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Interactive Graphic: Ol’ Crimson’s 200 visits to ESPN’s College GameDay

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It’s been a journey. Come explore every host of the WSU flag as it’s traveled far and wide courting the iconic preview show.

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

There is a lot of really cool stuff happening in the world of Cougar football right now. Getting up to watch ESPN’s College GameDay last week knowing they were going to talk about the Washington State Cougars beating a top 5-ranked USC team at the top of the show almost felt like an out-of-body experience.

Before the days of Erik Powell and Jahad Woods getting named Pac-12 special teams and defensive player of the week or 5-0 starts, WSU had to get unconventional to carve out it’s own unique sliver of college football importance. In those dark days of 2008 and beyond, getting up to see Ol’Crimson flying behind the College GameDay set was one of the few bright spots of Cougar football Saturday for me.

This Saturday, the 11th ranked Cougars travel to Eugene to play Oregon, and Ol’ Crimson heads to Fort Worth, Texas, for TCU vs. West Virginia. It will be the flag’s 200th appearance on the show. I was hoping to post this once Lee Corso and company came to Pullman, but I think 200 is a worthy milestone, nonetheless.

Below is an interactive chart of every host of Ol’ Crimson since 2003. If you hover over a logo you’ll get info on the game and a link to the Ol’ Crimson website with photos if available. (If it was a neutral site I listed the highest ranked team as the “home” team when counting which conference hosted.) Hovering over a logo also will highlight all the times that team hosted; hovering over a conference logo at the bottom will do the same things for the conference.

If on mobile turn your phone horizontal or go to this link to open the chart in a new tab.

Ol’ Crimson has spent most of it’s time in SEC country, as the conference has played host 58 59 times, with Alabama leading the way, hosting a total of 17 times — 10 at Bryant-Denny and 7 via the SEC title game or neutral site games where they were the higher ranked team. USC and LSU are closest, having each hosted 10 times, although the Trojans haven’t had the honor since 2013.

The below chart looks at what cities Ol’ Crimson has been shipped to the most over it’s run. It’s got the same functionality as the above with links to Ol’ Crimson and some game info. GameDay has hit the Pac-12 about twice a season over the last couple years; that still gives us a little bit of hope that Pullman could be on the docket, so go Stanford for the time being.

If you’re on mobile tilt your phone horizontal or click this link to open in a new tab.

I remember hearing stories of fans trying to break flag poles, confused as to why a Washington State flag was flying on their campus in the early days of the tradition. It felt like the sentiment from opposing fans slowly went from a you guys are weird, to I feel so sorry for you as a fan to that’s just pretty cool. I know for some the tradition can be a hot button, but I love it. My kids search for it on the TV every Saturday and we have started our tradition of raising the flag on our house to fly all weekend too.

Special thanks to the Ol’ Crimson Booster Club for starting it, keeping it going through the dark ages, and pushing WSU into the fabric of how college football fans start their Saturdays.