Maria Taylor calls her first season on College GameDay and ABC Saturday Night Primetime “a dream come true.” For her final assignment of the season, the ESPN host, analyst and reporter will cover the Georgia Bulldogs (her alma mater) during tonight’s College Football Playoff National Championship Presented by AT&T (8 p.m. ET, ESPN).
“Being a part of a show that I have grown up watching is a career milestone for me,” Taylor said. “The best part is the people that I get to work with on a daily basis. From our producers to [commentators and analysts] Chris [Fowler], Kirk [Herbstreit], Des [Howard], David [Pollack], Coach [Lee] Corso and Rece [Davis], our group is full of veteran TV professionals. It’s been a great learning experience to see how they prepare and how dedicated everyone is to their craft.”
Taylor took on both roles after previously serving as host of SEC Nation – making her the first African-American female reporter on GameDay. This added to her already busy schedule as the host of women’s college basketball studio coverage, volleyball analyst and Saturday Primetime reporter for men’s college basketball.
“There were times when I would be in a College GameDay meeting and have to step out to take a call with a player to prep for the Saturday Primetime game,” she said. “I also think that the overall heightened level of exposure that comes with being associated with such established brands has allowed me to connect more with fans from all over.”
Taylor seemingly has been everywhere this season.
“During Week 12, I flew to Chicago for Champions Classic, then Madison, Wis., for Gameday, then hopped on a plane to work the sidelines at the UCLA-USC game,” Taylor said. “The weeks that involved feature reporting or another sport were more hectic than most, but I found that being a fan of sports makes it so much easier to juggle the preparation.”
While the National Championship marks the end of this season, Taylor’s year is just beginning.
She will anchor ESPN’s women’s college basketball studio coverage Thursday, then head to Chapel Hill to cover Notre Dame versus UNC on Saturday, Jan. 13 (6 p.m., ESPN).