Why was College GameDay in James Madison instead of Oregon?
College game day change. It was about college football and celebrating the games that define the sport from week to week. Now it’s about promoting ESPN. If you need proof, look no further than Harrisonburg, Virginia this past weekend.
ESPN took the biggest show in the world of college football to James Madison University ahead of the Dukes’ then-undefeated matchup with Appalachian State. There’s nothing wrong with that on the surface, but when you consider that across the country, Oregon and Washington State were probably playing for the last time, it doesn’t make much sense. Both teams are ranked in the AP top 10. It was clearly the best game on the schedule this week.
The show has gone to a lot of small schools in the past. Last year alone, Reese Davis and his staff spent Saturdays at Appalachian State, Jackson State and Montana State. So why did last weekend stand out?
It’s hard to imagine College game day Choose anywhere other than Corvallis if Pat McAfee doesn’t double down on his feud with the remaining Pac-2 schools earlier this season. Game day Coming from Corvallis would have meant viewers heard three hours of booing from the Oregon crowd every time anyone on the panel spoke. There could have been signs among the crowd that the network never wanted her on the airwaves.
ESPN chose to take it Game day Somewhere he can play the hero instead of the villain. Going to James Madison allowed the show to focus all the focus on the NCAA’s decision to keep the Dukes out of the bowl game.
There is a vocal crowd that has spent the entire season blaming Pat McAfee for the change in the operating system College game day They knew. I get it. He’s a strength of character that the series had to adapt to, but saying “this is all Pat McAfee’s fault” is kind of lazy narrative at this point.
Before the season started, I asked if 2023 would be “a year of change or a year of treading water for change.” College game day“There would be no David Pollack, no Chris Valeca, no Gene Wojciechowski, and most importantly, no Lee Fitting. How would that affect what appeared on screen?
Without attending production and marketing meetings every week, it’s hard to know exactly what Fitting had the final say in, but anecdotal reports say he was on almost everything. If true, it means the show has severely missed its former boss’s guidance this year.
Fox knows what The big afternoon kickoff He is. This show is designed to do one thing – promote whatever game FOX is showing at noon. On Saturday, the play originated from College Park for Michigan versus Maryland. It wasn’t a match anyone was looking forward to watching. It’s hard to imagine that the majority of Maryland and Michigan fans were planning to sit in the four quarters, however The big afternoon kickoff He has a mission statement and sticks to it. Sure, it seems rude sometimes, but so does hiring Urban Meyer. FOX knows what’s out there in the world of college football, leans into it and feeds its Big Ten audience with rose-colored glasses that broadcast its demands.
College game day It was never meant to be. Sure, the show doesn’t ask tough questions, even when they’re called for, but it’s always been there for the fans. The goal was to capture the real atmosphere of the biggest game of the week, not to make sure you know ESPN dominates and dictates college football conversations.
That was the clear goal last weekend. It showed up everywhere, from the decision to avoid a potentially cold reception in Corvallis to the interview with James Madison coach Curt Cignetti to the casting of Barstool’s PFT commentator as the celebrity guest picker.
There may be many ulterior motives for choosing a PFT commentator to sit on the podium. Perhaps it was an attempt to attract younger viewers. Perhaps it was the network that laid the foundation for this to happen Excuse me my country for ESPN platforms in the future. What I saw was another megaphone spreading the essential message of the day – ESPN is not the bad guy in college football. The National Collegiate Athletic Association is.
PFT is a James Madison alum. Grid knew it would be rude. He would match McAfee’s energy and play well with him. He was the perfect guest to turn the show’s “screw the NCAA” energy up to 11.
The world didn’t end this weekend for college football fans because ESPN chose to be in Harrisonburg. College game day This week wasn’t any better or worse than it usually is. It was hard not to notice the very transparent strategy involved. This was what felt different.
The answer to my question earlier this year seems to be this College game day He is in a transitional year. I still believe that more change will come sooner rather than later. It’s impossible to know exactly what that means. Right now, things are looking a little uncomfortable.
Don’t mistake this as a big announcement that I’m giving up on it College game day. Even if that were the case, I wouldn’t expect anyone from the cast or crew to care about how I feel. I just want to know that there is a clear vision. This season, it’s not as if Saturday’s show was the clearest example of a shift that’s hard to fathom.