The 2020 college football season will be one that we will not soon forget. Even though we completed a season in the midst of a pandemic something was missing. The pageantry of the game was non-existent. Of course, we all understand why that had to be the case. However, all signs point a return to normal by the beginning of the 2021 season. Part of that pageantry has been ESPN’s College Gameday. Even though they still traveled to sites, there were no fans allowed. There should be a return to having fans on set this year. With that, we’ll give our early predictions of every College Gameday location in 2021.
With not top 25 games likely only six games scheduled to be part of the week zero slate, conventional wisdom points to them just being in the studio.
There could be plenty of interesting storylines here to chase. Scott Frost may be under some pressure to have an eight or nine-win season. Comparatively, Bret Bielema returns to the Big 10 and could get his re-boot off to a great start with an upset over Big Red.
This game will most assuredly give us our first top-five game of the year. Both teams have playoff aspirations. However, this feels like a must-win early on for Georgia. The Bulldogs would most likely have to run the table in a much tougher conference than Clemson would.
Both teams come in with question marks at quarterback. But, both teams also have playoff hopes as well. Oregon and Ohio State are both loaded with offensive weapons at the skill positions. With tough conference slates to navigate, this will be an important game for both sides.
Both the Gators and the Tide should come into this game undefeated. Additionally, both have tons of holes to fill on the offensive side of the ball. Will they have it figured out yet? No matter, a game in the Swamp is always a tough game to win.
This could very well be a top 10 matchup in the Windy City. Jack Coan should get the starting nod for the Irish and will have an opportunity to get a huge win against his old team. Whoever wins this game puts themselves squarely into the playoff race.
This has a white-out at Beaver Stadium written all over it. Gameday will be hard-pressed to miss out on one of the best environments in college football. The Hoosiers should still be in the thick of the Big 10 race early on in the 2021 season.
If things fall in place, this game has the makings of a top-five matchup. Texas has the more difficult road to navigate hosting Louisiana while traveling to Arkansas and TCU. Meanwhile, Oklahoma’s toughest test will be traveling to Kansas State.
This could be a top 15 matchup in Cincinnati for college gameday. The Knights must get by some tricky games against Boise State and Louisville. Meanwhile, the Bearcats have a much tougher slate traveling to Indiana and Notre Dame. Winning those games will be critical in setting up this contest.
The Trojans are a popular pick to win the PAC 12 championship and an outsider in the playoffs. But, could Notre Dame play the spoiler role in this rivalry game? A game that has had many close finishes could provide another to shape the landscape of the 2021 season.
The Gators broke through in 2020 and won this game to give them a berth in the SEC Championship Game. The winner here likely heads to the championship game here and could still be in the national title hunt. The loser has to deal with a disappointing 2021 season.
Simply put, the winner of this game is in a prime position to grab a spot in the PAC 12 Championship Game. The Ducks probably are in more of a must-win situation here. Oregon has a murderer’s row schedule in facing Stanford, UCLA, Utah, and here against Washington on the road.
A relatively weak slate has us in the Sunshine State for week 11 college gameday. Miami has the talent to meet Clemson in the ACC Championship Game. However, this will be a big test they must get past. Comparatively, the Seminoles are just trying to get back respectability in the conference.
The Cyclones present the biggest threat to ending Oklahoma’s Big 12 Championship streak. However, how they are able to deal with expectations this season will be interesting to watch. Meanwhile, the Sooners are used to those expectations and will host a college gameday in Norman for the second time in as many years.
Can the Wolverines have a bounce-back year after only two wins in 2020? Even so, Michigan has not won this game since 2011. But, at least coming into the season, this might be the most vulnerable that the Buckeyes have looked in the last five years. Will “The Game” live up to the hype and give us an instant classic?
It’s nearly impossible to predict who will be in conference championship games seven months before they are kicked off. However, you can bet that a playoff spot or two will be on the line here in Atlanta. We are likely to see some combination of Florida or Georgia take on Alabama or Texas A&M in this important matchup.
Nothing screams pageantry more than the annual Army versus Navy contest. One of the best, most pure rivalries in all of college football returns to East Rutherford this season. Army has controlled the series as of late winning four of the last five contests. The NFL draft nor a playoff berth will be at stake for these kids, rather pride that may last forever for the winner of this game.