Auburn vs Mississippi State: ESPN College GameDay Nothing New For Tigers


Nov 30, 2013; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers cheerleaders at ESPN College Gameday prior to the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Jordan Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

For more than 20 years, ESPN College GameDay television broadcast has been the premiere pre-game Saturday morning college football show. In 1993, ESPN rounded up its on-air personalities and created a portable set to attend a late season matchup between No. 1 Florida State and No. 2 Notre Dame – a heavyweight bout considered to be the “Game of the Century” at the time.

Of course, there seems to be a “Game of the Century” just about every week, and based on the enthusiasm created by College GameDay on campuses across the nation, and the interest it creates among spectators, the pre-game show is now on the road every week.

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The number of shows has grown tremendously from the one in ’93, to six in 1994, 11 in 1996 all the way to 17 different shows in 2014. Over that time, the television cast and crew has spent Saturday mornings with the passionate fan bases on college campuses, at neutral sites, bowls, and championship games.

ESPN College GameDay is currently hosted by Chris Fowler, along with long-time analysts Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit. Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard joined the crew in 2005 and David Pollack has been a contributor since 2011. Samantha Ponder has been a reporter on the broadcast since replacing Erin Andrews in 2012.

Generally, the show chooses the most intriguing matchup of the week that often includes two highly ranked teams. However, they have also been known to pick an under the radar matchup of some significance, such as Army at Air Force in 2001, Harvard at Penn in 2002, Southern versus Grambling in 2005, and Delaware State at North Dakota State in 2013.

Yet, the vast majority of the time, ESPN’s College GameDay goes the “Game of the Century” route, which is exactly what brings the pre-game road show to Starkville, Mississippi this week for the very first time. The Auburn Tigers, ranked No. 2 in the nation, will be in town to face the third ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs, in what is quite possibly the biggest game in MSU history.

Interestingly enough, GameDay will be in the Magnolia State for the second week in a row after having never broadcasted from within its borders before. Now that both Mississippi universities have been chosen as host sites, the show has visited every Southeastern Conference school on campus.

It’s a fun event, and the Mississippi State fan base is naturally excited, but the experience is nothing new for Auburn.

The Tigers were first involved in a GameDay matchup in the 1994 Iron Bowl, and have played 15 times at the sight of the weekly morning show. Auburn University has hosted ESPN on campus eight times, and Saturday will be the fourth time the Tigers have played such a contest on enemy territory. The Auburn helmet has graced the stage of the College GameDay set in three championship games as well: the 2004 SEC Championship Game in Atlanta, the 2011 BCS National Championship Game in Glendale, Arizona and last year’s national title game in Pasadena, California.

Overall, in the 15 previous GameDay games, Auburn holds a record of 8-7. Here’s a look at each matchup.

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Starkville is surely abuzz with the news that Mississippi State University and its football program are going to be featured to a national audience. After all, it’s the Game of the Century for the Bulldogs.

Of course, for Auburn players, it’s nothing new. This is the fourth or fifth Game of the Century they’ve played in.