ESPN has been waking up football fans for 32 years with its famous Saturday morning live broadcast “College Gameday”,but rarely has the show visited schools in the FCS division like Montana State. This week, “Gameday” will break the trend and travel to Brookings, SD to bring South Dakota State and North Dakota State something rarely experienced by schools in our division. The fact that millions of people will get an in-depth look at their campuses, traditions and fan bases is a huge benefit to these somewhat obscure universities. For large schools, having “Gameday” come to town has turned into just part of the norm. Ohio State has welcomed the crew 18 times while Florida, Alabama and LSU have each played host 13 times. For these programs it just doesn't mean as much which results in an often boring show. For smaller schools, having “Gameday” visit is a huge deal and becomes an event remembered for years. NDSU is actually one of the few FCS teams that have previously hosted “Gameday.”Fans of the show will remember their main street used as a backdrop for thousands of crazy fans holding creative signs, making it one of the most memorable shows to date. These are the locations real “Gameday”fans want to see, not some school the show has visited a dozen or more times. Following Saturday's show, ESPN will be looking for their next FCS location, so should it be Bozeman?
Montana State is the only college football program with a national championship at three different levels. A tradition that is continued today by a team currently ranked in the top 10 of the FCS. Bozeman boasts a beautiful campus, a historic downtown and a snow capped mountain backdrop, complimenting a devoted fan base that packs Bobcat Stadium no matter the weather. “College Gameday”is a three-hour broadcast that mostly previews the weekends top games in the FBS, but they also include multiple segments about the school they are visiting in order to fill their time slot. At MSU the incredible stories and scenic shots are endless, and while the hosts may be hesitant about spending three hours exposed to the Montana weather, the film and production crew will be blown away by what this valley and historic university has to offer. Besides Bozeman being one of the show’s most visually appealing settings, it would also be one of their most lively environments to date. Bobcat fans are some of the FCS’s finest, and considering what our fans bring on a normal Caturday, “Gameday” would be primed for a rowdy morning. While there is little doubt that having the show at MSU would be an absolute success, it is still just a dream that “Gameday”would visit town sometime soon. Nonetheless, optimism is higher than ever following the recent social media campaign pushing the show to give more attention to the FCS. A few weeks later the show is traveling to South Dakota State, proving that “Gameday”really is closer to visiting Bozeman than ever before.
The Brawl of the Wild game against UM would be the most attractive game for ESPN to cover, but this year does not seem likely based on the fact that both schools have a couple of losses this season. Even so, I do think that it is fair to assume ESPN views the Montana programs as next in line for “Gameday” when they revisit the FCS. The rich and historic nature of the oldest FCS rivalry west of the Mississippi would be the perfect content for the show. Hopefully in the near future, both programs can truly be competing for national championships and put some pressure on ESPN to take the trip out to the Treasure State. For now, while you watch the crew visit our border rival South Dakota State this Saturday, don’t be afraid to picture Montana Hall and the Bridger range in the backdrop one day.