ESPN will be back this weekend where the origin of GameDay began.
ESPN GameDay will be at Notre Dame for the eighth time since 1993.
On Nov. 13, 1993, College Football GameDay by ESPN started when it came to the Notre Dame campus to cover the showdown between No. 1 Florida State and the No. 2 Fighting Irish. The 31-24 victory by Lou Holtz’s team improved it to 10-0 and elevated Notre Dame to the summit for one week before getting upset at home the following week by Boston College.
As the 5-0 Irish attempt to return to the top for the first time since 1993, they will be the GameDay hosts this week when the Stanford Cardinal comes to town. It marks the eighth time Notre Dame will host GameDay and the first since No. 1 USC in 2005. It also is the 20th time overall it is involved with the game. Notre Dame is 8-11 overall in such contests, 3-4 at home and 5-7 on the road.
For a 10-day period prior to last week’s Miami game, NFL Films was covering Notre Dame football for a special that will be aired an hour preceding the Stanford game this week. Thus, head coach Brian Kelly doesn’t believe the presence of GameDay will be a distraction to his players.
“We've had NFL Films here with the last 10 days with boom mikes and cameras, and players being wired for practice,” Kelly said. “It's a life in the day of the Notre Dame football program. So it's kind of business as usual. Having said that, we'll have to remind 18- to 21-year olds how they got here and continue that same message.”
The presence of GameDay is always a compliment, a valued recruiting tool and maybe even some validation of the program’s uptick. It’s like a football program searching for a top coach: You’re not going to go to programs that are losing. You want to be where the program is hot.
“You want to be in that group of football programs that has College Gameday on your campus,” Kelly said. “You want to be that program that appeals to the audience that we're out recruiting. We saw those uniforms [against Miami this weekend for the Shamrock Series] and we got great feedback from those … you want to be in that 'in crowd.' You don't want to be on the other side looking in. So all those things are great.
“We're excited about the spotlight being here in South Bend and for our program, and I'll just work really diligently this week to keep our guys on task.”
Ohio State has hosted GameDay the most often with 13, and Michigan and Florida are tied for second with 10 apiece. Tied with eight are Notre Dame, USC, Florida State, LSU and Tennessee. Here’s Notre Dame’s history on GameDay. Asterisks denote a home game:
*Notre Dame 31, Florida State 24
* Notre Dame 24, Michigan 26
Not only was the Florida State game in 1993 the first-ever GameDay event, but this one a year later was the second. It was here to cover quarterback Ron Powlus’ home debut for the No. 3 Irish. Michigan’s Remy Hamilton booted the game-winning field goal with two seconds left to begin the descent toward a 6-5-1 season.
* Notre Dame 38, USC 10
The No. 5-ranked Trojans, who would later go on to win the Rose Bowl, were thumped by the No. 17 Irish on a cold, damp day.
* Notre Dame 16, Ohio State 29
No. 4 Ohio State proved to be too much for No. 5 Notre Dame in Holtz’s final season with the Irish. The following week when Ohio State played Penn State on GameDay, Lee Corso began the tradition of picking the winner at the host site with his “helmet mascot.”
* Notre Dame 36, Michigan 20
The opener this season saw the Irish upset No. 5 Michigan, the co-defending national champ that featured new starting quarterback Tom Brady and superstar recruit Drew Henson.
Notre Dame 22, Michigan 26
Notre Dame 14, Tennessee 38
Both games were on the road during a 5-7 campaign for the Irish, with the game at No. 4 Tennessee at night.
* Notre Dame 24, Nebraska 27 (OT)
Quarterback Eric Crouch scored the game-winner in overtime for the No. 1 Cornhuskers in a thriller.
Notre Dame 10, Nebraska 27
Nebraska was No. 1 again, but this one wasn’t close. The Irish had run only one play (a lost fumble) before the Huskers were up 14-0.
Notre Dame 21, Air Force 14
Notre Dame 34, Florida State 24
First-year head coach Ty Willingham’s magical ride to 8-0 came with these back-to-back victories on the road in October that elevated the Irish all the way to No. 4.
Notre Dame 0, Michigan 38
Notre Dame’s worst performance on GameDay en route to a 5-7 finish.
Notre Dame 31, Michigan State 24
Notre Dame 10, USC 41
The game at Michigan State between two unranked teams was a last-minute change. It was supposed to be LSU at Auburn, but it was cancelled because of Hurricane Ivan.
The loss at No. 1 USC dropped Notre Dame to 6-5 and would be the last game played under Willingham.
Notre Dame 42, Pitt 21
* Notre Dame 31, USC 34
The victory at No. 23 Pitt marked the debut of new coach Charlie Weis. The last-second loss at home to No. 1 USC helped earn Weis a 10-year contract extension through 2015.
Notre Dame 14, Georgia Tech 10
Notre Dame 24, USC 44
No. 2 Notre Dame began the regular season by rallying from a 10-0 deficit at Georgia Tech and then ended it 10-2 with the defeat at No. 2 USC.
2011 : 0-1
Notre Dame 31, Michigan 35
A 24-7 second-half lead by the Irish was squandered when Michigan scored 28 points in the fourth quarter, the last seven with two seconds left, in its first-ever night game at home.