College GameDay – ESPN’s iconic pregame show on Saturday mornings during college football season – is headed to Atlanta for the first time since 2012.
ESPN plans to announce today that the award-winning program will kick off its 25th season of road shows by broadcasting live from International Plaza outside the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sept. 2. The show will air from 9 a.m. until noon, one month from today.
The decision to bring College GameDay here was tied to the Alabama-Florida State matchup in a Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game on Sept. 2. Billed as one of the better season-opening matchups in college football history, the game will air on ABC at 8 p.m.
College GameDay will be making its 11th visit to Atlanta – the first since Dec. 1, 2012, the day of Alabama’s 32-28 victory over Georgia in the SEC Championship game.
The show has been here for eight games at the Georgia Dome and two at Bobby Dodd Stadium, dating to its first Atlanta appearance in 1998.
Over the years, the show has become an integral part of the college football culture. It is known for analyst Lee Corso’s mascot headgear picks, among other things, and has won four consecutive Sports Emmy awards for outstanding weekly studio show.
The show’s current cast includes host Rece Davis and analysts Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard and David Pollack. All will be in Atlanta for the Sept. 2 show.
Also, metro Atlanta native and former University of Georgia basketball and volleyball player Maria Taylor will make her College GameDay reporting debut in her hometown. She also will make her “ABC Saturday Night Football” sideline-reporter debut in the Alabama-Florida State game.
Herbstreit will have a particularly busy start to the season, working three game broadcasts over five days -- Ohio State-Indiana (Aug. 31 in Bloomington, Ind.), Alabama-Florida State and finally Georgia Tech-Tennessee (Sept. 4 in Mercedes-Benz Stadium) -- in addition to his College GameDay role. It’ll be his first such stretch.
“I’m starting now, basically, to get ready for that week,” Herbstreit said Tuesday.
ESPN is holding a two-day college football production seminar in Atlanta this week, with about 300 of the network’s on-camera and off-camera personnel meeting at the College Football Hall of Fame.
See MyAJC.com later today and Thursday’s print edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for a story on how some ESPN broadcasters meeting here this week view the upcoming college football season and Atlanta’s role in it.
COLLEGE GAMEDAY’S 10 PREVIOUS VISITS TO ATLANTA
(8 at Georgia Dome, 2 at Georgia Tech)
Dec. 1, 2012: No. 2 Alabama 32, No. 3 Georgia 28
Dec. 3, 2011: No. 1 LSU 42, No. 12 Georgia 10
Sept. 4, 2010: No. 21 LSU 30, No. 18 North Carolina 24
Dec. 5, 2009: No. 2 Alabama 32, No. 1 Florida 13
Sept. 5, 2009: No. 5 Alabama 34, No. 7 Virginia Tech 24
Dec. 6, 2008: No. 2 Florida 31, No. 1 Alabama 20
Aug. 30, 2008: No. 24 Alabama 34, No. 9 Clemson 10
Sept. 2, 2006: No. 2 Notre Dame 14, Georgia Tech 10
Dec. 4, 2004: No. 3 Auburn 38, No. 15 Tennessee 28
Oct. 24, 1998: No. 6 Florida State 34, No. 20 Georgia Tech 7
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