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College GameDay Power Rankings: This is our moment

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NCAA Football: Alabama at Auburn Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Power rankings are often all the same, so we’re mixing things up. Each week (not this week!) you’ll get a rundown of 12 or fewer highlights, storylines and anything in between from the Conference of Champions.


Since none of us care about the rest of the Pac-12 this week, let’s switch things up and talk only about ESPN’s College GameDay, which is finally coming to Pullman after years of Coug fans wishing and waiting.

Now it’s time. Let’s go.

College GameDay will give the university immense exposure

I was trying to think of other times WSU got this much exposure. The 1997 and 2002 Rose Bowls came to mind, but I think College GameDay trumps those easily.

The show has grown over the years and with the ‘Ol Crimson storyline, I think a few more eyeballs may tune in this Saturday. Everything has lined up perfectly: ‘Ol Crimson’s 15th anniversary, WSU is an exciting team this year, the weather will be perfect and the crowd will presumably be gigantic.

You can’t put a price tag on this kind of exposure (put your hands down, advertising equivalency advocates). It will truly be a special day for the university.

Speaking of crowd size....

I can’t wait to see how many Cougs (and some Ducks, of course) fill the area behind the stage. Sure, it’ll be dark for the first hour, but from about 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., it’ll be a sea of crimson. That’s going to be beautiful.

I know people who are driving to Pullman solely for GameDay. They don’t even have tickets to the game, and they’re OK with that. The ‘Ol Crimson tradition has been so ingrained in all of us, it feels like we just climbed Everest. This is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and the crowd may threaten GameDay’s record.

I’m eager to see how the location works out

One of the fun things to guess this week was where the whole event would happen. Assuming the crowd would be enormous, locations like the track infield, the practice field, the rugby field and the mall were thrown out as possibilities. I also saw a fair share of folks suggest Thompson Flats, which would be cool, but that’s just asking for trouble. They ain’t exactly flat, you know.

The ultimate choice is probably similar to the Pac-12 Network’s setup for the Utah game. ESPN’s setup is larger, so I’m sure there will be big differences. Will the crowd be located down Ferdinand’s Lane? Will the crowd be on Stadium Way? Can’t wait to find out!

Who will be the guest picker?

NBA: Preseason-Sacramento Kings at Golden State Warriors Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN has shifted this year toward having guest pickers with no tie to the university or the location. We’ll see if that continues Saturday, and ESPN’s Lee Fitting told KXLY’s Derek Deis Tuesday that the guest picker isn’t necessarily a WSU alum.

So, it could be anybody. If it’s a WSU alum, the choices are many. Steve Gleason already said he’d decline in favor of Ryan Leaf. Leaf indicated he is unavailable. Klay Thompson would cause the crowd to go crazy. Here’s the thing with Klay: his Golden State Warriors play Friday night in Salt Lake City and Sunday night in Denver. So that means he has a day off Saturday, which would seem to work out, no? Remember, he’d have to get up pretty early to catch a private flight from Salt Lake City to Pullman, and that’s after a night game. I’m hoping it happens, but don’t be surprised if it’s not him (but I’ve been wrong before!).

Drew Bledsoe seems like an easy and good choice. You have to think if Keith Jackson were still with us, it’d be him. The Audible podcast floated the idea of having Tim Brando be the guest picker. Brando is calling the game for Fox.

Of course, Popcorn Guy is a popular choice, if they can bring him out of his bunker.

Other than those who have been mentioned, who could it be?

There are plans in the works for the flags of past hosts to be present

NCAA Football: Eastern Washington at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Apparently this is being done as a thank-you to others schools that hosted GameDay when ‘Ol Crimson was present, even if one school’s local radio evangelist put out a bounty for the WSU flag. Good thing Zane created this handy graphic showing where ‘Ol Crimson has been before this week!

Give us your creative sign ideas

NCAA Football: Alabama at Auburn Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

We solicited ideas on the CougCenter Facebook page this week. Here is our idea:

WOODIE DIXION CALLED AND MADE ME CHANGE MY OTHER SIGN

Your move, Coug fans.

We’re going to get lots of beauty shots of Pullman

One of GameDay’s coolest features is the black-and-white shots of the campus and city it’s in each week. We couldn’t have picked a better week, since Pullman and the surrounding area has been absolutely beautiful, with the clear blue skies, falling leaves, changing colors, etc. Those rolling hills will be the cherry on top.

For those watching at home, you might find yourself instinctively getting up from your couch and finding your way to Pullman.

Expect Cougar Gold Cheese to get plenty of attention

GameDay likes to serve its hosts with some local food each week live on air. I’m guessing Cougar Gold Cheese is involved, as well as some Ferdinand’s ice cream. Some lentil soup could be included, too. Also, they HAVE to serve some local beef, right?

Lee Corso’s headgear pick might be his most anticipated ever

NCAA Football: Utah at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Lee Corso is well known for liking Puddles, the Oregon Ducks’ mascot. But would he dare don the duck head at one of the most anticipated GameDays ever? And what would the reaction be?

Hell, if he puts that Butch T. Cougar head on, they may name the town after him. Or at least build a statue.

GameDay’s Bear needs to meet WSU’s bears.

First Polar Bear Born In The UK For 25 Years Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Chris Fallica is better known as Bear, GameDay’s researcher who makes three picks and shares the gambling odds with viewers. WSU has a bear center.

ARE YOU THINKING WHAT I’M THINKING?

How cool would it be to have Bear meet WSU’s bears? It’s a fun segment and more great exposure for the university. Plus, they’re bears!


This is going to be so much fun.