There is a long and storied history between Florida State football and the cultural phenomenon that is ESPN’s College GameDay. While the show has actually been broadcasting since 1987, it wasn’t until 1993 that the show was filmed at the location of the biggest college football game of the weekend. The initial road show was none other than No. 1 Florida State at No. 2 Notre Dame on November 13, 1993. The game lived up to the billing of “Game of the Century,” as it was hotly contested and decided in the final moments, and ESPN quickly realized that it had a marketable attraction on its hands. Although this would be the only game GameDay attended in 1993, it was the beginning of a cultural event that has become synonymous with college football today.
All told, GameDay has attended 243 regular-season games held on college campuses, 22 regular season games at neutral sites, 10 conference championship games, and 38 bowl games, for a grand total of 313 total games. Florida State has been involved in 24 of the 243 regular season games— Saturday at Louisville will be No. 25; that’s tied for fourth most with Alabama, trailing only Ohio State (27), Florida (26), and Notre Dame (26).
So how has Florida State fared when GameDay is in town? Are there any trends we can find? Does hosting GameDay provide a boost and a better chance for an FSU victory? We will concentrate on only the regular season games, since neutral sites include evenly distributed tickets, travel for both teams and fan bases, and typically involve long layoffs and extra practice time.
Florida State is 13-11 overall when playing a regular season game attended by GameDay, with an average score of 27.26-26.77. The breakdown is 7-4 at Doak and 6-7 in true road games. 5 of the 13 road games have come against UF, 2 against Miami, 2 against Boston College, with the other 4 coming against Notre Dame, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, and Clemson. Only one of those road games came against an unranked opponent (Boston College in 2009). The average score of the 12 road games in which FSU faced a ranked opponent is 27.67-24.67, with FSU splitting the 12 contests. Since Jimbo Fisher became head coach in 2010, FSU is 7-2 when GameDay is there, with an average score of 33.22-28.11; FSU is 1-0 in road games (2013 Clemson).
If we look at all of the 243 GameDay games, home teams have a 141-102 record with an average advantage of 28.62-24.15. Top 10 teams have a 95-45 record when hosting, while Top 5 teams have a 56-46 record on the road. This Saturday will the 90th meeting of Top 10 teams; home teams hold a 52-37 edge.
The AP’s No. 2 team has traveled to a site hosting GameDay 21 times and left victorious 11 times. 13 of those 21 games featured a Top-10 showdown, with the home team winning 9 of the 13 and the average score being 28.92-22.77. An interesting note on that, though, is that only 1 of the wins came by teams ranked between No. 6 and No. 10 (1997: No. 10 Florida over No. 2 Florida State). The rest of the wins were actually by AP Top-5 teams.
GameDay being in town provides excitement, an incredible atmosphere, and, most of all, it means your team is playing in a game that matters, and the nation will be watching. The games are typically tight, as is the case in most games involving high-caliber teams. Whether there is an increased advantage to hosting Gameday is debatable, but we do know the setting will be electric, the home crowd will be energized, and the ‘Noles will have a terrific chance to once again send a message with the entire country watching.
Other stats and facts for Week 3:
-Under Fisher, FSU is 18-6 in road ACC games
More from those 24 road ACC games:
-FSU is 18-2 when forcing 2 or more turnovers and 0-4 when forcing 1 or less
-FSU is 13-3 when averaging 6 yards per play or more
-FSU is 13-2 when converting +35% of their 3rd downs
-FSU is 14-2 when allowing less than 60% completions
-FSU is 14-3 when allowing less than 38% on 3rd downs