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ESPN Explains 'College GameDay' Snub Of Louisville-Duke

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The first 2014-15 installment of ESPN's "College GameDay" will be taking place on Jan. 17 at Hilton Coliseum in preparation for Iowa State's home game against Kansas. This news was met with contempt by a number of Louisville fans, who were expecting the program to finally make it to the KFC Yum Center to celebrate the Cards' marquee matchup with Duke on that same day.

The college hoops world outside of Louisville was also puzzled by the decision, but as it turns out, coming to the Derby City was never even an option for ESPN.

The Sporting News' Kami Mattioli discussed the decision with ESPN College Sports PR manager Rachel Siegel, who served up some answers.

GameDay can only select between two "flex" games for each of the show's first six weeks; therefore, its only options for the Jan. 17 game were either West Virginia-Texas or Iowa State-Kansas.

For clarification, a "flex" game is a particular game in which the tip time can be changed or "flexed" to accomodate TV programming - similar to what NFL teams do. Typically, these games are chosen months in advance as ESPN works with schools to pre-select potential flex options prior to the season.

Siegel also told Sporting News that there will be a set present at the Yum! Center for the Jan. 17 game - just not College GameDay's.

As for the speculation that the Cardinals' noon tip could have presented a problem for the GameDay crew, whose show typically airs from 11 a.m. to noon, she said: "We could probably have worked around that."

Why Louisville-Duke, a pair of teams that began the season ranked in the top 8, wasn't one of the flex options already is another issue.

Since 2010, no college basketball program has won more games than Louisville, a fact which still hasn't resulted in GameDay making its first appearance at the Yum Center. Last March, Rece Davis told Card Chronicle that he expected that to change in 2015.

"All of us, including the hosts and the programming people, have all wanted to come to the Yum Center," Davis said. "I don't know the particulars about why it hasn't happened yet, but I would assume it's because of scheduling and contracts. I can promise you that it's no great conspiracy against Louisville or the Yum Center or Yum Brands or anything like that, and I promise that we'll get there at some point. And I'll go ahead and say this: I would be very surprised if it's not next season."

We shall see.