Crisis averted! Ol' Crimson's streak of 166 College GameDay appearances lives. Here's how ESPN and the Cougar Athletic Fund saved the day

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Say thanks to ESPN, UPS, the Ol’ Crimson booster group and the Cougar Athletic Fund, Coug fans.

After a day of uncertainty as to whether Ol’ Crimson’s streak of 166-straight College GameDay appearances would be broken because the Washington State Cougars’ flag had been held up in transit en route to Arizona,  a replica of Ol’ Crimson arrived in Tucson at 3 a.m. Mountain Time early Saturday morning.

Mere hours before College GameDay was scheduled to begin.

The flag flew proudly Saturday morning, and even merited its own air time on College GameDay.

 

Actually, the quest to find Ol’ Crimson probably earned Washington State more air time on the ESPN family of networks over the last 36 hours than the Cougs have seen in years.

Ol’ Crimson got its own segment on ESPN Sportscenter with Scott Van Pelt late Friday night, as Van Pelt dialed up College GameDay senior coordinating producer Lee Fitting to ask for a status update on the replica of Ol’ Crimson that until Friday afternoon was hanging on the wall in the ESPN cafeteria as a gift from the Ol’ Crimson booster club.

Fitting and Van Pelt had some fun with the situation in a pretty entertaining exchange. Check out the clip here.

“I can’t believe I’m saying this because I’ve never heard of this kind of transport,” Fitting said. “The flag is on UPS Express Critical. We understand the flag is on a bird and on its way out here. I’m going to sleep tonight thinking about UPS Express Critical.”

The flag had been a fixture on College GameDay since 2003. “If it didn’t make it, it’s one of those superstition things,” Van Pelt said. “Could the show go on?”

Fitting provides this gem, which had me almost wishing that Ol’ Crimson had not made it to Tucson, Ariz. in time for College GameDay because wouldn’t this have been a sight to behold?

Fitting (joking — or so we think):

Here’s the deal, the show would go on, but I would not go on. I’ve been producing the show now for 12 years and every one of those shows I’ve been part of over those 12 years, the flag has flown. We were joking in the meeting today, if the flag does not make it, they can hoist me up shirtless on a flag pole, and I will paint myself in the Washington State colors and they can wave me around for three hours.

Now that is commitment, ESPN. Golf clap to you.

The Cougar Athletic Fund also rallied to try and keep the streak alive.

According to Ol’ Crimson coordinator CJ McCoy and a tweet from WSU’s Assistant Athletic Director of Annual Giving Uri Farkas, a Hunter Hughes a CAF staff member was tasked with the mission of hand-delivering a flag from Pullman to Tucson.

So ultimately, there were two official replicas of Ol’ Crimson in Tucson by Saturday morning.

As for the original flag that was stuck in Mississippi Friday? That one’s still in transit.

Meanwhile, Fitting wants to bring College GameDay to Pullman.

 

Now, from Tucson, where Coug fans have erupted in celebration.