College Gameday made a fine decision. It would've been just fine either way, if we're looking at it objectively: Celebrating Temple being really good, which is a great story on its own, in front of Independence Hall is a producer's dream. Celebrating Washington State being good enough for Gameday in Pullman is also a producer's dream.
I'll take ESPN at its word and assume this was a difficult decision between two very deserving fanbases. Producing three hours of live television on the road every week is not an easy thing to do. From advance scouting and logistics, to wrangling talent and actually producing a show is a big undertaking. They're good at it, yes, but it's a difficult undertaking that involves a large number of hard decisions each week, and backup plans that have backup plans.
Yes, the decision came way late, which bred all kinds of speculation and anticipation. But don't quickly assume it was for nefarious reasons.* The fact that Kirk Herbstreit would've had to travel all the way back to Philly is a real concern, and just because it's technically possible doesn't mean it's the best idea in the world. The strain of pulling double duty every week is an issue for Gameday, and a cross country trip after an early call time in the pacific time zone makes this difficult. And sure, it generated some publicity for Gameday -- probably more than the JMU announcement last week.
*If we're going to drill into the psyche of fans from the state of Washington, this is Sonics Syndrome. Assuming that [thing you hold dear] is being used as a bargaining chip is familiar. But Gameday isn't the NBA, and it's entirely possible that things just didn't work out right this week.
I will say that none of us know, or can even accurately guess, what was happening to cause the Gameday announcement to be delayed. You can choose to believe that Washington State was the first choice and didn't work out, or you can believe Temple was always the first choice. It's a matter of how you want to perceive things, and that's probably not going to change.
I won't tell you how to feel either. Being upset, feeling led on, being disappointed, or just being happy to be here are all natural reactions. But please do be nice about this and respect the decision made.
Remember this, though: Washington State is 5-2 and, at least until the 31st of October, controls its own destiny in the Pac-12 North. The Cougs just did something that hasn't been done in 12 years by rattling off a three-game win streak. This is a team that lost to Portland State and struggled through the early part of the season while looking completely lost at times.
They don't look lost anymore. The offense is playing out of its minds, scoring almost at will for large stretches and playing the most consistent football in a long time. Luke Falk is either the best quarterback in the Pac-12, or playing like it right now. The defense continues to improve, making stops when it needs to. And Washington State has a chance to do something big this weekend.
The goal here isn't necessarily just host Gameday. It's being a good football team. A presentable one. One you can take home to your parents and not be embarrassed about them fumbling the wine and having the pie run back for a touchdown.** The Cougs are on their way to that, and it's pretty amazing that we've reached this point in the season and the talk isn't just "let's go bowling" but "hey they're playing for first in the dang conference."
**This is still going to happen if we're counting dinner coverage as special teams.
It would've been nice to have Gameday in Pullman, but it's not the end of the world. The flag will continue to wave, and Washington State will earn it. At the rate the Cougs are going, that day looks like it'll come sooner than later.