With ESPN Gameday returning, let’s talk about one of the best parts of the show: the guest picker. If you could choose one for Saturday, who are you calling up?
I think it would be awesome for it to be Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf. We are retiring his jersey now after all.
But I think it will end up being a non-LSU person by virtue of lack of appealing options. So I think they’ll call in Zion, Louisiana’s newly beloved adopted son. Zion has the media hype train and while he’s a Duke guy, he can lean into his new home, pick LSU and it doesn’t really present any conflict to his Blue Devils.
Zion has been making the rounds to LSU, Tulane and Saints games so Dan may have very well nailed this one.
**(Ed. Note: it was briefly reported Monday afternoon that Williamson was, in fact, the choice for guest picker, but LSU quickly refuted that report)**
Honestly, the guest picker kind of makes the show now. And the best ones are people that understand college football — whether it’s the sport itself or just the completely nonsensical vibe — and have chemistry with Lee Corso in the segment. When it’s done right it’s everything about that show that we all fell in love with in the last 20-25 years. Matthew McConnaughey this year, Keegan Michael Key last year or even Katie Perry a couple years back all just came in and had a blast and that really came through the camera, in my opinion.
My dream choice, all these years later, remains John Goodman. He loves the sport, he loves Louisiana and he was Ed “Bull” Lawrence goddammit! And there’s no doubt he’d nail the job. There’s even corporate synergy with him appearing on a Disney property in The Connors! Of course that shooting schedule will probably make it impossible. Speaking of impossible, what about one of Ed Orgeron’s proteges The Most Electrifying Man In Entertainment Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson? Let’s dial this thing up to 12.
Sticking with the college basketball theme, I think it’s only fitting that tribute is paid to Dickie V, by having Will Wade as the guest picker.
- John Goodman: We’ve been banging this drum for years, but I can really see the house of mouse using this as cross-promotion for The Connors, and Goodman can use it for The Righteous Gemstones as well.
- Shaq: Obviously Shaq would be one of the more entertaining guests and doesn’t have any Inside The NBA obligations, and lord knows we need it after Lil Wayne showed up hungover, it’s hard to say if he’ll be free because he stays busy.
- James Carville: ESPN is too cowardly for this given what happened last time he was on ESPN and in the light of the California bill.
- Randy Moss: A longshot, but you can’t tell me that wouldn’t be a fun watch. Plus you know he has experience working with a table of talking heads.
- Aaron Nola: He’d probably be super boring but he’s free because he’s a Philly and this game is in October.
- Garth Brooks: Again, I’m going with more of the entertaining half rather than the right bond with LSU.
- Friend of the tailgate Lolo Jones.
Goodman, Zion or Shaq would all be grand slams, so those are who I really hope to see. Since those have already been discussed, I’ll go with a wild card that I’m 99 percent sure will say no, but I would absolutely love: LSU’s Petty King Jimmy Burrow.
Jimmy probably doesn’t want to take the spotlight away from his son which I totally understand, but I imagine he would have some colorful quotes and probably be pretty good at picking the games. He’s been a guest on Off The Bench a few times and is a great interview. I just really want to see more of his cocky side because the more we see the more I’m convinced Joe is a carbon copy of his father.
Every time GameDay is in Baton Rouge, I’m reminded how few cool non-athlete people are related to this school and the city.
I think Zion or Shaq would both be amazing picks, but I’m kind of wary of ESPN picking somebody that went to Duke, regardless of Zion’s preseason Louisiana tour. My dream guest picker has always been Ellen, who is from New Orleans but it’s close enough. I think Ellen is the perfect type of person for GameDay and would have so much fun up there. She’s shown her support for the Saints over the years and is friends with Drew Brees so I think it would be a perfect time to get her into the LSU fandom if she isn’t already.
All that being said, I think ESPN will stick with what it knows and go with a random country singer especially since the last American Idol winner, country singer Laine Hardy, is from Baton Rouge and graduated from French Settlement High School. His debut album is called “In the Bayou,” so honestly the stars are just lining up.
Put my vote in for John Goodman as well. I mean they had Eric Church for the Iowa-Iowa State game who has NO affiliation with that state, much less Iowa State. At least Goodman has lived in New Orleans for awhile now along roles in a handful of Louisiana-based movies and shows.
I think Zion sounds pretty plausible, and it doesn’t surprise me that’s he’s already been mentioned several times here. It would be pretty entertaining to see Bobby Hebert up there, though I don’t know the likelihood of that actually happening.
When it comes to the Gameday guest picker, my first instinct goes to what NFL guys are available. The Bills, Colts, Raiders and Bears are off this week, so of the NFLSU guys here’s who could be available: Reid Ferguson, Corey Thompson, Tre’Davious White, Kevin Tolliver, Arden Key and Foster Moreau. White’s the best of the bunch but plays in anonymous Buffalo and I just can’t see it. Patrick Peterson would be a good choice being a native of Florida, but he’s still suspended so I feel like that’s a bad look if he went on. Of the baseball guys I can’t see Bregman making a second appearance. Shaq’s an easy, entertaining choice and he’s big about making it to one game a year. But count me in the Zion camp. The Pelicans have Saturday off before playing a preseason game Sunday in San Antonio so travel shouldn’t be too big an issue. Zion, or his people at least, have been big about ingratiating himself with Louisiana and going on Gameday for an LSU game is another ANTHONY DAVIS WOULD NEVER moment.