ESPN College Gameday has become an event every Saturday during the college football season. Where the show will broadcast from on a given Saturday is another news story to follow each week. Though top matchups often play the largest role in determining where the Gameday crew goes, guessing the site sometimes becomes a puzzle for fans to try and figure out.
Maybe a school has hosted the show too recently. Should another conference get attention? Which school has gone the longest without Gameday visiting?
So what would you say if you learned that one school turned down the opportunity to host Gameday? Which institution opted to deprive its football program and campus of coveted national exposure? Which school prevented its students from the chance to camp out the night before for a good spot during the broadcast, preferably with a fun, witty sign that might draw attention on TV and social media on Saturday morning?
Stand up, University of California, Berkeley. According to College Gameday producer Lee Fitting, Cal is the only school that has turned down the opportunity to host the show. He revealed that bit of trivia during an appearance at the SVG College Sports Summit this past week.
— SVG College (@SVGCollege) June 1, 2017
“The school’s in Berkeley, California,” Fitting said in response to a question from Tom Rinaldi. “And we have since been told that we’re welcome any time we’d like to be there, and we hope to be there soon.”
Fitting did clarify that it was a previous administration which said no to Gameday, though he didn’t call out any officials in particular. But as the producer also pointed out, the Golden Bears haven’t often been in position to host Gameday. (Cal basketball hosted College Gameday in 2009 before a matchup with UCLA.) So when would ESPN have wanted to visit Berkeley?
Cal’s best seasons while Gameday has been on the air were in 2004 (a 10-2 record) and 2006 (10-3) under coach Jeff Tedford. Coming off that 10-3 record in 2006, the Golden Bears’ 2007 season opener versus Tennessee (9-4 the previous season) looked like a prime candidate for a visit from Gameday.
The Golden Bears made a coaching change during the offseason, firing Sonny Dykes and bringing in former Wisconsin defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox. Cal was 5-7 last season, so it could take at least a season or two for Wilcox to build the program back up to the point where it would register on Gameday‘s radar again. If and when that happens, however, Cal insists the school would welcome ESPN with open arms.