They are comin' to your city – Los Angeles, to be more specific.
ESPN is sending its College GameDay crew out west to cover UCLA football's (5-2, 3-1 Pac-12) upcoming matchup with Oregon (5-1, 2-1) on Oct. 23. The last time the Bruins hosted GameDay was all the way back in 1998, also against the Ducks.
This will be the first time the GameDay crew has ever come to Westwood, however, since they set up shop in Pasadena in 1998. Athletic Director Martin Jarmond confirmed the location to the UCLA Spirit Squad while waiting in the airport to return home from the game against Washington.
Host Rece Davis leads the weekly panel of college football experts and personalities, with Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard, David Pollack and Lee Corso making up the rest of the regular crew.
The team, along with ESPN's resident betting expert Chris "The Bear" Fallica and a rotating location-themed guest, makes there picks for all the big games around the country at the conclusion of the show every week. The final prediction is always for the host game, and Corso tops it all off by donning the headgear of the mascot of the team he thinks will win – so either Joe Bruin or The Duck this time around.
In their 1998 GameDay matchup, then-No. 2 UCLA beat then-No. 11 Oregon 41-38 in overtime on Oct. 17 to keep its national championship hopes alive. That tight victory included multiple players battling through pain – UCLA quarterback Cade McNown had been throwing up before and during the game, Oregon running back Reuben Droughns was playing on a broken leg and UCLA kicker Chris Sailer made the game-winning field goal despite a strained hip flexor.
That classic presents quite the high bar for this upcoming matchup to aim for, but it stands to be a key game for both teams this season regardless.
Both the Bruins and Ducks have won three out of their last four. UCLA has just picked up back-to-back road wins over Arizona and Washington, while Oregon lost to Stanford in overtime and came back to eek out a 7-point win over Cal following their bye. Both teams rank towards the top of the Pac-12 and need a victory to stay in control of their chances at division titles.
The Bruins have played in eight total GameDay games since the tradition started back in 1993, and two have come against the Ducks. UCLA's last GameDay appearance was in 2015 against Arizona, and it won 56-30, but it is just 3-5 all-time in such games.
Oregon also boasts a 3-5 record in its last eight College GameDay appearances, although it is 15-11 all-time. While the Bruins bested them back in 1998, the Ducks won the 2000 and 2013 GameDay matchups between the two teams.
UCLA is just 3-13 against Oregon since the turn of the millennium, with its last win coming in 2017. The 2020 game came down the the wire, as the Bruins nearly overcame a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit in Eugene with backup quarterback Chase Griffin leading the offense, only to fall just short and lose 41-38.
All eyes will be on the 2021 edition of the conference rivalry Saturday afternoon, with kickoff at the Rose Bowl scheduled for 12:30 p.m.
ESPN College GameDay will air live from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. PST.