What Northwestern fans had hoped months, but never been completely sure about, was confirmed Saturday. College Gameday is coming to Evanston. For the first time since 1995, when the Wildcats hosted Gameday for a game against Iowa (but were forced to move the set to Welsh-Ryan Arena due to a snow storm) college football’s premier pregame show – Lee Corso and his famous mascot head pick ritual, the derisive and often suggestive signs spotting the geeked-up crowd, the Wazzu flag, all of it – will set up shop on Northwestern’s campus. The hosting site has not been confirmed, but the long-suspected plan to air the show from Deering Meadow is unlikely to happen, after a source told InsideNU this week that homecoming planners would not relinquish the space.
One day before Gameday goes live (9-12 ET, ESPN), ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike will host their popular morning show on campus. Northwestern alum Mike Greenberg will serve as the grand marshal for Northwestern's homecoming parade.
Gameday host Chris Fowler broke the news on Twitter.
For much of the offseason, fans and media rarely discussed what Northwestern needed to do to reach the Ohio State game undefeated. The undefeated part was part of a larger goal: What needed to happen – what contingencies needed to fall into place – for Gameday to pick Evanston as its week 6 hosting site? Northwestern needed to be undefeated and ranked in the top-20; Ohio State needed to be undefeated and ranked in the top-10; and no other game that weekend could be as intriguing as a potential high-profile clash between two Big Ten contenders.
All the boxes were checked by Saturday night, by which point ESPN had already announced the game would be aired on ABC on primetime – with Northwestern alum Brent Musburger and former Ohio State quarterback Kirk Herbstreit on the call.
Speaking to sources close to the athletic department over the last week, Gameday’s week 6 destination had been in the works for many weeks, as far back as August, when one person with knowledge of the situation indicated Northwestern was “guaranteed” to host Gameday if the Wildcats and Ohio State were both undefeated entering week 6. By Tuesday, we knew there was a 90 percent chance Gameday would be in Evanston. Ohio State’s win over Wisconsin Saturday night sealed the deal.
Stay tuned for plenty of Gameday coverage next week, including one surprise detail.