While the change may not have been apparent to the viewers at home, the College GameDay Built by The Home Depot producer chair changed hands after 12 years, as longtime ESPN producer Jim Gaiero took over the reins during Week 2.
Gaiero started his GameDay tenure from a very familiar spot – the Bristol Motor Speedway, which was foreign to many college football fans, but not to him, a former NASCAR producer.
Making Gaiero’s job easy on the six-time Emmy Award-winning show has been host Rece Davis, who is joined by analysts Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard and David Pollack, as well as contributors Chris “The Bear” Fallica, Jen Lada, Samantha Ponder, Tom Rinaldi, George Whitfield and Gene Wojciechowski.
On the GameDay schedule this season, first-time stops included Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. (Week 1), Bristol, Tenn. (Week 2), Louisville (Week 3) and Kalamazoo, Mich., and the campus of Western Michigan (Week 12). Familiar stops were at Tennessee (ninth time in Week 4), LSU (11th time in Week 10), Alabama (13th time in Week 8) and Ohio State (15th time in Week 13).
The 15-week season also showcased 13 states, 11 schools and four neutral sites. ESPN’s studio coverage continues with the New Year’s Six beginning Wednesday, Dec. 28, including a special edition of College GameDay from the Fiesta Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 31 (8-11 a.m. ET).
“I had worked on College GameDay many, many years ago, and once you’re part of that family, you’re always part of it,” Gaiero said. “Coming back to the family had always been a goal of mine, and with Lee [Fitting] changing his role, I threw my hat into the ring knowing the transition back on the team would be seamless since I was once a member of this special family. I was welcomed with open arms and that has made this year such a wonderful experience for me.”