ESPN chooses Tuscaloosa over Dinkytown

PJ Fleck tells WCCO's Sports Huddle that it was a tough sell

WCCO Radio Newsroom
November 02, 2019 - 11:57 am
College GameDay

Mike Stobe / Getty Images


College GameDay has by-passed the Twin Cities.


And Gopher coach PJ Fleck isn't surprised.

"We did everything we could, but I think everybody knew in the back of their mind that it's hard to turn down the 'game of the century,'" Fleck told Sid Hartman, Dave Mona, and Mike Max on WCCO's Sports Huddle.

"I get it. We have two (games featuring) 8-0 football teams, but one's ranked five, one's ranked 13. And the other ones are 1-2.That's a really, really special game that it's really hard to be able to turn down. Completely understand it, a hundred percent," he said. 

The wildly popular and entertaining Saturday morning college football pregame show filled with predictions, personalities, and placards had a chance to originate from the University of Minnesota on Nov. 9, when the Gophers and Penn State meet for only the second Big Ten football matchup between two teams carrying 8-0 records.

Instead, Lee Corso, Rece Davis, and the rest of the crew head to Tuscaloosa, Ala., where the top-ranked Crimson Tide take on number 2 Louisiana State.

The announcement was made during Saturday's ESPN broadcast from Memphis, Tenn.

Both Alabama and LSU are also 8-0, and like the No. 13 Gophers and No. 5 Nittany Lions, have finished up a bye week.

It's the 15th time College GameDay has held its broadcast, which date back to 1993, at the University of Alabama

And the 47th time the Crimson Tide have been connected to the GameDay show.

The Gophers are still waiting for their first College GameDay appearance... either as the host school or the road team.

Oh, Fleck did his best to make a case for Saturday morning.

"All due respect to Alabama and LSU, but you can go to them any year, pick a year, pick a game, you can go to them every game of the season, if you would like," said Fleck after his team drilled Maryland to remain unbeaten.

He's not kidding; GameDay has aired from the site of an Alabama-LSU matchup 11 times, more than any other pairing.

Fleck was head coach at Western Michigan when GameDay broadcast from its campus in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

The Broncos were 10-0 at the time, and were taking on 2-8 Buffalo.

"College Game Day is about unique stories, unique places, about unique moments," Fleck said.

There may be a chance for a Dinkytown appearance on Nov. 30, when the Gophers and Wisconsin meet for the 129th time, more than any other major college football rivalry.

That same day's schedule features Alabama at Auburn.

Yeah, GameDay has done that before, too.

There is also an ESPN GameDay show for college basketball.

The Gophers are oh-fer for that one as well.

NOTES: Fleck was asked about his name being brought up for big-time coaching jobs: "Minnesota is a big-time job."


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