College GameDay. It's a staple every Saturday morning in the fall. The fan signs. The mascot headgear. There's no better way to start a morning of college football than with the antics that take place between Lee Corso, Rece Davis, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard, Pat McAfee and David Pollack.
Except this season, Pollack won't be there.
ESPN cut ties with him as part of company-wide layoffs, while signing McAfee to an absurd contract. For a show that has always been college football's No. 1 show, not only was it a mistake to get rid of the lovable Pollack, but it means GameDay won't be the same without him.
David Pollack's 12-Year Run on GameDay
Pollack joined the crew on "College GameDay" back in 2011. For the next 12 years, he not only kept the show great, but he helped elevate it to new heights.
The 2022 season was the highest-rated season for the show in its history — one that began back in 1987. An average of 2.1 million viewers tuned in during the season, an increase of 10% from 2021, which was the show's previous high, according to Front Office Sports.
Sure, Corso is the star. And Herbstreit is terrific. Everyone is, really. But to boot Pollack off the show after a record year? It's not only unjustified but just plain stupid. Especially if McAfee, whose gimmick is just being loud and over-the-top 24/7, is his replacement.
One moment I'll never forget came last season. With Georgia up 38-7 over TCU in the national championship game at halftime, Pollack looked dead in Alabama coach Nick Saban's eyes and said that Georgia had "taken hold of college football," and Saban's reaction was priceless:
In David Pollack's last appearance on College Gameday he looked Nick Saban right in the eyes and said Georgia is taking over college football. pic.twitter.com/y763xvLEXI
— Everything Georgia (@GAFollowers) July 2, 2023
That was in Pollack's final appearance on GameDay. Heck. Yes.
Pollack opened up about his layoff from ESPN recently on his podcast, "The Family Goals Podcast." He was most upset about not spending time with Rece Davis.
"I texted Rece [Davis], and then me and Rece didn't get to talk until I got to the airport," Pollack said. "And that's when I had some tears. Just because he's my dude. He's my guy on the road that we've done life together and I trust with him with everything in me. I would consider him one of my great friends and we don't see each other half of the year. But here's the thing, my first comment to him was I also know what this means, and we're not going to get time together. And you know what happens when you don't get time together, people drift apart, and his comment was, 'That's not going to happen.' His comment was I'll be at your golf tournament every year. I guess that made me feel better."
GameDay's future isn't clear. I'm not sure how much longer Corso has on it. It's clear he's slowing down — he's 88 after all — though watching Herbstreit help him along is touching. Maybe ESPN is looking ahead to make sure the show remains what it has been when Corso's retirement comes.
Still, Pollack was just as much a part of that GameDay crew as Corso, Herbstreit and anyone else. His energy and love for college football, especially as a College Football Hall of Fame member, was clear as day. And in 2023, it will be missed.
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