ESPN producer says Bloomington on short list to host GameDay

The producer of ESPN’s College GameDay said Thursday that Indiana is on a short list of sites to host the Oct. 3 edition of the program

But Bloomington is up against some tough competition.

Lee Fitting, the senior coordinating producer of ESPN’s college sports studio shows, appeared on the Dan Dakich Show on 1070 The Fan and said his staff will consider up to five or six sites for next weekend, but some of the week’s more notable matchups could take priority.

“(IU is) on that list, which is a win to begin with,” Fitting said. “But what they’re up against next week is Notre Dame at Clemson, and they’re up against Alabama at Georgia. My message to the Hoosier faithful is you better be the biggest fans of UMass, who plays Notre Dame (this weekend), and Southern, who plays in Athens this week against Georgia.”

A social media effort started Sunday by Dakich and carried forward this week by popular IU blog Crimson Quarry started a groundswell of momentum to bring the popular ESPN program to Bloomington for the Hoosiers (3-0) Big Ten opener against Ohio State.

On Tuesday, the “#iufb4gameday” Twitter hashtag began trending and caught the attention of GameDay producers, who acknowledged Bloomington as a possible host.

“When we see a fan base do that it makes us think, ‘Gosh, if we bring the show out there, it’s going to be an unbelievable scene and we’re going to get great support on and around our set,” Fitting said. “That’s a big take on what we decide to do.”

Fitting told Dakich that the program doesn’t necessarily go to the biggest game of the week, and that the show’s staffers try to choose a site that would highlight the week’s best story.

A site is usually chosen on the Saturday night or Sunday morning preceding the next week’s show.

“There are times we’ve been to North Dakota State, or an Ivy League (school), or a military academy, etc., because we feel like that’s a cool story,” Fitting said. “There’s no rules, there’s no guidelines, there’s not a handbook we thumb through every Saturday night or Sunday morning and try to decide where to go. It’s just whatever feels right on a given week.”

Former Indiana coach Lee Corso has been a member of the GameDay panel since the show’s inception in 1987. Fitting said it would be a highlight of the show to possibly stage a Bloomington reunion for Corso, who was in town to celebrate his 80th birthday in June.

Corso arrived at IU in 1973 and coached the program for 10 seasons, leading the Hoosiers to a victory in the 1979 Holiday Bowl.

“I would love to bring Coach Corso back to Bloomington before his time is up on the show,” Fitting said. “That would be unbelievable, not only to him, but to the people of Bloomington and the fans of Indiana. That would be awesome.”

Meanwhile, Indiana coach Kevin Wilson is not ready to be a part of the dicussion.

On his weekly radio show Wednesday, Indiana coach Kevin Wilson said it was a waste of time discussing a possible appearance from GameDay. The coach told host Don Fischer that his focus is on this week’s road trip to Wake Forest.

“First of all, if you’re gonna be on GameDay, you need to fill up your stadium, which we haven’t played good enough to do,” Wilson said. “Typically, they don’t put your game on at 3:30 a week ahead of time and do GameDay because those are (usually 8 p.m. games). So that’s all just a bunch of wasted conversation. It’s nice someone thinks that, but we’ve got three wins and they’re all come-from-behind in games that we were favored. I don’t think we’ve done anything extraordinary.”

Wilson added that he addressed the GameDay hype directly with his program this week and told his players not to buy into it.

“Matter of fact, we actually blew that up because that’s a waste of a conversation with our football team,” Wilson said. “Last year, we showed in a win at Missouri what we’re capable of and we showed the following week what we do when we don’t have our focus and come ready to play.”

7 comments

  1. Dakich should man up on divulging the source of his inspiration and admit that he read my ‘GameDay’ reference in a post on Hoosier Scoop….

  2. HH I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for the admission you were the inspiration for Game Day at IU. On to Coach Wilson and his approach, I like his take as the team shouldn’t give any thought to Game Day. Even if we had the #1 team in the nation Game Day is about the fans and not the team. The team takes care of the game that week and the fans get involved int the hoopla leading up to the game.

  3. Man I don’t like all of this talk the week before our first road game. Losing to Wake this weekend would hurt us more than getting beat by 90 against OSU.

  4. I still think that after Notre Dame wins this weekend Game Day will be in South Carolina for the ND/Clemson game. Too big of a game that will have playoff implications.

  5. If IU is 4-0 Saturday night the Lee Corso angle could be a powerful promotion for ESPN and IU. Individual details like “before his time is up on the show”, a walk back on memory lane with 80 y/o Lee, Fitting being on DD’s radio show, and an IU team who has not been 4-0 for 25 years does not come along very often. Those are points of interest Irish/Clemson and Bama/Dogs can’t create. I think there is a great chance it happens regardless of what ND or Georgia does. If the event were to occur is Lee off the wall enough to chose the helmet with the pitchfork? But of course the key to this is 4-0.

  6. I think its too early for any game to have major playoff considerations. Since too many things can happen from hear on out. Also, in my mind, even the team that wins the ND/Clemson game will likely still finish the season with 2 losses. Both appear to be teams on the outside looking in.

  7. I think we’re going to a Rose Bowl….I am completely tossing out my earlier prediction of a 4-8 season.

    We’re destroying Wake Forest tomorrow.
    We’re carrying that momentum to pull off a shocking upset against OSU.

    Penn State, Michigan, and Maryland are no threats …We will win all three.

    If GameDay does not have the vision to see this train coming, it will only prove what most of us already know. Corso topped out at a Holiday Bowl…Come on, guys. These bozos work for ESPN for a reason. It will be Crean’s next job. People that actually know sh___(e.g. Bob Knight) quickly tire of their stupidity.

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