Get ready, Gainesville. ESPN’s College GameDay is heading back to The Swamp for the first time since 2012.
After beating the Miami Hurricanes in the season-opening showcase at Disney World in Orlando, the 10th-ranked Florida Gators will take part in the program’s second national showcase of the year when Dan Mullen’s team hosts the No. 7 Auburn Tigers. Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso and the gang are in full bloom, and this weekend’s SEC showdown will be a massive “prove it” game between two national championship contenders.
Where is College GameDay This Week?
This is the first time since the University of Florida rolled the South Carolina Gamecocks, 44-11, in 2012 that college football’s premier pregame show will be in Gainesville. Since then, UF’s been part of Saturday’s marquee game a few other times, including the 2013 Sugar Bowl vs. Louisville, visiting Tennessee in 2016, and playing rival Georgia in Jacksonville in 2018.
Including Florida’s win over Miami this season, the Gators are 25-14 when the program plays in College GameDay’s featured matchup. Florida’s 40 appearances and 25 wins rank third all-time behind only Ohio State and Alabama.
What Time is College GameDay?
This week’s show will be aired from the Plaza of the Americas on the University of Florida campus. The pit for fans opens at 6:30 a.m. ET, and fans can being lining up starting at 6 a.m. Other fans wanting to enjoy the show, but stay out of the sign-wielding chaos, will be able to do so outside the stage area.
According to a university press release, students who enter the pit must be screened by security.
Who is College GameDay’s Guest Picker?
Florida legend Emmitt Smith confirmed that he’s attending the game alongside his son, highly-touted running back E.J. Smith, for the Homecoming game. However, it’s unclear whether Florida football’s all-time leading rusher will be the guest picker.
Potential Florida Gator legends like Danny Wuerffel, or the G.O.A.T of UF women’s soccer, Abby Wambach, could fill in that role as well.
Florida needs proof that quarterback Kyle Trask can lead this team to the promised land. Since losing Felipe Franks for the year against Kentucky, Florida has beaten Tennessee and Towson by a combined score of 72-3. This matchup with Auburn begins the most important four-game stretch of the season, including road games at LSU and South Carolina, followed by “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” against the Georgia Bulldogs.
Saturday, Oct. 5 will be the last time Florida plays at home until Nov 9.
On the other side, the Auburn Tigers are rolling behind revitalized head coach Gus Malzahn and the 14th-ranked rushing offense (251.0 yards per game) in the FBS. True freshman quarterback Bo Nix has passed every test so far in wins over Oregon, Texas A&M and Mississippi State, but this road tilt against Florida will be the biggest game of his young career.
Auburn leads the all-time series over Florida, 43-38-2. These two programs haven’t met since Gene Chizik’s Tigers beat Will Muschamp’s Gators back in 2011.
No. 7 Auburn (5-0) and No. 10 Florida (5-0) will kickoff their game at 3:30 p.m. ET at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. The game will air on CBS, and everyone in college football will be locked in to see which of these SEC powerhouses is ready to take that next step towards a potential College Football Playoff berth.
This article was updated on October 2, 2019, to reflect editorial changes when the outcome of the 2011 meeting between Auburn and Florida was incorrectly reported. That game ended in a 17-6 win for the Tigers.