On Monday, we found out the Big Ten opening weekend matchup featuring the (24) Minnesota Gophers vs (19) Michigan Wolverines at TCF Bank Stadium, will be televised to a national network audience in their primetime slot (6:30 PM – ABC). This shouldn’t be a shocker because Michigan is always big ticket and Minnesota is quickly on its way there. 5 of their last 5 games have been televised to a national audience.
When you look at the numbers, you quickly see why ESPN has interest. Last year’s Gameday appearance was one of the most viewed of the year and when the Minnesota Gopher football team played on national TV in 2019, huge crowds tuned in to those games too.
Just in case you forgot… pic.twitter.com/l4VXmSP5oq— Minnesota Sports Fan (@realmnsportsfan) October 13, 2020
The Star Tribune’s Randy Johnson is hearing that Minnesota is already on ESPN’s radar as a possible Gameday landing spot. This after Twitter went ablaze today with rumors and schedule studying.
Preponderance of the Evidence
It would be stupid on multiple levels for ESPN’s College Gameday NOT to return to Minnesota for this Michigan matchup. The numbers above speak for themselves. Does ESPN want people to watch, or not? Also, where else are they going to go?
The game is being played on ABC, which is owned by Disney (who also owns ESPN). Alabama at Tennessee is probably the Gophers’ biggest competition for the weekend… but Gameday is already scheduled to be in Tuscaloosa the weekend prior (Oct. 17) when when the Tide play Georgia.
The other “competitors” are (according to the Star Tribune) (8) Cincinnati at (17) SMU, or (20) Iowa State at (7) Oklahoma State. Inside the Big Ten, Nebraska plays Ohio State but that game will be a blowout and FOX is already hosting their morning show from the Horseshoe that same Saturday.
After digging into it, I’d be shocked if ESPN takes Gameday on the road to any other destination that weekend. I’d bet they’re coming back to Dinkytown.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan