USA Today's Michael Hiestand reports this evening that ESPN is going to add a third hour to "College GameDay" on Saturday mornings. The first hour will air on ESPNU at 8 am central time with Erin Andrews as the host. Hours two and three will be on the ESPN mother ship with Chris Fowler as the host.
Anybody sense that GameDay is becoming ESPN's version of the Today show? (Good lord...what happens when they add the fourth hour with Kathie Lee and Hoda?) If Fowler sits out the first hour, I certainly expect 74 year old Lee Corso to sit out the first hour as well. And what about Kirk Herbstreit; he has to do double duty on Saturdays anyway with the ABC PrimeTime game that evening. My guess is that hour one is Andrews and some other analysts in the ESPN stable...perhaps auditioning the eventual replacements for Corso and Herbstreit. But does a third hour on ESPNU without the major personalities water down the show? And will college football fans get up even earlier to be there for the first hour on a channel that most people don't get? (That first West Coast broadcast could be in the dark, going on the air at 6 am locally!)
Andrews will also be part of the prime time announcing crew, likely meaning that Lisa Salters will transition to another ABC/ESPN broadcast team. With both Herbstreit and Andrews being scheduled to work both GameDay and the evening broadcast, look for GameDay to be even more closely linked to the prime time game. (Wow...if I wanted to get some page view hits...I would have put "Erin Andrews" in the title, but I'm not pimping this blog out for cheap hits!)
Many Husker fans are expecting GameDay to return to Lincoln for the Nebraska-Texas game...but there is one potential obstacle: there won't be a Saturday Night Football game on ABC on October 16th. ABC will be televising a NASCAR race from Charlotte that evening. That doesn't mean that GameDay won't be in Lincoln, but rather that the game won't be televised by ABC that evening.
My bet? Look for an 11 am kickoff on ABC with GameDay immediately preceeding it on ESPN. Second bet? A primetime broadcast on ESPN that evening, starting likely at 5:30 or 6 pm. ESPN apparently has a Pac-10 game scheduled for 9:15 pm, so look for an ESPN timeslot to be open prior to that game.