a week later, at 6-0 after beating Michigan and hosting Wisconsin, could do it.
Competition Oct. 12: Alabama at Texas A&M; Florida at LSU; Penn State at Iowa; Michigan State at Wisconsin; Hawaii at Boise State.
Potential guest picker: James Holzhauer is the only acceptable choice.
Rutgers (28) might have been a gimmick choice for “GameDay” on Nov. 2, four days before the 150th anniversary of the first football game ever played — Rutgers 6, Princeton 4, in 1869. But the Scarlet Knights can’t even get that right, playing on the road Nov. 2 at Illinois. Closest home game in proximity is Oct. 26 when Liberty comes to the fabled banks of the Rarity. And a Liberty-Rutgers GameDay is only conceivable to Hugh Freeze.
The one school that is never, ever, ever getting “GameDay” on campus: Kansas (29). Les Miles isn’t going to upgrade the product to the point where he can get weird on set with the boys. The Jayhawks get it often enough in basketball anyway.
Best possible long-shot locale: Hawaii (30). Hey, the Rainbow Warriors are 2-0, with both victories over Pac-12 opponents. Win at Washington on Saturday, and they have some actual juice. Think of a show starting at 4 a.m. local time. Think of the hamming Hawaii coach and noted stunt-puller Nick Rolovich would concoct. Think of Corso on a surfboard. Let’s make it happen.
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