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Guessing the College GameDay locations for 2015

JeffLPhoto.com

JeffLPhoto.com

It's a new day for college football's preeminent pre-game show. For the first time anyone reading this can remember, Chris Fowler will not serve as College GameDay's permanent host. The show's longtime quarterback has abdicated his hosting duties to focus full-time on his play-by-play role for ABC's Saturday Night Football, which means Rece Davis received a well-deserved promotion out of Bristol and into the host chair on ESPN's traveling circus.

Where will that traveling circus make its first stop in 2015?

There are three leading candidates to host GameDay in Week 1: Arizona State vs. Texas A&M in Houston, Alabama vs. Wisconsin in Dallas and Louisville vs. Auburn in Atlanta. Each is a good of an option as the others, but let's take a wild guess and go with the Tide.

And while we're on the topic of wild guessing, here's a stab at where GameDay will unfold its tents and set up shop each week of the 2015 season:

Sept. 5: Alabama vs. Wisconsin (at AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas)
Sept. 12: Oregon at Michigan State
Sept. 19: Ole Miss at Alabama
Sept. 26: USC at Arizona State
Oct. 3: Notre Dame at Clemson
Oct. 10: Georgia at Tennessee
Oct. 17: Penn State at Ohio State
Oct. 24: Auburn at Arkansas
Oct. 31: Non-FBS Special
Nov. 7: Florida State at Clemson
Nov. 14: Oregon at Stanford
Nov. 21: USC at Oregon OR LSU at Ole Miss OR Michigan State at Ohio State
Nov. 28: Ohio State at Michigan
Dec. 5: SEC/ACC/Big Ten/Pac-12 Championship

A few observations:

- One whack at this and it's easy to see why GameDay waits until the wee hours of Saturday night or Sunday morning to announce the following week's destination. Predicting the biggest game in college football more than a week in advance is nothing more than an exercise in futility.

- In trying to stay within the lanes that GameDay usually operates in - i.e., make sure you don't spend a month straight in the SEC - creates a domino effect that effects the rest of the season. For example, nine of Alabama's 12 games could easily be GameDay worthy, but realistically the Tide won't make more than three appearances. So which ones do you choose?

- The balance of the SEC West and Pac-12 South makes this game even harder. Games like LSU at Ole Miss or USC vs. Arizona could easily be the biggest game of the season - or completely irrelevant. Both sides of the equation are equally probable.

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