Peyton Manning Revealed as ‘College GameDay’ Guest Picker in Knoxville at Tennessee-Alabama

by Nick Geddes
(Photo by Silas Walker/Getty Images)

Peyton Manning is heading back to where it all began.

ESPN’s “College GameDay” announced Thursday that the Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback will be the guest picker in Knoxville — the site of No. 6 Tennessee Volunteers (5-0) vs. No. 3 Alabama Crimson Tide (6-0) on Saturday.

Manning is Tennessee royalty, having starred at the university from 1994-97. If there was a record to set, chances are it belonged to Manning by the time he left for the NFL. Manning finished his Volunteers career with 42 NCAA, SEC, and Tennessee records. 2022 just so happens to be the 25-year anniversary of Tennessee’s SEC Championship Game victory in which Manning racked up 370 yards and four touchdowns.

Manning finished his Tennessee career with 11,201 yards, 89 touchdowns, 33 interceptions and a 62.5% completion percentage. The Indianapolis Colts selected him first overall in the 1998 NFL Draft.

Manning will follow in the footsteps of WWE Raw Women’s Champion Bianca Belair. Belair served as guest picker on “College GameDay” when the iconic pregame show made its way to Knoxville in September.

Peyton Manning to Witness Biggest Tennessee Game in Years

It is not a stretch to say that Saturday’s game will be the biggest for the program since the turn of the century. With a win, Tennessee can vault into the top-5 of the AP Poll for the first time in 17 years. It would also be the Volunteers’ first victory over the Crimson Tide since 2006 — pre Nick Saban.

Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel is well aware of the opportunity in front if his team.

“The expectations we should be concerned about are our own expectations,” Heupel said this week. “The reason our kids have gotten and continue to build and get better is because they’ve paid attention to the things that matter this week. We’ve got to prepare the right way, we’ve got to practice well. The playing part of it will take care of itself. The outside noise has no bearing on how we play. Let’s go compete and be our best on game day.”