- With the University of Washington’s 2017 season opener two weeks away, it is time to get back to every college football fan’s favorite poll question this time of year.
Which Huskies game will ESPN choose for its popular weekly on-site “College GameDay” show?
Of course, it isn’t a certainty – the UW has only been selected six times since GameDay first aired live broadcasts in 1993. (The show debuted six years earlier in 1987.) But last season, the Huskies were part of it twice – Week 9 at Utah (Oct. 29), and Week 11 against USC at Husky Stadium (Nov. 11).
“I do like it. It’s interesting for us when you’re involved in it, you’re not really involved in it as a coach and a player,” Huskies coach Chris Petersen said. “You feel the buzz around you. I think it’s great for college football. It’s great for your fans, especially on that home field. That’s awesome. There’s a lot of excitement and it’s part of the pageantry of college football.”
Taking a look at the UW’s regular-season schedule, here are the top five candidates:
WEEK 4 at Colorado, Sept. 23
Top three competing games: Oklahoma State-TCU, North Carolina State-Florida State and Mississippi-Georgia.
Chances are: Great. Wouldn’t a rematch of the Pac-12 title game have some cache? It might depend on the Buffaloes, who have not hosted GameDay since 1996. They have a lot of seniors on offense, and with home games against Colorado State, Texas State and Northern Colorado before that, they have a great chance of being 3-0.
Certainty scale from 1-10: Solid 8.
WEEK 9 vs. UCLA, Oct. 28
Top three competing games: Penn State-Ohio State, Georgia-Florida and Oklahoma State-West Virginia.
Chances are: Slim. These are some heavy-hitting games — ones that could pit opponents still in the top 25. But what if UCLA wins tough games against Texas A&M and Oregon, and at Stanford? And what if both quarterbacks Josh Rosen and Jake Browning get into the Heisman Trophy discussion? A tasty longshot.
Certainty scale from 1-10: 2.
WEEK 10 vs. Oregon, Nov. 4
Top three competing games: Clemson-North Carolina State, LSU-Alabama, Oklahoma-Oklahoma State.
Chances are: Better, but still slim. This would be my personal choice. And why not? It is the premier Northwest rivalry. It has a new coach cutting his teeth in the Pac 12 in Willie Taggart. It has a Ducks’ revenge factor: For seeing their 12-game winning streak — and for Browning’s well-chronicled finger point. All the drama you need is here.
Certainty scale from 1-10: 4.
WEEK 12 vs, Utah, Nov. 18
Top three competing games: Michigan-Wisconsin, USC-UCLA and Kansas State-Oklahoma State.
Chances are: Decent. Even though it is the start of two weeks of rivalry games, the slate of opposing matchups isn’t as daunting as the previous two entries (UCLA, Oregon). But will GameDay want to see the same two Pac 12 schools in the regular season in back-to-back years? The last time that happened was 2012 (Stanford, Oregon).
Certainty scale from 1-10: 6.
WEEK 13 vs Washington State, Nov. 25
Top three competing games: Auburn-Alabama, Ohio State-Michigan and Florida-Florida State University.
Chances are: Practically zero. The good news is the Apple Cup is back on a Saturday. The bad news is that is comes up against three of the most bitter rivalry games in the country. What else is that not only has the Apple Cup never been a GameDay site, the Cougars have never been an opponent on GameDay for a conference rival (Michigan 1997-98; Ohio State 2002).
Certainty scale from 1-10: Always-a-chance 1.
Of course, if USC and the Huskies each are undefeated and playing in the Pac-12 game ... book that GameDay reservation with a big, fat 10!