A quick history of GameDay's evolution: The program dates back to 1987, with Tim Brando as host and Corso and Beano Cook as analysts. GameDay didn't broadcast from an on-campus site prior to 1993, Corso didn't debut his mascot-headgear schtick for another three years, and week-after-week GameDay onsite road shows weren't a regularity until three years after that.
So, what's different now compared to 2004 and 2009?
The program features a few more faces — Howard joined the Fowler-Corso-Herbstreit trio as a contributor in 2005 and Erin Andrews came aboard this season.
And GameDay made its "celebrity guest picker" a regular feature last year — former BYU coach LaVell Edwards projected game winners in Provo along with Herbstreit and Corso. When Corso underscored picking a TCU win by donning the Horned Frog mascot head, Edwards countered by putting on the Cosmo mask.
"It's the first time ever we've had the guest picker put on the headgear," chuckled Fowler.
This weekend's question: Who will be Saturday's Utah-aligned guest celebrity?
In '04, then-coach Urban Meyer was a late-show guest – if not a guest prognosticator – denying reports of an agreement to take the vacant Florida job. "I plan on being the coach here," he said, adding he wasn't looking to leave the Utes.
The program's length has grown over the years — in 2004, it was 90 minutes; last year, two hours; this year, a whopping three hours. That means a chilly, near-dark 7 a.m. start here so the program can take to the East Coast airwaves at 9.
At both previous GameDay stops in Utah, crowds were estimated at 4,000 to 5,000. In 2004, the Ute faithful braved subfreezing temperatures for a morning show that ended seven hours before the actual game's kickoff. Last year, Cougar fans battled chilly, wet weather for a GameDay starting even earlier and kickoff even later.
The year's unseasonably warm weather and the broadcast's closer proximity to the 1:30 p.m. Utah-TCU kickoff could greatly multiply the Utes' previous GameDay attendance. But to break the program's unofficial record of 18,000 — set earlier this season at Missouri — Ute fans would have to approach the 20,000 figure that Meyer promised six seasons ago.
No matter the final number of spectators, Sean Davenport knows being GameDay's featured broadcast site is something special.
"They don't just pick it out of a hat — they know how big this game is. It's a big deal," said Davenport, a MUSS vice president. "It'll be great for Salt Lake, too. It's going to be organized chaos."
Date, Match-up, Corso's pick, Winner
Nov. 20, 2004 BYU at No. 5 Utah Utah Utah, 52-21
Oct. 24, 2009 No. 10 TCU at No. 16 BYU TCU TCU 38-7
Nov. 14, 2009 No. 16 Utah at No. 4 TCU TCU TCU, 55-28
Nov. 6, 2010 No. 3 TCU at No. 5 Utah
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