Is The College GameDay Curse Real?

There’s a collective shiver that runs down certain college football fanbases’ spines during the fall upon learning that ESPN’s College Gameday will be coming to town. The reason? Every time Des, Kirk, Chris, and Lee visit, their team loses—a.k.a the “College Gameday Curse.”

Then again, some become ecstatic because the ESPN set always brings a win, the “College Gameday Bump.” But we won’t paint broad brush strokes here for every fanbase.

Deadspin’s Regressing decided to use stats and numbers and other quantitative things to figure out if some teams habitually performed better or worse when GameDay comes town. Authors Stephen Pettigrew and Lucas Puente only included schools who had Gameday broadcast’s at least five times (sorry, North Dakota State; no voodoo magic for you) to complete their findings.

They had two sets of results: one for overall win percentage on Gameday versus win percentage not on Gameday and another for teams’ ability to cover their point spread.

For win percentage, since that’s the only thing most fans really care about, Pettigrew and Puente found the top and bottom five schools to be the following:

1. Oklahoma (“Gameday” win, 75%; non, 73.70%; difference, 1.30%)

2. Oregon (73.30%; 74.60%; -1.30%)

3. Miami (Fl.) [66.70%; 69.80%; -3.10%]

4. Southern Cal (68.80%; 72%; -3.30%)

5. Michigan (66.70%; 69.80%; -4.30%)

26. Iowa (20%; 58.60%; -38.60%)

27. Oklahoma State (20%; 59.50%; -39.50%)

28. Kansas State (20%; 69.40%; -49.40%)

29. Georgia (23.50%; 75.40%; -51.80%)

30. Texas A&M (0%; 62.80%; -62.80%)

That Aggie zero looks brutal, even if the school’s game has only appeared on the program five times. Johnny Football might’ve won a Heisman and resuscitated a program, but he went 0-2 when the set came to town.

Click the above link for all of Regressing’s findings. Also, Oregon fans, looks like you could be in luck tonight against Michigan State.


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