Rece Davis, Host of ESPN’s College GameDay, Names His Top-Three Campuses to Broadcast the Show From

by Dustin Schutte
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Over the course of its 30-year history, ESPN’s College GameDay has earned the reputation as the best pregame show in sports. The biggest reason for that accolade is because of its on-site locations, bringing decades-long traditions into the home of every college football fan.

Rece Davis will be entering his eighth season as the host of the popular pregame show in 2022, replacing Chris Fowler in 2015. In his first seven years, Davis has visited a lot of campuses and seen plenty of great crowds.

While Davis may not like playing favorites, there are a few locations that stick out as the most memorable. Talking with Kelly Gramlich and Eric Mac Lain on the Gramlich and Mac Lain podcast, Davis was asked to give the top-three spots he’s visited with College GameDay.

Davis provided some interesting answers, including the school he placed at No. 1.

“One is going to be the Palouse, Washington State. I doubt there will ever be a GameDay that was more moving and meaningful for me,” Davis said. “For 15 years, they had taken that flag to every show. To see the joy they had in showcasing their campus, university and team — that day was overwhelming.”

Davis raved about the sea of Washington State fans that rolled in for the show — even before sunrise.

You might expect Davis to rave about locations at Ohio State, Alabama, Florida or LSU — the four most-visited locations for the show. None of those made the host’s list.

“James Madison, because of the gargantuan crowds and picturesque setting, was a great place to do GameDay. And then I think — look, you could choose Clemson or anywhere in the SEC and not be wrong — I would probably say Clemson. It’s a fun place to go.”

So, for Davis, it’s Washington State, James Madison and Clemson (and basically the entire SEC). That’s a top-three that even the show’s biggest fans probably could’ve predicted.

Rece Davis Once Worried About His Southern Accent

Since taking over the role as host on College GameDay in 2015, Rece Davis has become a key voice in college football. You might be surprised to learn, though, that Davis once had serious concerns about his future in television.

A thick southern accent concerned Davis early in his career. In the Gramlich and Mac Lain podcast, the 27-year ESPN veteran explained why he was worried.

“I was pretty concerned about it early in my career. I had a distinct southern accent,” Davis said. “Even though the bio says I was born in Chicago – and I was – my parents were southerners. My dad was working as a machinist, and we moved back south when I was four years old. So, I grew up in Northwest Alabama. I had a very distinct southern accent.”

After reading a book, Change Your Voice, Change Your Life, Davis found more comfort in being himself in front of a camera. To this day, he appreciates how that book allowed him to become a more authentic personality.

“I read the book and the section on accents said, ‘Embrace them or leave them.’ And it was almost like I had an epiphany,” Davis said. “The one thing you want to be on television is authentic. So, I decided, if I say something on occasion that sounds like I’m from Muscle Shoals, Alabama, I am. And it’s OK.”

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