The Washington State Cougars football team is on a bye this week, but there are no bye weeks for Ol' Crimson, the WSU flag that is a mainstay on ESPN's College Gameday. The flag made its 141st consecutive appearance on the show Saturday morning in Eugene. Check out images from today below and from the past in the gallery above.
Kind of strange to think how long the run has been going. I was 18 and a freshman at Washington State when the flag first made its appearance. I remember people say it by accident in those days, and it sort of spread like an urban legend throughout campus. Soon, I was getting up just a little bit earlier to catch a glimpse of the flag on ESPN and texting friends with excitement.
Now its been 10 years. Cougar football hasn't had a winning season or seen a bowl since that first year with the flag. I'm 28 and living in Vermont, which means I don't have to get up nearly as early on Saturday to see the flag. That's a small consolation for having to stay up until 2 a.m. to watch most WSU football games.
To keep the streak alive this year, Ol' Crimson had to venture into rival UW territory two weeks ago, and had to make yet another trip to Eugene this morning. I've heard stories of flag-bearers getting harassed at Oregon in the past, but I'm guessing that no longer happens. Everyone knows of the flag, and it's become a well-known college football tradition.
WSU won't have Gameday on campus next week, but it will be the center of the ESPN universe when it hosts Arizona State in Pullman on Halloween. The students will have the day off to get ready for the game, so the atmosphere will likely be a little surly. Hopefully the odd atmosphere of an ESPN game on a Halloween Thursday will be enough to propel the Cougs over the Sun Devils and to the cusp of a bowl game.
A few more days until that happens, but WSU had its Saturday presence today. There were four flags flying high on the Gameday set this week, and some folks shared images on Twitter: