After 15 years and 216 appearances on ESPN’s College Gameday, Ol’ Crimson is Coming Home. This, most likely, does not mean anything to most of you. However, as a lifetime Washington State Cougar fan and Alumni, this is a day to celebrate.
Typically, on our blog we discuss the newest trends and best practices in Social Media, Video Production, Graphic Design, etc. However, since I’ve got the reins this week, I’m going rogue. Mostly because I haven’t been able to think about anything else since ESPN announced last week that it was bringing College Gameday to Pullman, WA. Let me give you some history of why this is such a big deal and bring you all up to speed.
Washington State University (WSU) is located in Pullman, WA. A small farming town with 33,000 full time residents and less than 20,000 students, 75 miles south of Spokane, WA, which is the only city within a four-hour drive that you might have actually heard of. WSU’s football team has seen success over the years, but is widely considered as a PAC 12 Conference underdog. Competing against schools like USC, Stanford, Oregon, and Washington, who have major cities and money to back their recruiting efforts. Being the underdog has never hampered the unwavering passion of the Cougar fan base though, which has been visible every Saturday during the college football season over the last 15 years.
In October 2003, Cougar alum Tom Pounds (class of ’81), drove from Albuquerque to Austin for the Kansas State vs. Texas game with a home-made WSU flag to wave in the background on the set of College Gameday. What he didn’t know is that this would start one of the best traditions in college football. Since then, Ol’Crimson, the crimson red flag with white logo, has made it to the next 215 Gamedays and traveled to 72 cities, in 34 states, which included 70 different college campuses. For the majority of this streak (2005 – 2014), WSU was 36-85 and owned the worst winning percentage among all Power 5 programs. However, the streak continued thanks to the die hard Cougar fans across the country who volunteered to wave the flag each Saturday.
As the tradition gained steam over the years, people began to take notice. Including the crew of ESPN College Gameday, who regularly talk about Ol’ Crimson on their program. However, the Gameday buses never made their way to Pullman. That is until now! Nearly 15 years to the day since the tradition started, WSU will host College Gameday and Ol’ Crimson will get to come home.
“I can’t define it, I can’t tell someone who isn’t a Cougar what it’s like. There’s something that happens at Washington State; you quietly and subtly become infected. Washington State is a passion. Being a Cougar is a passion”. - Jim Walden, WSU’s Head Football Coach 1978 – 86
Cougar Nation showed up in full force with estimates ranging from 15,000-30,000 people in attendance for the 6a.m. start of College Gameday. The Cougars went on to beat Oregon, 34-20, capping what some say was the best day in WSU history.