It's been a day of waiting for Washington State fans to find out whether or not Pullman will be hosting ESPN College Gameday on Halloween. Many thought the decision would come in the morning, and Cougar fans flocked to Twitter to get the news. It was fun, but 8 a.m. rolled by and there was no word. Then it got later and later, with nothing but vague statements from ESPN:
The @CollegeGameDay site selection is... TBD, you frothing football fans. Big decision. Hang in there.— Keri Potts (@MsPotts_ESPN) October 25, 2015
Did you guys have opinions on where we should go next week? Can't tell from our mentions. Decision still pending.— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) October 25, 2015
Still grinding on @CollegeGameDay site for next week. Betta that way— Lee Fitting (@leefitting) October 25, 2015
Decisions on College Gameday sites usually don't take this long. And that Fitting tweet points to the reason: There are some logistical reasons holding up an announcement.
Now, the conventional wisdom says the Gameday choice is down to two contestants: Washington State and Temple. Conventional wisdom also says the if logistics are an issue, then Pullman is the option that ESPN is trying to make happen.
What issues could there be in coming to Pullman? Let's break them down:
It's a long drive
Checking Google Maps says the drive from James Madison University, where Gameday was held yesterday, to Pullman is 37 hours. Let's say drivers are able to rotate every 12 hours and sleep in the cab (some semis have beds), then the trucks with all the Gameday stuff could theoretically make the drive in less than two days.
Herbstreit performs double-duty for ESPN on Saturdays. He works on the Gameday desk in the morning, then works in the booth for the primetime ABC game. Where is that game this weekend? In Philadelphia, of course, for Temple and Notre Dame.
That game starts at 8 p.m. ET. Gameday runs until Noon ET. That gives Herbie eight hours to get to Philadelphia. He surely takes a chartered jet, and flight time is between five to six hours. There won't be a lot of leeway, but he can do it.
Any WSU fan can relate to this issue. There just aren't many hotels in the immediate vicinity of Pullman. Blocks for the game broadcast crews can be held out before the season, but Gameday on short notice is trickier.
Adding to the difficulty is the Pac-12 cross-country championships in Colfax. That means the Best Western there will be fuller than usual.
So why not do what many Coug fans do and stay in Spokane? Well, CougCenter's Michael Preston has insight from his wife, who works in the industry, that the call time for the 6 a.m. PT Gameday show would be approximately 3 a.m. If the crew is staying in Spokane, they'd have to leave around 1:30 a.m., which means a very, very early wakeup after a potential set day on Friday in Pullman.
For now, it looks like finding hotels for the crew is the biggest issue that Gameday would face at WSU.
But there might also be an issue in Philadelphia
All weekend, Coug fans have wondered, "if Gameday was going to Philadelphia, then surely they would have announced by now, that's a piece of cake!" It's true, all of the above logistical issues that Pullman faces are not a problem in one of the country's largest cities.
But the initial report from Philadelphia Business Journal that started the Temple speculation, the one that ESPN has obviously not confirmed, stated that Gameday plans to broadcast from Independence Mall in Philadelphia. Independence Mall is a National Historic Site that requires a special use permit for events and places restrictions on any television recording there.
The government is closed on the weekend. So getting a permit approved today would not happen. That certainly could be why ESPN is waiting to make an announcement.
But Temple played on Thursday, and Notre Dame had a bye. So ESPN could have easily made the decision to host in Philadelphia on Friday and had the paperwork ready to go. Could it have been processed and approved that same day? That's the big question.
So, if you are thinking that a hold-up means that Gameday is trying to come to Pullman, you might be right. But there's a possibility that Philadelphia is causing a problem as well. For now, we continue to wait.