The Washington State flag has become a staple of ESPN’s College Gameday, but until today the campus had never hosted the show. College Gameday is in Pullman, Washington ahead of the Cougs big matchup against Oregon. Why did College Gameday choose Pullman and what is so significant about the event?
For 15 years, Washington State fans have campaigned for the show to come to their campus by flying the Washington State flag every Gameday. According to ESPN, the flag has flown for 216 consecutive shows.
ESPN had been looking for opportunities to come to Pullman, but things have fallen through until today. For the most part, College Gameday looks to go to the site of one of the marquee games for the week.
“We always include on that list, for as long as we can remember, the best opportunities for us to get Washington State,” ESPN coordinating producer Drew Gallagher explained to The Spokesman-Review. “What are their big home games? Because it’s always on our mind to try to get there.”
Ol’ Crimson Has Flown at 216 Consecutive College Gamedays
Tom Pounds, the person who started flying the flag, spoke with Oregon Live about the flag tradition.
“Even though I was the first one to start it and keep it going, I’m still amazed that something I thought of 15 years ago, did 15 years ago, would have this kind of effect,” Pounds told Oregon Live. “It still amazes me.”
According to Sports Illustrated, Pounds got the idea from a message board, and decided to act on it.
The idea started on a message board site called cougfan.com, where a fan suggested that a flag be flown at the broadcast to convince ESPN to visit Washington State, according to NCAA.com.
Tom Pounds, a Washington State alum, liked the idea and drove from his home in Albuquerque to the ESPN broadcast in Austin for the Kansas State-Texas game on Oct. 4, 2003 with the flag. His wife, Syndie, made the first Ol’ Crimson, a flag emblazoned with the Cougars’ logo. Someone saw the flag and asked Pounds if they could wave it at the Purdue-Wisconsin GameDay broadcast in Madison on Oct. 18. Pounds mailed them the flag, and the streak began.
As for the Gameday picker, there had been speculation it would be Warriors guard Klay Thompson. According to The Spokesman-Review, Thompson will not be able to make an appearance since he is on a road trip. Gameday’s Chris Fallica noted Ryan Leaf and Drew Bledsoe were possibilities.
“I hadn’t heard that it was official, but I saw that little bit that someone tweeted out,” Fallica explained to The Spokesman-Review. “I knew we had kicked around (Klay), I had suggested obviously Ryan (Leaf) and Drew (Bledsoe).”
Washington State and Oregon are both ranked in the top 25. The Cougars just slipped in at No. 25, while the Ducks are a bit higher at No. 12. Lee Corso has an opportunity to pick the Washington State headgear for the first time. Corso has picked Oregon 19 times, going 13-6 per ESPN.