ESPN’s College GameDay Built by The Home Depot Heads South to Alabama for Week 2 Showdown Featuring No. 3 Alabama and No. 11 Texas

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ESPN’s College GameDay Built by The Home Depot Heads South to Alabama for Week 2 Showdown Featuring No. 3 Alabama and No. 11 Texas

  • College football’s premier pregame show makes its 17th visit to Tuscaloosa ahead of the ranked showdown between the Crimson Tide and Longhorns
  • Week 2 guests include Alabama head coach Nick Saban, Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian, guest picker Joe Namath and a special live performance by Dan + Shay
  • Desmond Howard sits down with Colorado standouts Shedeur Sanders and Travis Hunter for a Week 2 feature

ESPN’s College GameDay Built by The Home Depot travels to Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Saturday, Sept. 9, for a Week 2 showdown between No. 3 Alabama and No. 11 Texas. The three-hour pregame show will be live from Denny Chimes on campus from 9 a.m. – noon ET on ESPN and ESPNU.

Host Rece Davis – an Alabama alum – is joined at the desk by GameDay analysts Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard and Pat McAfee with college football insider Pete Thamel, reporters Jen Lada and Jess Sims, and newcomer ‘Stanford Steve’ Coughlin.

The Week 2 trip marks GameDay’s 17th all-time visit to Tuscaloosa and first since the 2020 Iron Bowl. It will be the Crimson Tide’s 55th appearance overall on the show, the second-most of any team.

For onsite information, please visit College GameDay’s Hub HERE.

Following GameDay, Herbstreit joins Chris Fowler and Holly Rowe on the call for one of the most anticipated games of the 2023 college football season (7 p.m., ESPN). An alternate telecast – Field Pass with The Pat McAfee Show, will air live from the sidelines featuring McAfee and his cast of characters including Tone Digs, A.J. Hawk, ‘Boston Connor’ Campbell, Darius Butler and Ty Schmit. (Herbstreit previewed the matchup this week on a media call – full transcript.)

College GameDay started the season off strong delivering 1.7 million viewers across ESPN and ESPNU to take the top spot among all college football pregame shows across all networks for Week 1. In the final hour, 2.2 million viewers tuned in as the preeminent pregame show originated from the ‘Battle of the Carolinas’ in Charlotte, N.C.

Show Highlights & Guests

  • College GameDay welcomes three-time GRAMMY® award winners Dan + Shay for a live performance during the show’s Week 2 stop in Tuscaloosa. The country pop duo will perform a song from their upcoming album Bigger Houses, live onsite with additional songs following the telecast and available to stream here.
  • Guest Picker – Alabama great and Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath joins the show as the Week 2 guest picker. This will be Broadway Joe’s third stint on GameDay following 2014 and 2020 appearances.
  • Alabama head coach Nick Saban and Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian will each join the GameDay ahead of the top-15 showdown, while Notre Dame quarterback Sam Hartman will join live from the field during pregame warmups ahead of the Irish’s noon ABC game against NC State for this week’s ‘Wired’ segment.

Additional guests will be announced ahead of Saturday’s show on ESPN PR’s Twitter and College GameDay’s Twitter.


  • Double Coverage – Two of Week 1’s biggest stars – Colorado quarterback Shedeur Sanders and college football’s newest two-way star Travis Hunter, sit with Desmond Howard to talk new expectations, the mentality in the Colorado locker room, way-too-early Heisman hype and more.
  • A Piece of Me – Sam Hartman’s football career almost ended last fall. After a successful surgery to remove one of his ribs, Hartman turned the bone into a necklace that symbolizes pride and perseverance for the new Notre Dame quarterback. Jen Lada reports.
  • The Gold Standard – For over 30 years, Eli Gold held one of the premier jobs in sports broadcasting – play-by-play announcer for the Alabama Crimson Tide. In 2022, Gold’s health took that away from him, forcing him to miss the entire season. In and out of the hospital for seven months, doctors finally discovered he had cancer. Now, back in the booth and cancer free, Gold’s best medicine has been prescribed … football. Ryan McGee reports.
  • The Future Starts Now – Texas wanted the SEC, and as Wright Thompson opines, this week will be a preview of what’s to come for the Longhorns. This week might show just how ready Texas is for the SEC gauntlet, where every week is a test of wills.

 Corso’s Count

  • Lee Corso will be making his 399th headgear pick this week in Tuscaloosa. Since he started the tradition in 1996, Corso has picked Alabama 36 times, the second-most of any program. The Crimson Tide are 26-10 when picked.
  • Coach Corso is 7-5 when picking Texas’ head gear, however, the Longhorns have lost each of the last two times Corso has gone with Bevo.
  • In the two previous times that College GameDay has featured an Alabama-Texas matchup, Corso has picked the Longhorns and Crimson Tide once each.

ESPN’s Expanded Digital Coverage
ESPN’s social and digital pre-pregame show, Countdown to GameDay Presented by Dr Pepper, returns for the 2023 season with hosts Christine WilliamsonHarry Douglas and Harry Lyles Jr.

Live from Tuscaloosa for Week 2, Douglas will provide a live breakdown of the Texas offense with fans as stand-in players as well as analysis of key plays from both Duke and FSU Week 1 games for the HD Highlights segment. The season-long One-Minute Drill competition continues with Alabama and Texas fans joining the show to compete for Team Douglas and Team Lyles Jr. The team will also talk to Alabama’s long snapper Kneeland Hibbett who moonlights as the coach for the Alpha Chi Omega sorority flag football team.

The show is available across ESPN on YouTube, X/Twitter, Facebook and the ESPN App at 8:30 a.m. ET weekly.

SEC Network Joins College GameDay in Tuscaloosa for Double Coverage
In addition to GameDay, SEC Network’s SEC Nation Presented by T-Mobile 5G Home Internet, Marty & McGee Presented by Old Trapper and The Paul Finebaum Show Presented by Johnsonville will also originate from Tuscaloosa for Week 2 coverage. This will be just the sixth time that GameDay and SEC Nation are visiting the same game site in the regular season, following Florida vs. Georgia (2018), LSU at Alabama (2019), Kentucky at Georgia (2021), Alabama at Tennessee (2022) and Tennessee at Georgia (2022). SEC Network shows will originate from Wade Hall. Full coverage details are available here.


Julie McKay

I joined ESPN in 2022 as a member of the communications department working on college sports. My passion for college sports came at an early age in a divided household (Big Ten Conference-divided, that is) and followed that to the University of Wisconsin-Madison (sorry, Dad). Four years in the Athletic Communications Department, along with internships with the Big Ten Conference, Big Ten Network and NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, cemented my career path. After spending some time in sports media PR in San Francisco, I’ve spent five-plus years focused in golf, with stints at the American Junior Golf Association, Augusta National and Buffalo Agency, working with the USGA, Youth on Course and Destination Kohler, among others. Despite being a proud Wisconsin native, I’ll forever betray my home state as a lifelong Chicago sports fan. My dog Rizzo knows there’s always next year and wishes his namesake would return home to the North Side.
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