Locations so far:
Week 1: #12 Notre Dame vs #14 Michigan South Bend, IN Week 2: Texas A&M vs #2 Clemson College Station, TX Week 3: #4 Ohio State vs #15 TCU Fort Worth, TX
Potential locations for the remainder of the season:
Week 4: #20 Oregon vs #7 Stanford Eugene, OR
It appears that this may be the only matchup between ranked opponents next weekend, and the stakes will be high as Oregon opens up Pac 12 play (Stanford already defeated USC 17-3 in Week 2). The Ducks’ schedule gives them a grand opportunity to seize the Pac 12 North title for the first time since 2014; Oregon’s plays all three of their ranked opponents (Stanford, Washington, Arizona State) at home. It has already been announced as the 8:00 primetime game on ABC, which will set the stage for Bryce Love and Justin Herbert as they seek some east-coast Heisman love.
Week 5: #10 Penn State vs #4 Ohio State Happy Valley, PA
Given how entertaining the last two matchups between these teams have been, Happy Valley should be a no-brainer to host College Gameday. In just the first week of Big Ten play, this game is pivotal in not only the Big Ten race, but the College Football Playoff race as well. Whoever loses this game will be facing an uphill battle the rest of the way, but considering the gauntlet of the Big Ten’s East division, anything can happen.
Week 6: #13 Virginia Tech vs #8 Notre Dame Blacksburg, VA
Lane Stadium is arguably the greatest setting for a night game in all of college football, even though it is widely overlooked. There is a good chance that both teams may be still undefeated by Week 6, meaning a top 10 matchup could be in store. After last year’s debacle in South Beach, Brian Kelly and the Irish worked throughout the offseason on handling hostile environments and unexpected circumstances, with their visit to Blacksburg in mind. On October 6, we’ll find out if Kelly’s methods served their purpose.
Week 7: #6 LSU vs #2 Georgia Baton Rouge, LA
After LSU’s monumental win at Auburn, the Tigers have solidified themselves as legit SEC contenders. Although LSU’s SEC schedule is brutal, their two toughest games remaining, which are against Bama and Georgia, are both in Death Valley. On the other hand, Georgia has a relatively easy schedule, with this game being the only significant outlier. Sure, Auburn will visit Georgia later this year, but Georgia will be expected to win that. This game will be as good of measuring stick for both teams as we can get.
Week 8: #17 TCU vs #5 Oklahoma Fort Worth, TX
Both TCU and Oklahoma have been pleasant surprises this season. Since they had to turn to new quarterbacks this season, I expected slight drop offs for both squads. Kyler Murray and the Sooners have breezed through the first few weeks, but star running back Rodney Anderson’s season-ending knee injury might limit their potential.
Week 9: bye
Every year, College Gameday visits an FCS/smaller school’s campus, and this feels like the week to do it.
Week 10: #6 LSU vs #1 Alabama Baton Rouge, LA
Ed Orgeron appears to have calmed the storm surrounding his future as LSU’s head coach, but with a gauntlet of a schedule still ahead, the Tigers must continue to look sharp. Joe Burrow has been as good as advertised so far, giving the Tigers an opportunity to play spoiler in the SEC West. Meanwhile, Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide have looked as invincible as they ever have under his tenure. By this game in early November, I expect that Tua Tagovailoa will be one of the Heisman frontrunners.
Week 11: #2 Georgia vs #9 Auburn Athens, GA
When these neighboring rivals face off in a rematch of last season’s SEC Championship game, the Dawgs may very well be undefeated. This matchup also features two of the best passers in the SEC, if not the entire country, in UGA’s Jake Fromm and AU’s Jarrett Stidham. Gameday hasn’t been to Athens since 2013; November 10 seems like a good date to make a return.
Week 12: #15 Oklahoma State vs #12 West Virginia Stillwater, OK
During a week in which many teams have cupcakes marked down on the calendar, the Cowboys and Mountaineers will be competing in a decisive Big 12 game. While Oklahoma is considered the heavy favorite to win the conference, these two schools are still in the conversation. Also, Will Grier’s Heisman campaign will be a top storyline.
Week 13: #1 Alabama vs #9 Auburn Tuscaloosa, AL
While Michigan at Ohio State will be a major headliner per usual, no rivalry game carries as much weight as this one. In eight of the last nine seasons, one of these two programs have appeared in the national championship game. The Crimson Tide will most certainly be seeking revenge, as their most recent loss was to Auburn in last year’s Iron bowl. Alabama will probably be a massive favorite, but it might only take one upset to unseat the Tide in the SEC West.