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BYU-Coastal Carolina took center stage on ‘College GameDay.’ Who did they pick to win?

BYU quarterback Zach Wilson, left, and Coastal Carolina quarterback Grayson McCall.
Deseret News and Associated Press photos

Coastal Carolina’s Brooks Stadium served as the backdrop for Saturday’s “College GameDay” show on ESPN, with the Chanticleers set to host BYU in a matchup of 9-0 teams.

The picks

Who will win the game? ESPN’s analysts, and guest picker Dustin Johnson — the pro golfer and reigning Masters champion is a Coastal Carolina alum — weighed in at the end of the show.

Desmond Howard: BYU
The reason: “Both teams, fantastic on offense, but when you look at BYU’s defense — seventh in the FBS, yielding less than 300 yards per contest — and Zach Wilson, this guy’s having a phenomenal season, I’ve got to go with the BYU Cougars.”

David Pollack: BYU
The reason: “I think the Chanticleers can hang for awhile, but I just think the depth of BYU and the physicality — first of all, the Chanticleers, I love their center by the way, Big Sam (Sam Thompson), 5-9, 190 pounds — going against this huge BYU front, it will take its toll late in the game and BYU will win.”

Kirk Herbstreit: BYU
The reason: “I think that’s the story here really, is the styles that they play with. If you look at Coastal Carolina, they want to try and get it out in space and utilize the quarterback, who is making great decisions and (they) get their skill out in space. And then you have BYU, which is going to try and win it at the line of scrimmage. Dustin, I know where you’re going, I’m going to go in alignment with the boys here. The line of scrimmage is the difference, I’m going BYU.”

Dustin Johnson: Coastal Carolina
The reason: “I’m going to have to pick Coastal, for sure. It’s my alma mater. I think it’s great what BYU did, you’ve got to thank them for coming across the country. It’s great for the school. I’m really looking forward to watching the game. Hopefully it will be close and Coastal will win.”

Lee Corso: BYU
The reason: “Coastal is 9-0 and 18th in the playoff rankings, and they’re playing at home. That’s really good stuff. But BYU is 9-0 and 13th in the playoff rankings. BYU will play anybody, anywhere, anytime. So I’m going with BYU. Go Cougars.”

The highlights

ESPN’s Gene Wojciechowski narrated a segment breaking down Coastal Carolina’s epic celebrations, how challenges each week — a unique one for each opponent — has become a way to help motivate the team, and boost the vibe in the locker room.

“I’m going to remember this for the rest of my life.” — Silas Kelly, Coastal Carolina linebacker

“I don’t know if there’s many teams that are having as much fun as the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers are right now.” — Willy Korn, Chanticleers co-offensive coordinator and QB coach


Creative signs are an integral part of the show, and fans delivered again Saturday. This one, shared virtually, got the EPSN analysts’ attention:

Here’s how two analysts reacted:

  • Rece Davis: “BYU does have Zach Wilson.”
  • David Pollack: “Careful what you wish for.”

A look at a few other signs from the show:


A few scene-setter looks at the atmosphere at Brooks Stadium, shared by Deseret News reporter Amy Donaldson, via her sister:


Lee Corso hasn’t been traveling with the rest of the “GameDay” crew this year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a part of the team. Look at how ESPN outfitted his backyard for Saturday’s show:


How social media reacted to the BYU-Coastal Carolina game being an integral part of the show:

What they said

What analysts, coaches and players said of the game on Saturday’s broadcast:

“There are seat at the big table implications for Coastal Carolina and for BYU. For Brigham Young, it’s an opportunity to show the College Football Playoff selection committee whether they have undervalued them. They have. Coastal Carolina, on the other hand, has the chance the chance to be the conference champion in waiting outside the Power Five, should Cincinnati stumble. Those are the big-picture topics. But the great thing about playing a top 20 showdown between undefeated teams in December — winning carries its own reward.” — Rece Davis, ESPN analyst

“How lucky are we, guys. We thought this game was going to get canceled. BYU said, wait.” — Desmond Howard, ESPN analyst

“They’ve been making a lot of noise. It’s hard not to hear about those guys. They’ve been playing great.” — BYU offensive lineman James Empey, on Coastal Carolina

“You’re not really going to shut down their offense. They’re high-powered, they make a lot of plays. But we’re going to do our best to contain them.” — Coastal Carolina linebacker Teddy Gallagher, on BYU

“I love watching Coastal Carolina’s offense. It’s so different. I think it’s an offense that will spread throughout college football. It’s very old-school principle, it very triple-optionesque, like back in the day, but with new innovative offense to go with it.” — David Pollack, ESPN analyst

“I can’t wait to watch BYU’s offense. We’ve talked about (BYU offensive coordinator) Jeff Grimes and the job that he’s done. This is an offense that gets its reputation as a physicality but really it’s about how multiple they are and how they can confuse a defense.” — Kirk Herbstreit, ESPN analyst

“If you get the chance to watch this game … you will see a future NFL quarterback star in Zach Wilson. He can really play. This guy is terrific.” — Lee Corso, ESPN analyst

“This stage that Coastal will have against BYU is the biggest that they’ve had in their brief FBS history, and the opponent is one they’ve only known about for a couple of days. I guess you could say, the convention is not the path for Coastal Carolina.” — Rece Davis, ESPN analyst

“We’ve had two Sun Belt teams that played them, so we reached out to them real quick and they told me, good luck. You do as much as you can to learn about them, and obviously they’re a great football team, they’re well-coached. It’s a big challenge for us. To be able to bring it together this quickly and host it, we’re going to go out here and play well and I’m excited about it.” — Coastal Carolina coach Jamey Chadwell

“We’re just going to have fun with the game. The one thing the pandemic has done — we as a society, we’ve taken things for granted — so hopefully that doesn’t ever happen again. Any time we get to spend with our players in this moment playing football, we’re going to enjoy it.” — BYU coach Kalani Sitake