ESPN College GameDay will broadcast live from the site of college football games for the 26th consecutive season. Where will ESPN go in Week 1 this season? There are three clear front-runners.
GameDay technically kicked off the 2017 season with Week 1 trip to Bloomington, Ind., where Indiana hosted Ohio State on Thursday night, though that was more of a Week 1 appetizer. The main dish was Florida State vs. Alabama in Atlanta, which marked the fourth straight season ESPN opened with a neutral-site game.
Will they opt for a neutral-site Week 1 game again in 2018?
If so, Auburn vs. Washington in Atlanta or Alabama vs. Louisville in Orlando are the only candidates. Alabama is always a draw but post-Lamar Jackson Louisville has little national appeal, especially in a likely lopsided affair.
With immediate College Football Playoff implications for two potential preseason top-10 teams, Auburn-Washington is the best Week 1 game, but it's not the most attractive to ESPN, in my opinion.
It checks a lot of boxes. Both teams are widely hated and have mass appeal. Again, with the exception of last year, GameDay hasn't officially opened the season with a campus game in five years. And, surprisingly, they haven't been to South Bend since 2012.