College GameDay: A Look Ahead to BCS Bowl Coverage and Guest Analysts Urban Meyer and Kevin Sumlin; Also a Look Behind with ‘Year in Review’

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College GameDay: A Look Ahead to BCS Bowl Coverage and Guest Analysts Urban Meyer and Kevin Sumlin; Also a Look Behind with ‘Year in Review’

Beginning Tuesday, Jan. 1, ESPN College GameDay Built by The Home Depot will be live from the sites of the Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO, the Allstate Sugar Bowl and the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Coverage of the Discover Orange Bowl will originate from ESPN studios in Bristol, Conn. GameDay will end the season live from Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Monday, Jan. 7, from the Discover BCS National Championship for a two-hour show starting at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Throughout the week, a variety of ESPN analysts will sit on the GameDay set in the various cities. Host Chris Fowler and analysts Kirk Herbstreit and Desmond Howard will travel from Pasadena to New Orleans with a final stop in Miami Gardens, Fla., for the title game. Additional analyst appearances include Lee Corso, David Pollack,Todd McShay and Samantha (Steele) Ponder.

Rece Davis will take the hosting reins, along with his weekly ESPN studio partners, analysts Lou Holtz and Mark May, from the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz.

The Discover BCS National Championship will add guest analysts including former ESPN commentator and current Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer and Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin, whose team was the only program to top Alabama this season.

College GameDay BCS Schedule

Date Time (ET) Network Location/Analysts
Tue, Jan 1 11 a.m. ESPNU Fowler, Herbstreit, Corso, Howard & McShay (Pasadena, Calif.)
noon ESPN
Wed, Jan 2 7-8 p.m. ESPN Fowler, Herbstreit, Howard & Pollack (New Orleans)
Thu, Jan 3 7-8 p.m. ESPN Davis, Holtz & May (Glendale, Ariz.)
Mon, Jan 7 6-8 p.m. ESPN Fowler, Herbstreit, Corso, Howard, Pollack, Meyer & Sumlin (Miami Gardens, Fla.)

College GameDay Season Rewind
In 2012, College GameDay visited 11 states (California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas), three time zones (ET, CT, PT) and the flight deck of the USS San Diego. Also, it welcomed several new faces to the set – reporter Samantha Steele and contributors Gene Wojciechowski and Scott Van Pelt. A look back at the highlights of College GameDay in 2012:

Caught on Film

On dog mascot selection – “I’m a dog lover.  I absolutely love dogs.  So Smokey [of Tennessee], I have no issue with Smokey or any of the other dogs on the set.”
On bird mascot selections – “I was told Sir Big Spur was a big, aggressive bird, that he had spurs on him…. I’m not a big bird fan to begin with… I kind of was anxious to get away from Big Spur as soon as possible.”

Props to the Ample Use of Props and the People Who Make GameDay Happen

  • Props such as dirt bikes, carved pumpkins, Pollack as an In-and-Out server and more appeared on the GameDay set
  • With a motto of “You kill it, we grill it”, truck driver and grill master Tommy Marshall and the fellas conjured up amazing Friday lunches for the crew. Fried gator, fried plantains, gumbo and jambalaya were regional additions to the menu which boasts staples of beer can chicken, roast beast, salmon, jalapeno poppers, burgers, hot dogs and more. The Roadkill Grill was featured nationally this season on ABC’s The Chew (see Roadkill Grill icon) and at
  • The awesome behind-the-scenes GameDay crew in action

Features Finery
GameDay isn’t all debate, picks and mascots, not with reporters Tom Rinaldi and Gene Wojciechowski on the roster and the addition of Scott Van Pelt’s “Bald Man on Campus” feature:

Going the Distance
With Pollack and Ponder both working ESPN College Football Primetime on Thursday, it was often a mad dash to the airport for a flight to that weekend’s GameDay site. When BCS Countdown began on Sunday nights in October, Pollack tacked on another trip from GameDay to Bristol, Conn.

  • Pollack flew 74,000 miles from the first Thursday night game on August 30 thru December 21 for his final College Football Live appearance this calendar year.
  • Ponder flew 62,350 from her debut on Thursday night thru December 7 for the College Football Awards presented by the Home Depot in Orlando, Fla.

Workin’ on Their Fitness
Since losing 75 pounds from his playing days, Pollack’s influence on the GameDay craft services table resulted in the addition of: beef jerky, fruits and nuts, veggies and his beloved pork rinds. Inspired by Pollack, and supported by Roadkill Grill adding grilled chicken and fish to its menu, many of the GameDay stage crew took part in a weight loss challenge for 11 weeks starting in Week 3 at Tennessee.  At the final weigh-in in Atlanta, utility/video technician Cameron Sheckels edged out stage manager Mike Ruhlman 34.5 pounds lost to 34.2 pounds.


Rachel Margolis Siegal

A part of the Internal Communications team at ESPN, I began with the network in 2010 as part of the College Sports PR team. Always an avid sports fan and not an athlete – I grew up a huge fan of the Hartford Whalers, while also watching my brother compete at different levels. I became the manager of several high school sports teams and continued that hobby into college. While at Quinnipiac, I worked in the Sports Information Department, which led me to a summer internship at the New Haven Ravens, a AA baseball team, and an eventual job with the Athletic Communications Department at the University of Connecticut. After my five-year stint at Connecticut, I spent six years as Director of Communications at the BIG EAST Conference in Providence, R.I. before joining ESPN.
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