The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

60° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

GameDay belongs in Tucson

Timohy Galaz / Arizona Daily Wildcat

ESPN College Game Day Broadcasts from the U of A mall for coverage of the University of Arizona vs. Oregon football game at 6:00 pm. The game may determine who goes to the Rose Bowl. It is the first time that College Game Day has come to the University of Arizona Campus.
Timothy Galaz
Timohy Galaz / Arizona Daily Wildcat ESPN College Game Day Broadcasts from the U of A mall for coverage of the University of Arizona vs. Oregon football game at 6:00 pm. The game may determine who goes to the Rose Bowl. It is the first time that College Game Day has come to the University of Arizona Campus.

For years, Arizona and the Pacific 10 Conference have played second fiddle to college football power conferences like the Southeastern Conference, Big Ten Conference and Big 12 Conference.

Top programs Alabama, Ohio State and Texas dominate the national spotlight, and rightfully so.

But there are some instances where ESPN and the national media should hit the brakes on the power-conference love fest, and ESPN College GameDay’s destination this weekend is case and point.

Mike Stoops and the No. 24 Wildcats will host the No. 9 Iowa Hawkeyes in their biggest game of the 2010 season, and quite possibly their biggest non-conference home game in the past 20 years.

Arizona is on the rise as a program and has a chance to catapult into the national spotlight, while avenging a 27-17 loss to the Hawkeyes in 2009.

Yet Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit and the GameDay crew will head to Auburn, Ala., to cover No. 16 Auburn taking on unranked Clemson.

Don’t get me wrong, Auburn is poised to put together a nice season, and I’m sure it will be a mildly entertaining contest.

But there is no way this stereotypical SEC versus Atlantic Coast Conference game has more draw, excitement and storylines than the Arizona and Iowa game.

GameDay usually heads to the week’s premier game, or a game with an offbeat, interesting storyline (see: Williams College vs. Amherst College in 2007).

Clemson at Auburn has neither.

I don’t know if Auburn alums like Bo Jackson, Ronnie Brown or Carnell “”Cadillac”” Williams are suiting up, or maybe CJ Spiller will make a cameo, but there just isn’t much intrigue to this matchup.

Arizona just cracked the AP Top 25, Iowa is fighting to prove it should be mentioned with the Alabama’s and Ohio State’s of the college football realm, and all 57,803 of Arizona Stadium’s seats are expected to be filled come 7:30 p.m. Saturday night.

Even athletic director Greg Byrne knows the implications, as he Tweeted “”Red Out this weekend.””

The storylines are certainly there — Stoops coached and played at Iowa, Arizona is at home after last season’s road loss to the Hawkeyes and quarterback Nick Foles will be getting his first crack against the Hawkeyes as a starter, after backing up then-starter Matt Scott in last year’s meeting.

And the Wildcats proved they don’t disappoint when the GameDay crew comes to Tucson, as evident by the double-overtime, instant classic against Oregon last November.

But regardless, ESPN clearly couldn’t shake its SEC bias and choose the game that actually deserves GameDay coverage.

Despite its success nationally in recent years and currently having five teams ranked in the Top 25, a Pac-10 team has only hosted GameDay three times in the last two seasons.

There are only a few answers to why the Auburn game trumped the Iowa contest. The most obvious one is because of travel costs. It seems ESPN College GameDay starts from the east coast and works its way down to the west coast as the season progresses, but I highly doubt a few extra Ben Franklins would make a dent in the pocket of the worldwide leader in sports.  

And isn’t the point of GameDay to show the week’s best game, rather than the matchup that best fits ESPN’s travel plans?

ESPN could very well be waiting on Arizona’s Nov. 13 home game against No. 18 USC. But a game against a Top 10 school that isn’t suspended from postseason play holds a little more excitement, to say the least.

I’m not saying this weekend’s showdown at Arizona Stadium is the year’s greatest game by any means, but considering the other games on schedule this Saturday, it should have been a no-brainer for the powers that be in Bristol, Conn.

But, yet again, ESPN opted for the cliché SEC/ACC game, further proving its bias toward the so-called power conferences of college football and lack of respect for the Pac-10.

–Mike Schmitz is a marketing junior and can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu

More to Discover
Activate Search