ESPN's College GameDay has made a site decision for the upcoming Oct. 31 show. But WSU fans aren't going to like it.
After a two-day vigil that saw many Washington State football fans refreshing ESPN’s “College GameDay” twitter page multiple times an hour, the decision that came Monday was not the one Cougars fans wanted.
ESPN announced Monday that 21st-ranked Temple will host the Oct. 31 edition of the “College GameDay” show in Philadelphia. The news was a big blow to Cougars fans who had hoped that the Saturday morning pregame show would come to Pullman.
The Cougars play No. 8 Stanford at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Martin Stadium. Temple (7-0) will face No. 9 Notre Dame (6-1) at 5 p.m. at Lincoln Financial Field.
“College GameDay” has never come to Pullman. But the Cougars have had a presence on the show since 2003, when a group of alumni came up with the idea to fly the WSU flag, Ol’ Crimson, on the show to persuade ESPN to bring College GameDay to Pullman.
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As of last weekend, when the show was in Harrisonburg, Va., the flag had made its 171st consecutive appearance on “College GameDay.”
“Our flag is in the background of ‘College GameDay’ all the time. No one has been a more loyal supporter of College GameDay than the Cougs,” WSU coach Mike Leach said.
Unfortunately for Cougars fans, 171 consecutive Ol’ Crimson appearances and a 5-2 Cougars team (3-1 Pac-12) that is second in the Pac-12 North weren’t quite enough to turn the tide in their favor.
“College GameDay” producer Lee Fitting — who a month ago tweeted that the show had to “find a way to get to Pullman” — told The Seattle Times via an ESPN spokesperson that the decision was “the toughest call to make in my 12-year tenure producing the show.”
“There were two schools that ‘College GameDay’ has not visited, in addition to (them) having great seasons. In this case, the ranked vs. ranked matchup gave Philly the edge,” Fitting said. “Ol’ Crimson has been such a big part of the GameDay fabric over the years — we vow to get to Pullman one day.”
Still, the other show in Pullman will go on as planned. As of Monday morning, WSU had 5,000 tickets remaining for its showdown against Stanford (6-1, 5-0), which leads the Pac-12 North.
WSU receiver Gabe Marks said he’d heard about the “College GameDay” talk from friends and classmates but added it was not discussed in the Cougars’ locker room.
“We’re not really worried about stuff like that,” Marks said, stressing that the Cougars are focused on Stanford. “Even if ‘College GameDay’ had come, we wouldn’t be part of it. It doesn’t’ matter to us.”
Quarterback Luke Falk echoed Marks’ sentiments.
“I don’t think we would have paid any attention to it,” Falk said. “It’s hard for the fans, but it doesn’t change our mentality.”
According to Ol’ Crimson coordinator C.J. McCoy, even though Pullman lost out in the GameDay sweepstakes, the WSU flag nonetheless will fly in Philadelphia on Saturday.
“We look forward to being there with Ol’ Crimson to show our Cougar pride and to keep the tradition alive. It’s always an honor to wave the flag and represent WSU wherever the show is broadcast, and we’re thankful to ESPN for all of their support over the last 171 shows,” McCoy said. “We also want to thank the Coug faithful and friends for their valiant effort to bring GameDay to the flag and for remembering to ‘Always be a good sport and be a good sport all ways.’ ”