The original title of this article was, "Ranking the Sun Belt's Best Chance for a College GameDay Appearance in 2019." I compiled historical notes and formulated arguments for a handful of options. One option stood out and prompted a change of direction. Now, I'm on a mission from the Sun Belt gods: College GameDay in Boone, North Carolina, on Halloween night.
College GameDay broadcasted from the deck of the USS San Diego on Nov. 10, 2012, prior to Troy's home game vs. Navy. The game, however, was played 2,000 miles away in Troy, Ala. GameDay has never visited a Sun Belt program, the only conference who's never hosted ESPN's flagship program.
Troy is also the only Sun Belt team to appear on GameDay, though, again, their appearance wasn't a real appearance. And, for what it's worth, South Florida is the only other current or former Sun Belt member to appear on GameDay. The Bulls, however, were not in the Sun Belt when their visited Army in 2003 for a GameDay matchup, nor did USF have a football program while they were Sun Belt members from 1976-91.
When there's no actual GameDay history, you're forced to dig deep to manufacture GameDay history. It's time for real history.
App State has been on the national radar since their 2007 victory at Michigan. The Mountaineers dominated the FCS (three straight national championships from 2005-07) before a return to the FBS began with 48 wins in their first five seasons, the most wins in the first five years of any FCS-to-FBS transition. They lost their only FBS head coach, Scott Satterfield, and several key players from last year's 11-win team, but they remain the East Division and conference favorite for 2019.
The division could be decided on Halloween when Georgia Southern visits Boone for Black Thursday, an annual blackout game with a rich, blood-pumping history. It's an ESPN-televised contest (ESPNU) on Halloween night in one of the most stunning settings in American sports: Kidd Brewer Stadium in primetime.
ESPN has never done a midseason Thursday-night College GameDay broadcast. They should start this year: Georgia Southern at App State on Oct. 31.