ESPN’s College GameDay Built by The Home Depot Returns to Ohio State for a Record 23rd Visit Ahead of Top-10 Matchup with Rival Penn State

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ESPN’s College GameDay Built by The Home Depot Returns to Ohio State for a Record 23rd Visit Ahead of Top-10 Matchup with Rival Penn State

  • Buckeyes host college football’s premier pregame show for a record 23rd time – also the site of Lee Corso’s first-ever headgear pick in 1996
  • Special guests on-site: Head coaches Ryan Day (Ohio State) and James Franklin (Penn State), former Buckeye A.J. Hawk and Oz the Mentalist; Houston Texans rookie and former OSU quarterback C.J. Stroud returns to Columbus as Week 8’s guest picker

ESPN’s College GameDay Built by The Home Depot returns to Columbus, Ohio, ahead of the Week 8 showdown between Big Ten rivals No. 3 Ohio State and No. 7 Penn State, live in front of St. John Arena on Saturday morning (9 a.m. – noon ET, ESPN & ESPNU). The visit marks the 23rd time Ohio State has hosted the premier pregame show – more than any other school.

Host Rece Davis will be joined at the desk by GameDay analysts Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit – the former Buckeyes quarterback and team captain, Desmond Howard and Pat McAfee with college football insider Pete Thamel, reporters Jen Lada and Jess Sims and college football betting analyst ‘Stanford Steve’ Coughlin.

GameDay is making its 12th appearance at a Buckeyes-Nittany Lions game, the most-visited matchup in the 30-year history of road shows. Corso also famously made his first-ever headgear pick in Columbus 27 years ago, picking Brutus, and his since chosen the Buckeyes 40 times going 27-13. Corso has chosen the Nittany Lions seven times, only once outside of State College.

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

Show Highlights & Guests

  • Ohio State head coach Ryan Day will join GameDay live on-set while Penn State head coach James Franklin will talk with Jen Lada from the field before the game; Buckeyes great J. Hawk of The Pat McAfee Show makes a return to the GameDay desk – he served as guest picker in Columbus last November, while Oz the Mentalist will join the crew during the show
  • GameDay will also have a pregame conversation with UCF head coach Gus Malzahn in this week’s ‘Wired’ segment ahead of the Knights’ game against No. 6 Oklahoma, and the show will feature exclusive audio of Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin addressing his team before their matchup against Auburn.
  • Guest Picker – Former Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud returns to Columbus this week to join the GameDay desk as the Week 8 guest picker. The No. 2 overall draft pick in 2023, Stroud is one of the NFL’s top rookies as the Houston Texans’ new starting QB.
  • Pat McAfee’s Kicking Contest – In its sixth week, GameDay will offer an exclusive contest during the live show, Pat McAfee’s Kicking Contest. One fan will be chosen from the ‘pit’ onsite with the opportunity to attempt a 33-yard field goal. If the contestant successfully completes the kick, he/she will be awarded $65,000 from McAfee. Full details including official rules can be found here.

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


  • No Bigger Fan – Penn State quarterback Drew Allar grew up in Northeast Ohio, about 90 minutes from Columbus. On Saturday, he will lead the Nittany Lions against the Buckeyes with friends and family filling Ohio Stadium. But this week, Allar found himself thinking about the one family member who will not be in attendance. Jen Lada reports.
  • Upright on Rocky Top – Before their dramatic victory over Alabama last season, Tennessee had lost to the Crimson Tide 15 straight times. A unique look back at what that victory was like from one longtime fan who had a hard time staying upright after the win. Ryan McGee reports.

ESPN’s Expanded Digital Coverage
ESPN’s social and digital pre-pregame show, Countdown to GameDay Presented by Dr Pepper, will be live from Columbus ahead of the top-10 showdown. Hosts Christine WilliamsonHarry Douglas and Harry Lyles Jr., will break down games of the week and will be joined by Thamel for his insider take on the Nittany Lions. Lada will also delve into her Week 8 conversation with Penn State’s Drew Allar. Douglas and Lyles Jr., continue the season-long ‘One-Minute Drill’ segment with a Big Ten ‘This or That’ competition between Ohio State fans.

The show is available across ESPN on YouTube, X/Twitter, Facebook and the ESPN App at 8:30 a.m., on Saturday mornings throughout the college football season.

Also Live from Columbus
Also hitting the road for Week 8 action will be The Pat McAfee Show joining GameDay in Columbus and open to fans. McAfee’s show airs Friday (Oct. 20) from noon – 2 p.m. on ESPN, ESPN on YouTube and ESPN+, with the final 2-3ish p.m. hour airing on ESPN+ and The Pat McAfee Show channel on YouTube presented by ESPN. College Football Live will also join from Ohio State with Lada, Howard, Coughlin and Thamel hosting the program to air at 4 p.m. on ESPN2 on Friday.


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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