College Gameday at Indiana? Why not?

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In the event you don’t feel old enough, the last time Indiana beat Ohio State at a football game was 1988. The Hoosiers have been to all of one bowl game since 1994, which is something remarkable considering being 98 degrees and upright usually gets you into one every few years.

They want ESPN’s College Gameday to choose the one game they travel to per week to be in Bloomington when they face aforementioned OSU. This is a joke, right?

Hell no. And you know what? ESPN should pull the trigger (should IU win this weekend against Wake Forest).

What seems like an odd campaign got started when former Indiana alum, basketball legend, head coach, and current popular radio personality Dan Dakich began supporting a notion to have the show put up shop at IU that originated on something called Crimson Quarry, an IU sports blog.

While anyone that reads this spot knows of my disdain for College Gameday (so, all five of you), it’s no question that the show is an economic boon for communities where the show travels to. Current Texas A&M Athletic Director Eric Hyman once suggested (through some amalgam of his own research one would assume) that the benefit to the show being in town was near $5 million, which is a chunk of change.

Since Dakich has supported the campaign of sorts, or rather, led it’s popularity boom (his show gets a lot of listeners), it’s gotten some teeth. Famous IU personalities have supported the campaign, and Dakich even had Gameday producer Lee Fitting on his radio show Wednesday.

Fitting has stated that the show would be excited to go somewhere it never has been, and that IU is on the ‘to-be-considered’ list, good news for IU fans.

All of that can be found elsewhere, though. Here’s why Gameday should go.

First off, programs trying to get their feet off the ground and become nationally relevant need all of the grassroots help they can get. Yes, there would be a large portion of IU students/fans that would pay attention and show up to the game solely because of Gameday’s presence there.

This isn’t happening at Alabama or Oregon, where the fan bases are coming either way, the show is just something of a buzz benefit. No Alabama fan is saying, “Well, I wasn’t interested in Tide-LSU, but since ESPN suits are gonna be there I think I’ll head down …”

At Indiana, that logic isn’t the same. IU has pumped funds and patience into the football program. Not that IU is unique to this, but Gameday could do its best work on campuses where a shot in the arm of football excitement is needed. It’d help those programs from a recruiting standpoint, plus you go tapping into a pool of folks that otherwise might be ambivalent on college football overall.

I don’t know Gameday’s ratings, but the show at this point seems to be well-known enough that if you like college football at any level, you’ve already decided whether or not you’re into how it’s presented or not. Only areas that have a lukewarm football fan base probably are untapped areas.

Coach Kevin Wilson downplayed any importance of the show coming, mostly because if he’s thinking about anything other than Wake Forest, there’s a problem, and he likely knows that is the same for his players. No harm, no foul there.

Gameday, for its part, has responded.

Personally, I’m all for grassroots passion to make something happen that doesn’t harm anyone. And as stated above, it’d be nice for fans not normally glued to their college football programs to get a chance to see what it’s all about.

If you want to get involved in the campaign, the hash tag is #iufb4gameday. Who knows, small school looking to build a program … maybe you could be next.

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