Whether you get up for College GameDay at 7 a.m. on the west coast, or 10 a.m. on the east, there are always a few constant characteristics that viewers seek when they are tuning in to the classic college football preview show.
Of course, you’ll get to see the shining faces of some of ESPN’s best personalities and analysts such as Kirk Herbstreit and Lee Corso–who we all admire and anticipate each headgear selection. And who doesn’t love the rabid, screaming college students who have camped out all night and who are presumably running on a few hours of sleep?
How could I forget the signs; the clever signs that make fans grin and question the sanity of their fellow classmates, alumni, and devotees.
It’s a broadcast that’s filled with rich, college tradition. However, one of its best traditions was in jeopardy last Saturday as the GameDay bus pulled into Tucson, Arizona.
Ol’ Crimson, a Washington State University flag that sports the Cougars primary logo, was headed west from Tuscaloosa, Alabama to Tucson, but had some difficulties getting out of the south as it was stuck in Mississippi just days before College GameDay went live from the campus at the University of Arizona.
Ol’ Crimson’s streak of 166 consecutive appearances in the background of College GameDay was in serious danger.
Ol’ Crimson first appeared in the crowded background of College GameDay amid fans and signs on October 18th, 2003 in Madison, Wisconsin. And from Stanford, California all the way to Tallahassee, Florida the flag has flown high in support of the Washington State nation.
Lee Fitting, GameDay’s senior producer who in his 12 years as the head guy has never produced a show without the Cougar flag waving in the crowd, wasn’t going to let that happen.
ESPN and Fitting were seriously considering removing the replica flag of Ol’ Crimson that is located in the ESPN cafeteria, and shipping it to Tucson in case the original Wazzu flag could not make it in time. “We were joking in the meeting today, if the flag does not make it, they can hoist me up shirtless on a flag pole,” Fitting admitted to ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt.
Fortunately for Fitting, and possibly some fans watching, Ol’ Crimson made it to Tucson safe and sound, and on right on queue as it continued it’s streak of consecutive GameDay appearances.
Even though no drastic measures were taken to keep this great tradition alive, it proves that ESPN, and the hard working folks at UPS, will keep that tradition strong–even if that entails a 40 year old flying from a flag pole.